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Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

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Posted (edited) · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Update --- Very good news! I'm pleased to announce that all reported problems with the Ultimaker S5 have now been fixed! Read my full post for more information.

 

Greetings to the Ultimaker community. This is my first post. I decided to join and share my experience in evaluating the Ultimaker S5 3D printer. This is going to be a very long post, in which I'd like to share in detail what I observed, the various issues that came up, and my overall impression of this machine. Also, I would really like to hear your own experiences and how they relate to mine, in the hope that I can determine if my observations were the exception, rather than the rule, and to help me decide whether or not this printer is suitable for our needs.

 

tl;dr: Received two (2) brand-new Ultimaker S5 printers in the space of one month. Both experienced frequent freezes/crashes in the touchscreen/UI, had to apply numerous power-cycles (i.e., turning the machines off/on using the power switch) to make them operate. In one machine, the BB print core was DOA. During the first couple of prints, both printers caused the print head to freeze mid-print, and deposit a big lump of molten PVA right on top of the printed object. Did I just get two bad apples in a row? Am I the only one out there experiencing this? Your feedback is greatly appreciated, many thanks.

 

The long version


I work in the defense sector, and was asked by my department to recommend a good, reliable 3D printer for our laboratory. I had heard of Ultimaker several years ago, as a well-respected company in 3D printing, that make high-quality, reliable machines. So, after reading about the biggest member of the family, the Ultimaker S5, it was an almost instant decision to recommend it. In fact, I recommended we purchase the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle, but was later informed that there were some delays in production for the entire Bundle, but we could have just the printer first. Was really looking forward to the day when the local reseller would come to our lab to deliver and demo the printer for us. Here's what happened:


1st Ultimaker S5 (December 2019)


Day 1: Reseller came to our lab, unboxed and installed the Ultimaker S5, installed print cores, loaded filaments, etc., and prepared to do the first test print. Waited 10+ minutes, nothing happened. Bed was not warming up. Touchscreen was unresponsive, s/w inside the printer had crashed. Had to power-cycle the machine. Upon powering up the machine, a "Finished Printing" message appeared next to a checkmark, which was odd, since it never actually started printing anything. Reseller had to do several power-cycles because the touchscreen/UI kept freezing and becoming unresponsive several times. Updated f/w to the latest version, nothing changed. Eventually, the printer managed to make a small print (one of the examples in the official USB stick). The print was good, I was impressed, but also worried about the odd behaviour and frequent crashes of the machine.


Day 2: I tried to print a simple, small object. Everything started fine, printing commenced, several layers were completed without issues. Suddenly, the print head froze in the middle of the print, and right on top of the object being printed, but the extruder kept extruding molten material. The head stayed frozen for several seconds and then resumed printing. As a result of this, a blob of material was formed on top of the object where the head had frozen, thus destroying the smooth surface of the current layer (see first 3 photos). This exact same thing (freezing-resuming) happened 3 more times, and eventually the head froze completely, and could never resume. Big blob on object, printout ruined. UI had crashed, had to power-cycle machine, "Finished Printing" message appeared. Not good...


Took photos/videos and spoke to the reseller, who agreed to take back the printer and replace it with another one. At least the reseller accepted there was a serious issue with the printer. I thought, "doesn't matter, it's a one-off, such things can happen, will be sorted out". Christmas holidays were coming, both of us would be away, I was assured the new printer would arrive in January 2020. And so it did. Read on...


2nd Ultimaker S5 (January 2020)


Day 1 (morning): Reseller came to our lab, unboxed and installed the new Ultimaker S5, installed print cores, loaded filaments, etc. As he was doing all this, the printer's stepper motors suddenly started making a loud noise, as if they were vibrating. Print head didn't move. He was surprised, had to power-cycle the machine to make it stop. Eventually, we came to the stage where the printer was preparing to do the first test print. While waiting for the printing to commence, I smelt something burning, which was something I wasn't expecting, as the previous printer hadn't done it. The printing never managed to start, but instead we got an error message (maybe ER28, can't remember for sure) about overheating in the BB core (at position 2). That's where that burning smell was coming from! Tried a second time (removed and reinserted BB core), same error message. We then swapped BB cores between the old and the new printer, and eventually (after at least 5 power-cycles due to the touchscreen/UI freezing), we managed to do a small test print, and it came out OK. "It was the BB core", I said, "we nailed it". Sent another, much larger print, which started OK. Reseller left the lab, I stayed until late afternoon to keep an eye on the printer and make sure everything's in order.


