3.7 Utilities Menu

The utilities menu is accessible from the main menu, Section 3.2. Figure 3.25 shows the first screen of the utilities menu.

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Figure 3.25: Utilities Menu

3.7.1 Monitor Mode

This screen shows you the current temperatures of all your heating elements. If any of them are enabled, the screen will also show the target temperatures and the heating progress bar as seen in Figure 3.26.

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Figure 3.26: Monitor Mode

Note that the build platform’s current temperature may be as much as 10 C off from that of the extruders when unheated, as the build platform uses a different temperature sensor than the extruders — one that is more accurate at operating temperatures and less so at room temperature.

3.7.2 Filament Loading

This option allows you to load, unload, and change filament in any extruder. Selecting this option will allow you to choose (if relevant to your printer) which extruder to load or unload. You will see a screen similar to the one shown in Figure 3.27, dependent on the number of extruders with which your printer is equipped.

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Figure 3.27: Filament Loading

Once you have chosen which extruder for which to change the filament, the printer will begin heating that extruder if necessary, generating a heating progress bar as well as the current and target temperatures, as seen in Figure 3.28. As indicated, press the left key to cancel the operation. Note that the extruder will be heated up to its preheat temperature, which may be changed in the “Preheat Settings” under the “Utilities” menu, Section 3.7.3.

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Figure 3.28: Extruder Heating

Once the extruder is at the proper temperature, a screen similar to the one shown in Figure 3.29 will be generated.

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Figure 3.29: Loading or Unloading

At this point you may manually load, unload, or change the filament. The printer will automatically turn on the proper extruder’s stepper motor, allowing the filament to be fed in or backed out. Note that while pressing the center key will return you to the “Filament Loading” menu, pressing the left key will generate a screen asking if you wish to cancel. To confirm the cancellation, select “Yes” and press the center key.

3.7.3 Preheat Settings

This option allows you to set the preheat temperatures for each of the heating elements. Temperatures are all in degrees Celsius. This option displays the screen shown in Figure 3.30. As always, the number of extruders listed will depend on the number your printer has.

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Figure 3.30: Preheat Setting

To change the temperature for a heated element, select it and press the center key, then use the up key to increase the temperature and the down key to decrease it. To save the changes to a temperature, press the center key. The left key is used to exit the menu and return to “Utilities”. The maximum temperature that the firmware will allow you to set is 280 C for the extruders, and 130 C for the build platform.

3.7.4 General Settings

This menu allows you to change many simple settings. The screen will show you up to four options at once. To choose an option press the center key. You may then use the up and down keys to toggle between two choices for that setting and press the center key to save the change. The left key will exit the menu and return you to “Utilities”.

3.7.4.1 Ditto Printing

If you have more than one extruder, than this option allows you to reproduce the print for a second extruder, enabling you to print two of the same thing at once. It does not matter for which extruder the print was sliced, it will be reproduced on both. You do have to make sure that on no given layer will the two nozzles interfere with each other. If you only have one extruder, this option will display the text “N/A” as it is unavailable. By default, this feature is disabled.

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Figure 3.31: General Settings — First Screen

3.7.4.2 Override GcTemp

When enabled, this option allows you to override the non-zero temperatures in a print file. These temperatures will be replaced by the preheat temperature for the given heater. This is useful for experimentation or for switching plastics without reslicing. By default, this feature is disabled.

3.7.4.3 Pause with Heat

If this option is enabled, it allows the heaters to remain on when a print is paused. However, even if “Pause with Heat” is enabled the heaters will turn off after the print is paused for over 30 minutes due to safety reasons. By default, this feature is disabled.

3.7.4.4 Sound

If you are annoyed by the buzzer, use this option to turn it off. The buzzer normally sounds when the printer turns on to tell you the firmware has started, the announcement of some warning messages is accompanied by the buzzer, and print files can include tunes played on the buzzer. By default, this feature is enabled.

3.7.4.5 Acceleration

This enables the printer’s use of acceleration when effecting move commands. When acceleration is disabled, the printer will attempt to instantaneously jump to the requested speeds, causing more jerks and vibrations. If you wish to print with acceleration disabled, print at speeds closer to 30–40 mm/s, as printing at high speeds with acceleration disabled can both damage the printer as well as ruin your print. By default, this feature is enabled.

