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US source for spare parts?

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I recently purchased a used ultimaker and am going through the process of upgrading parts. I've printed Bertho's feeder upgrade on my other printer and would like to upgrade the knurled bolt to V3 (presently at V2).

Does anyone know if anyone is reselling ultimaker spare parts in the US so I can keep the shipping to a more reasonable level for the 1 piece?

If nobody is already doing this, I'd be up for placing a decent size order and keeping them on hand for when others run into a similar situation.

-Matt

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There were a few more posts against this on the other forum. I wonder why the thread came over but the response hasn't.

Probably like many others, I'm actually trying to start a small business out of this 3D printing stuff and am just exploring options. I had a minor panic attack about having invested too much money into this without having really made any yet, but I got a few orders so panic attack is over and I'm going to return to this parts supplier idea.

Bill, do you have any suggestions on parts that I should carry?

I'm probably going to place a very small order this week. Probably my needs (V3 bolt, maybe an ulticontroller) and a few other things just to test the waters.

RBC1225 had suggested the aluminum plate, V2 hot end, and knurled bolt.

 

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There's definitely some opportunity for arbitrage on the shipping costs for the small parts (my latest horror story - I ordered some nozzles last week, and got hit with a 13.50 euro shipping charge for an envelope that had 1.90 Euros of postage on it, and took 10 days to get out of the door.) But my understanding is that UM isn't interested in having a US distributor of kits or even spare parts at this time; it seems like a bit of an uphill battle, unfortunately.

 

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First of all, the scope is NYC, supporting the local community, within reach of a subway/bus ticket. second, I don't have many parts, and I need to have a sitdown chat with UM first to find out if a project like this is eating significantly into their sales, or if it is neutral. third, i have to see how much work it is... I just stamped a new company off the ground (happily printing and selling, to a point where I don't want to engage in much UM tinkering since my printer is working 24/7), and shipping those small parts costs time, compared to local users, who can just swing by and pick it up.

so far, the experience has been a mixed one: sharing parts and ideas with cal and alexander was wonderful, and led to some improvements that you see today at UM. but I helped out with some bowden to another user, and never heard back, no thanks, no money, and some other cases like this, which makes me reluctant to do something like this, because running after non-paying customers for $5-$20 is silly, and they basically spoil it for everyone else.

 

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@PrintedSolid

I'd be interested in having an extra set of parts for the entire hot end assembly. That includes nozzle, aluminum block, brass tube, Peek, and a couple extra of the white nylon pieces. An extra knurled shaft is probably a good idea, too. Those are the parts I see people replacing the most.

I'm wondering how you'll be able to make this work, though. Are you going to find cheaper suppliers for those parts? Perhaps have them made locally? Or are you ordering from Ultimaker? If you're ordering from Ultimaker, you'll still have to pay crazy shipping fees for what you order, so how will you make money if you don't pass those shipping fees on to those of us buying from you? Are you hoping UM will cut you a deal on buying the parts in bulk? If they do, you could even open a storefront on eBay and make a lot more money from other UM owners in the U.S. Unfortunately, I think they're having trouble making enough parts to keep up with their own sales, so getting bulk parts might be a problem.

 

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I think the idea is that he could "split" the shipping costs. Shipping parts from UM to the US costs $30?. As multiple small parts won't increase the shipping price, it's cheaper to order 30 nozzles at once, pay shipping once and then re-sell those nozzles in the US for cheap postal shipping.

Also, some parts (like nozzles) have discounts if you buy multiple, which is another way to 'turn a profit' from this.

 

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Exactly what Daid said. No deal from UM. I think Bill's assessment is correct in that they are just barely keeping up with demand and not looking for formal distributors. I may look into sourcing some of the off the shelf type parts on my own. I'm not looking into doing this as a huge profit generator. Mostly just a way that I can help the community and maybe cover some of the shipping costs for parts that I buy.