Day 1 (afternoon): Everything was going smoothly, until... BANG! The dreaded blob issue again! Print head stopped mid-print for around 5-10 seconds, leaving a blob of material on top of the object being printed (see last 2 photos). Subsequent layers gradually covered it, and printing continued. I left the printer to continue printing overnight, at the suggestion of the reseller (would complete the next day around 1:30 pm). Left the lab puzzled, frustrated and disappointed.


Day 2: Printing from previous day completed successfully and came out beautifully. Really nice to see! But still, the freezing of the head the previous day just spoiled the fun. The blob of material is now buried deep inside the object and cannot be seen. But, what if it happened on an outer surface? What then?


My conclusion


The Ultimaker S5 is a beautiful machine. Large build volume, dual extruder, choice of easily-swappable print cores, good selection of standard and advanced/reinforced materials, auto bed levelling, Wi-Fi, semi-enclosed chamber (fully enclosed on the Pro Bundle), quiet, aesthetically beautiful, it has it all. Or, has it, really?


Well, my experience on 2 brand-new Ultimaker S5 machines painted a somewhat different picture. My impression is this: when this printer works, it prints beautifully, and can produce stunning output. But the problem is that it doesn't always work! The f/w (the software running on the small computer inside the printer) appears to have many bugs and freezes far too often to be considered acceptable. During printing, the print head can freeze right on top of the printed object, releasing a big blob of molten material and thus ruining an otherwise near-perfect print.


The most worrying part of my entire experience, though, was that the problems happened on both printers! Not one, but two! I really thought the first one was just a bad apple, the exception to the rule. But seeing the second printer having issues too, I'm beginning to suspect that this is something that really has to be looked at by Ultimaker's design team. 2/2 of problematic machines may be an indicator that something may be wrong in the design and quality control of this printer. It's just very worrying to me, that two (2) machines came out of Ultimaker's production line exhibiting the above problems.


Being an Electronics Engineer, with 25+ years of embedded systems design experience (PIC, ARM Cortex-M4/M7), I worry that there may be something bad happening in the embedded system inside the printer. I read about a Linux mini PC that communicates with an Arduino. This may sound OK from a makers' perspective, but may not suit a professional-grade product. If that's true, then there may be bugs that cause those freezes and crashes. The UI crashing regularly during routine operations, such as changing print cores or loading/unloading filament is not a good sign. Most importantly, the print head freezing its movement mid-print and making blobs of material on the print is a major issue that needs to be addressed, no matter how rarely it may occur. The design should be robust enough to guarantee that such a thing is never allowed to occur.


Back to my story, the reseller agreed (in fact, they requested) to take back the printer and test it at their own lab, with special G-codes that Ultimaker will send them, so that they are able to observe and address any issues. I must say that I was satisfied with the reseller's customer service. I had to suggest to them that we may have to look at another brand of 3D printer, to which they agreed. However, despite what happened, I really like the Ultimaker S5 (when it works as it should). Cura is also a very powerful slicer. There's a lot to like in this setup, and that was one of the reasons I recommended it. I really hope I get flooded with replies from happy users saying that they've never experienced such unstable behaviour from their machines.


Request to the Ultimaker community


Please let me know what you think about all this. What are your experiences with this printer? Has anyone had (or is still having) issues similar to mine? Am I the only one to experience such unstable behaviour from an Ultimaker S5? Could it be that I was just too damn unlucky and got two bad apples in a row, while the majority of machines out there work as they should? Be harsh, be critical of my methods, I don't mind. Just tell me I'm wrong. Tell me I did something wrong... If you want any more specific information, just ask.


Many thanks for reading my story. I see that the first two posts of a user are moderated, and I hope that my post makes it to the public forum for everyone to see. It may sound negative, but the intent is wholeheartedly positive. What I'm saying above is the honest truth. I can back it up with photos and videos. I have nothing against Ultimaker, and I do hope that the 3rd time the printer comes to our lab, it works flawlessly without any issues. But I want to know if I'm alone in this, or there are others that can relate to my story.

 

Printer 1 - IMG_20191220_154550.png

Printer 1 - IMG_20191221_195019 - Comments.png

Printer 1 - IMG_20191221_195056 - Comments.png

Printer 2 - IMG_20200123_174645.png

Printer 2 - IMG_20200123_175400.png

Edited by DrCeeVee
Updated message subject as [Solved].

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Hi

 

I have an S5 Pro Bundle and have not seen the issues you saw. I have indeed seen this and that, but not what you have seen. The S5 has been out for a while and it is a bit odd to have issues like you are reporting. That is in no way saying things did not happen, only that they are out of the "normal range". My guess is there is something different about what you are doing with your printer or wrong with your printer. Again, not to say "doing wrong", simply different. Without being there and directly observing, this would become a "10,000 questions" sort of thing. We are far more likely to get tangled up doing that vs actually finding a root cause. 

