HP 3D Printing Best Practice: Away Mode for Maintenance

Collage HP Printer and Aaron

With many people working from home, some people are finding that their HP 3D printers are not currently being used. HP knew that sometimes, there may be a need to put one of their machines in a standby mode for a prolonged period but still have the ability to have it ready to run within a matter of minutes. That feature is called Away Mode, and is available on all HP Multijet Fusion 340, 540, and 580 3D printers.

What does Away Mode do?

It simply keeps the heads operational and maintains the humidity of the powder, along with other minor maintenance tasks. What this means in practice is that the machine will purge and clean the printheads once a week and keep them safely capped when not in use. If the machine didn’t do this or an operator didn’t do this regularly, the machine would need to be powered down and the heads would have to be removed and stored with their nozzles and ink ports capped. As mentioned before, it also keeps the powder in the intermediate tanks stored at the proper humidity, which ensures that it is ready to print with at a moment’s notice.

What do I need to do to put my machine in Away Mode?

In a nutshell, you’ll want to

  1. Vacuum the machine
  2. Clean the fusing lamp
  3. Clean the recoating roller
  4. Vacuum the air exhaust compartment
  5. Clean the sieve
  6. Clean the capping stations
  7. Fill the deionized water tank
  8. Double check agent cartridges and cleaning rolls

The first thing that should be done to get the machine ready is to vacuum the print area, clean the lamps and recoating roller, vacuum the air exhaust compartment and clean its filter, and clean the sieve. This will ensure that the machine is put away squeaky clean, and nothing will need to be done when the machine needs to run again. You want to basically run through the steps as you’d be running the machine again and clean everything up.

If your machine has not run for over a week, doing a printhead recovery would be highly recommended before continuing. This will purge agent, clean the print heads, and ensure that they are ready to go into Away Mode.

The next thing you’ll need to do is fill the deionized water tank. Because the machine will be using up water slowly to keep the powder at the proper humidity, the tank should be full before going into Away Mode.

While you have the deionized water out, you should clean the capping stations for the machine’s print heads. Ensuring these are clean and seal against the print heads will ensure the heads remain in good working order.

Lastly, ensure that you have enough agent in the machine, and that the cleaning roll has not been used up. The machine will not use very much of the cleaning roll or agent cartridges, but its better to be safe, and it also means that the machine will have enough to print with as soon as it is needed again.

You do not need to load the machine with powder or empty it before putting it into Away Mode. Whatever the powder levels are will be fine, and nothing needs to be done.

To put the machine in Away Mode, select “Settings”, and go to “Maintenance”. You will then want to select “System Tools”, select “Utilities”, and select “Enable Away Mode.”

One thing you’ll be wondering is how long the machine can be in Away Mode. We would recommend leaving your machine in Away Mode for a maximum of around a month or two. At this point, the machine should be taken out of Away Mode and agent levels, cleaning roll life, and the water tank should be checked. It can then be put back into Away Mode if needed.

When the machine is needed again, simply select the Unlock Printer from the Away Mode screen and the machine will be ready to run as soon as it returned to the main menu.


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Meet the Author

Aaron Niedermann

Aaron Niedermann

Aaron is our 3D Printing Field Engineer. He enjoys a variety of design work and bringing ideas to life, so you'll often find him experimenting with unique prints on our Markforged and HP 3D printers. With a bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering, he enjoyed designing and building projects so much that he chose to get a degree to do so professionally. His certifications include the Markforged Advanced Composite Certification; HP 300/500 Series FSE Certification; HP 4200 FSE Certification; and the HP 5200 FSE Certification.

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