A few days ago my Palette 2S arrived, and I’ve been having some amount of fun with it. I won’t do a full review of it (there are plenty of those on YouTube, after all) but I’d like to talk about some of the things I’ve learned and how I have it set up.
So, my 3D printing workspace is fairly small — in my studio/office I have a wire shelving unit, half of which is set aside for 3D printing stuff (the other half is a mix of music stuff, office supplies, and my filing system for important papers). The 3D printer itself takes up its entire portion of the top shelf. So I don’t have a lot of footprint for actually setting stuff up, and the Palette really wants a lot of footprint in its default setup. Fortunately, the Palette comes with a mounting bracket and a multi-spool holder which allow for versatile mounting.
For mounting the palette itself I put some scrap wood behind the front trim of the top shelf, and attached the mounting bracket to it with wood screws:
For the spool holder I attached a square dowel to the back (again using wood screws) to hold it together, and hung one of the “legs” across a couple of wire shelving hooks. The left side of the spool holder rests against the shelving post, and the right side rests against the next shelf down. This seems pretty stable.
Cable-management-wise, I was disappointed to find that the Palette uses a USB Micro B plug (like what’s on the previous generation of cellphones), and the cable it comes with isn’t quite long enough to reach comfortably to my desktop. I would have preferred it be a standard USB B plug (like what is still typically used on 3D printers, as well as, um, 2D? printers, and MIDI gear), since I have a bunch of good-quality long A-to-B cables.
I’m also a bit short on power outlets and the Palette uses a gigantic wallwart, so my power cable situation is a bit… sketch. Someday I’ll re-organize my office and take care of this particular issue.
The Sidewinder X1’s extruder casing isn’t designed in a way that makes it easy to mount the Palette’s feed tube clip, and so there are several feed tube adapters on Thingiverse. I tried a few of them out and none of them worked quite right, but it turns out that the Genius has a different casing which is actually more or less compatible with the Palette:
For the actual setup with my computer, I continue to run an OctoPrint server directly on my desktop (rather than on a Raspberry Pi as is more common). The Canvas and Palette plugins installed without a hitch, which is unsurprising as they’re pure Python.
The initial print calibration didn’t go particularly well, because I kind of skipped through some stuff without understanding why it was asking a thing until it was too late to go back and do it for the reason it wanted. I suggest actually following its directions exactly.
Also, the Artillery Genius (and presumably Sidewinder X1) have a filament load-in process that isn’t quite compatible with the Palette’s feed tube calibration process, as it wants to just consume a not-very-precisely-measured amount of filament which is enough to purge the nozzle. The Palette needs to be fairly precise about measuring that amount, though, as that’s important for the calibration so it knows when to splice the filament. So here is a working procedure for the initial calibration of the Palette:
- Unload whatever filament you have, with
Tools > Change > Out
- Cut 50mm or so of transparent/white filament, and have the printer load it in (
Tools > Change > In), and keep on pressing “In” and “Confirm” until no more comes out from the nozzle
- Start the calibration print on the Palette, making sure to use only opaque, colored filaments. When it asks you to load the filament into the printer, go to the extrusion tool (
Tools > Extrude), set the speed to 5mm and Normal, and feed the filament in with the “In” button until the filament catches
- Proceed on the palette; when it tells you to press Finished “immediately” after colored filament comes out, switch the extrusion length on the printer to 1mm (keeping it Normal), and press “In” until you start to see the colored filament come out.
And then when doing a print with the Palette, the situation is similar:
Tools > Change > Outto unload any existing filament, then preheat the nozzle with
Tools > Change > Inand then press Cancel rather than Confirm (alternately, you can turn on nozzle preheat from OctoPrint but that’s annoying)
- When the Palette finishes building its initial filament, use
Tools > Extrudeto pull in a couple mm of filament until it catches
- Use the Palette’s “smart load” function to do the rest of the priming and purging
Since I do all my printing via OctoPrint, the Genius filament runout sensor isn’t used anyway, but if you’re using the SD/USB slot approach (which is really annoying and a big part of why I use OctoPrint to begin with!) you’ll want to stick a bit of scrap filament into the runout sensor instead, to keep the printer printing. Or you can disconnect the sensor entirely, if you’re only ever going to print through the Palette and use its multi-spool print mode as a better version of a runout sensor anyway. (Which it is!) Personally for single-color prints I’m still just using the printer’s own spool holder since it’s a bit less fiddly.
