Material Station main components

Get to know the main components of the Material Station. This will help you understand how the machine works and how it adds to the extrusion train of the Ultimaker S5.

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Material bay

One of the six spaces inside the Material Station where spools can be placed. The bays are named A – F. Any spool of material can be loaded into any of the bays, even composite materials (as long as the spools are no wider than 70 mm and have a maximum diameter of 203 mm). To benefit from the automatic spool switching feature, it is recommended to load at least two spools of the same material.

 

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Door

The Material Station door should be kept closed (except when handling materials) to enable humidity control. The door has a sensor; when the door is opened, the display of the Ultimaker S5 automatically switches to the material configuration overview. The open door is not to be used for placing and storing items, which is why it rests at an angle.

 

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Entry port

Each material bay has two openings, or entry ports, in which filament can be inserted into the Material Station. This determines the configuration of the material. Insert filament into the top opening (1) to guide it to extruder, and into the bottom opening (2) to guide it to extruder 2.

 

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Eject button

Next to the entry ports is an eject button. Press this to unload the filament from its pre-loaded state to remove a spool. The materials in use during a print or parked above the print head are blocked from unloading. Active materials are indicated by a blue light.

 

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NFC detection

Ultimaker material spools contain NFC tags with information about the material type and usage. Each material bay contains an NFC antenna on the left side to read and alter the information on these tags. The Material Station will communicate this information to the Ultimaker S5. On the display, the material type and color are shown, as well as an indication of how much is left on the spool.

 

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Prefeeder

The Material Station contains six prefeeders. The prefeeder grabs and detects the material during loading and guides the material through the Material Station to the Ultimaker S5 feeder. During printing, the prefeeder does not actively feed, but is activated regularly to reduce stress on the material and ensure consistent extrusion.

 

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Merger

The Material Station contains two mergers. These are guidance systems with six tracks on the front end, and a single one at the back. The mergers connect to the prefeeders and the decouplers and ensure that the filament from any material bay is guided to the required extruder.

 

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Decoupler

Two decouplers are located at the back of the Material Station. Each decoupler connects to the Ultimaker S5 feeder above it with a Bowden tube. The decoupler contains a spring-loaded sliding mechanism which provides the Ultimaker S5 with information about the position and tension of the filament. This is used during loading and printing, but also helps to detect end-of-filament.

 

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Dehumidifier

The relative humidity inside the Material Station is controlled and kept below 40% to ensure optimal storage conditions for the materials. The dehumidifier in the back of the Material Station contains silica beads that absorb moisture. The dehumidifier then circulates the dry air into the Material Station chamber. When these beads are saturated, they are heated and water vapor is expelled out the back of the Material Station. This regeneration cycle is an automated process and does not interfere with other operations of the Material Station.

 

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Rewinder

The rewinder contains motorized rollers, which can be seen in each material bay. The rewinder helps to rotate the spools when material is unloaded from the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle. This ensures that the filament is wound correctly back on the spool.
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