Ultimaker II servicing

My replacement glass fiber reinforced PTFE liners for the Ultimaker II hotend arrived.
While replacing parts I looked up just how long this Ultimaker II has been printing so far:
machine has been on for 2954 hours
printing for 1855 hours using 1166 meters of 2.85mm filament.

The PTFE is pretty banged up for sure.

In the forum people talk about 300-500 hours before seeing serious degradation.

I replaced the PTFE,
doing a cold-pull cleaning in the process,
Added a piece of aluminium foil,
cleaned the extruder gears
cleaned the bed

...now let's start with the next 2000 hours of printing.

I just found out you can get them (for a premium price) at Reichelt or
remakes (no mention of glass fiber) at  another German Store and in China too.
Without Fedex.


LPG Preismelder Android app updated

Project history 

  1. Previous project: none
  2. last step: Improvements to LPG/CNG Price Reporter
  3. current posting
  4. next step: LPG Preismelder Android app updated again
  5. Next project: Android App for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

After a long time, I have finally found the time to update my old fuelstation finder for GPL/CNG fuled cars to a current Maps API and current design language.
The buggy OpenStreetMap code had to go. For the time being there is only the Google Map now.
The overlays are completely redone,
the layout of cause uses proper fragements,
the geolocation API usage and settings handling is updated as well.


  • App on Google Play
  • 2015-03-18

    Google Code to Github Migration tool failing

    Due to Google Code shutting down,
    I scheduled the OpenStreetMap Vespucci Map editor project for Android to be migrated tonight (all commits done).
    However the migration tool offered seems to consistently fail. :/
    And I'm not alone.
    Github has identified files >100Mb to be the most prominent cause but since my and other people's entire repository is considerably smaller, that isn't the case here.


    Kevin Lee

    I just found this excellent blog by Kevin "0x7D" Lee.

    Must reach these later:

    He seems to be using the same printer I am (Ultimaker II) in the same way (very high precision parts at maximum reliability).
    Not just "buy a printer and print trinkets I found from Youmagine or Thingiverse"

    Ultimaker II issues

    I'm using my Ultimaker II a lot and I'm taking good care of a clean nozzle.

    Now I'm starting to get underextrusion issues.
    1. I cleaned the bed of any glue stick residue
    2. leveled the bed
    3. cleaned the nozzle using cold pull until I could see through
    4. Extruder tension was at minimum, I tightened it until the indicator was in the center

    The issue is still there. Just with a bit more skipping then before
    It started last week with an object that requries lots of retraction and happened after hours of printing.
    Usually my objects need no or nearly no retraction. So I didn't think much about it.
    How it happens in a perfectly cleaned and recalibrated printer within the first layer.

    Next steps
    I fear my PTFE liner may be completely used up.
    I did order 2 new ones but since they get delivered with FedEx, they may not reach me.
    (No delivery after work hours and no possibility for me to pick them up.)

    I'll loosen the extruder tension again and redo the cleaning.
    Maybe I just over-tightened the extruder.

    The underextrusion returned within minutes in the first layer.
    I lowered the extruder tension and set my first layer to run at 50% speed until my replacement parts arrive.
    This helped a lot.


    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.


    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.


    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.