IMG 3324Failed 20 conductor ribbon cable.The new Tiertime Cetus Mk3 3D printer has been a real test of my trouble solving skills and patience with a non-communitive Cetus support team.

The basic printer is as good as my original Cetus. The problem is the addition of a heated build plate. That requires a secondary control board mounted on the Z axis column. It’s fed with a 24-volt power system. The bed is 160 watts.

A very thin, flexible 20 conductor ribbon cable is the connection between the 160-watt heated build plate and the secondary control board.  The 24-volt power brick feeds into the Auxiliary board first before feeding the main system board through another power cable.

Two parallel 8 conductor (trace) groups in the very thin ribbon cable carry the 6.7 AMPS of current to and from the heated build plate. Two more conductors (traces) together on one side carry the signal voltage for the temperature sensor on the heated build plate.

No instructions other than to “connect the ribbon cable” face up or face down are provided. There exists a microscopically small clamp-bar that needs to be open/closed to install and remove the ribbon cable from the termination block. It’s a secret I had to learn the hard way.

I fried the first cable when the unused “safety” conductor trace between the 24V, 6.7A  plus and minus groups MELTED as it shorted between them. Not sure of the exact cause mechanics. But that single trace had to be carrying a very high current.

I re-fit the cable after discovering the clamp/unclamp feature. The printer seemed undamaged. The melted cable still operated! I did some PLA prints and some new wax filament prints. But I noticed the bed temperature was very erratic and out of control. The build surface was getting far too hot.

The fact is there is NO temperature control of the heated build surface.  It simply runs full-bore.

First contact with Cetus/Tiertime support got me a replacement build plate. I also bought (paid) for a second replacement build plate. Apparently the 20-conductor ribbon cable is not available separately. (That’s extremely ignorant!)

The build plate is not the problem, the melted cable is. That’s why I wanted a spare AT ANY COST.

The new bed/cable did not solve the problem. Temperature reading were very unstable and jumping back and forth.  I discovered a tiny slice in the edge of the new cable that partially cut the trace carrying the temperature sensor. The flexing of the cable with the print surface movement was like bending a paperclip until it breaks. An ohm/continuity test of that trace shows it finally failed full open. 

The third cable was tested, and all 20 leads are fine. However, there is still no reading of the print surface temperature. 

At this point Cetus/Tiertime is totally ignoring my in-depth investigation and reporting and my many requests for further assistance. Total lack of customer respect and communication.

I have ordered a replacement intermediate controller board as the signal for the temperature reading seems to be processed on this board. It’s a multi-layer PC board so circuit tracing is mostly a guess. 

There are no circuit schematics available of which I am aware.

Two other problems also manifested on the control system. The 8GB micro SD card became unreadable. I replaced it with one I had. This “fixed” the 50C degree low (but tracking) temp readings. Now I only see a fixed 19+C read. Also, the Wi-Fi has never operated from day one. Both of those involve the main processor, so I have ordered (at my own expense) a new CPU board.

I now have an additional $200 invested into the Cetus Mk3.  Not acceptable by anyone’s standards. I just want an operational Cetus Mk3 so I can run wax printing. Some (low) controlled heating of the build surface is a requirement.

In my experience, all forms of 3D printing hardware require extreme user trouble shooting fix and repair abilities. Properly operating hardware still requires extreme effect/cause diagnostic skills because of the very high number of inter-reactive variables of hardware and software and also printable design requirements. 

There are a great number of fails before success and a huge supply of bogus internet advice.  The internet never deletes outdated or erroneous information. Dealing with difference in language and non-standard terms just adds to the confusion.

However, that is no excuse for Tiertime/Cetus  ignoring a paid-in-full customer in need.