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thomix

Comparison to other 3D printers

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I bought an Ultimaker yesterday as it seems the most sturdy and elegant reprap available at the moment (I really love the bowden cable idea) but really, my choice was mostly based on looks and a course grasp of which concept would work best.

So here I am, trying to justify my purchase after the fact :-)

I've looked into some other printers and added my amateur thoughts:

 

  • Printrbot (elegant, sleek, decomplicated design, poor stiffness as far as I can judge)
    Prusa (moving heavy extruder, does not look as nice as the Ultimaker, much cheaper though, heated bed)
    Makerbot (Same pretty and stiff boxed design, however a moving extruder and Z-axis traveling upwards, does have a heated bed though)

 

The ultimaker looks best and has a very nice axis system, but no heated bed for instance. Judging from low-res youtube video's the print quality seems to be best on the ultimaker as well)

Could anyone explain the main differences between these? What am I missing out on? A collegue of mine bought a Makerbot as soon as I told him about the Ultimaker, how can I mock him? Why will I not get a heated bed? What kind of resolution can I expect?

Thanks,

Thomix

/edit: I actually managed to miss the first bit of the FAQ:

http://wiki.ultimaker.com/Frequently_asked_Questions

which answers some questions about the comparison, but I am still wondering about what accuracies other printers can achieve and what the purpose of a heated bed is (or rather, why the Ultimaker does not have one)

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A heated bed stops ABS from warping, because it sticks a lot better. But most people are printing PLA with the ultimaker, which sticks fine on the tape. Also, you can build a heated bed for the ultimaker if you want (plans are on thingiverse)

The disadvantage of the bowden cable is you get more stringing. However, because it prints faster you can spend time on a cleanup and still be faster then other machines.

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heated bed is a nice option to have... from what I heard, it's kinda important for larger ABS prints (ABS is a gel without phase transition), while PLA (which has a solid-liquid phase transition) isn't affected as much as ABS from curling up on larger pieces (it still curls). i think heated bed becomes interesting for prints larger than 10cm, especially for items like long bars. PLA can be printed with a 55C(?) heated bed and kapton tape... room temperature kapton and hot PLA will not stick. I am going to experiment with a glass plate that I preheat in the over to about 60C and see what happens (ABS bed temp is 110C???).

if necessary, you can simply put the http://ultimachine.com/content/prusa-pcb-heated-bed in your UM (power supply issues need to be fixed separately?).

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Could anyone explain the main differences between these? What am I missing out on? A collegue of mine bought a Makerbot as soon as I told him about the Ultimaker, how can I mock him? Why will I not get a heated bed? What kind of resolution can I expect?

If I have to explain how the different machines would be, it would be like this:

Ultimaker: Unique design, blazing fast. Alternative for the makerbot, and gives option to use a commercial slicer instead of an open-source one. Can be carried around (blue IKEA bag works best). The experimental + version has a bigger Z-axis.

Makerbot: Small build platform, but has heated bed and can actually do mass-production. Has a large market share in america. One of the first commercial machines in its class. Havent seen them printing pretty fast. Can be carried around.

Printrbot: See Prusa

Prusa: Based on designs by the reprap foundation. Has a moving heavy extruder that actually limits the speed. Can be carried around but is not boxed.

Up!: Also moving head, steel design but commercial based. Not open-source, everything seems to be limited to their software. Can be carried around, but is not boxed.

BfB Rapman: Based on the first Darwin design. Has a moving heavy extruder that actually limits the speed. The acrylic parts can easely break or get loose, making it a bit of a hassle to move around. Also the 18kg makes it a quite a heavy machine.

BfB 3dTouch: Based on the darwin design, but then with a casing around it. Has the ability to print multiple colors. The weight makes it very hard to move (38kg).

If I look back at what I wrote down, I would say "moving heavy extruder" or "small build platform" is the limiting factor on all the machines, except for the ultimaker.