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Figure 3.32: General Settings — Second Screen

3.7.4.6 Extruder Count

This tells the firmware the number of extruders with which your printer is equipped. More than two extruders is not supported by standard Sailfish distributions. The default extruder count depends on your type of printer. The default is one for a Replicator 2, and two for all other printers.

After changing the extruder count, the printer should be power cycled for the change to take effect.

3.7.4.7 Extruder Hold

This is primarily meant for extruders that use 3 millimeter filament. This ensures that, throughout the entire print, the extruder’s stepper motor is kept engaged and does not allow the filament to creep out. This is mostly a problem with extruders that accept 3 millimeter filament, as larger filament generates more back pressure. Therefore, this option is intended to counteract the tendency of filament to back out of the extruder when the stepper motor is temporarily disabled, a command some slicers will add to the print command file (for instance, ReplicatorG). For Cupcake printers the default is on; for all other printers, the default is off.

3.7.4.8 HBP Installed

This tells the firmware if your printer is equipped with a heated build platform. The default is no for a Replicator 2, and yes for all other printers.

After changing the HBP setting, the printer should be power cycled in order for the change to take effect.

3.7.4.9 Check SD Reads

This allows you to check for errors when reading or writing to the SD card. Typically, with this feature disabled, errors in reading or writing to the SD card may make the printer do something unexpected. With this feature enabled, if an error is detected, the operation will be reattempted up to five times, at which point the print will be canceled. Note that, enabling this feature this can affect performance when printing fine detail at high speeds. By default, this feature is disabled.

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Figure 3.33: General Settings — Third Screen

3.7.4.10 P-Stop Control

If you have equipped your printer with extra hardware (such as a filament jam detector) to trigger a build pause, then you will want to enable this feature. When enabled, this allows extra hardware to tell the printer to pause a print, allowing you to fix any error condition and resume the print. Do not enable this unless you have installed such hardware, as the printer will not function when it cannot detect any additional hardware. Likewise, the extra hardware will be ignored if this is not enabled. By default, this feature is disabled.

3.7.4.11 Serial I/O

Printers with ATmega 2560 microprocessors include an experimental option which allows all serial communications to be passed through the printer’s alternate serial port, UART1, instead of the USB port. When this option is set to the value “UART1” the USB port becomes non-functional: the printer will only communicate through the alternate serial port.

Presently, this option is being used by advanced users experimenting with Bluetooth, network, and other alternate forms of printer communications and control.

3.7.5 Level Build Plate

Choosing this option will home the axes, first X and Y, and then Z. Once homed, the extruder will be moved to the center of the build plate, as defined in the “Home Offsets” section under the “Utilities” menu, Section 3.7.10. The X and Y stepper motors are then disabled, while the Z stepper motor is left enabled.

Now you can freely move the extruder to any position above the build plate in order to check if the build plate is level. Sailfish does not require you to move the extruder to designated checkpoints, allowing you to go to the points you want to, in the order you want to, as many times as you want to.

A screen will be generated explaining this procedure which may be dismissed by pressing the center key. The fourth screen will tell you to press the center key to return to the “Utilities” menu and disengage the Z stepper motor when you are finished leveling the build plate.

3.7.6 Home Axes

This is simply a convenience utility to home the axes for you. This may be useful when diagnosing mechanical problems.

3.7.7 Bot Statistics

This option displays usage information for your printer (Figure 3.34).

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Figure 3.34: Bot Statistics

1.
The lifetime printing time in hours and minutes.
2.
The time spent on the last print in hours and minutes.
3.
The lifetime filament length used in meters.
4.
The length of filament used since the filament trip odometer was last reset in meters or millimeters. This can be reset in the “Filament Odometer” option under “Utilities”, Section 3.7.8.

This menu may be exited by pressing either the center or left keys.

3.7.8 Filament Odometer

This option shows a screen similar to the one depicted in Figure 3.35.