I have done a bunch of calibration prints with various color and material combinations.
Priline TPU bonds fine with Hatchbox PLA, but my splices with Makerbot PLA don’t hold with the default settings (but the Palette has a splice tuning mechanism that might help). It’s also really interesting to feel a single print with multiple material characteristics.
To try to cut down on waste I tried reducing the purge transition length; this is what happens when it’s too short:
One issue I ran into is the Canvas cloud slicer doesn’t provide very good control over infill coloration, and it doesn’t have any means of properly handling transparency. So, for example, I tried setting up the calibration print to have just the area around the peaks be orange, with everything else see-through, but the slicer optimizes to reduce the number of splices and transitions. Normally this is a good thing, but as far as I can tell there’s no way to keep the infill transparent if everything else on the layer is a different color:
This does mean that one of the things I was planning to do with this will be more difficult than I expected. Fortunately, Canvas isn’t the only way to slice on the Palette; there’s Chroma and p2pp, which both work by post-processing Prusa MMU GCode into a splice-ready file for the Palette, and PrusaSlicer gives ridiculously good control over infill (among other things). I haven’t experimented with this yet but I will at some point.
When you use the Palette, you will generate a LOT of scrap material, especially with failed prints. Fortunately, the Palette has a “multi-spool” mode which lets you just attach nearly-empty spools and it’ll automatically splice them together as they run out. You can also have it just make all the filament up-front (“without printer”) rather than on-demand.
Because of how the splicer works, there will always be little scraps of filament left over at the end which are too short to be re-spliced. Something to note is that inputs 1 and 4 have longer input paths, so they produce larger scraps. To minimize the amount of unusable stuff, only use inputs 2 and 3 when resplicing stuff together.
I do recommend doing this in advance, if possible; if you have a lot of small scraps that you want to print with, trying to print on-the-fly means babysitting the Palette constantly and also it might not be able to splice quickly enough to keep up with the printer.
So far I’ve recovered a couple of meters of usable PLA from leftover scraps, and I keep those in a bag. Do make sure to keep your filament types separate, though; it would be disastrous to accidentally get some PETG in the middle of an otherwise-perfect roll of scrap PLA.
In addition to resplicing scraps together, you can also use the Palette to splice multiple filaments on single-color prints. I haven’t played with this at all but there are, again, YouTube videos about this. It also has a gradient mode which I haven’t messed with but it lets you progressively mix filaments together (taking advantage of the lack of a purge tower). Presumably you can tell it about how much filament will be made for the print and how long the duty cycle is or something. This could be particularly useful for mixing PLA and TPU to get a thing that’s hard on one end, soft on the other, and semi-flexible in the middle.
Previously I was using airtight Tupperware-style containers for storing my filament, with containers of dessicant inside. But that just wasted a lot of shelf space. What I’m doing now is keeping the spools inside 2-gallon zip-top bags, which can hold 2-3 spools in the same amount of space as the spools themselves, again with dessicant kept inside. I use indicating dessicant so I know when to change it.
Three approaches for the dessicant containers:
- Zip-top bags with holes poked in them.
- Pluses: easy to use and fill, cheap, easy to see the indicator color.
- Minuses: they’re kind of amorphous and can be unwieldy.
- Sliding-top dessicant boxes: I printed a bunch of these a few years ago, and they’ve served me pretty okay.
- Pluses: easy to print, easy to see the dessicant indicator color at a glance.
- Minuses: annoying to fill; generally I fill a zip-top bag with indicator, then scoop it up inside with the box and slide the lid shut. Also the lids come off way too easily.
- Cylindrical screw-top dessicant containers: I printed some of these too.
- Pluses: They fit inside the spool hole of a lot of spools, they are easy to fill, and the lid stays shut.
- Minuses: The dessicant indicator isn’t as easy to see, and if you keep it inside a spool hole it’s really hard to see it (obviously). Also I’m finding them really fiddly to deal with when storing the spools in a plastic bag.
I think what I’d like in a dessicant holder is sort of a combination between 2 and 3 — a rectangular “bottle” with a screw cap. Maybe I’ll try designing something.