 

There are a number of things I would run through on a printer in front of me *if* this was my printer. Mostly they involve checking various mechanical bits and pieces. Each should "look right" and "feel right". That's of zero help if you have not seen and worked with a printer before. Hopefully your dealer *does* have experience. I have had many printers arrive with shipping induced this and that. I always go over any printer before I turn it on. ....... actually not always. Always since I damaged that first one turning it on back about 10 years ago 🙂

 

The "Arduino" core is present to run firmware based on Marlin in its native environment. It is a *very* well respected approach and pretty much bulletproof. Porting the code to a 32 bit MCU has been a "real soon now" work in progress for many years. They are getting closer and closer. 

 

The Linux side of things handles what you would expect it to: the com with the outside world and fun stuff like that. You likely could bring out a serial port and feed the gcode file into the Arduino to get a full print. The bells and whistles would not work ( = no camera / WiFi / remote status reports).  Integrating true real time code into a Linux machine is not at all easy.  Linux is not something I would pick as an RTOS. 

 

Bob

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Hi Bob, and many thanks for the reply.

 

I'm very glad that your experience is different from mine, and mostly positive. I still believe that the Ultimaker S5 is a good, reliable 3D printer, and would really hate to have to end up purchasing a different brand (what else is there anyway, at this level of performance, open architecture, selection of materials, track record?). This is my first 3D printer, but I know about 3D printing and have played with friends' and colleagues' machines. Trust me when I say that I'm the kind of person that's very comfortable and "at home" in understanding and handling such machines. I'm pretty sure that what I've experienced so far, as outlined in my post above, was not caused by user error. It was the reseller (a trained professional) that actually did most of the interaction with the printer anyway, and he was as much, if not more, puzzled than me. Jokingly, after the 2nd printer failed test, he suggested I should play the Lottery, because the chances of the 2nd machine not working were so low...

 

Something I want to say (again) is that when the Ultimaker S5 works as it should, it really shines! I mean that. I saw that. We were able to print a couple of objects that came out really beautifully. No distortions, no stringing, no warping, no blobs, no problems. We even printed with PVA and the object came out perfectly clean. But the statistics of good vs. bad behaviour were not in our favour, at least on the two units that we played with.

 

Another thing I must note is that the local reseller did (and are still doing) everything in their power to help out and resolve all issues. They also tell me that they are in contact with Ultimaker HQ, and the mother company is also doing their best to help in solving the problems. It's very good to know that there is good support when we need it most.

 

About Marlin, I know it's a very well-respected platform for 3D printing. I don't have a problem with a microcontroller being 8-bit vs. 32-bit. Not at all. Some of my best designs are 8-bit and are rock-solid. It's more of a quality issue for me, being something that came out of the makers' community, where sometimes bugs and poorly written code can creep in. From my experience and observation of the two Ultimakers, I wouldn't blame Marlin, but, perhaps, the connectivity and data feed between the Linux small computer and the Marlin h/w. Maybe that UART stream isn't as stable as it should be. Maybe something gets corrupted in there, and forces Marlin to misbehave. Maybe Marlin is fed bad data and just does as instructed. What would help validate or reject my guess, is to compare printer stability between the new machines (S5, S3) and the old ones (3, 2+). If the old ones are rock-solid and don't freeze mid-print, no UI crashing, no need for power-cycling, etc., this could mean that the new implementation (Linux system, touch screen) may be to blame. I hope this gets sorted out in a future f/w update and the machines become nice and stable, if they aren't already.

 

The reseller will be coming to our lab tomorrow morning to collect the 2nd Ultimaker S5 and take it to their lab for extensive stress-testing and observation using special G-codes from mother Ultimaker, as well as their own objects. If everything goes smoothly and any issues rectified, the printer will be back to our lab by mid-February. I will do a thorough post-delivery inspection before turning it on, as you've suggested, and report here what I observe. I really, really hope everything will be sorted out in the end.

 

To the Ultimaker community: just to help get to the bottom of this, I'd love to have some data about the underlined text above. Any users out there with experience in both the new (S5, S3) and old (3, 2+) Ultimaker machines? Any comments on how they compare in terms of overall stability? Is one generation more stable than the other? Would love to hear from anyone with such experience.

 

Looking forward to more replies from the community (hopefully positive, like Bob's). To everyone, thanks in advance for any information shared, I really appreciate it.

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Hi

 

First off, what is in the Ultimaker printers is based on Marlin, but is not simply pulled 100% from there. They *do* indeed make a number of changes to match up with their printers. Exactly what those changes are is something I've never dug into. 

