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Ongoing Quest For A Ultimaker Material Station Filament Retract Workaround

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Posted · Ongoing Quest For A Ultimaker Material Station Filament Retract Workaround

I love the Ultimaker S5. When I purchased the Material Station addon I was picturing something simple and valuable: a humidity-controlled chamber that would increase the longevity of my PVA (or BVOH) and, best of all, automatically switch spools when I request it. I was attracted by the idea of not having to go around to the back of the machine anymore. Pretty sure most individual readers have wanted that too.


As of firmware 7.0.3 there is still no way to toggle off the MS from automatically retracting the filament at the end of a print job, which means at the start of every print you have to wait 5~10 minutes extra for the machine to decide there are no air pockets or other colors inside the nozzle. For a tiny 5-minute part that I quickly want to verify - and I make a lot of tiny mechanisms - repeating this a few times gets really tiring so I'm back to using the default backrack for now and the Material Station serves me as storage only.


I recall Ultimaker saying that the prime/deprime was intended for large organizations, where a team of designers working remotely may queue up their individual projects of varying plastics through one machine. But even then, wouldn't there be less time and plastic wasted on average if you only performed the deprime at the start of a new job that specifically called for a different plastic than the one currently in the nozzle? If the next job asked for the same plastic you could just get going right away. I would love to hear Ultimaker's take on this, maybe I am missing out on a key detail. If the deprime could be a user's choice I feel like the MS would cater to the needs of a much wider audience.


Here's some workarounds I tried exploring:

  • When printing, immediately queue up another part of the same plastic type, maybe the machine will recognize this and decide not to deprime. When your original part finishes, never press the checkmark that confirms you cleared the build plate. Unfortunately, I can confirm that the MS does a partial retract immediately after print and a full retract after 2h regardless of whatever's queued next.
  • UltiTuner - A nifty tool that you can use to skip the mandatory cooldown if your printer happens to have a bed leveling error, and beyond. Made by Smithy (https://community.ultimaker.com/topic/39188-ultituner-a-tool-to-tweak-your-printer/). Alas, he has no MS of his own so cannot help find a tweak to disable the automatic deprime.
  • How about pausing a print indefinitely so the plastic won't retract? This is my latest idea, but there are a few issues to address. The nozzle would have to idle at room temperature and all the fans should be off to avoid unnecessary wear. The motors would also need to hang limp instead of holding the print head in the front-centre of the enclosure.


Does anybody have any clever ideas? I am desperate to get some proper use out of my Material Station.



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    • 2 weeks later...
    Posted · Ongoing Quest For A Ultimaker Material Station Filament Retract Workaround

    The only use I have for my material station is holding a very limited selection of spools that actually physically fit in it. My regular spools sit outside it and feed in but like you when it retracts it's just spaghetti-city outside the machine, it's borderline totally useless to be fair. The delays it causes in the prints is simply unacceptable, it's been a real waste of money. Looked great in the adverts though, but it was an expensive mistake...

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    Posted · Ongoing Quest For A Ultimaker Material Station Filament Retract Workaround

    And here I am, almost completely convinced by the material station. 
    In fact, I plan to equip more S5 printers with the material station in the future. 


    when printing small parts in different versions one after the other, the lining up of print jobs works very well for me. of course there is a small delay due to the cooling of the print heads and the clean extraction of the material, but the new job then starts to heat up and print directly without having to feed filament through the nozzle again. 


    When printing several versions of an object, I usually print several versions at the same time to avoid further delays and to have several versions to test. 

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    Posted · Ongoing Quest For A Ultimaker Material Station Filament Retract Workaround

    I've had my S% Bundle for over a year, and have suffered through many issues, but only recently had my first major issue with the Material Station due to PVA (soluble support) material becoming TOO DRY.  Yes that's right, the Material Station was oversold as a moisture management system, but in actuality it real can only dry the crap out of everything, and certain materials like PVA can become so brittle that chards of broken bits become little cam wedges in side the Bowden Tubes. Of course fixing that usually is only a matter of removing the tube a cleaning it out. However when it happen inside the MS case your made to disassemble the whole damn thing to clean it out. After this 3 day fiasco of trying to figure out why I couldn't use the 2nd Extruder, I figured it out myself since Ultimaker's US Tech Support plays dumb as to the real problem.  Then when I told them the problem they told me in the future to have them help me before taking the MS Apart... see the circle jerk here?  They'd rather waste your time making you jump through hoops over and over again and still get nowhere then admit they know of the problem.  They never informed the community that there was a problem with the formulation of the PVA... they kept it quiet.  A simple update in the newsletter would have been nice customer relations... but I believe they still think they're catering to the Hobbyist, who loves playing all day printing goofy Dungeon and Dragons characters.  Only after being tortured for 3 days was I informed by people in the Netherlands of the real issue.


    Maybe now that they've merged with Makerbot things will get better. But my guess is it'll only get worse since Makerbot suffers from the same Hobbyist designed and catered to mindset...  Hobbyist don't spend $10K on a 3D Printer to encounter dumb problems like mine.


    Right now 2 of my Station slots won't recognize Ultimakers own spools of material... and why I even came here. today.



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    Posted · Ongoing Quest For A Ultimaker Material Station Filament Retract Workaround

    the problem with pva in the material station is actually a long-standing problem. 
    However, I would not say that ultimaker is ignoring it. The progress, on the other hand, could be communicated faster and better, in my opinion. 


    Ultimaker has already adjusted the gears on the extruder to cause less breakage. i have also read that they are trying to adjust the pva formula. 

    However, I have to agree that the problem with ultimaker's own pva still exists, at least partially. 
    i have since switched to other pva or bvoh. these materials are easier to print and have never broken in the station. 
    if i were ultimaker, i would use the bvoh from basf as my internal support material and all problems regarding the support material would be solved. 

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    Posted · Ongoing Quest For A Ultimaker Material Station Filament Retract Workaround

    If I were ultimaker id stop miss-selling the material station, that package cost me 10 grand and the lost time it creates, countless thousands more... 

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