Dimensional Print Studio


sodaJust started using the Beta (code named: Soda) of Tiertime’s UP Studio 3 (UPS3) software.  It is a slicer and machine control program for the Tiertime Printers. Presumably, it can also be configured for other brands of FDM printers.

I am using it with the three Cetus printers I own. A MK1 and two MK3 (one with the heated bed.)

Tiertime offered a slicer/control software they called Catfish. UPS3 is a direct outcome from the Catfish code. I have been “playing” with Catfish since it was released.  It was not perfect, but it did work. One fault was it crashed the MK3 with the heated bed. Not ready for prime-time users.

UPS3 has fixed all the issues and runs all my printers just fine. The slicer is very fast (not a high priority on my list).

Every variable is adjustable. UP Studio prior to Catfish gave the user very limited variable control. Now the user can get into very serious trouble if they don’t understand all the functions that are now adjustable.

UPS3 is still in BETA and the documentation is far from existence. Reading Catfish information will be a big help.  I think the look and feel of the UI will be adjusted before it leaves BETA.  It’s not bad, but in my opinion lacks some of the “polish” of the earlier UP Studio releases.

Catfish and UPS3 both use a two step process for slicing and then machine control. The machine control is named “Wand” and is a definite separate program from the slicer. The slicer creates a task (.tsk) binary file that is used in Wand. Probably a binary gcode not editable by the user. The slicer will also create a text gcode that is NOT used for Wand.

I am liking what I see far better than the older UP Studio and fixes the issues in Catfish.  It is now my choice for running my Cetus printers.

There is one "bug" I discovered and sent a discription to Tiertime. Large models create quite large  task (gcode) files. My MK3 Cetus with the high powered print platform will heat the platform without temperature limit control when uploading a print file. Large (10MB) files can take 4-5 minutes to upload. The platform will exceed desired setpoint (60C) by 130 to 150% during large file upload. No problem with small files, But I create and print some big files.

Explore UP Studio 3 Beta: Soda for yourself. Find it here: https://www.tiertime.com/software/ .

UPDATE (11/9/2020)  --  Jason Wu from the Tiertime help desk just informed me there is an internal high temp limit in Cetus. Here is his statement:

Since the file transfer is not completed, the machine did not know what platform temp it should go.  So it will heat up base on an internal default temperature, which we set as 90C.  The temperature control is still on.



Big Mama Cetus in Heat Again!

IMG 3493Tiertime - Cetus sent me (gratis) repair parts for my heated bed cable fire. It is a new accessory board kit which includes the accessory controller board and a new 20 conductor ribbon cable as well as the other kit parts like the white printed case and a power feed cord for the main controller board.  All the parts in the standard purchase kit.

It was the 20-conductor ribbon cable that melted and burned. The end of the ribbon cable that connected to the accessory board showed evidence that it too had overheated. Indicating there was probable damage to the ribbon connector device on the accessory board. (large white horizontal bar left beow center in picture)

It was very good they sent both the board and the cables. I assume they are part of the standard accessory board kit.

I have replaced the parts and again operating Cetus with a heated bed. 

There was a slight issue when I tried the first test print with the heated bed. After UP Studio sliced the print and sent it to Cetus, there was a small audible “clink”, Cetus stopped dead and UP Studio reported that Cetus lost connection. Very strange behavior. This behavior continued on three more attempts to run the test print.

Re-booting everything did not fix the issue.  Then I used the manual pre-heat to test heating the bed. It heated the Cetus build platform exactly as expected. Then I went back to trying the test print again. This time it continued past the “die” point and the test print completed perfectly.

I believe the Cetus Processor does some very strange “caching” of its previous experience and/or setup. Its’s not been the first time I have seen the Cetus printer OS acting strangely. I believe it tends to use cached data without checking if a new “read” from UP Studio is available.

I usually do a “clear the SD” within printer setup and I know I didn’t do that this time. Probably the cause of the crash. I’ll remember next time.

Big MAMA Cetus is again a hot babe. Fingers crossed she doesn’t get too hot!

IMG 340020 conductor Cetus Mk3 heat bed cable with vaporized center trace.Big Mama Cetus blew her cool again right in the middle of a normal print. This Hot Mama is going to be sent to a quite religious Convent where she can live the life of a reformed sinner… with no more hot flashes.

Good thing I was sitting right in front of the printer, when about halfway through a normal operating print, the heated bed ribbon cable suddenly burst into a large puff of smoke. This is the second time, so I knew exactly what was happening. I immediately lunged for the “power off” switch on the side of the printer.

A power trace in the middle of the ribbon cable had again (2nd time) vaporized the plastic coating.

I took micro-photos of the cable ends. The problem originated in the controller board end of the cable and NOT at the heated bed. The picture shows a group of “cooked” contact points.

The cable connectors and the cable itself is NOT CAPABLE of sustaining the load of the high power that it is required to pass. While multiple traces in parallel are used to distribute the power load in the cable, it is clearly evident the tiny terminal contact points are not intended for such power loading long term. In my case rather short term.

If I had not been present when this happened, I could have easily suffered a tragic fire and perhaps severe loss of property and worse case, life.

