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jonnybischof

Ultimaker unattended operation

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Hi community

I'm about to buy an Ultimaker but need to figure out some important things first. One important thing is: Where do I put the thing?!?

- It will be too loud to put it in my apartment (very bad noise insulation, and I'm still living with my parents...)

- From what I've read, it might have to run continuously for several days without the possibility to just pause it and resume later (I'll certainly do larger and more complex prints at some point)

- I could put it at my workplace, there's a workshop where the Ultimaker would look really good in :)

So now my question is: Can I leave the UM running unattended? Like when everybody leaves the building in the evening and the print goes on overnight?

Does the UM need ventilation when it works? Does it generate any fumes or gases?

Risk of smoke or fire?

Could it help (or be necessary) to install a smoke detector, maybe even a webcam to be safe?

I could couple the smoke detector to the mains supply so that the UM will be cut off from power when there's a smoke alarm.

What do you think, and where did you put your Ultimakers?

Greetings from Switzerland

Jonny

 

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It will be too loud to put it in my apartment (

 

It should be fine. It's no louder than an automatic dishwasher.

You need it some place very convenient or you won't use it.

 

Does the UM need ventilation when it works? Does it generate any fumes or gases?

 

Almost zero ventilation needed if you print PLA. Some people say PLA smells like popcorn. It has very little smell. The smells/gasses are much less than say from cooking toast or soup.

If you print ABS you will need ventilation and might want to print where you can open the windows.

 

Risk of smoke or fire?

 

Yes but quite small. Ultimaker did tests where they left the hot end on so that it would overheat to the maximum. I don't think anything caught fire. There are 2 or 3 software safeguards to keep the hot end from getting out of control but it still happens occasionally.

>Could it help (or be necessary) to install a smoke detector,

No.

>maybe even a webcam to be safe?

Yes! So you can see if your print failed and you can abort it remotely.

>I could couple the smoke detector to the mains supply so that the UM will be cut off from power when there's a smoke alarm.

Not worth the trouble.

I would put it in a study. It should be in a clean room - not a dusty room. Dust can stick to the plastic filament and clog your nozzle and cause lots of headache. It should be in a well lit area because you will often be looking closely at your print as it is printing. Trying to figure out if your bed is too low or too high or some other issue. So kitchen is probably too dirty (especially if you cook with oils). But dining room, living room are okay but not best. Bedroom is okay. Study would be best.

 

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It should be fine. It's no louder than an automatic dishwasher.

...

Study would be best.

 

Our study is right between bedrooms, great apartment planning ;)

Well I guess I'll just give it a try...

About remotely shutting down a print: Is there a function with Ulticontroller to do this, or does that just work if the UM is connected to a PC? I'm a little worried about not using Ulticontroller because PCs are prone to crash or become unresponsive if left unattended for several hours...

 

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The printer really isn't too noisy, and there are some things you can do to make it quieter, such as fitting rubber feet under the printer, and moving the extruder off the back panel, so that the back doesn't resonate and amplify the sound of the extruder motor.

 

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I'm a little worried about not using Ulticontroller because PCs are prone to crash or become unresponsive if left unattended for several hours...

 

Yes! And the USB can be unreliable depending on the PC. Definitely use the UC. It's not a big deal to leave it unattended in my opinion. It's just nice to not waste the plastic if the print fails. Some people have built their own webcam and power kill systems. I suspect you can buy something on the internet that is a controllable power switch. Maybe from X11 organization.

 

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Yes! And the USB can be unreliable depending on the PC. Definitely use the UC. It's not a big deal to leave it unattended in my opinion. It's just nice to not waste the plastic if the print fails. Some people have built their own webcam and power kill systems. I suspect you can buy something on the internet that is a controllable power switch. Maybe from X11 organization.

 

Well luckily, I'm an electronics engineer. No problem ;)

Edit:

 

The printer really isn't too noisy, and there are some things you can do to make it quieter, such as fitting rubber feet under the printer, and moving the extruder off the back panel, so that the back doesn't resonate and amplify the sound of the extruder motor.

 

Great input, thanks! I'll do that when I get my UM..

 

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Octoprint is based on the GCode sender of Cura, so you can be sure there are no compatibility issues there ;-)

It's fine to run the printer un-attended. I highly recommend the UC, as USB printing is known to suddenly stop sometimes (on windows)

We've run multiple day prints here at Ultimaker without issues. But I do recommend running the first 50 hours with you being close or even watching the machine (people tend to watch the machine anyhow, because it's hypnotizing) just to be sure you assembled it right. (For pre-assembled this is no issue, as they are tested in-house)'

Safety wise there is little to go wrong except for wasted PLA and some extra smell (but PLA doesn't smell so bad, ABS does smell bad and needs ventilation)

Just one thing, be sure to have this screw: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ultimaker/8185559520/ in the heater block inserted. I've seen it missing for some machines, and that can be a fire risk if the heater comes out of the block.

 

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Hehe, and rightly so. Gina (the OctoPrint dev) owns an Ultimaker and I am sure she used Cura before.

About the screw from the heater block - also make sure it is screwed all the was down. Mine didn't want to pass the metal cover of the two cables. Had to fiddle with a bit and force/rotatethem so the screw could pass.

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Thanks for sharing!!

I've been looking for a reason to get a Raspberry Pi, but never found one :)

Webcam is already ordered. I hope a usual USB Webcam goes? (sorry didn't read through the octoprint page yet) I ordered a "Microsoft LifeCam Studio".

So the Pi will replace the Ulticontroller? That's sad, i kinda like it :(

 

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I was worried leaving my printer unattended at first, but I did not have much choice as my prints were getting bigger and longer, I could not just sit here and wait. Now it has become a habit to prepare my prints and wait for the next morning to start them, before going to work. When I come back, I find the print finished or in progress depending on the size. I'm always a bit nervous, never know what to expect, a nice finished print or a mess of PLA?

Failures are really random, prints can fail after 5 minutes or 3 hours for no real reason (I had print that failed once, got a plug. Printed it again, same code, same settings, same filament, no problem) while I was able to print for over 30 hours once, and I was gone all this time.

In fact I try to pack several objects in a single print, so I can have them all printed while I'm gone, than doing them one at a time.

I generally make sure the first few layers come out right and that the supports are sticking well and then I leave.

Plus, I realized that being present when printing did not really matter, since it would always fail when I'm not looking. Everything is working fine, checking every 5 or 10 minutes, so you start releasing your attention for half an hour, and then when you look again, OMG, it's a mess. classic.

 

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