 

The Linux / Marlin divide is the same as what is done on a lot of printers. I have many printers that do pretty much the same with hardware I have "cloned" onto them. The normal process is that the gcode goes into the Marlin board at the start of the print. Once the print gets going, the Linux board is not part of the printing process. Is that exactly how UM handles it? I'd bet it is, but I've been wrong before. 

 

Stability wise, the Arduino code (whatever name you put on it) does not just lock up. If you go shopping for another printer, if it's a FDM machine there is a very good chance it has the same fundamental computing setup at the core of the machine. Indeed, machines with "other" cores (there are a few, I have one) are no more stable.

 

Again, not much help .... sorry about that. 

 

Bob

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

I have had my S5 from Aug 2018 and it runs basically almost 24/7 all year without any problems.

 

The odd time I’ll get a filament run out error but that’s due to needing to clean a feeder out or needing to dry the spool of filament out.

 

only real problem I had was when I oil the rods, it made the print head not move right, but that was my mistake as I put to much oil on. Only needs a single drop or 2.

 

I can load it up, had off bed or out and I know I’ll come back to a good print, even if it’s a big 4 day print.

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Posted (edited) · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]
2 minutes ago, Carla_Birch said:

I have had my S5 from Aug 2018 and it runs basically almost 24/7 all year without any problems.

 

The odd time I’ll get a filament run out error but that’s due to needing to clean a feeder out or needing to dry the spool of filament out.

 

only real problem I had was when I oil the rods, it made the print head not move right, but that was my mistake as I put to much oil on. Only needs a single drop or 2.

 

I can load it up, had off bed or out and I know I’ll come back to a good print, even if it’s a big 4 day print.

 

Hi

 

Deciding to use grease on the rods is also a bad idea ..... I have data on this  😞 Data was from a UM3, but I'd bet the same applies to an S5. 

 

Bob

Edited by uncle_bob
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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Many thanks Carla. Really glad your S5 is a 24/7 workhorse that you can depend on. That's how it should be. That's what I expected. And I still do. And I hope we'll get there in the end.

 

The reseller came yesterday, collected the 2nd S5, which is now being tested at their own lab. They are only a few kilometres from my house, so I will pay them a couple of visits during next week, to check things out and see what's going on. Hopefully all will be sorted out.

 

Looking forward to having it back soon. Lots of things to do with it, for both business and pleasure!

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Hi

 

From running printers both at home and at work for a lot of years: They *do* require a "minder". None of them are to the point they just do stuff without anybody ever poking at them. Indeed CNC machines (and a lot of other stuff) are similar in this respect. In a home setting there is an obvious candidate for the "minder". In a business setting things are not quite as clear. The thing you don't want is a variety of people all trying to do this or that to the machine over the course of a week ... it creates issues.

 

Bob

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]
On 1/31/2020 at 4:40 PM, uncle_bob said:

From running printers both at home and at work for a lot of years: They *do* require a "minder". None of them are to the point they just do stuff without anybody ever poking at them. Indeed CNC machines (and a lot of other stuff) are similar in this respect. In a home setting there is an obvious candidate for the "minder". In a business setting things are not quite as clear. The thing you don't want is a variety of people all trying to do this or that to the machine over the course of a week ... it creates issues.

 

I totally agree with what you're saying. Fortunately, the Ultimaker S5 has been assigned to me and only I will use it at work. The other colleagues are quite intimidated by it and don't even want to touch it. Good for me! 😈

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]
On 1/31/2020 at 8:40 AM, uncle_bob said:

Hi

 

From running printers both at home and at work for a lot of years: They *do* require a "minder". None of them are to the point they just do stuff without anybody ever poking at them. Indeed CNC machines (and a lot of other stuff) are similar in this respect. In a home setting there is an obvious candidate for the "minder". In a business setting things are not quite as clear. The thing you don't want is a variety of people all trying to do this or that to the machine over the course of a week ... it creates issues.

 

Bob

 

I've been running a Creality CR10 for years (5?), and I leveled the bed once, got the settings dialed in, and after that I just send a job to it and it prints perfectly.   Not seen much 'minder's that have had to be done - I've even moved the printer and not had any issues following that.

 

Things I've noted:

   1. I've NEVER had a clog with this printer.  Not once.  

   2. I've never replaced the print head

   3. I've never screwed around with the bed, I heat it to 70C, using a bed that is made of the PEI Sheet that is 1/8" thick or so, it sticks perfectly (0.25mm first layer) - and I mean sticks HARD!   And then it cools, and just falls off... Perfect print every time - unless I do something stupid in the model.

   4. On this printer, I print only PLA or mostly, PLA+ (eSun's material) - and I don't worry about keeping it sealed up..  I might have a single roll on there out in the air for 3 months or more and go and print another perfect print.

