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Marlin Filament Run-Out on the Predator

by rq3

I can confirm that the filament run-out detection on the Predator under Marlin 2.0.7.2 works very gracefully, IF the logic is flipped from "Low", to "High" in the configuration.h file. The machine stops, moves to a reasonable position, locks the steppers, and declares that it is out of filament. Install a new spool of filament, feed it into the extruder, press the button, decide whether or not to purge more of the new filament, and continue.

The machine then returns exactly to where it left off, and continues printing. In the attached photo, I ran out of white PLA, and installed black PLA. The transition between the two materials is obvious visually, but can't be felt. I took my own sweet time changing the spools, and the machine maintains proper temperatures and its position through-out the process.

You could even modify the print G-Code to allow this during a print on purpose, as many slicers have this facility built in.

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Marlin 2.0.7 for the Anycubic Predator

by rq3

Attached is a zip file which will unzip into Marlin 2.0.7 modified for the stock AnyCubic delta Predator using the Chitu Trigorilla Pro 32 bit board and 3.5 inch touch screen. The firmware.bin file in the pio\build\trigorilla_pro folder should directly load onto the board, using a USB cable and the STMicro Demonstrator, if the board jumpers are correctly configured.

Alternatively, you can modify any files you need to, recompile under PlatformIO, and download your new firmware.bin file.

There is no need to physically rotate the display, and the only issue that I am seeing is that perhaps the filament detection logic is reversed. I am looking into that, but you can turn OFF filament detection from the touchscreen, and store that change, as a workaround.

The "Enter" and "Cancel" touch button positions will be swapped left to right, and the previously dark blue enter button will be an easier to see blue, but otherwise the functions are all "normal Marlin".

After updating your Predator to Marlin, you must run a delta calibration and save the changes from the touch screen.

The Marlin GitHub releases change too fast, and too far, especially in the realm of the user interface, for me to keep up with, so this will likely be my last post on this topic for quite a while. If I discover an improvement I'll post, otherwise I'm done for now.

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Recommended upgrades / tuning for a new Anycubic Predator?

by undefvar

I ordered an Anycubic Predator that should arrive next week. This is my first FDM 3d printer, but not my first 3d printer. I'm curious as to what the recommended upgrades or tweaks are. I've already ordered TL Smoothers and antivibration mounts for the stepper motors. Is there a compelling reason to replace the board right away, and if so what is the recommended replacement (Duet? SKR?). Should I plan on replacing the hotend and extruder immediately, or are the stock ones sufficient for now?

If you were just starting out with a new Predator, what would you change right away to improve it?

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Marlin 2.0.7 - Latest Release

by rq3

The latest full release of Marlin (2.0.7) works on the stock Anycubic Predator. Printing as I type. I never had much luck with 2.0.6 or 2.0.6.1.

Attached is a document describing the changes to the Marlin 2.0.7 files that need to be made so that it will load and run properly on a stock AnyCubic Predator with the Trigorilla Pro board.

Some of these are required, like correctly setting the delta height (otherwise the calibration probing will not work). Other changes are for safety (like the maximum temperatures for the hot end, which are by default too high for the stock unit). The main changes are to rotate the display 180 degrees, (so that you don't have to physically remove and flip the Predator LCD), re-aligning the touch pad locations, and making sure the touch buttons have the correct functions and colors. Other minor tweaks include default hot end and bed PID values that are more realistic, setting the controller fan so that it is always on, and other things that are "nice to have", but not "necessary".

Make darn sure you have a back-up of the existing firmware, so you can revert to it if anything goes wrong!

These instructions apply to Marlin 2.0.7, and to its associated example configuration files located under the "config/examples/delta/anycubic/predator" repository on the Marlin github.

I take ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSIBILITY for the use of this information!!! As with any Marlin installation, you must modify files for any particular machine, and these are simply the instructions for the changes I made to MY machine's Marlin firmware to get it to function under the latest full Marlin release.

Note that after you compile and load Marlin onto the Trigorilla Pro, you MUST run a full Delta Calibration and STORE the settings from the touchscreen for them to be saved. DO NOT have an SD card in the machine during any of this! Then do a double check of where your printer thinks the Z axis zero really is. Not following this sequence risks having the machine try to push the hot end nozzle through the bed!

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Marlin 2.0.6 released with Trigorilla Pro support

by rq3

At last! If you already have configuration. h and configuration_adv.h files, they need only slight modifications before compiling under PlatformIO.

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Tweaking the Anycubic Predator

by rq3

I've been modifying my Predator as time goes by, with physical things like magnetic ball arms, vibration dampers for the flying extruder springs, and stepper smoothers. These have all added both drastic and subtle positive results in the final print.

Because the stock Predator has a closed Trigorilla-Pro control board, I've been a bit nervous about modifying its "firmware". The board runs under proprietary Chitu g-code, but many folks have been trying, and succeeding, in getting a handle on this g-code, and how to use it to modify the behavior of the Predator.

