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DrR1pper

Want to buy UM2+ but have some reservations and questions please

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I'm really tempted to get the UM2+ but i'm still a little hesitant for a few reasons and was hoping some of you might be able to shed some light on them please.

1) Is it really worth the money (£1800) when you can buy 3d printers these days that cost less than half the amount and that appear to print as well too (based on 3rd party testimony and picture comparisons of prints...in no way a great way for me to judge but the best i can do given the circumstance). Or even printers such as the BCN3D Sigma that costs the exact same as a um2+ and yet seems to be of much better construction, feature dual extruders, ~30% larger print volume, superior looking axis rail design, etc.

2) Is the bowden design on the UM2+ a real benefit? I'm seeing a lot of people printing in the 30-40mm/s range which makes me think that's no better than what typical direct drive printers run at to print well. Or am i missing something here? Does the bowden on the UM2+ print as well as some of the best direct drive 3d printers out there?

3) I'm concerned with the 260*C hot-end limit on the UM2+. I want to print with some strong filament, e.g. PolyMaker PC-Plus but i've seen/heard it ideally requires 270*C to be structurally strong with good adhesion strength between layers. I also saw XT-CF20 as another candidate for my requirement but saw the issues with rapid nozzle degradation which is off-putting to me to say the least. Anyone have any experience with either of the two and can weigh in? Or perhaps even offer a better alternative filament that i have yet to consider?

Lastly, can anyone think of any cons with getting a UM2+ over another FFF/FDM printer?

I'm struggling to decide on which/what to get as it's a lot of money to spend and i can't change once i've committed so i really want to make sure i'm making the right decision the first time.

Your feedback would be much appreciated as i also wish to make a decision asap.

Thank you,

Martin

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1) It is alot of money. Yes.

About a month ago I bought a 1.700 Euro printer and hated its' guts. I was trying to be frugal and went with a cheaper brand to save money. It cost me big time in the end. Wasted hours and hundreds of Euros in replacement parts i ended up paying myself trying to get the bleepin thing to print. No support from the manufacturer, no community to help, no nothing. Today, I will gladly pay a a fair bit more for an Ultimaker knowing I will get decent support and there's this great community to help me if I get stuck.

I think the looks are deceiving with respect to construction. The UM2+ might look a bit flimsy and plastic-y, but it turned out to be rock solid. My 1.700 Euro printer was built like a friggin tank, sheet metal frame, metal everything everywhere, weighed more than twice as much as the UM2+, with thicker rods, fat rails for the Z-Axis the whole deal. But the print bed was vibrating violently during prints even at slow speeds, z-axis wobbled, bearings started to make grinding noises after 2 weeks and its bed went out of level basically just by looking at it. So it's massive build didn't do jack. Well, ok, my back still hurts from lugging it back to the store it came from.

2) I am not convinced that the bowden is actually a benefit. And I am not crazy about 2.85mm / 3mm filament. But after about a week or so of getting to know my new printer and the new filament I am now getting consistently excellent results from my UM2+ and there's plenty 2.85mm filament out there, so i guess it can't be bad either.

3) Can't help you with the temps. I print mostly PLA, if i need something a bit stronger or more heat resistant, I switch to to Extrudr Green-TEC which works fine below 240°C and I've heard good things about Biofila PLATec but never tried it.

Nozzle wear with carbon filled filaments can be reduced if not completely avoided with steel or plated nozzles which are available for some 15,00 or so Euros from 3dsolex, E3D or AVN MicroSwiss. Since you're thinking about getting the + model it's no big deal to swap the nozzle. So, no need to worry about that one imho.

Cons, lemme see..

- I think the build volume of the UM2+ ist a bit on the smallish side (and the UM2E+ wont help as I need width not height).

- None of my Wifi-SD cards work in my Ultimaker.

- I keep hearing that flexible filaments can be a pain with the bowden setup

That's about it. Can't think of anything else. To me, the money was well spent. I should've bought an UM2+ from the start, instead of an buying an "entry level printer" first, then that printer from hell before finally forking over the cash for the UM2+.

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Hi @StephanK, that is quite a testimonial, thanks! :) Happy to hear you are loving your Ultimaker and the community.

