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jonatanrullman

Some questions from a new U2 owner

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Hi everyone,

I have just come home with my "new" Ultimaker 2 Extended. It's actually not new, it's a store demo that I got for about 2/3 of the retail price of a 2+ Extended. A fair deal I felt.

I have spent the last week and a half trying to read up on a few subjects but I have found a bit too much conflicting information to be able to make the right choice.

I should point out that this is not my first 3D printer. I have had a much cheaper one for 3 years as well as currently being in the process of heavily modifying a i3 I bought cheap. I did however want a printer I could just rely on to work, at least for now, so I decided to go with the Ultimaker. Because, you know, it's an Ultimaker.

The first question is one about my specific machine. Specifically what you think about the runtime stats. I know that these machines are really built to last and will do so. An acquaintance have one of the originals that I believe he bought when it was fairly new and it is still his primary workhorse. Although I don't know to what extent he has modified it.

The stats in my printer says that is has been on for 1776:51 and printed for 706:42 with 517m of material. I assume that his is hours and minutes, which seems to tally with it being a demo machine. It has been on and running for extensive periods and printed far less. 517m of material doesn't sound too much to me, that would be about 5kg or so of PLA, right? What do you think about these numbers, should I be paying attention to anything specific that might be in need of maintenance or replacing?

The second question is about the feeder. I understand that the feeder is one of the major points on the 2+ as the old one had a bit of trouble with overheating and not being able to feed material properly at all times.

I am not too sure about buying the upgrade kit. For one it is incredibly expensive and second I have not yet decided if I want to give dual extrusion a shot in the future. I do however want to replace the feeder sooner rather than later so I'm thinking that I could replace it now while leaving the door open to convert it to a 2+ or perhaps a dual E3D in the future by just adding the extra parts. I won't be needing the simplicity of the real upgrade kit, so as long as the critical parts can be acquired individually I can sort it out later on.

Anyway, to get to the actual question. I believe that a genuine 2+ feeder can be bought from a number of retailers. There is also the E3D titan which seems a bit flimsy to me.

Are there any other good options that I should look at and does anyone have any helpful suggestions? Looking at videos and reading around there seem to be a lot of different opinions on this so I have a bit of trouble making heads or tails of it.

Cheers

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Belts, motors, electronics, etc. should all still be in excellent shape.

Regarding the specific runtime stats, do you know if the PTFE coupler was ever replaced?

Depending on the materials you're working with, PTFE coupler replacement was usually recommended around 500-700 hours or so. The new TFM couplers last longer and are a more durable material, so if you see extrusion issues, that would be the first place I'd look at. Here's a photo of 1 good coupler and 2 bad ones; you can identify couplers that are wearing out by the presence of a lip, having a visibly widened out end near the heat, and discoloration (severe discoloration is most common if higher temp filament have been run).

IMG_3742.thumb.jpg.1c2aeb4b1171b3b06ab3018c1e7fdd30.jpg

I'm a fan of the Ultimaker 2, and still have one I run at home that I haven't put the upgrade kit on. I think as long as you're not asking too much of the feeder, it works well. If you're going to push it to higher speeds/more volumetric extrusion, you need to increase the temperature to compensate. I often run mine at 225-230, which is hotter than I usually run a UM2+ or a UM3 with the geared feeder. The UM2 feeder is designed to skip back if it can't meet what you're asking for in terms of extrusion, to try to avoid grinding down, so if you ask more than it can handle volumetrically, then you'll see under extrusion.

IMG_3742.thumb.jpg.1c2aeb4b1171b3b06ab3018c1e7fdd30.jpg

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You mentioned upgrading the feeder. If I were in your place, I'd give some serious consideration to the extrusion upgrade kit, getting your printer modified to the plus version. I know it's a serious bit of cash compared to the machine itself, but I'd do it in a heartbeat myself. The first printer I bought was a UM2. Time went by, I decided this 3D printing business was pretty damn handy, and bought myself a second printer which was a UM2+. I didn't own that for more than a week before I'd bought the upgrade kit for the UM2. The UM2+ feeder is just better by an order of magnitude. They don't even compare. Then add to that the ability to swap nozzles in mere moments. If I'd known how much more awesome the + version is, I'd have done it right from the start.