The Tiertime Cetus III Heat bed system is a serious defect in design and engineering and all users should disconnect the ribbon cable immediately and cease heated bed operations.

An outstanding minimalist printer has become a possible life threatening monster with the upgrade to the high power heated build plate. IT IS DANGEROUS!

I will continue to use this printer without the heated bed ribbon cable.  All other functions and control have tested normal, and no collateral damage to the printer has been detected.

I have suffered two (2) exact same cable failures on the Cetus Mk3 high power heated print bed. There will not be a third.

S20200822 002 S20200822 001
Heat bed end, no apparent damage. Controller end. Severly overheated connection traces.

UPDATE 8/26/2020:

Tiertime (Cetus) has contacted me. They will replace the damaged controller board and failed 20 conductor cable under warranty. This will be the third board and cable.  This repairs the damage. Not sure that it will cure the problem. Best they can do for now. Thank-you Tiertime.


kluge CostOfTheKludgeI have to take Cetus MK3 off my recommended 3D printer list. At lease until it gets some improved firmware The Mk1 and MK2 are a great bit of hardware Extremely accurate and capable movement, but still have some faults, like having no physical bed leveling.

The leveling, including the the electronic software leveling are not true bed leveling. The software leveling is simply for determining a nozzle height so an over-thick raft can be built level with head movement. Thicker in low areas, thiner in high areas. The plan is to compensate for a few tenths out of level.  In practice the Cetus bed can be several millimeters off level.

This all-but-eliminates printing without a raft.

What amazes me is all the Tiertime printers use this same method. The more costly printers DO HAVE mechanical bed leveling, so the auto leveling really is a belt and suspenders feature. Extra measure but not really needed.

The Cetus MK3 ROM can not handle g-code like the MK2 and MK3. Trying to run g-code, even the gcode made by their own "Catfish” advanced slicer, will crash the bed temperature sensing algorithm in the MK3’s ROM. Temperature reading and control go spastic, even after returning to UPStudio.

It happened when I first got my MK3 and it Just happened again after I changed hardware to fix the first issue. This time I was able (so it seems) to have recovered the bed temperature control.  I had to reset and refresh the ROM, Reload UPStudio, and let Cetus set for about a hour to cool down and it finally reset. 

I tried so many things I can not be sure exactly what provided the “fix”.  I don’t want to deliberately crash the OP system again just to find the simple fix, if there is one.

Cetus requires two major improvements to work properly beyond stock operation. 

  1. Mechanical bed leveling
  2. Proper g-code operation especially with Catfish. Tiertime’s own advanced slicer

Other issues are the feeble flat cable feeding the heated bed.  I have had two cable fails. The new perforated build plate is very difficult in raft removal and simply can not be used for  no raft printing.

The heated bed is bolted directly to the X-Axis linear bearing. The possible 100C+ (212F) bed heat is transfered to the bearing, linear rail, and into the printer case. I expect short life for the bearing if constantly running a heated bed. (Bearing lubicant vaporization)

I have had "run-away" Build Surface heating up to 180C and the printer case got so hot it shiut down on thermal overload.

All major Cetus issues stem from the primitive build surface plate and it’s simple bolt-to-the-bearing mounting system. No problem with an unheated build surface. A heat-isolated mechanically adjustable bed is needed. 

Cetus was/is an experiment in minimal hardware, so as not to compete with the major Tiertime product line. The MK1 popularity succeeded beyond expectation. However, the "advanced" Mk3 has become a Kludge. (Clik link if you do not know the meaning...)

I love the prints that Cetus will produce, but the MK3 machine can not (now) be recomended for the biginner.


IMG 3336The newest 3D printer in my fleet is now sailing wonderfully after a rather rough start. The getting started problems have been reported in previous posts. That’s BMC (BigMamaCetus).

It’s a minimalist design. The features of its smaller sister (MamaCetus) with added nozzle height sensor and heated build plate. These added features make her less simplistic and were the source of the initial issues. But, now in full operation, she really performs as expected.

My two Cetus printers (a MK1 & MK3) will remain my go-to printers for many of my single-color prints. BMC will permit me to use other than just PLA for plastic. I will be experimenting with other materials.  I have already run a castable wax filament through BMC.

There is also an extended version of Cetus available. I do not print tall models so have no desire for added height. With a moving bed, I see possible issues with printing at great height distance from the build plate. Not a tested theory. Just my estimation of design.

I have a very nice Delta style printer with a non-moving bed and great build height available. That is my choice for tall prints. Print quality there is also excellent.

The recent Tiertime/Cetus support department issues will take the product line off my newbie user recommendation list. Too bad. I am in love with my Cetus printers. Not perfect for every use, but nothing ever is. The UPStudio slicer is weird (there is a new version promised) but I have learned how to run Simplify3D gcode on Cetus with great results. But I use UPStudio for most prints. It gets the job done.

That’s my story. A great little printer. A puzzling support system that sometimes works well, but is not well organized in presence, publication and performance. I rate them 5 out of 10 on my customer satisfaction score. A “user forum” and Facebook posts no way substitutes for one on one customer service.  

The hardware is a solid 8.55.  :)

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