@DrR1pper, welcome to the forums. Even though you don't have an Ultimaker (yet), I would be more than happy to help you make up your mind.

Just like Stephan mentioned on a few occasions, your commitment to a 3D printer goes beyond the original purchase price. A lower-end printer probably requires more continuously tinkering to get a decent result and perhaps a lower success-rate. Meaning; if you managed to print a single file to your satisfaction, could you do it again without struggles or would the adventure start all over again? About Ultimaker, you would get involved with a company that has been around for, especially in 3D printing world, quite a long time with a rather reliable track record. That is important. And is not shown in any basic specs. Specs are not everything, just an indication.

This community of experts is a huge cornerstone within Ultimaker and they contribute to Ultimaker in various ways. We have seen amazing contributions like Anders Olsson's Olsson-Block, alternative feeders, firmware but also countless users who found help from our expert users who are around for years.

We have a good customer policy, with free technical support as long as you use your Ultimaker.

A bowden tube allows an Ultimaker to print faster compared to a direct drive. Besides the 3D printing speed you set, it does not mean your printer achieves those speeds. It depends on the size of your print, and the acceleration it can achieve. With a light weight printhead we can print sharp corners easily, without loosing much speed and a better result. This also reflects in surface quality. So the pro's go beyond just 'speed'.

Flexible material is more challenging, but after getting more familiar with 3D printing and your Ultimaker definitely doable. For example, this entire dress was printed in PLA flex. I have also printed in Ninja-flex myself, which is even a little bit more flexible. Slower speed, a drop of sewing machine oil in the bowden tube makes all the difference. But I would recommend this for more experienced users.

About temperature and filaments, Ultimaker prefers options over limitations. This means there are ways to exceed the 260ºC temperature limit. But again, we recommend to do this when you know what you are doing. It would require a custom firmware and some modifications to your printhead. But users have done it, and it is definitely possible. Also with the help of this amazing community :) You don't need to know everything, but together we do. ... well.. a lot anyway :p

The fact XT CF20 is abrasive is true, but with the swappable nozzles this is not a problem but maybe an inconvenience. Or just like how your filament runs empty, your nozzle turns more into a consumable depending on what material you use. Luckily, within 15 seconds you have a new nozzle mounted in your Ultimaker and you are ready to continue your 3D printing.

Who, quite a long post. I hope I have answered most of your questions. If I have raised new questions or you need more info, let me know!! :)

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I think the main advantages of the Ultimakers can't be found in the datasheets. What makes them the good machines they are: they are very mature. That means firmware and software have no major bugs, hardware is rock solid so you get the same good results after 1000h as at the first print if maintained correctly. And probably most important: The very good community here.

The bowden is certainly a tradeoff. To start with the disadvantages, a bowden printer has no chance against a direct drive when it comes to printing flexible materials. Also retraction heavy prints are much easier with direct drive.

The main advantage of a bowden printer is that the printhead is very lightweighted. The benefit of that isn't so much that you can print at higher speeds but the head can be accelerated much faster and still cause less oscillation. Therefore it mainly improves print quality, e.g. walls after sharp corners are less wavy.

That is also why the construction materials are really clever. They aren't aimed at stiffness so much but more at dampening vibrations. The machines that seem to be closest to fdm-printers are cnc milling machines. Although mechanic movements are quite similar, they have very different aims. Milling machines have to be as stiff as possible because there are high forces that tend to bend your mechanics and then cause rattle, deviations and so on. That is a non-issue for 3d-printers. So heavy metal, a lot of weight etc. might suggest high quality and reliability but actually help little when it comes to the problems 3d printers have to face.

A friend of mine recently bought a CraftUnique CraftBot PLUS for ~1000€. When I saw his first print, a voronoi teddy bear, I was really envious. Why did I spend 2,5x times of what he did? After a short time he started to replace some dead fans, most bearings and rods, he is thinking about how to improve the cooling, what would be a good alternative printing surface, etc. Software is very promising, even outstanding, but still far from finished. I too did some modifications but nothing close to what he did or is planning to do. So in the end I'm happy again, even if I will have paid more compared to him including his modifications.

Yet again, there are certainly other high quality printers too. I'm not very well informed what is currently out there. I got curious about the BCN3D sigma, the principle for dual head is really nice. I didn't find much user feedback until now. There are many more. Just make sure, hardware and software are open source. I think this really essential.