   5. I have a Raspberry PI Zero with WiFi connected to it, and I print using the web UI

 

In reference to the blob in the Ultimaker prints, ironically, you can fix that by switching to Cura... the one in the Repitier Host, which is (also ironcially) not compatiable with the one that is in ultimaker (why on earth can't I import settings from another product, that is the same product, made by the same company?)  I also find that slicer easier to configure and I get perfect prints using either it or the slic3r slicer.  The problem I have with the Ultimaker Cura slicer is:

 

1. out of the box with a custom printer, the settings are pretty crazy, and I had it jerk the printer around so much that it skipped steps when printing and I had to slow it to about 40% speed on the printer to get it to print.   Yes, those settings can be set, but the UI is sub-moronic the way you edit it.  (I'd setup a printer first, setup a material, and then load up a print... Nope, you load up a print in order to change the settings for the materials and printer settings - exporting back those settings into the print..)

 

You can also have crazy issues (like the blob) that appears to be caused by the slicer deciding that the print head should be 205 degrees instead of 210 that is specified in BOTH materials (WTF?  if I have 20 colors of PLA+ I have to configure 20 places for each color to set the temp, and if I have 10 suppliers of PLA, I have 10*20 to setup my colors for each material so I can see them differently when I do a 2 color print...   Have a default color, and be able to override it in the print selection for that extruder... I should be able to assume that all eSun PLA+ is printed at the same temp settings, but actually has different colors)

 

Anyway, I think the blob is caused because you are printing along with Black PLA at 210 degrees, and it finishes up with that, and says WOAH!  Let's stop right here (over print) and cool down to 205... OK, got that, good.. (15-20 seconds to cool off), OK, now that we made a mess of our print, let's switch to Orange PLA at 210 degrees... Um, well, need to warm back up... and more extrudes from the heat.. OK, good to go, we go to the waste tower and switch colors...

 

It seems there is some 'default' temp somewhere that also needs to be set, I've set the standby temp and the print temp to both 210 in both colors, but maybe I have to restart the app to get it to be set everywhere, I don't remember how I fixed this last time... Just remember shaking my head at the UI...

 

(Speaking of which, it took me FOREVER to figure out that the global settings for a printer JUST set the visibility of the options, and you have to find the place to click on - once you have a job loaded! to change those options and reverse export them back to the global settings for that printer... wasted HOURS as I wasn't ready to start printing yet...)

 

  -Traderhut Games

 

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Hi

 

Given my experience with my CR-10 I'd say you have been lucky .....

 

Bob

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

I'm sorry to hear of your problems.

What firmware version is installed on your printers?

V5.4.27 is the latest.

 

There are reports of blobs in v5.2.11 when the printer is connected by WiFi, the solution was to use cable instead but we fixed a bug in v5.4 that should fix that problem.

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]
2 hours ago, CarloK said:

I'm sorry to hear of your problems.

What firmware version is installed on your printers?

V5.4.27 is the latest.

 

There are reports of blobs in v5.2.11 when the printer is connected by WiFi, the solution was to use cable instead but we fixed a bug in v5.4 that should fix that problem.

The problem is in the generated GCode, WTF are you are trying to do here:

T0

M109 S205

M104 T0 S210

 

You change the temp to be at least  205, then wait for it to be 210.   It is never extruded at 205, I'm not sure where the 205 even comes from as I've changed the standby temp to 210.   (Also, if you are doing a standby, how about moving the hotend someplace where it is less likely to gork things up before you wait for the temp to change.

 

This is interesting too:  I have ONE physical hotend, but you do:

T1  ; Select tool 1

G92 E0

M105

M109 S205

M104 T0 S210

 

Select Tool 1 (extruder 1, or the 2nd one), then M109 to 205 degrees

And change the temp of Tool 0 to 210, which is the same temp sensor as T1...

 

I think maybe the printer is just as confused as I am about what is going on...

 

Somewhere the slicer is getting confused and spewing out weird stuff, I think the printer may be having some issues..

(Marlin 1.8.1  I think - the stupid printer seems to ship with really old software, I think it was 2017..)

