2015-03-12

Ultimaker Pro and Contra

3D printer (Ultimaker II) working on another 26h build...
That's a small one by my standards. While I'm away for the weekend it will do another 3 day job and I have even run extremely detailed 40 and 100h jobs without any hickup.
...at 20 Micron, that's 0.02mm compared to 0.1 or 0.2 or 0.25mm in other printers.
...out of the box with good quality filament.

Reliability

I just love the reliability. Never seen anything like it with RepMan 3.0/3.2, ThingOMatic (on the contrary), Makibox. For exactly that teason I'll never, ever again buy a Makerbox Industries product.
(Apart from "Takerbot")
I hope Makerbot will get a lot of competition, now that Ultimaker has extended from Europe to North America.

Maintenance

You should regularly
  • check extruder tension. The indicator on the side should not be in the upmost position. Insert an allen key/hex key in the top and turn left (out) to make it tighter, right (in) to make it loose
  • check bed leveling
  • clean your nozzle with a cold pull (manually push filament through, then cool to 70-90°C and pull it out). Don't pull or push too hard as the PTFE liner is only held down by a spring and downward filament movement. It's als called the "atomic method" but it was known long before there was a U2 forum.
  • clean the bed of residue glue stick with a wet paper towel, reapply a very thin layer of new glue

Maximum spool size





Given that reliability, it's printing A LOT. 750g spools are extremely inconvenient.
These 2.2Kg spools from Colorfabb from are great.
I'd have loved 5Kg or 20Kg spools (both sizes I used before, stored next to older printers using garden hose holders)
but 2.2Kg is the maximum the Ultimaker II can hold.
Everything else would be wider and lower then the body of the printer itself.

The Near Future


I can't wait for the Ultimaker II Extended, that I already preordered!
The increased hight combined with the reliability of an U2 is exactly what I need for my parts.

Spare parts and shipping

The only downside is that is demanding steep prices for the wear parts (PTFE liner, nozzle, hot end pack), dubling the price with their enourmous shipping fees and seems to use express curiers.

(Of cause if this is a minor issue and if it's the only thing I can complain about, that says a lot about the quality and reliability. I'm using this printer nearly constantly day and night.)

Express meaning it takes twice as long and may not reach you at all if you just so happen to work during the day. Curiers don't have post offices everywhere where you can pick up your packages after hours.
They often don't have storage locations in the same city reachable without a car and they don't deliver or offer pickup on weekends.
So for me they are evil as I work Monday to Friday in different cities.
Express curier services are for and ONLY for deliveries to businesses that have offices open 9-5.
NOT for delivering to private citizen who work in these offices 9-5 and are thus not at home.
They are NOT replacements for postal services. They where never intended to be.
With the new Ulti-Quality setting the first layer needs a lot of attention and benefits from reduced speed and increased filament flow.
After that it's great. I don't mind that that it takes ages as it reduces the time I spend in sanding and other post processing after the machine has finished it's job.
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