If I can order for example 20 different parts and pay the $50 or so shipping, I then ship them (or preferably do like Joergen said and deal local in the Philly-Baltimore region) USPS ground + a few dollars for my effort and everybody gets ahead. Faster delivery and lower total cost (to you) and a small profit plus the experience of trying out something like this for me.

Bill, you're about 1 day late! I also misunderstood Joergen's initial response and thought he was intending to serve as an overall US spare parts warehouse (although NYC alone does cover a pretty significant percentage of the population) so I went ahead and placed an order for only the part I needed (hobbed bolt V3). I'll also see if I can work up some prices including shipping to make sure its really worth it.

Assuming that looks good, I'll contact UM to see if I can expand my initial order.

 

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Ran some numbers assuming an initial order of about $1000 (with a big chunk of that being 3 ulticontrollers) at Ultimaker full prices and a 10% profit on my end (factoring in shipping), here's what I come up with as prices (not including shipping) I would charge.

bolt v3 $ 24.38

bowden $ 15.24

nozzle $ 19.05

teflon insulator $ 18.29

brass tube $ 22.86

belts $ 27.43

V2 upgrade $ 86.10

peek insulator $ 21.34

aluminum plate $ 18.29

Ulticontroller $ 121.92

I guess that determining whether its worth it boils down to what people would choose for shipping. For people who would choose the DHL, it would be a win-win. For people who would choose the Post NL its close to a wash.

Bill, for the parts you want, you'd be better off off just buying a full V2 upgrade and the bolt. From me, that would be about $116 with USPS shipping. If you order it from Ultimaker it would be a hair cheaper at $111.5 with the Post NL, but quite a bit cheaper if you wanted it shipped DHL. Of course, since I can get parts to you in 2-3 days, you could just hold off on ordering anything and order exactly what you need when you need it.

Any interest in this from any US Ultimakers? Not asking for anyone to actually place an order, just trying to gauge potential interest so I don't throw $1000 over to Ultimaker just to have a bunch of parts sitting in my basement!

 

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Great to see this thread continuing on a little bit. I'd actually really like to do this, but am lukewarm on the potential of being stuck with a bunch of parts that I can's resell, so if anyone reads this and is interested, please respond or send me a PM.

I imagine I would handle returns similar to typical online sellers.

-wrong parts: If I ship the wrong part, I would pay for the return shipping. I would have to inspect all orders I receive from Ultimaker prior to shipping to ensure all parts are present and correct.

-unwanted parts: Return accepted within XX days, customer pays return shipping.

-service parts: I'm not sure what you mean by service parts. Do you mean replacement parts for machines that are under warranty? I don't think I would be involved in any warranty activity unless Ultimaker wants to make this official rather than me buying parts on my own (which would be great).

 

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@printedsolid: correct, those are all concerns that I had when we thought about the idea. I personally would simply stay with the cash-for-part-business-model, and not deal with returns: you bought it, you keep it (unless it was our mistake). but no matter how you look at it, it is not a business model that could sustain anybody, it is, no matter how you look at it, a service to the community, not a business.

 

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@Alexander: I spent the first 5 years of my career as a failure analysis engineer, so I may actually want to take a look at some of those parts to help the community, but, yes definitely a case by case basis for that kind of thing and would probably need a consult from Ultimaker on what to do.

@Joergen: I really do think I'd be OK handling returns for unused and unwanted items where the buyer pays return shipping. I think the fact that people have to pay return shipping is enough to discourage people from placing an order they don't really want. However, if someone wants to eat a $5 shipping fee to avoid being stuck with a $90 V2 upgrade that they decided they would rather stick with the V1 and a fan, I'm willing to take it back.

Totally agreed on your other point. This is primarily a service to the community and not even close to an opportunity for me to quit my day job. Kind of my way of giving back for all of the free advice online forum members give. I also would like to be in a position where in ~3-5 years I am running a local printer sales and service business so this does help me to start taking some steps towards reaching that goal.

 

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