 

I'm printing this file (two color isn't on the CR10, I'm using a GeeeTech A10T, which I removed the (horrible designed) 3 head hot end, and (using the CR10) 3-D printed a new Hot End holder that supports a Diamond Hotend, moved over the temp sensor, and converted the Diamond Hotend to use a 30W 24v heater (which works on one of the 3 heater ports without overheating the MB) - which has worked perfectly as long as I don't use the Ultimaker slicer - I can print just fine with  Slic3r, and Cura (through the Rep. Host software)  Also of note, I replaced the heat breaks with ones where the plastic tubes goes all the way to the start of the break - to keep it hot anywhere it might stick when retracted (see below)

 

But I just tossed another print that I tried to print using Ultimaker as it had several places where it sat and melted/dripped more plastic into the model making a bump that it had to try to print over...  I can fix the file by removing ALL of the temp change M109's

 

BTW: The GeeeTech A10T is an interesting printer, I got A10M 3 times from Amazon and returned all of them with extruder problems.  the A10T had black PLA  harden in it to the point I couldn't get it to melt - even heating to 250C, and I switched to another extruder port (moved tubes) and it happened again.  I sent one of these back with issues, but then decided I liked the printer, and wanted to just replace the head with one that worked better.   I may have figured out that the issue was with the slicer retracting too far... it caused it to retract into a cool area, where the PLA hardened, but because it was a cool area that never gets hot, there was no way to unstick it.   It appears the new head wants 2mm retraction and not the 8-16mm that was previously configured...

 

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

OMG @traderhut!

 

If what you're saying is really what's happening, then this is a very serious issue (or issues) that must be addressed by Ultimaker. If the generated G-code contains instructions that shouldn't be in there (trying to control 2 extruders when there's only one enabled, or changing temperatures mid-print and releasing molten goo on top of the object being printed, or other badly timed and/or unnecessary instructions that mess up the print), then there is something seriously wrong with the design of this printer... We're not talking about a fault condition, but about bad design. As simple as that. I really hope and pray that this is not the case, and the printer can do what it was designed to do, and what its specs define it should do. Based on my recommendation, my company have paid nearly 10,000 € for something that appears to be flawed by design. This is a very serious matter.

 

A colleague of mine recently bought a cheap Chinese-made 3D printer, the Anycubic i3 Mega. He bought it from eBay for 149 € (about 40 times cheaper than the Ultimaker S5, or 60 times cheaper than the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle -- the one ordered by my company based on my recommendation). Well, that teeny-weeny Chinese printer has performed flawlessly, and has printed more than 20 objects without any issues whatsoever! I really feel very angry, frustrated and deeply disappointed about recommending the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle. We had the S5 at our lab twice (brand-new machines, different serial numbers), and they both had similar problems, especially the blobs on the prints, as well as the very frequent crashes of the firmware/UI. This behaviour is totally unacceptable, for a printer that costs 6,000 €. I can't begin to imagine the experience when I add the Material Station to the mix, based on what I'm reading in this very forum.

 

@CarloK: After both printers exhibited the problems I've described, the reseller flashed the latest firmware at the time. I can't remember the version(s), but they were the ones that were available on the 19th of December 2019 (1st S5), and the 23rd of January 2020 (2nd S5). Nothing changed. About the Wi-Fi issue, again, this doesn't make much sense to me, as an embedded systems design engineer with nearly 3 decades of design experience. It just shouldn't happen. When Cura slices an object and generates the G-code, it sends it to the printer in one go, so the printer can continue to print the object even if the PC is shut down. That's how it is supposed to work. The printer has memory inside it to store the G-code locally, so it doesn't need a stable (or any) connection to the PC once printing has commenced. Blaming the Wi-Fi connection for blobs and other freezes during printing, when the printer already has the full G-code locally available just doesn't make sense, sorry.

 

If the problems I've described in my first post are not rectified, and the printer is not clearly shown to be up to its specs, I will be forced to request another brand of printer by the reseller. He has already agreed to it, and we are now waiting for the S5 tests, in order to determine the next course of action. During the course of this week, I will be in contact with the reseller to find out what's going on with the S5. I'm really curious to hear what he has to say.

 

I'm terribly sorry for the tone of this message, but Ultimaker must understand that the cost of this machine is very high, and it is totally unacceptable to have to go through all those issues, failed prints, faulty print cores, constant crashes, after having paid nearly 10,000 € (for the Pro Bundle). And all this on two (2) brand-new machines! I really can't believe this is happening, to be honest. I've never had an Ultimaker before, but I never expected this. Needless to say, after all this mess, my department will never ask me again to recommend another expensive piece of equipment...

 

I will report back when I hear from the reseller. I really hope that, somehow, the problems will be solved, but the more I dig into this pit, the deeper it goes, I'm afraid...

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]
6 hours ago, traderhut said:

The problem is in the generated GCode, WTF are you are trying to do here:

T0

M109 S205

M104 T0 S210

 

You change the temp to be at least  205, then wait for it to be 210. 

 

M109 waits for the sensor to reach the desired temperature, M104 does not. That can be easily checked e.g. here: https://reprap.org/wiki/G-code#M109:_Set_Extruder_Temperature_and_Wait So it's the other way round and the gcode is fine there.

 

Also please be aware that third party printer profiles are contributed by community members and Ultimaker will probably only fix such profiles when a corresponding pull request on Github is made.

