Articles on: SimplyPrint features

Multi Material Methods: Bambu Lab AMS, Prusa MMU, Palette & more

In this article, we'll explore Multi Material support in SimplyPrint.

This feature is in beta, and may not be generally available yet. It will be released along with the Bambu Lab integration update!

What are Multi Material Methods?

What we in SimplyPrint call Multi Material Methods are called many things by different brands, but as we wish to support all possible hardware equally well, we chose our own - more generic - term, for the technology that allows you to print with multiple materials on a single printer, in 1 print.

Prusa has their MMU: Multi Material Upgrade, Bambu Lab has the AMS and AMS Lite: Automatic Material System, and other solutions on the market include the Mosaic Palette and the 3D Chameleon.

Which Multi Material Methods does SimplyPrint support?

In theory; all that don't require proprietary and closed-down systems, where you cannot use SimplyPrint on the printer while the multi-material hardware is active on the printer.

The methods currently known to be supported, are;
- Bambu Lab AMS & AMS Lite, via our custom Bambu Lab integration
- Prusa MMU1, MMU2, and hopefully MMU3 when that launches
- Mosaic Palette 2/2S
- 3D Chameleon

These methods all allow you to bring multi-color-printing via automatic color changing, to printers that only have 1 extruder, and would usually be stuck with 1-color-prints or manual color changes via pausing the print and changing filament mid-print.

And they all work with quite simple Gcode, via the "Select Tool" Gcode command, making it easy for us to integrate with them!

How does the SimplyPrint integration for these methods work? (and how to enable & disable)

The SimplyPrint integration for these devices are actually quite simple, as the hardware handles the changing of material, and often tells us which material is currently active, all we have to support in SimplyPrint, is to allow you to set up multiple spools/materials, for printers that we usually know to only have a single "tool"/extruder.

Enabling or disabling Multi Material Support for a printer is only possible via the web platform

Enabling & disabling Multi Material support for a printer

To enable Multi Material support for a printer in SimplyPrint, go to the SimplyPrint panel, if you have multiple printers, go to- and click on, the given printer, find the filament section and click the little settings/cog icon.
Here you can select the methods that we support, "None" if you wish to disable it and go back to the normal printer settings, or pick "Custom".

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The "Custom" method

If you have a custom multi-material contraption, or one that isn't on our list but that you believe we may natively support nonetheless, you can pick the "Custom" option.
This will tell SimplyPrint that a Multi Material method is active, but the specifics of it you'll have to help us fill out!

To finish setting up the custom method, go to your printer's settings, go to the "Advanced" tab and find "Printer hotend(s) & extruder(s)" section.
Here, enter how many materials the custom solution lets you print with, and tick on "Shared nozzle".
And now you have basic custom multi-material support in SimplyPrint!

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Chaining: putting multiple Multi Material Methods together

Some multi-material methods support chaining. The act of putting multiple of the same multi-material hardware together, to achieve some wild multicolor prints.

The only hardware that supports chaining in SimplyPrint natively, is the Bambu Lab AMS, via the "Bambu Lab AMS Hub" device, allowing you to hook up 4 AMS' together, to print with up to 16 materials.

In the popup where you select your multi material method, if the method supports chaining, you'll find an input field labelled "Chaining", where you can enter how many of the given method you have hooked up to your printer (defaults to 1).

Once enabled, all your spools will be represented nicely in SimplyPrint!

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Material mapping

Some multi-material methods support material mapping, and as this is quite a big subject of its own, we have a separate article explaining this feature, here; Multi Material Mapping: Bambu Lab AMS support

How Multi Material Methods support works "under the hood"

As hardware allowing you to print with multiple materials, are often essentially an upgrade for your machine that takes over the extrusion, and in a smart and automatic way swap the filament on its own, the SimplyPrint support for this is for the most part - except for material mapping - more or less just visuals and some nice representation of your printer's state.

So when you enable a Multi Material Method for your printer, we have some presets for the hardware we know we support; here we know the amount of materials the given hardware allows you to print with, if it allows chaining and mapping, along with an image of the product and some info and links.
But, this info, we use to update your printer's settings, specifically the Advanced setting called "Printer hotend(s) & extruder(s)", where we say "**Number of extruders:** [amount of materials the hardware lets you print with]", and tick on the "Shared nozzle?" option - and that enables the basic support, as essentially what these hardware add-ons do for your printer, is to make them multi-extruder printers with just 1 nozzle! (in most cases).

This means that you should not be confused, or change the setting if you see it in your Advanced printer settings.

Are we missing a method?

Reach out if you think we're missing support for some awesome hardware! Chances are we already support it, but just don't have a preset for it yet.

Updated on: 12/07/2024

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