I think a general problem when asking people for their opinion on fdm printers is, that most have experience with exactly one model: The one they own just like me :PThey have worked with it many months or years and know all the weaknesses an strengths. On the other hand, magazines and online reviewers have laid there hands on dozens of different machines but don't have the time to test them to their limits and see how well a machine performs after 6 months of daily use.

About filaments: I tried XT-CF20. It worked quite well with a 0.5mm steel nozzle. Up to now, I only printed a test part. I had no application until now where I thought "wow, good that I have XT-CF20 here". There are other filaments out there, which are really exciting. My favorites at the moment are Biofila PlaTec, which is super easy to print and withstands up to 115°C, Taulman Bridge Nylon, which is nasty to print but super robust, a bit flexible and very slippery. Still have to try their Alloy 910. But most of my prints I just do in plain PLA :p

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Wow. Thank you for the very detailed and length responses guys. They've answered most of my questions but also given me some new ones.

Maybe i should ask whether the um2+ is the right printer for me another way. I have a series of print jobs down the road that require me to print models of boats and rockets that i need to be very strong and stiff. The models are only for display but they really need to stand the test of time and feel really solidly built/printed. I plan on smoothing the print surfaces with something like etching primer (or bondo) + wet sanding if it's not possible to directly sand smooth the printed material. They will be painted as well ofc.

With these requirements, do i really need to be looking at PolyMaker PC-Plus/XT-CF20? Ideally i don't want to have to buy new nozzles and replace them frequently due to the filament, etc, if possible. But i am willing to if the benefits of using said materials is what's needed to satisfy my requirements.

In short, i'm really naive about other materials (only ever printed with regular PLA) and i'm bouncing all over the place with how that factors into which printer i need or should use. The PC-Plus/XF-CF20 are two filaments that i've seen mentioned a fair few times when searching for material best suited for my needs. Would you guys also agree or would you suggest something else too that achieves very similar results with less hassle/mess.

Thanks for all your advice and help. I really appreciate it!

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No problem! In some ways I don't know if your question requires a different answer then before. I guess you have to discover for yourself which material would serve your needs best. Some materials are easier to post process, some are a little bit more rigid and others give you a better surface finish straight from the printer. And you can try them all, because of Ultimaker's open filament system. I think that is what you need. Plus a community that also has a lot of experience with foreign materials etc. As long as the diameter is rather consistent and is somewhere between 2.7 and 2.99mm you should be OK to give it a try.

Like you already said, there is a limiting factor of 260ºC in the firmware, but if your print is only for display purposes you should be good. How big are the boats and rockets going to be? What do you require from the Ultimaker? A smooth surface finish straight from the bed? The opportunity to use a wide variety of filaments?

Personally I have no experience with Polymaker PC-Plus but I have printed with XF-CF20 and I loved the mat-finish and strength it had. I have seen video's where people drove over their print and it still survived (but I guess that is not a necessity for a display model) ;)

If you want to read more about the materials we offer, and some of the highlights from colorFabb I wrote this piece a little while back.

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PLA is the best for good looking prints. Much better than any other material. You can sand it and paint it and "bondo" it no problem. PLA is incredibly strong - just as strong as ABS. ABS has a reputation for being stronger because it used to be more flexible but pretty much all formulations of PLA are almost as fleixible as ABS. The only downside of PLA over the other materials you mention is that it can't handle high temperatures - temperatures that would kill a human can also destroy PLA. The only common situations are: hot water/tea/beverages and in a car on a hot sunny summer day when the inside of the car. So you can't use PLA to make a GPS holder.

Bowden is a fantastic tradeoff - you get better quality prints mostly because of the bowden. It's complicated and I've explained it 30 times now but... it's better.

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The extra nozzle isn't much hazzle at all and i think a steel nozzle will stay with you quite some time even if treated by xt-cf20. I also heard that it is a great filament for sanding. Might be just right for you. Also look at what @cloakfiend is doing, he developed his very own method to get high end surface finish with PLA. He has a long thread where he shows many results and gives detailed steps to achieve them.

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Thanks again guys.

