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macmcr

Ultimaker reliability/consistency

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Looking for some guidance/feedback from everyone. I want to pull the trigger and buy an Ultimaker but want to know what to expect with regards to how glitchy or reliable it will be. Comparatively, I use a Stratasys machine at work and it's very reliable and consistent. I guess my basic question is how the Ultimaker would compare. I like everything about the specs on the Ultimaker but after reading through the troubleshooting section it scared me off a bit. How tempermental will this machine be once I get it set up and calibrated?

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Personal experience, It took me a bit of work to get it running initially. More work then you would expect from a fully commercial machine, but the amount of work I would expect from a kit.

Now my machine is buzzing along nicely, with a pretty high printing success rate. I did have a 10 hour print detaching itself from the bed after 7 hours yesterday, which was a bit of a shame! But I printed 2 days straight at different location before that, with only 1 failed print.

I have never used a stratasys, but I expect it requires less fiddling initially. Kinda "you get what you pay for" I think.

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I do expect it will not be as easy as the Stratasys to run, but as Daid pointed out, this also doesn't cost $180k. I guess I was wondering how much time to expect building versus managing the machine. Basically I want a printer and not a project. I don't mind a few weeks of assembly and tweaking but would like it to keep the success rate at least above 90% after that. I was also looking at Cubify but there are clear disadvantages to that system (plug and play is it's main or only advantage over Ultimaker).

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I think you can compare the Ultimaker to the early computers, where people did functional stuff with them, but where also tinkering a lot.

I'm using my Ultimaker purely for fun. However I do know some people that do workshops with them. It's good to have contacts like this, because in case it breaks down, you can borrow other machines. And have more knowledge around to fix it.

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All, just FYI... I found out that Cubify from 3D systems had a demo booth at my local mall in Charlotte so I went down there to check it out. Not a bad system for the user friendly crowd, but... any part that had a flat bottom you could visually see warpage. It was enough to me that any part would be too far out of tolerance to be practical. I know that the Cubify uses ABS with a heated platform and Ultimaker does not.

Does PLA give you warped parts on the Ultimaker or is it more dimensionally stable?

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I would say that if you are used to dealing with commercial RPT machines, an ultimaker kit is probably not going to be the thing for you.

There are all kinds of little issues to go through:

1) The standard machine "works", in the same way that getting to the bottom of the stairs by falling works.

If you want it to be reliable you will need to replace the extruder with the Bertho system, and fit proper cooling

to the steppers, probably fit forced cooling to the printhead (personally I think its a good idea regardless of which printhead you have), fit belt tensioners that work and so on. It took me 1 month of evenings after I bought mine to get it really running smoothly (and I am a professional mechanical engineer).

2) None of the currently available software packages will do everything you want. CURA cannot handle big STL files

(well not for me!), unless you want to make cookie cutters Skinforge takes far too long to slice, NetFabb doesnt

have retraction working....and so on.

I bought an Ultimaker 3D printer to learn about 3D printing (and also to make prototypes at home).

So I would say that if you are interested to learn a bit, and fit some upgrades youself, and to be happy to

spend a while messing around with software settings...then you can be very happy with an Ultimaker.

If you want something that works out the box, has full software support and is supplied with everything configured

to print properly....you either need a commercial printer or a different kit. I do not know what the standard

of the MAKERBOT machine is so cannot comment on it.

Regards

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