 

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]
9 hours ago, traderhut said:

I have ONE physical hotend

 

@traderhut - be aware that Cura has no support for this setup yet ("shared heaters"). There are signs on Github that this will change in the near future, but - for now - such a setup would need some "post-processing" on the generated gcode file.

(not sure, but it think there was an example somewhere here in the forum...?)

 

The shown gcode sequences are perfectly suited for Ultimaker printers (with two print cores and a nozzle lifting mechanism).
The temperatures are probably the configured "initial" and "final printing temperature".

 

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Hi DrCeeVee

 

We got our S5 bundle in January and have no end of problems with all 3 elements. The unit went back for 1 week to be investigated. Came back, worked once them more problems.

Random UI freezes, Most of our problems comes from the Material station. Jamming up and snapping the materials in the tubes, grinding noise all sort of problems. The list is endless. At the moment its a 8k lump of junk sitting in the corning of our studio broken.

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Hi @CWD_london

 

Thank you for your message. I'm sorry to hear you are having issues with your pro bundle. Would you mind creating a new thread with some more information regarding your issues so we could potentially provide some specific help/tips? Do you have a specific material (type) which snaps most often? Are the UI freezes usually surrounding a certain action or also when the device sits idle? Thank you.

 

@DrCeeVee, I've also been reading your posts. Sorry to hear the Ultimaker S5's did not perform as they should have. Quite particular that it was two printers in a row, and I would agree this would not be a good omen. Luckily I've seen many Ultimakers and I know them to be great machines. But a machine nonetheless, and sometimes during transport or assembly something can go wrong. Luckily in that case you have our support to count on. 

I'm happy to hear you seem to be happy with your reseller, and that they are also in touch with my colleagues at Ultimaker HQ. Keeping my fingers crossed for a positive continuation of this story! Please let me know if there is anything we can help with. 

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Hi

 

Off topic and maybe of no value .... 

 

Back when I first got the UM3's, I also got a "deal" on a large box of UM brand filament off of eBay. At the time I did not know enough about UM spool labeling to realize just how old  > 10 years ??) the stuff likely was ....  That filament created no end of snapping / grinding / lock up issues on the printers. Once it *finally* was all used up, the performance of the machines improved a lot. 

 

When I first set up the Material Station, I went around looking for the oldest spools of "opened and sitting around" filament I could find. They all ran quite well in the system. I was *not* brave enough to run the last two "short end" spools of the terrible stuff. Maybe I'll try eventually ....

 

So to get sort of back on topic a little: 

 

Changing filament *batches* may be a good idea when you are trying to figure out a problem. 

 

Bob

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]
18 hours ago, traderhut said:

 

In reference to the blob in the Ultimaker prints, ironically, you can fix that by switching to Cura... the one in the Repitier Host, which is (also ironcially) not compatiable with the one that is in ultimaker (why on earth can't I import settings from another product, that is the same product, made by the same company?) 

 

Because they use a very, very very old version of CuraEngine last time I checked. They also handle settings in a different way from Cura.
 

18 hours ago, traderhut said:

1. out of the box with a custom printer, the settings are pretty crazy, and I had it jerk the printer around so much that it skipped steps when printing and I had to slow it to about 40% speed on the printer to get it to print.  

 

That's because the default settings are based on a bowden style printer (aka; the style Ultimaker uses). They can have significantly higher accelerations / speeds.

 

18 hours ago, traderhut said:

 

I'd setup a printer first, setup a material, and then load up a print... Nope, you load up a print in order to change the settings for the materials and printer settings - exporting back those settings into the print..)

 

Huh? You don't have to load a print to change settings.

 

18 hours ago, traderhut said:

 

You can also have crazy issues (like the blob) that appears to be caused by the slicer deciding that the print head should be 205 degrees instead of 210 that is specified in BOTH materials (WTF?  if I have 20 colors of PLA+ I have to configure 20 places for each color to set the temp, and if I have 10 suppliers of PLA, I have 10*20 to setup my colors for each material so I can see them differently when I do a 2 color print...   Have a default color, and be able to override it in the print selection for that extruder... I should be able to assume that all eSun PLA+ is printed at the same temp settings, but actually has different colors)

Luckily, this is entirely possible 😉
 

 

On 1/28/2020 at 9:14 PM, DrCeeVee said:

I read about a Linux mini PC that communicates with an Arduino.


It doesn't. We use the same chip as the Arduino. That's it.
 

10 hours ago, DrCeeVee said:

OMG @traderhut!