I totally forgot about the zortrax m200 and have been thinking about that one too now. After speaking with someone whom has both a um2 and 6x m200's, as much as they like their um2 they do highly lean towards the m200 in terms of print quality, filament choice, ease of use and in terms of print speed they've thrown back some slicer estimated times from both and found that it's actually very comparable which i found very surprising. I showed him the Dream3D print comparison between these two printers which showed the m200 printed noticeably better (and slightly faster as well) and he said this was quite accurate of the typical print quality from each printer. Again, he says he likes both and has both and will not get rid of either but if he had to keep only one, he said the choice would be easy, the m200 any day.

These were made (in parts) in Z-HIPS and required zero post-processing work (e.g. zero sanding).

unique-superhero-head-figure.jpg

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unique-superhero-head-figure.jpg

unique-superhero-head-figure.jpg

Which granted if true (but i can't think of any reason why i should doubt he is telling me the truth) is utterly jaw-dropping imo.

This completely threw me off balance as before meeting him i was quite set on the um2+ but really not so sure anymore.

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I totally forgot about the zortrax m200 and have been thinking about that one too now.

 

The Zortrax was tempting for a moment when they had their "Buy 36 rolls of filament and get a free Zortrax" deal a few months back. That's the only time I would have considered their proprietary system. Open source is just such a relief when it comes to hardware replacements, modifications, adjustments, and filament choices. That's why Zortrax wasn't on my radar for very long.

The BCN3D looks attractive. I'd love to have one in my house along with my two UM2s to try/compare. But I wouldn't let go of either UM2. Whenever I receive an order for items that need to be printed, I get right to it with both UM2s operating full speed.

GR5 was right about PLA. It prints very pretty. When I need more strength I use PETG. PC can be a headache because it has warping and hygroscopic characteristics that PLA and PETG don''t have. Also PC doesn't like to stick to a standard bed easily. There is one version of PC so far that can be printed well at 250C: eSun's ePC. It's strong and the UM2 works well with it, but there are no colors available yet, and everything has to be just right to prevent warping.

CF filaments in my experience have been stiff overall, but they have more difficulties with layer bonding and it makes them undesirable for my uses. An XTCF20 roll has been sitting in one of my bins for about 1 year now. It's about 3/4 full. I just wasn't impressed.

If my production demands increased tomorrow and I needed a third printer, I'd buy another UM2. Both of mine have paid for themselves already, and any issues they may have are usually easily resolved, especially since Ultimaker has FBRC8 here in the USA with parts and service center ready fast.

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From all I know, the E3D V6 nozzles are fully compatible with an UM2+ or the OlssonBlock. Maybe somebody more experienced could confirm?

--

Having been through this rather painful decision making process myself, I personally decided against the Zortrax M200 for these reasons:

1) I didn't like the idea of the perforated bed that seems to be continually degrading and will need replacing every now and then at 40€ a piece. If the thought of having to swap a 15€ nozzle is making you hesitate, how do you feel about a 40€ bed in addition to the occasional nozzle swap? Might be out of pure ignorance, but to me that perforated bed was a major downer. I print PLA on whats basically a naked plate of window glass heated to 60°C on my UM2+. I use ordinary glue stick if needed for better adhesion. Normal wear and tear on a glas bed is taken care of with a bit of soap & water, these don't cost 40 bucks.

2) I didn't want to be locked into Zortrax filaments which is on the pricey side and last time I checked my local sources is also limited in variety (no PLA, no Flex filaments, no woodfill / copperfill / carbonfill / LayBrick and whatnot) and even colors as well. On the UM2 you can choose whatever filament you like best from any number of manufacturers lots of varieties in buttloads of colors..

If you end up liking HIPS best, there's plenty of HIPS available to be used with your UM2+, HIPS prints at around 230°C, so no problems there.

3) I am very picky when it comes to what slicer I want, for example I don't like Cura either. I did for sure not want to be tied to the Zortrax Z-Suite which may or may not do what i want (manual placement of supports, printing without rafts is not great on a perforated plate, overall way less control: no temperature changes, no flow rate changes, etc.). I have yet to find a slicer that won't work with an Ultimaker, i did end up buying Simplify3D. I really like the remote control I get with free OctoPrint or Repetier Server, AFAIK these will not work with Zortrax proprietary protocols.