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Figure 3.35: Filament Odometer

This displays the lifetime filament usage in meters or millimeters. This also displays the amount of filament used since the filament trip odometer was last reset. The odometer can be reset by pressing the center key. To exit the menu, press the left key.

3.7.9 Profiles

This item lets you save up to four different sets of preheat and home offsets settings, and quickly recall them to enable ease of printing with different plastics, build surfaces, prints, slicers, etc.

The default names assigned to the profiles are “ABS”, “PLA”, “Profile3”, and “Profile4”. You can change these names by selecting them, pressing the center key, and choosing the “Change Name” item of the profile menu, Section 3.7.9.1.

3.7.9.1 Profile Menu

Once you select one of the profiles, the profile menu will be generated. It contains four items:

1.
Restore: selecting this restores the saved home offsets and preheat temperatures, making them your current settings. These settings will survive power cycles. Selecting this will also return you to the “Utilities” menu, Section 3.7.
2.
Display Config: choosing this generates screens similar to the ones depicted in Figures 3.36 and 3.37.

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Figure 3.36: Configuration Display — Screen 1

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Figure 3.37: Configuration Display — Screen 2

3.
Change Name: this allows you to change the name of a profile, using the interface similar to the one shown in Figure 3.38.

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Figure 3.38: Change Name

To change the letters, use the up and down keys. To move between letters, use the left and right keys. Press the center key to save all changes and return to the profile menu. Note that if you are at the leftmost character (for example, the “A” in Figure 3.38) the left key will exit the menu without saving any changes.

4.
Save to Profile: selecting this saves your current home offsets and preheat settings to the selected profile and returns you to the “Utilities” menu.

You can always save your current settings to a profile, replacing what is currently there. This allows you to restore a profile, edit it in “Preheat Settings” (Section 3.7.3) and “Home Offsets” (Section 3.7.10) under the “Utilities” menu, and save it again.

3.7.10 Home Offsets

This menu allows you to change the home offsets, which define the center of the build plate (0,0,0) relative to the endstops. For instance, if the X home offset is 152 mm, then the endstop is 152 mm to the right of the center.

This menu walks you through the three offsets, generating first the screen for the X offset (Figure 3.39).

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Figure 3.39: X Offset

Pressing the up key increases the value, pressing the down key decreases the value. The values are changed internally in units of steps and displayed to you in millimeters. Press the left key to cancel any further changes, and the center key to confirm the change. For example, if you only wish to adjust the X offset, press the center key to confirm the change for X and then press the left key to prevent any further changes.

3.7.11 Toolhead Offsets

This menu was added in Sailfish 7.7: you will not see it if you have an earlier version of Sailfish. Additionally, this menu only appears for printers with an extruder count set to two as per Section 3.7.4.6.

With this menu, you can change the X and Y toolhead offsets which describe the spacing between the two extruder nozzles. For a description of the toolhead offsets and how to calibrate them, see Section 4.2. Use of this menu is intended for when you wish to check the toolhead offsets or set their values in units of millimeters. If instead you have printed the standard nozzle calibration print and are seeking to input the integer indices ranging from 1 to 13, then use the “Calibrate Nozzles” menu described in Section 3.7.18

The use and navigation of this menu is identical to that for the “Home Offsets” menu, with the exception that this menu only changes values for the X and Y axes. See Section 3.7.10 for usage directions.

3.7.12 Temperature Sensor Types

For users of Azteeg X3 electronics, this menu appears to allow you to set the type of temperature sensor used for the extruders and heated platform on your machine.

While MakerBot-style printers all use Type K thermocouples for the extruder temperature sensors and a specific 100K NTC thermistor for the heated bed, owners of Panucatt’s Azteeg X3 electronics tend to use whatever temperature sensor is readily available. As such, the Sailfish firmware builds for the Azteeg has a menu to select between seven different temperature sensors for the two extruders (Tool 0 and Tool 1) and the heated bed. The choices are

0.
K Thermocouple: Type K thermocouple
1.
Generic 100K: Generic 100K NTC thermistor, beta 4338K
2.
Semitec 204GT-2: 200K ATC Semitec 204GT-2 thermistor
3.
Mendel: Mendel parts 100K thermistor
4.
Generic 10K: Generic 10K NTC thermistor, beta xxxx
5.
Semitec 104GT-2: 100K ATC Semitec 104GT-2 thermistor
6.
Epcos 100K: Epcos 100K thermistor
7.
Hw 135-104LAG-J01: Honeywell 135-104LAG-J01 thermistor

As a default, the type is set to “6. Epcos 100K” as this thermistor is widely used.