 

If what you're saying is really what's happening, then this is a very serious issue (or issues) that must be addressed by Ultimaker. If the generated G-code contains instructions that shouldn't be in there (trying to control 2 extruders when there's only one enabled, or changing temperatures mid-print and releasing molten goo on top of the object being printed, or other badly timed and/or unnecessary instructions that mess up the print), then there is something seriously wrong with the design of this printer... We're not talking about a fault condition, but about bad design. As simple as that. I really hope and pray that this is not the case, and the printer can do what it was designed to do, and what its specs define it should do. Based on my recommendation, my company have paid nearly 10,000 € for something that appears to be flawed by design. This is a very serious matter.

He already stated that he isn't using an Ultimaker. The issues he is having stem from using a cheap chinese printer (Creality) and the default profiles that Cura ships being pretty horrible (Some printers with Cura have better profiles, but we have to rely on community contributions for those). There is a lot of (somewhat understandable) frustration with some people that don't have Ultimakers, but are using Cura and some features that they need not being implemented, because they don't add value to Ultimakers.

 

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]
On 1/29/2020 at 8:53 PM, DrCeeVee said:

Maybe that UART stream isn't as stable as it should be. Maybe something gets corrupted in there, and forces Marlin to misbehave.

There is error detection on this link, so marlin messing up because of bad communication is unlikely, anything that gets garbled is resent. Reading files from a corrupted USB stick is more in line with things I've seen but the UFP file format should prevent printing from a corrupt file.

Bad communication can happen, often because of environmental conditions or a bad cable, the worst this should cause is stops and slowdowns degrading print performance.  If you believe this to be the problem and want to check this you could enable developer mode and log in as the ultimaker user and when you get the prompt run `exec self._controller.getDriver().getErrorCounts()`  if you get huge numbers of read errors try turning off other machines in the printers surroundings.

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]
1 hour ago, nallath said:

He already stated that he isn't using an Ultimaker. The issues he is having stem from using a cheap chinese printer (Creality) and the default profiles that Cura ships being pretty horrible 

 

The Creality is working fine, this was the A10T Cheap Chinese printer that is working fine with every slicer except Ultimaker - And yes, to be fair, I am still dialing in the settings for it.   And as someone pointed out, the new slicer doesn't handle (or expect) two hotends to share a temp sensor - even if they are configured as having a common extrusion point (as is the case with how I'm setup - 3 extruders, and all of them have a 0 offset for x and y.

 

I started with the 'custom' printer and went from there, It is a Bowden Extruder, but I presume, because it is heavier than a normal one, it can't be jerked around as fast?  (although, it is the Y axis that is slipping, not the hot end, so that doesn't make sense to me)

 

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Posted (edited) · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Oh, one other comment.... I found another place I had to change the temp, so now everything is set to 210, and I am not seeing the pause and melt problem.   It doesn't seem like it is handled well when it needs to raise/lower the temp of the hot end though.  If you are having a pause issue, and you are doing a two color print, you might want to make sure the temps of both hot ends are the same (set in the material, initial layer temp and a few other places it seems - not sure, just remember I had another one I just found)..

 

I think they need to change their code to move the hotend over to some 'home' location to let it heat to the new temp, Although, as far as I was able to tell, it shouldn't be pausing for the temp change (based on the GCodes I was seeing)

Edited by traderhut
added a bit more

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Posted (edited) · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Just to add to the very interesting discussion, if the "pause-blob-disaster" issue is caused by G-code, then that blob should be repeatable and at the exact same spot in every print of the same G-code. I still have the G-code of the print that caused the blob issue on the second S5 (last 2 photos of my original post). So, I could just re-run the same G-code and see what happens. If it blobs at the exact same spot, it's something to do with the contents of that file, or the way the contents are interpreted by the printer firmware. If, however, the print goes fine, or causes a blob on a different spot, then there may be more to this than just the G-code. There's also the environmental issues than need to be taken into account, e.g., due to differences in temperature between the first print (with the blob) and the new print of the same G-code, we may actually have to consider the two prints as different jobs, not 100% comparable. Which goes to show how carefully and rigorously the slicer + embedded system have to be designed.

 

In any case, it would be interesting to see if the G-code that caused a blob, will also cause a blob, and how similar the two blobs are. Hopefully it will help us get to the bottom of this (and I hope that I end up with an S5 and not a different brand of printer).

 

Will report any findings here. In the meantime, feel free to post your experiences, good or bad, and I sincerely thank all of you for helping me paint a better picture of the situation.

Edited by DrCeeVee
Improved readability.

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Posted · Serious problems with Ultimaker S5 (on 2 machines) [Solved]

Hi

 

If the problem was caused by a gcode error, you would (at the very least) see it on all S5 machines. You likely would see it on all machines when driven by Cura. As noted above, it does not appear to be a gcode error.

 

Bob

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