4) I am already whining about the limited build volume on my UM2+, the M200 has even less..

Well, that was my reasoning why I bought the UM2+ instead of the Zortrax, perhaps out of ignorance, I don't know. From all I am seeing the M200 is a great printer, in a rather "closed" proprietary ecosystem, which seems to impose IMO artificial limitations. Where on the other hand Ultimaker is as open as it gets and happily works with whatever you throw at it. I do not think the M200 could give me anything i can't get from my UM2+

I am very curious about the BCN3D Sigma however, maybe i do need a 3rd printer in my tiny office as well. The BCN3D does promise some features that I can't get with an Ultimaker, while having the UM2+ right there to cover my back if the BCN3D turns out to be another problem child ;-)

Dang, I need to stop writing books.. sorry for the wall of text.

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Dang, I need to stop writing books.. sorry for the wall of text.

 

Don't be. Consider writing a series of books if you like. It's all very interesting and very helpful to me.

So you think one can get as good a print quality out of a um2+ as from a zortrax m200? Especially if you use something like s3d over cura?

I'm looking for a print material that is like PLA in that it prints well, has practically zero warping issues and yet is a little stiffer, stronger, a little more resilient to degradation over time, whos print surface is really nice and is also non-toxic when printing so that i may be in the same room as it. Is HIPS the material i'm after?

I must admit, the perforated bed is a little off putting for me too but i think i could easily live with it if the print quality is noticeable better than the um2+. And this is what's killing me....I really want to spend some time with both and see both in person but i can't.

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So you think one can get as good a print quality out of a um2+ as from a zortrax m200?

Yes, i *think* so. But i have no way of knowing for sure. I do not own a M200 and was never able to print something with one.

I am not sure if Simplify3D makes better prints per se. Not out of the box at least. But I started using it with my first printer and i've grown very fond of it and the way it does things.  I was lucky because it turned out the default profile for that printer in S3D was excellent. But there was one more thing that got me hooked on S3D: being able to place manual supports allowed me to print things that kept failing before.

For the UM2+, straight out of the box, Cura actually gave me better results. S3Ds default Ultimaker2 profile isn't that great IMHO, it requires a fair amount of tweaking - and the sheer amount of setttings in S3D can be overwhelming.

 

I'm looking for a print material that is like PLA

I've never even considered using HIPS for anything but support material in a dual extruder setup. Shows you what I know about advanced filaments.. :-)  

Check out Colorfabbs NGEN, I think that would fit your requirements nicely, is tougher than PLA, prints well & doesn't smell. Better yet: find a vendor that sells small amounts of various filaments as samples.

That's what I did, lots of samples and print loads of test cubes & "benchies" ( = little boats that are used as a benchmark test). It's fun. Kinda. I think I have a whole armada of benchies now.

 

And this is what's killing me....I really want to spend some time with both and see both in person but i can't.

Yup, that was driving me crazy as well. We're talking a good amount of cash here and its really hard to form an opinion without actually being able to see yourself how each of them performs. Sounds like you're doing what I did: I looked at all the videos I was able to find on Youtube, multiple times, and tried to form an opinion. But: I do not trust online reviews & Youtube videos..

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1) YES! Cheap printers = cheap results. At minimum they are very finicky. If you print very little it's fine, we actually use Ultimaker 2+/E+ as commercial printers. Yes, they are that good!

2) Yes, we run a 2 and 2+ and the 2+ is much better. You get perfect or near perfect results most of the time (of course skills are important). It is not plug & play and expect perfect results (plug & play will give you good/very good results).

3) We print with XT-CF20 quite a lot, use a steel nozzle and you will be fine.

I am unsure why you think a zortrax m200 gives better prints. I have seen same/better results on the Ultimaker 2. I think the model printed + print settings are more important. All our Ultimaker's are enclosed though (FYI).

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I am unsure why you think a zortrax m200 gives better prints. I have seen same/better results on the Ultimaker 2.

 

So you have seen zortrax prints and compared them with um2+ prints of the same object in person?