How to mock him: Let him print something that is bigger than his maximum footprint, for example the statue of liberty ;) Or even funnier, do a race: Tell him that you like to compare how well the prints look on high resolution. Print the same G-code at the same time, but slowly raise the speed on your machine (say 110%), and see what happens ;)

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Thanks for the answers. I've read more about the Ultimaker and the makerbot yesterday and I am getting more and more anxious to get mine!

I would expect that due to the much smaller moving mass of the ultimaker vibrations will be much lower and accuracy thus higher, or is this offset by the 'problems' that the bowden cable causes? And on the line of moving mass: why are the fans mounted on the print head? Doesn't that cause disturbances as well when accelerating fast? Cant they be mounted on the baseframe? Did anyone design a printhead tracking air jet yet?

Such a cool machine.

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Thanks for the answers. I've read more about the Ultimaker and the makerbot yesterday and I am getting more and more anxious to get mine!

I would expect that due to the much smaller moving mass of the ultimaker vibrations will be much lower and accuracy thus higher, or is this offset by the 'problems' that the bowden cable causes? And on the line of moving mass: why are the fans mounted on the print head? Doesn't that cause disturbances as well when accelerating fast? Cant they be mounted on the baseframe? Did anyone design a printhead tracking air jet yet?

Such a cool machine.

The fan is very light compared to the combined weight of the x/y axis and head etc. though a printhead tracking air jet does sound like a good idea :shock:

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I would expect that due to the much smaller moving mass of the ultimaker vibrations will be much lower and accuracy thus higher, or is this offset by the 'problems' that the bowden cable causes? And on the line of moving mass: why are the fans mounted on the print head? Doesn't that cause disturbances as well when accelerating fast? Cant they be mounted on the baseframe? Did anyone design a printhead tracking air jet yet?

Such a cool machine.

The vibrations are caused by small and rapid movements. If you slow down the speed, it will decrease the vibrations on the machine and make the accuracy higher. The higher the mass of the print head, the lower the speed to cause vibrations. A bigger mass also causes the machine to slip (and be less accurate) more quickly. The makerbot, Prusa and Up! printer compensate for this fact by moving the board, the ultimaker compensates this by moving the heavy parts of the extruder to the side. The Darwin-based machines dont do this and cant go that fast without causing vibrations.

The fans are there to cool down the design with an optimal flow from above. If you put it on the baseframe, it would cool down the outside of the object and not the inside. About the airjet, it would be good to look into that design by using a airpump from an aquarium. The drawback would be (in my opinion) the fact that it cant cool everything quickly enough compared to the fan design.

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Hi,

I am a newborn in 3D-printer world, but I think it helps me not being too bias by the existing design to find new ideas. One thing I will test soon is a compressed-air cooled extruder. I would like to be able to cool both the cold-end and the extruded layer. Using compressed-air allows the use of small tube to cool exactly where you want. It reduces the moving mass (no fan) too...

The other aim using compressed-air is to be able to avoid PEEK parts because it is very expensive and a bit hard to source...

I will post the results of my tests here or in the reprap forum.

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I am going to experiment with a glass plate that I preheat in the over to about 60C and see what happens

In my experience the PLA (or ABS) will stick while hot, and as soon as the temp gets lower than 40 or 50C the PLA will let go. So if you do the oven thing it will only be good for short prints as the glass will cool down then nothing will stick to it anymore.

-c

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;) ok, i am convinced !, but what about dual head ?.. and mostly for support material use...

But the speed and the accuracy-resolution of the ultimaker can be really used ?... or it is only a spec. thing ?...

Here are a couple links of actual printed stuff:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/?tab=gX#107 ... Nrpk9S9NzE

http://davedurant.wordpress.com/2011/10 ... of-prints/

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so also the makerbot replaicator need two files ?...

Makerbot, BfB, everything else at this moment. If they use STL files, they will need one file per printhead. They convert it into 1 g-code file for the printer. But if you design an object with multiple colors, you need to have multiple files (one for every color).

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