Just my opinion, of course.

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Thanks.

Yes, the PTFE coupler would probably be a good thing to replace. Or at least buy one to have at hand.

I have not had trouble with the extruder at this point, only having done a few prints. But from the comments it sounds like it is not a bad idea to do something about it to avoid trouble that may or may not arise.

Doing a bit more research yesterday I think that I will give Medusa's belt driven "gearbox" a try with the original feeder. It's very cheap to build so I might as well just try it out and if it works then I can put the money towards other improvements. And if it doesn't work then I have only wasted €5 or so.

Problem with the extrusion upgrade kit is the price and what you get for it. It seems to me like you pay about €200 for the convenience. Perhaps a bit more. Which is fine if you like convenience of course.

After a bit more research yesterday and today I am however pretty sure that I will do my own version of the upgrade kit because it does look like a nice set. I just think I can do it for about €150 instead of €500.

Cheers

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Problem with the extrusion upgrade kit is the price and what you get for it. It seems to me like you pay about €200 for the convenience. Perhaps a bit more. Which is fine if you like convenience of course.

 

A valid point, it is rather expensive. And the various feeder designs out there can certainly do wonders to improve the printer's reliability, there's no doubt about that. The feeder mechanism is definitely my main gripe with the UM2. Especially if you're trying to print something brittle (anyone tried bamboofill on a stock UM2? Dear lord, take me now).

Whether or not the extrusion upgrade kit is worth the money, I suppose is a matter of opinion. I will say that the geared feeder and the Olsson block are two things I can't do without on my printers. The geared feeder because it probably cut the total number of failed prints by two thirds for me. The Olsson block because of ease of operation and maintenance. Need speed? Huge nozzle goes in. Need detail? Tiny nozzle goes in. Clogged nozzle? Replace it in 60 seconds. I think I might have to make a shrine to mr. Olsson someday.

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Hi there.

Just my $0.02 here but, I agree with everything @SyntaxTerror said. But in the days before the 2+ was out, changing to the IRobertI feeder was a big improvement.

If you are hesitant about the 2+ upgrade kit, nothing says you have to buy it now. You can play with what you have and see how it goes before making the commitment.

If you decide to go that way, then I really recommend printing out the IRobertI feeder and changing to that. With that and the tension dialed in correctly, I almost never had any grinding. Well, that combined with IRobertI's low-friction spool holder, which I still use even on the 2+!

In fact, when I first got my 2+ kit I was wondering what the big deal was because Robert's feeder was so good. That said, now that I have the 2+ upgrade, I would never go back. It is just all better and none worse.

But you can get there at your own pace. You can play with the older solutions and learn your printer, then you can move up once you discover for yourself why we all keep banging on about the upgrade. :)

Lastly, I will say that I seem to recall that when the 2+ upgrade kit came out, there was discussion about the price and whether one could get the parts separately at a better price. I think the conclusion was that you could not do better than the kit price if you stick with OEM parts. Getting everything separate would cost more. But, there is nothing stopping you from looking up all the parts, and asking your local reseller how much for the lot. Then compare for yourself. :)

Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck. And I hope you have a lot of fun with your new toy. :D

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I agree that the upgrade kit does look sweet. The 2+ changes seem really nice all in all. I still think you could probably do it cheaper if you want, even with oem. I might point out that I'm not so stupid that I will buy a €2100 (for my demo unit) printer and then put some third rate chinese junk in it to save €5. I will buy proper stuff where appropriate. :-)

I have had a look at the roberts feeder earlier tonight and it looks nice. I will print it out and give it a try together with medusa's belt drive gearbox. Might work and it will cost me about €10 in parts to find out. If it works well then that is €100 saved compared to the 2+ feeder right away.

I have already printed Zetoff's new fan since it had some good reviews.

I would love to get my hands on the new bed clamps from the 2+ but I can't seem to find them anywhere. Might have to ask a retailer if they can get them as spare parts or something.

