Jump to content
Ultimaker Community of 3D Printing Experts

Filament Length Sensor Arduino Insights

Recommended Posts

Posted · Filament Length Sensor Arduino Insights

Ok, i'm trying to build an Arduino monitor to give me some insights into my Ultimaker.

What i want to know:

temperature of my stepper motors (they are incredibly hot)

if the build platform is up or down (to signal end of print)

amount of filament used (measure length of filament passed through feeder)

while I know of easy ways to accomplish the first 2 things, I am breaking my head over how to resolve the measure of the wire length used by my printer. Maybe a sort of an optical sensor?

has anyone tried this?


  • Link to post
    Share on other sites
    Posted · Filament Length Sensor Arduino Insights


    There are solutions documented for this, but as far as I remember not for UM.

    The easiest way would be a optical sensor and a rotating indicator disk as e.g. used in printers. Put in onto the feeder axis and calc the length via the turns it makes...

  • Link to post
    Share on other sites
    Posted · Filament Length Sensor Arduino Insights

    It's not cheap but you could use an encoder such as the one below. You just need some friction drive and a pinch roller on the filament. It produces 1024 pulses per rotation. If you made a wheel with some friction material around it that in total was 20 mm in diameter, each pulse would represent about .06mm of material feed. Because it is quadrature, it will tell you what direction the material is moving. Probably a very good way of detecting out-of-filament or a jam.


    If you were really tricky, you could have a second arduino monitor the step and direction pins of the E driver and use the output from the encoder to detect when the material stops feeding for whatever reason....


  • Link to post
    Share on other sites
    Posted · Filament Length Sensor Arduino Insights

    I've been thinking of this too. Surely the best way would be to use an optical mouse - greater accuracy, no contact, very small sense area - could be used on print head.

    trouble is you really need to know the filament pressure as well as if it is actually moving.


  • Link to post
    Share on other sites
    Posted · Filament Length Sensor Arduino Insights

    It would be interesting to see how accurate the sensor of an optical mouse could be. Here is a little tutorial I came across about interfacing such a sensor with arduino :http://www.martijnthe.nl/2009/07/interfacing-an-optical-mouse-sensor-to-your-arduino/


  • Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now
    • 16 Visiting our virtual showroom

      1. 1. Have you visited our virtual showroom before?

        • Yes
        • No
      2. 2. If yes - what content did you find most interesting?

        • Information about Ultimaker ecosystem
        • Applications & application stories
        • Customer success stories
        • Webinar sessions
        • Material wall & ecosystem partners
        • New product introduction; software subscription plans
      3. 3. What of the below would make you consider visiting (again)?

        • New Live Ultimaker Webinar streams
        • ‘Ask Me Anything’ with industry experts or Ultimaker staff via main stage and public chat
        • New customer success stories
        • New applications
        • Presentations/news from ecosystem partners
        • Opportunity to meet representatives for an interactive tour
        • Helpful videos like Software tutorials
        • Other; leave input in a comment below!

    • Our picks

      • Ultimaker turns 10: A look back
        Ultimaker is turning 10 years old and that means it is story telling time! We'll explore 2010-2014, traveling through the evolution of the business from the Protobox and Ultimaker Original, to the major leaps forward with the Ultimaker 2 and Ultimaker 3.
          • Like
        • 0 replies
      • Ultimaker Transformation Summit
        Visit our virtual showroom and learn more about the Ultimaker ecosystem!
        • 14 replies
      • New here? Register your Ultimaker for free 3D printer onboarding course
        Often getting started is the most difficult part of any process. A good start sets you up for success and saves you time and energy that could be spent elsewhere. That is why we have a onboarding course ready for
        Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle, Ultimaker S5, Ultimaker S3 Ultimaker 2+ Connect.   
        They're ready for you on the Ultimaker Academy platform. All you need to do to gain access is to register your product to gain free access. 
        Ready? Register your product here in just 60 seconds.
          • Like
        • 0 replies
    • Create New...