Most Chitu g-code is basic g-code + 8000. In other words, a standard g-code value of, say M500 (save to EEPROM) would become M8500. This works fine, but NOT always. ALWAYS have a baseline Predator update file (with the .zw extension) on hand before you start monkeying around. If anything fails, you can place that file in the root of an SD card, insert it in the Predator, and turn the machine on. It will then save and store that file as a factory reset.

I use Repetier-Host to connect to the Predator under manual mode, and find that I have to switch between 250000 and 115200 on my Com port (within Repetier) to connect to the Predator, and successfully send and receive data. Your mileage may vary; I suspect the COM port on my laptop is bandwidth limited, so this may (and probably is) a limitation of the laptop I am using.

In any case, after connecting my laptop to the Predator with a USB cable, the M301 command returned the printer's current PID values for the hot end. They looked really weird, so I successfully used M303 E0 S240 C8 to run a PID autotune. I plugged the new PID values into the printer using the M301 routine, and saved them with M8500. The new values were DRASTICALLY different from factory stock, and I watched the hot end temps very closely when I tested them out.

The hot end temps swung wildly, like +/- 25 degrees, and never settled. I re-entered the factory values again, and things went back to normal (+/- 1 degree).

As an experiment, it was successful. It showed that you can change the behavior of the Predator with g-code, and showed that you can recover from a poor decision.

So I moved on to a much more useful experiment.

The stock Predator extruder value is 0.00256 millimeters of filament per motor step (actually 1/16 step). I measured 100 millimeters of extrusion, and found that it was drastically underextruding (by about 10%). By trial and error, M8011 S0.00245 gave me exactly (+/- 0.2 mm) of extrusion. Note that a SMALLER number gives a LARGER extrusion (the units are mm per step, not steps per mm). Even small changes give a large result.

The result is greatly reduced stringing on complex prints, and a much better surface finish.

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Severe Predator Mods - Part Deux

by rq3

Yesterday, I got involved in machining an experimental heat break, which was an abject failure. But today, I did complete replacing the steppers with 0.9 degree units, along with 16 tooth pulleys. I also replaced the stock smooth belt idlers with 20 tooth idlers. And placed Sorbothane pads under 1/4 inch thick Teflon plates under each of the three Predator feet.

The steppers are now at 200 steps per millimeter (5 microns), from the original 80 steps per millimeter (12.5 microns), and the extruder is at 850 (not yet calibrated, just a SWAG).

There is a distinct difference in tactile feedback. Gently feeling the effector or the bed is like touching a block of granite. There is no hum, buzz, or detectable vibration below the motor movement.

The Benchy was printed with damp, crappy, very old PLA at 0.1 mm layer thickness after slicing in the latest Cura. I have done absolutely no calibration or tuning, just re-set the steps per millimeter for the new motors and hit print.

Usually, it's hard to see the Benchy nameplate on the stern. Not any more. And the surface quality of the test cube is phenomenal, under the same printing conditions. Years ago we had a $1,500,000 FDM printer at my place of employment, for radomes and the like. This puts it to shame.

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Severe Predator Mods

by rq3

So, I've gone nuts, and installed a 0.9 degree stepper on my extruder. I'm running Marlin 2.0.5.3 on the Predator, and had previously calibrated the extruder to 410 steps per mm. So I upped that to 820 to compensate for the new motor. I had to swap two wires, and the results are well worth the effort, even without fine tuning or calibration. No ghosting, no salmon skin, no blobs, no stringing.

Tomorrow, I'm going whole hog and replacing the axis steppers with 0.9 degree units, and replacing the drive pulleys with genuine Gates 16 tooth units, the belts with genuine Gates 2GT3, and the idlers with genuine Gates 20 tooth units (to replace the stock smooth idlers). I've also got an E3D V6 hotend, which will take a bit of machining to install. But steppers, belts, and pulleys first. Just placing the new Gates belt in the new Gates pulleys feels distinctly more "precise" by hand, so I'm looking forward to the results.

I'm also going to install Sorbothane 40 OO pads under the feet to help in killing mechanical crosstalk between the x,y, and z motions. With these mods, the machine is down to 5 micron resolution.

I obtained all of the parts (motors, pulleys, belts, hot end) from E3D-Online, and they all arrived 3 days after I placed the order. At least for the extruder motor, I didn't have to do anything other than re-set the steps per millimeter, and shorten three screws on the extruder because I'm direct drive (no bowden).

I'll follow up after the axis motor, pulley, and belt transplant.

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All metal hot end heat break (throat)?

by brba

Does anyone have suggestion what I could buy to replace the hot end heat break / throat from a PTFE through to an all-metal? I swapped this $2 piece on my Ender 3 to make it an all-metal hot end, but I can't really find anything fitting for the Predator. I would not bother to replace the whole shebang.

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