As for the Olsson block. A few minutes ago that took a rather fortunate turn when I happened to look at the printer from a lower angle. Hadn't done that before but I noticed a few odd details. Long story short, my printer already has an Olsson block. Can't tell you if it a 2+ one or the original thing though. It looks exactly like the original version and the one that was sold/given away by Ultimaker. Does anyone know if the 2+ block is identical to those or where there any changes that I can look for?

Didn't get any extra nozzles though so I will have to buy some. The original took E3D nozzles. Does the ones that Ultimaker produced do to?

Cheers

Edited by Guest

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Well that's a nice surprise for you! Now you won't have to find out how annoying a nozzle change was on the original head. Something that used to be a pretty big evolution is now a one minute job.

I'm not aware of any difference between Olsson blocks. I must admit I haven't looked for any either, so. At any rate they should all be compatible with both 3dsolex and E3D nozzles, so you can just take your pick.

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Just a note on the Zetoff fan shroud: It is indeed a good one, and using a bit of tin can for a heat break is very fun. :) But the Labern fan shroud is considered better and as I have both, I think I agree. Though, I have not put my anemometer to the Zetoff one, so I do not have data to back that up. It is more of a pre-airflow-analysis vs post-airflow-analysis thing, as I seem to recall. I could be wrong there though.

Heck, Labern's is even slightly better than the 2+ metal shroud in terms both of airflow and flow location. Looks like Labern even includes a spring-replacement space now too. :)

Anyway, hope it helps. :)

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Yes. It was very pleasant. Especially since the company I bought it from weren't the best I've ever encountered. After I had called them twice to find out what was happening to my order they finally, five working days after I placed the order, realised that they didn't have a box to ship it in and had to send one up from their main warehouse. One would have thought that they should have known that without me badgering them.

But it finally (after 11 days) arrived in good working order and since it happened to come with a free €100 upgrade I hadn't counted on I guess I can't complain too much. :-)

3dsolex RSB nozzles are a bit more expensive than the E3D ones. I can get the four main sizes of RSB or the complete 6 nozzle range from E3D for just about the same money. I will most likely order the TF2K kit from 3D solex and some other stuff from the E3D supplier anyway so shipping will probably work out about the same as well.

gr5 seems to suggest that the RSB nozzles are superior but I can't find much else on it when I google.

Anyone else have a preference?

Cheers

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The Olson block comes with RSB nozzles. My understanding, and I could be misremembering here, is that the RSBs (i.e. normal UM2+ nozzles) have a different and superior internal geometry that makes them better. Not sure if it is better heating or better flow or what, maybe both. But better is the claim. :) I.e. not just cosmetically different. I have no experience with E3D stuff though.

Then there are the Matchless nozzles that are in a whole different league, apparently. I have not gone that route yet. :D

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Heck, Labern's is even slightly better than the 2+ metal shroud in terms both of airflow and flow location.  Looks like Labern even includes a spring-replacement space now too. :)

 

I think that the Zetoff fan is, rather ironically, a bit too good actually. I have done some pretty long prints the last few days and had no trouble. But after I installed the new fan shroud tonight the printer failed with heater error soon after the second layer started. I could see the temperature drop from 220 to just above 210 when the fans came on and then it struggled a bit up and down before it fell below 210 and gave the error.

My nozzle protrudes quite a bit from the fan shroud so perhaps it isn't meant for olsson blocks.

I dialed the fans back quite a bit in Cura, from 100% regular and maximum to 35% regular and 70% maximum and the temperature still dropped to about 216 when the fans came on but got back to 220 pretty fast and now it seems to work. Not sure if the fan speed is enough to produce good prints though.

Noticed that the Labern shroud has a special version for I2K modded printers. Since I'm thinking of doing just that I could try and print that and do the mod which would hopefully align the shroud a bit better with the nozzle.

Cheers

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I seem to always manage to write a reply and post it just after someone else has replied..

Might be better to go the RSB or even matchless route then. Slightly more expensive but apparently some people with a lot more experience than me (like gr5 and the ultimaker team) has deemed them better than E3D ones. Or perhaps they are just cheaper. :-)

Like I said, I'm not about to spend €2100 on a printer and then skimp on quality for the small stuff. Might as well buy the 4 nozzle set as the 6 nozzle set (two of which I may not ever use) and be sure that I did not risk getting the worse one.

