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JohnK

Print cores

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Having just ordered a UM3 to sit along side my UM2+, I'm very curious about the new hot ends or "print cores".

Does anyone have any details about them, like whether they incorporate a TFM coupler similar to the UM2+ or is it a completely different design. Also what kind of lifespan are we looking at before needing to replace them etc..

Thanks!!

Edited by Guest

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Basically it is a completly new design. It does incorporate a TFM sleeve, but it is isolated with a stainless heat break, so it is kept at much lower temperature (<100C) and should not degrade like the PTFE/TFM coupler on the UM2 series.

Lifespan... i would guess that we are talking about a pretty long time.

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It's a different design.

There is TFM in there. But it's enclosed, you cannot see it. It's inside the cooling ribs. It's a really really cool design that makes sure the FTM isn't getting to hot, while it makes sure that PLA is not getting too cold at certain locations so that it locks up. (even during retractions)

The rest is just a shell, the heater+PT100 in a heater block, an EEPROM, a locking mechanism and a light guide.

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Thermistors has never been used in Ultimaker printers, UMO used thermocouples and UM2/3 uses PT100 sensors, i would guess that the sensors are good for probably 400C, so higher temperature Print Cores (all metal made especially for some high-temp and not compatible with PLA etc) might very well be possible in the future.

From what i have seen, i would actually guess that the default Print Core can take quite a bit more than 280C without problems and that 280C is not operating it at its technical limits, even if 300+ probably would mean a reduced lifespan.

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Official max operating temperature is 280. However, the cores go up to 350C.

We haven't done enough testing hours on those temperature to guarantee that nothing will degrade too fast. And we know for a fact that the silicone insulator at the bottom cannot handle these temperature and will get brittle and break.

However, if you are feeling experimental, you can go up higher then ever before.

(Going beyond 280C kinda voids your warranty on the cores/print head I guess)

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Not sure about specifically having print cores for higher temps, that would also rely on which materials become available etc. But the concept is build upon being modular and having the option to have different print cores for different materials. (when they need a specific design. For example, the current AA / build print core is suited for a range of materials like ABS, PLA, Nylon and CPE).

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Since we are speaking of the cores. What is the plan for additional nozzle sizes? Also, are there any recommended best practices around core management such as material segregation? This could get expensive at 95 quid a pop! Finally, are the cores maintainable (either end user or via service) as they are above the price point for a consumable (at least in this man cave)?

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The only size I know "for sure" (don't hold anyone to it, nothing official has been said yet AFAIK) is a 0.8 core in Q1 2017. I know that they want to make more sizes, but when that will happen is unknown at the moment. With the UM3 "ecosystem" it's not just a matter of releasing a core with a bigger hole at the end of it. They also need to make sure they have complete and well tested profiles for each material ready. This takes a lot of time to do.

People that have had access to the machine early have tested several different materials in the same AA core without issue. PLA, Nylon, PC, it has all worked in the same core without issues. The exception is PVA which has to be printed with the BB core. The printer comes with two AA cores so I would probably do a "low" temp material and a "high" temp material split to keep things simple.

Officially they are not user serviceable but that hasn't stopped anyone in the past, right? :)

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I've thrown a multitude of materials through my core, from NGEN to XT to PLA back to XT, back to PLA again.. without a real " nozzle flush" and definately without a cold pull.. all with excellent results..

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The only size I know "for sure" (don't hold anyone to it, nothing official has been said yet AFAIK) is a 0.8 core in Q1 2017. I know that they want to make more sizes, but when that will happen is unknown at the moment. With the UM3 "ecosystem" it's not just a matter of releasing a core with a bigger hole at the end of it. They also need to make sure they have complete and well tested profiles for each material ready. This takes a lot of time to do.

 

This is in the planning phase, so don't expect anything until it is officially announced. The plan could still change, priorities could change. Could be moved backward in tine for example.

I don't think we will make smaller BB PrintCores. Due to the risk of clogging and ruining the PrintCore with PVA.

(Personally, I cannot wait for a AA 0.25 PrintCore. I love printing small&tiny)

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REMOVING EVEN JUST THE FIRST SCREW THAT HOLDS THE TEMP SENSOR IN PLACE CAN EASILY DESTROY YOUR CORE.

If you don't understand why, don't try it! Even UM employees have broken many of these - even when being careful!

5a3322fd7ac21_2016-10-2010_10_58.thumb.jpg.73230a385d3ce4e540e2e734be7301f6.jpg

If you don't understand why, don't try it! Even UM employees have broken many of these - even when being careful!

The "neck" of the core is the same thickness of two sheets of paper.

5a3322fd7ac21_2016-10-2010_10_58.thumb.jpg.73230a385d3ce4e540e2e734be7301f6.jpg

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Mine is not yet damaged :)

The part that is incredibly delicate is the part wth that thin neck in the top center with the long threads on one end and the hex head on the other.

Anyway - to answer the question, yes there is some TFM style expensive teflon in there as you can see near the spring.  As Daid said it goes inside the aluminum part with fins.  Actually it goes in the threaded steel part (top center in picture) that then goes in the aluminum part. As someone else mentioned it shouldn't get above 100C with the nozzle at 250C.  Even if it does get soft there is no significant pressure on it like there is on the UM2.  So it should last "forever" unless you start printing at 350C.

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As Daid said it goes inside the aluminum part with fins.  Actually it goes in the threaded steel part (top center in picture) that then goes in the aluminum part.

 

So it goes into the part with fins by proxy ;-)

Also, the black casing which holds everything is the most complex injection molded part that we have. I know quite a bit about mechanics these days and production technologies, and this part just keeps me amazed.

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Thanks for the pic @gr5 , it's always nice to see parts broken down into their individual components.

It's also going to be nice to print materials that require hotter temps than PLA without worrying too much about having to replace components like a TFM coupler. Although, saying that, ever since doing the "plus" upgrade on my UM2, it's been quite a while and I'm yet to have to replace the TFM.

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Any word on a release date for the harden print core(for metal filament printing)?

 

Honnestly I'm not sure that's really better than brass nozzles. Yes it's harder but it also means to heat up more and have a less good temperature difusion in the head (so for the melting too). Plus it also means that you use a nozzle longer even if you now the diameter is getting worst print after print... That doesn't sound logic to me if you search to be as much as precise as you can

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Any word on a release date for the harden print core(for metal filament printing)?

 

No word. We are only starting to plan extra PrintCores right now.

(I don't think we even have hardened prototypes right now)

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Finally, are the cores maintainable (either end user or via service) as they are above the price point for a consumable (at least in this man cave)?

 

The only maintenance currently addresses is cleaning the BB Core.

https://ultimaker.com/en/resources/23132-maintaining-the-bb-print-core

I can echo the using every material not needing an atomic pull. I was surprised. Some folks are still doing it out of routine maintenance.

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Poly Carbonate and .8 nozzle would make me a very happy person.  I imagine you are looking to release an advanced printer kit, door, etc. before or around the same time as your Poly Carbonate profiles come out?

 

I know for a fact that PC prints on the UM3 are already looking great. So expect wonderful things there, the higher nozzle temperature really helps. So that part is in the works.

I think (but don't know for sure) we will release those profiles before the advanced printing kit. The new head of the UM3 sticks out of the front a bit when the head is all the way at the front, making the door a bit more complex to develop.

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As we roll towards the new year is there any news on the addition of different print cores? I have heard the .8 is on deck for early in the year (just gossip) and while I would buy one the .25 is what i really want.

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