 

No, when we were deciding which systems to go with, our other options were actually much more expensive (think $5000-$20000 printers) and the Ultimaker 2+ won over those (we were getting very similar results from those other printers, so why pay a lot more and be lock in a proprietary system + slaves to their customer service, which sometimes was international). I i have seen online examples of the zortrax and they look the same as a UM2+, except... you are lock in their system. Those photos you posted have flaws in the 3D prints (especially where the parts were printing against the bed), you can see layer lines too, and honestly you get the same results with a Ultimaker 2+. You could get better results, it depends on many factors of course. We strive for perfect prints at pro3dservices.com but that means a lot more extra work.

The biggest difference is that Ultimaker has a huge following of people willing to help you. I don't know if Zortrax can claim that. Also open source, open system... print with $5 pla rolls of $50 rolls. We use the best material in the industry and it shows in the result (also being able to print in metal infused PLA's is a HUGE plus).

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Firstly, i want to make clear that i truly appreciate you taking the time and effort in replying back to me with your thoughts.

But i have a few things i wish to raise with what you've said. Firstly that you don't have any first hand experience with zortrax prints for in person comparison with um2+ print quality. I don't think the fact that the um2+ appeared to match the same print quality as far more expensive printers means the zortrax can't do better still. Yes the pictures of the zortrax printed head have some flaws but i have not managed to find any pictures of raw prints from an um2+ that come even close to the surface print quality i'm seeing there. Perhaps i have not looked hard enough. But if you know of any i would genuinely be interested and grateful to see them please.

Secondaly, the person who printed that head has both printers and says that between the two the zortrax prints better and i have seen photo's of the print quality different between the two. I can't think of a reason why i should be skeptical of what he is saying because he is not trying to sell me anything. He actually thinks the UM2 is a great printer and for the pla print and glass bottom like finish alone, it is worth keepingone around. However when it comes to print quality he believes that the zortrax wins. The pictures he shared of a gnome to my eyes seem to very much agree:

UM2/Cura, 0.1mm:

13177585_10154264571111869_8686514554195132389_n.jpg?oh=28c5bf1d9cc3b44a8f0ed0499eb55b5b&oe=57A486A4

Zortrax m200, 0.14mm

13164419_10154264571406869_70719376439685728_n.jpg?oh=cebfdec710b034f80f31cfc0bebd2742&oe=57AE37F4

13118954_10154264571491869_5054833869335212815_n.jpg?oh=a36f02c0f84b07ac9b7505840fe4d3cb&oe=57ABD0AE

Now ofc there are different materials being used here so whether that plays a significant role in the layer visibility on the um2 print or not, i do not know.

Thirdly, the zortrax seems to have received more favourable reviews (especially in the area of print quality) from what i can gather from the numerous reviews that i've managed to find on both printers. Also 3dHubs trend for the highest rated printer shows the m200 being way ahead of the um2 in this regard for print quality which again, only seems to align with what i've read, heard and seen elsewhere.

So i'm at odds between what you are telling me and what the evidence elsewhere seems to be telling me. Could both be right (somehow)? For example, are the um2 prints of the gnome of poor quality and a bad reflection of what is truly possible with a um2?

Finally, yes, the zortrax is very closed system and filament is expensive (around twice what i would otherwise pay for the pla i like to use). But if the print quality is as superior as i have been lead to believe, then to me at least the cost is worth it since (just speaking for myself) i am in need of very good print surface quality for the jobs i have lined up. Also PLA may not be the best suited material for my needs, need something stiffer and harder but equally as strong and also a little high temp resistant if possible, but i'm sure that is also doable with the material selections available to the um2+ (even if it requires a little modding such as the TF2K for XT-CF20 for example if that is the material i need).

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1. The Ultimaker 2+ is really expensive and you can get a printer with better quality under $1000.

2. If something breaks, it can be hard to find the part you need.

I think you should try getting an Ultimaker original or, if you really like the 2 you can try building your own. I am currently on my way doing that. There are assembly manuals and places you can find firmware for when you finsh building. there is even a BOM for the parts you need and you caould make the ultimaker 2.