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Hello Jonatan,

I see you are from Sweden, so this is also interesting to check:

Bondtech UM2 QR extruder upgrade kit

I've just upgraded my UM2 with this extruder and the performance are much better.

(still playing with some settings like Speed and Temp, but until now no more under-extrusion)

A year ago I've swapped the default UM2 block with a "Olsson Block" and using my Fan Ducking to give it better cooling results.

UltiMaker2 3DSolex Olsson Block Fan Holder V2

Olsson block kit

The Olsson Block can handle a higher temp (300 degrees).

I still need to play with this, to make sure all other parts can handle these temps to :)

Like the PTFE coupler:

http://3dsolex.com/product/ptfe-coupler-um2/

http://3dsolex.com/product/i2k/

A other suggestion is to start using this firmware:

https://github.com/TinkerGnome/Ultimaker2Marlin/releases

It's has some nice extra futures :)

I hope this info is helpful for you.

Regards,

Marten

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I do remember turning down the fans sometimes with the Zetoff, now that you mention it. ... For that matter, I have not ever needed to do that with Labern's. But now that I am looking at it again, I remember why.

The problem with the Zetoff, is that the heater block gets hit with the air from the fans as it bounces off the bed/print. The newer shrouds, including Labern's, cover the heater to prevent that.

As I recall, the back flow of air, besides just causing cooling errors, actually makes the heater/PID algorithm work harder and can leads to worse surface finishes and/or weaker layer bonding. ... If memory serves.

As for the I2K, it is not worth it unless you are going to try to print polycarbonate or maybe PEEK. But I am pretty sure UM2 cannot print PEEK. And even then, you cannot really take advantage of higher temps without custom firmware. Search for TinkerGnome if you want to go that route.

Also, the newer polycarbonates have been formulated for lower temperatures, so the higher temps are not really needed anymore. Plus, polycarb is (or at least was) an unholy b**ch to print, so save that for later, I suggest. :D

If you get the TFM coupler from Ultimaker or the TF2K from 3DSolex you will not need to really worry about using the I2K to save your coupler. :)

That is my opinion anyway, for whatever it is worth. :)

Anyway, hope all this helps. Seems we are both awake at the same time. :p

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The problem with the Zetoff, is that the heater block gets hit with the air from the fans as it bounces off the bed/print.  The newer shrouds, including Labern's, cover the heater to prevent that.

That is an interesting point. I shall definitely print out the Labern shroud just as soon as I have decided upon the tfm vs i2k situation.

 

As for the I2K, it is not worth it unless you are going to try to print polycarbonate or maybe PEEK. But I am pretty sure UM2 cannot print PEEK.  And even then, you cannot really take advantage of higher temps without custom firmware.  Search for TinkerGnome if you want to go that route.

[...]

If you get the TFM coupler from Ultimaker or the TF2K from 3DSolex you will not need to really worry about using the I2K to save your coupler. :)

Not planning to print those sorts of materials all the time. Although I would like to get nylon working. And I will probably do quite a bit of ABS as soon as possible. Not sure if the I2K helps out at those temperatures.

I was, based purely on the sales pitch, under the impression that the I2K increased the longevity even at PLA temperatures. But perhaps the TFM coupler is the better alternative then?

I do have another problem that someone perhaps can shine a light on. Can't figure out what to search for to find a good answer to it. The absolute top of the list problem I have with the printer is that every single filament insertion requires me to unscrew the four screws and manually insert the filament into the PTFE coupler. It seems that the filament will first catch on the top of the coupler and then on a small ledge inside it. Is that normal, or am i doing something wrong, or is my ptfe coupler just complete crap?