After navigating into this menu, the up key can be used to increase the numeric designation and the down key can be used to decrease the numeric designation. Note that the list wraps. By pressing the left key, any further changes can be canceled and the menu exited. Pressing the center key confirms a change and advances to the next tool. In order, the menu asks you to set the two extruders (Tool 0 and Tool 1) and then the heated build platform.

3.7.13 Jog Mode

This menu allows you to move the extruder and build plate. When selected, the jog X screen should be generated. You can navigate between the jog X, Y, and Z screens with the left and right keys. The jog Y screen is shown in Figure 3.40 below.

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Figure 3.40: Jog Y

As the screen shows, to increase the X, Y, or Z value press the up key, and press the down key to decrease the value. The center key may be pressed to return you to the “Utilities” menu. Note that +X is towards the right, +Y is towards the back, and +Z is towards the bottom.

3.7.14 Enable/Disable Steppers

Selecting this will change the status of all stepper motors. When they are enabled, they lock the axes in place. Do not leave them enabled for extended periods of time as it heats up the motors needlessly. By default, the stepper motors are disabled.

3.7.15 Auto-level Adjust

Firmware assisted auto-leveling support was introduced in Sailfish 7.7 and 4.7 for all printers equipped with ATmega 2560 microprocessors. This parameter (see Figure  3.41) allows the user to specify “deflection” values indicating how much the build plate is deflected by the force of probing at each probe point (P1, P2, P3).

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Figure 3.41: Auto-level Adjust

For instance, a typically cantilevered build plate such as on a Replicator 1, 2, or 2X will be deflected downwards more the further the probe point is from the supporting Z rods. In this example, a probe point close to the Z rods might have a 0 mm deflection adjustment while points at the far edge may have deflections between 0.10 to 0.15 mm. The auto-leveling code takes these deflection values into account as it calculates where the Z=0 plane truly lies.

This item allows you to see the deflection values for each of the three probe points, with the default being 0.00 mm. By using the up key to increase the value and the down key to decrease the value, you can set each deflection value to a positive or negative number. By pressing the center key you can set each value, and by pressing the left key you can cancel any change.

3.7.16 Auto-level Variance

Firmware assisted auto-leveling support was introduced in Sailfish 7.7 and 4.7 for all printers equipped with ATmega 2560 microprocessors. This parameter specifies the maximum tolerable difference in heights between the probing points. If the difference in height between any two of the three probing points exceeds this parameter, then a print which attempts to enable auto-leveling will be canceled with the error message, “Auto-level failed; too far out of level”. Should that occur, it is time to manually relevel the build plate; see Section 2.1.

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Figure 3.42: Auto-level variance

With this menu, depicted in Figure 3.42, you can alter the value of this parameter. The default value is 0.5 mm, and may be set to any value in the range 0.01 to 0.99 mm. Pressing the up key increases the value, pressing the down key decreases the value. Press the left key to cancel your changes; press the center key to confirm the change.

3.7.17 Max Z Probe Hits

When auto-leveling is active the Z height probe may be triggered by the ongoing build. This might happen if over-extrusion is occurring, if the build has come loose, etc. By default, the printer will initiate a pause and await user intervention when more than twenty triggers — probe hits — occur. You may increase or decrease this value within the range of 1 to 200. If you wish, you can disable this entirely by setting the “max Z probe hits” parameter to the value 0.

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Figure 3.43: Max Z probe hits

To operate the menu, depicted in Figure 3.43, press the up and down keys to increase or decrease the value. To effect the change, press the center key. To leave the menu without changing the setting, press the left key.