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Hmm, good points and idea. However to be perfectly honest, i would rather buy a pre-built printer than build one from scratch (again). The first time was painful enough but it taught me plenty and it's not that i wouldn't be able to do so again and i would certainly be able build a far better one the second time around, it's just that if there is a pre-built printer that works really well out the box and fulfills my requirements, i am more happy to buy it even if expensive (and yes, i consider £1800 expensive). However, the jobs i have lined up that involve printing high quality 3d parts will more than make up for the cost of buying one, even at the price of a UM2+. So money is not really the issue (up to a sensible limit though ofc) and either a zortrax m200 or um2+ are perfectly within my budget. Note though, the m200 is 22% cheaper than the um2+ at £1400 vs £1800 respectively. So even if i were deciding from a price stand point, the m200 is a good deal ahead however as i said this is a non issue for me, i can/would happily pay £1800 for the um2+  if the prints are better or not quite as good but still acceptable but that also comes with additional perks over the zortrax that i will definitely benefit from.

So far i haven't seen another fdm printer produce prints better than the m200 but i'm trying to find out if this is just because i haven't looked hard enough or in the right places hence why i'm asking here.

At the end of the day, i'm just trying to be thorough in my search of the right printer for me because the quality of the work that it produces will ultimately reflect my level of pay to some degree, hence why i am here asking help and advice from far more knowledgeable and experienced people than I on this forum.

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And perhaps you have to read through the first comments again that were posted to your original question. Your choice on a printer should depend on far more than just surface quality. What is the customer service like, availability of spare parts and how easy can you solve a problem because regardless of which printer you choose.. you will run into some. It is just part of the getting to know a machine journey.

About different materials, it certainly depends. ABS is a bit more matt where PLA is a bit more shiny. Shiny usually emphasises the layers a little bit more, doesn't mean the surface quality is less. Also, if I look at the gnome, it looks like there is stringing at the nose and eyes and the top of the ears are also a bit melted.

Also, something to think about.. Zortrax launched their Inventure machine a while ago but afaik it is not available yet. When it happens, since you are locked in.. I don't know how long they will continue to support their M200? I don't know the answer to this, but I do know we still support the Ultimaker Original from 4 years back and not all other vendors intend to have this similar customer friendly approach.

I was also going to suggest, have a look at @Cloakfiend's prints.

Have you checked our our 3D print section?

Here is an Ultimaker ABS print.  

Another super impressive ABS print

Exotic materials you can use on an Ultimaker

I'm sure you get the picture, have a look at the 3D Print section.

But try to focus on more than just the surface quality, you'll notice when you eventually start using it how insignificant it is. You have already established, both offer great surface quality and I guess it depends on the user how much effort he put in getting to know either of the machines which one tops the other one.

Edited by Guest

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OP let me put it this way:

I have a startup that had a significant amount of capital to start with. We did 6 month of research, contacted numerous top manufacturers and have a lot of first hands experience.

The Zortrax didn't even make it on the list of which printers to buy (mind you, not 1 printer but numerous). The Ultimaker 2+ also beat much more expensive machines ranging in the 10's of thousands of dollars. The results were 99% identical. So far, i haven't seen a Zortrax print that comes out better than a Ultimaker 2+ (as in, the Ultimaker 2+ wouldn't be able to print it like that).

Our criteria was at follow, in no particular order:

Open source system for ease of service, more (all) options of filaments and unlocked prices of filaments.

High (read VERY) quality/finish of prints (high quality prints aren't what they are all about too, we print at 0.1 for our customers and charge what other places charge for 0.2 prints. Our customers are mind blown at the quality, and 0.1 is no where near the limit of the Ultimakers!), to reduce/eliminate post processing work.

Affordability, it's better to have 2 3D printers than 1, when running a business. We own 7 3D printers now (2x Ultimaker 2+, 2x Ultimaker 2 Extended+, 1x Ultimaker 2, 2x Formlabs Form2).

FYI, we get better results on our Formlabs Form2 prints for super high quality/details... But they have their limits in printing material (it's also a PITA to work with, very messy and smells). We mostly print castable parts (think lost wax casting), low run figurines and model/statues on them.

Also, HUGE pro-tip: When you buy in a lock in system, you are LOCKED in. You think it's not a big deal, but it can become a huge deal very quickly... ask me how i learned that one (don't it was a painful lesson).

Cloakfiend is very generous in posting his prints, go take a look at his gallery, it's very impressive. Yes he works a bit of magic, but (no offence Cloakfiend) there's no reason you can't achieve superb prints with time & practice.

Edited by Guest
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