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Smithy

Tip: How to use 3rd party materials with the UM3 & S5

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It is often not so clear how to use 3rd party materials with the UM3 or S5 printers. So I want to give some hints and answers to the common problems and questions.

 

Ultimaker materials

Ultimaker materials come with an NFC tag in the spool and the printer is able to read the NFC tag and can detect the material and color during the loading process. Internally the NFC tag contains a unique ID which is then matched against a material database or something like that in the printer software.

So if you have loaded UM material which was automatically detected by the printer, then you just have to select the UM material profile in Cura or read the configuration directly from the printer by clicking on the printer at the top right corner in Cura and you are perfectly prepared for printing.

 

The printer cannot detect the Ultimaker material

If you have the very rare case that your UM spool cannot be detected by the printer (I have one Black PLA with that problem) then it could be that the NFC reader is not working correctly or that just the ID of the spool is not in the database. In such a case, you have to handle the spool like any other 3rd party material.

 

3rd party materials

If you load 3rd party material, the NFC tag cannot be detected and therefore you will be asked which material you want to load. The list shows all the preconfigured materials that are supported by the printer.  For example, you want to load a ColorFabb PLA material, then you should choose PLA from the list and the material will be loaded. In Cura you should select in that case the generic PLA profile otherwise, you will get a warning message that your loaded material in the printer doesn't match with the material you have configured in Cura. You can override this message but it can be avoided by choosing the correct profile.

 

What if you place your Ultimaker PVA material in a Drybox or something like that?
Then you have to handle the UM PVA as a 3rd party one. The UM profiles and the generic one are identical, so there is no difference except that you will always get a warning message if you choose a UM profile in Cura and have a material loaded which was not detected automatically by the printer.

 

So as a general rule, if the material was detected by the printer, use Ultimaker profiles, otherwise use the generic ones.

 

Different material types

With PLA it is easy because the generic profile is named PLA and your 3rd party material normally also. But what if you buy ColorFabb XT, HT, ngen or some other PETG material and you cannot find it in the material list on the printer? 
In that case, you have to know that these materials are all of some kind of copolyester and Ultimaker CPE and CPE+ are also copolyester materials. So you just have to choose a material from the list which is similar to the material you want to load. It is enough when you look for the print temperature because this is the only information the printer needs to know to load the material. (heat up the nozzle to extrude some material) It doesn't matter if you choose CPE+ or Nylon or whatever for your 3rd party material if the print temperature is nearly the same. But in Cura you have to take care, that you choose the corresponding generic profile for your print job. Again, if you have selected Nylon on the printer and then use the generic CPE profile you will get the warning message.

 

How to add your own material profiles in Cura?
The best start is to duplicate a generic profile and then modify the settings you want. There is one setting which is important and this is called "Material Type". This field must match the name of the material you choose when loading the material on the printer. Otherwise, you will get again a warning message that the materials don't match.

1683453306_Bildschirmfoto2018-11-30um09_50_15.thumb.png.aa024bcfffa9d34906d50b1d306d5426.png

 

For example, you want to create a custom profile for ColorFabb XT. We know that XT is very similar to Ulitmakers CPE and therefore we duplicate the generic CPE profile. You can choose anything you want for "Display Name" and "Brand" but not for "Material Type", this should show "CPE". When you now load your XT in the printer, choose CPE from the list when you are asked for the material and in Cura you choose your custom ColorFabb XT profile which matches with the material type of the printer.

36539063_Bildschirmfoto2018-11-30um11_14_54.thumb.png.ae5a1607d34bc6ac4d36206ff0e863c9.png

 

It is also important, that you duplicate the generic profile you want to use during loading. So duplicating the generic PLA profile for using with CPE will also throw an error (warning message) because your new custom profile got the GUID from PLA and not CPE. So be carful when creating custom profiles.

 

The future?

With the new marketplace materials, there is a new possibility to download specific predefined profiles and I heard that there will also be the possibility to "upload" such profiles to the printer. So with an upcoming firmware, it should be possible to get the material type of such a profile in the material list of the printer. I don't know if this will work also with your own custom profiles, but we will see.

 

I hope I have covered the most common issues and questions, if something is missing or not correct, please let me know that I can edit and correct this post.

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The only caveat I would offer is that profiles seem to still be buggy when upgrading to a new version of Cura.

 

So, after I make my settings for a specific 'off brand' of materials, I will save a project file instead. They seem to be able to go between versions just fine.

 

Oddly enough, I find the UM profiles for materials to be very good at getting very, very close to actual settings I will settle on. Also, they off a range of colours in the screen to see details when I need to be able to view them. Also, in certain project types, I will 'colour code' them so I know what material should be what. What is a transparency, what is an infill, what is a support, etc.

 

Edit: Oh yeah, very nice write up and spot on. Thanks for helping people understand this quagmire. 👍

Edited by kmanstudios
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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

Ultimaker materials

If you have loaded UM material which was automatically detected by the printer, then you have to select the UM material profile in Cura or read the configuration directly from the printer by clicking on the printer at the top right corner in Cura and you are perfectly prepared for printing.

 

 

I think here you mean to say: 'If you have loaded UM material which wasn't automatically detected by the printer'?

 

1 hour ago, Smithy said:

The future?

With the new marketplace materials, there is a new possibility to download specific predefined profiles and I heard that there will also be the possibility to "upload" such profiles to the printer. So with an upcoming firmware, it should be possible to get the material type of such a profile in the material list of the printer. I don't know if this will work also with your own custom profiles, but we will see.

 

If your Ultimaker is connected to the internet, and you have downloaded profiles in Cura via the marketplace you can sync these profiles with your Ultimaker and then the profiles should also be available there when you load new material. 

 

And finally, what could also be interesting to mention is the backup plugin which is available via the marketplace. It allows you to backup your profiles in the cloud, and when you are at a different laptop or different version, you should be able to download your material profiles and get started immediately 🙂

 

1775024488_Screenshot2018-11-30at12_23_00.thumb.png.46b2b542868232192d78acb817aeeb9a.png

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4 minutes ago, SandervG said:

I think here you mean to say: 'If you have loaded UM material which wasn't automatically detected by the printer'?

 

No, I mean if you load UM material which is normally automatically detected, then you have to select a UM profile in Cura.

 

And thanks @SandervG for the additional information about the sync and the backup!

Edited by Smithy

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Just now, Smithy said:

 

No, I mean if you load UM material which is normally automatically detected, then you have to select a UM profile in Cura.

Which is normally automatically detected, but in the scenario you are describing it is not. Right? Maybe it is me, but in your original phrasing I read it as 'if it is detected, you have to select an UM profile'. If it is just me who reads it like that, I will shut up 😉 

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I have the feeling it is correct, but maybe I am wrong 🙂 

 

Maybe you misunderstood the part with "select UM profile in Cura" ? So spool was automatically detected by the printer and then you have to select manually the UM profile OR click on the upper right corner to read and get the information from the printer in Cura.

 

But let me know if I am wrong in my thinking, it is often so when working on a description that someone else has a different understanding.

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1 minute ago, Smithy said:

it is often so when working on a description that someone else has a different understanding.

Or use of a different set of words that make sense to one person one way and not so much in another way.

 

I have seen times when several people will be trying to help others on the site. And then one last person hits that magic phrasing that makes sense. And, it is usually the last person because it is understood and then moved on. But once in a while, you get someone that wants to excoriate others because they were not 'helpful' enough.

 

It is a crap shoot and why it is always helpful to ask questions.

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