3.7.18 Calibrate Nozzles

This menu item is only available for printers with an extruder count set to two (see Section 3.7.4.6).

After you have run a nozzle calibration print, as described in Section 5.2, and having determined which of the thirteen X lines and which of the thirteen Y lines line up the best, this item allows you to enter their indices. The firmware will take these indices and then compute and set the proper X and Y toolhead offsets.

It is important to note that these indices are not stored themselves. They are merely inputs used to compute the correct toolhead offsets which are stored. Do not expect to return to this screen at a later date and see your values saved. When you enter the screen you will always see the numbers 7 and 7, as they correspond to ideal nozzle spacings, as shown in Figure 3.44.

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Figure 3.44: Align Nozzles

To change the values, press the center key to select the line and then use the up key to increase the value or the down key to decrease the value. Note that the values range from one to thirteen and do not wrap. Press the center key to save the change. Either pressing the left key (when a line is not selected) or choosing the “Done” option returns you to the “Utilities” menu.

3.7.19 Cooling Fan Power

This menu item allows you to set the strength of the cooling fan as a percentage of the total power. This setting is then used each time the print cooling fan is turned on. Note that .x3g lacks a power-level parameter for the FAN ON command, and therefore the fan’s power level cannot be controlled by gcode.

To change the percentage, press the center key to select the item. Use the up key to increase the value and the down key to decrease it. The values range from 0 to 100%, with 0% being equivalent to off and 100% being full power. Note that the values do not wrap and increment by one. Also, the increment will increase the longer you hold the up or down key. Press the center key to save the change and return to the “Utilities” menu. If you press the left key, you will cancel any change and be returned to the “Utilities” menu.

3.7.20 Restore Settings

Selecting this option will generate a confirmation screen, as depicted in Figure 3.45 below. Confirming the change will restore all factory settings save for the home offsets and toolhead offsets (Sections 3.7.10 and 3.7.11). This will also save lifetime filament and print hours information. If you wish to reset everything, see Section 3.7.21.

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Figure 3.45: Restore Factory Settings

3.7.21 EEPROM

EEPROM stands for Electrically Erasable Programable Read-Only Memory. Operational parameters for your printer, such as home offsets (Section 3.7.10), preheat temperatures (Section 3.7.3), etc. are saved in your EEPROM.  Selecting this item generates a warning screen (Figure 3.46), as, should you accidentally restore an EEPROM file from a different printer, you may make your printer inoperable.

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Figure 3.46: Use EEPROM With Care

You may dismiss this screen by pressing the up key, which will generate the EEPROM menu, as shown in Figure 3.47. Pressing the left key will return you to the “Utilities” menu.

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Figure 3.47: The EEPROM Menu

This menu allows you to write your EEPROM to an SD card installed in your printer. This creates a 4K file called eeprom_dump.bin in the currently selected folder. If this file already exists, an error message will be displayed and the transfer will not happen. You may press the center key to dismiss the error message and return to the EEPROM menu.

The second item in the menu allows you to replace your EEPROM with the settings on your SD card (Figure 3.48). To successfully implement the settings on your SD card, you must press the center key a total of four times, at which point it will restore the file, and tell the printer to reset itself, returning you to the main menu, Section 3.2.

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Figure 3.48: Due to the dangerous nature of restoring settings from an SD card, you are asked to confirm your selection of this item multiple times in order to prevent an accidental selection which may render your printer inoperable.

The final item in this menu (“Erase EEPROM”) will reinitialize the entire EEPROM memory. Unlike the “Restore Settings” menu (Section 3.7.20), this item even resets the home and toolhead offsets, restoring all factory defaults.

3.7.22 Version Information

Selecting this item generates a screen similar to the one depicted in Figure 3.49.

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Figure 3.49: Version Information

This contains the following information:

1.
The type of machine for which the firmware was compiled. Hopefully this corresponds to the type of your printer.
2.
The amount of free bytes of memory (RAM) that your printer has. If this gets below 50, something is wrong with the firmware.
3.
The type of microprocessor, ATmega 1280 or 2560, in your printer.
4.
The date the firmware was built in year/month/day format.
5.
The version and revision numbers of the firmware.