 

Anyway, hope all this helps.  Seems we are both awake at the same time. :p

That is probably because I am up very, very late and you live about -8 hours from me or so. :-D

Cheers

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Okay, so I2K might help with the longevity of the couplers, but I do not think it is such a big deal with the TFM version. I would guess the same of the TF2K version too. The older printers came with a PTFE coupler, that wore out from high temps. The I2K would probably help there. But if you replace the PTFE version with the newer TFM version (or if you have TFM already), then I would suggest the I2K is superfluous, unless you really want to buy one anyway. :)

That said, remember that even with the newer couplers, they are considered consumables. And you are expected to replace them when they get crappy. It is just that the newer ones last longer.

ABS and Nylon work just fine without modifications to head or firmware. The printer can go to 260C and that is plenty for those (and for just about everything else too). The challenge with ABS and Nylon is bed warping, not high temperatures. But it is doable with some perseverance.

The stock printer, as is, is excellent, and in fact does not *need* much/any modifications to get great results with lots of different materials. It is only the extreme cases that would call for modding.

Except for the stock old feeder. That needs changing. :)

So, do not feel like you have to run out and spend a bunch of money to get your printer rocking. It is already a top-of-line kick-butt machine. But feel free to hot rod it to your hearts desire if that is what you want of course. :D

As for the filament jamming int head when loading it, that is definitely not normal. I would a) make sure the bowden is fully inserted in the head, then put the clip on, then push some more, just to make sure it is all the way in. Wiggle it a bit if you need to. b) if it is still sticking, then pull the head apart and check your PTFE/TFM/whatever you have coupler is see if it is deformed or burned. If so, it needs replacing. c) if it still has issues loading filament, then ask on the forums because I am out of ideas. :)

Hope this helps. Good luck! :)

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Thanks.

Yes, i know they are consumables.

It is an incredible printer out of the box. Even my demo unit prints just beutifully straight away. I'm really, really happy with it and at this moment, sort of high on the experience, I can't imagine why I would ever buy anything but Ultimaker ever again.

I did some thinking yesterday and I have ordered some bits and pieces to fix the printer.

I ordered the TF2K bundle so that I got the I2K and a new ptfe coupler. It was nearly twice the price of the TFM coupler but if it makes the couplers last longer it might be worth it in the long run.

I also ordered 0.25, 0.4 and 0.8mm RSB nozzles for the olsson block, socket wrech, some maintenance stuff and all the parts needed for the Medusa belt drive gearbox. Total cost about €85. Feels like that was a pretty reasonable amount to spend on modifications and improvements.

 

As for the filament jamming int head when loading it, that is definitely not normal.  I would a) make sure the bowden is fully inserted in the head, then put the clip on, then push some more, just to make sure it is all the way in.  Wiggle it a bit if you need to. b) if it is still sticking, then pull the head apart and check your PTFE/TFM/whatever you have coupler is see if it is deformed or burned.  If so, it needs replacing.  c) if it still has issues loading filament, then ask on the forums because I am out of ideas. :)

 

I hadn't thought of the bowden tube not being properly inserted. And a new coupler is on its way. So I will check and replace and then make a separate thread about that issue if it persists.

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I'm not aware of any difference between Olsson blocks.

 

There is actually one, the early blocks had the heater cartridge on the side towards to the fan shroud so it had very little spacing between the block and shroud, the later ones that also were included in the 2+ are mirrored so the heater cartridge does sit further from the fan shroud.

 

and all the parts needed for the Medusa belt drive gearbox.

 

It is Meduza with Z ;) Please report how it works for you :-)

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There is actually one, the early blocks had the heater cartridge on the side towards to the fan shroud so it had very little spacing between the block and shroud, the later ones that also were included in the 2+ are mirrored so the heater cartridge does sit further from the fan shroud.

 

Not sure what you mean by that since there is fan shroud from both sides. But I see that some pictures has the heater cartridge to the left and some to the right. Guess is doesn't make too much difference.

 

It is Meduza with Z ;)Please report how it works for you :-)

 

Sorry.

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There is actually one, the early blocks had the heater cartridge on the side towards to the fan shroud so it had very little spacing between the block and shroud, the later ones that also were included in the 2+ are mirrored so the heater cartridge does sit further from the fan shroud.

 

Not sure what you mean by that since there is fan shroud from both sides. But I see that some pictures has the heater cartridge to the left and some to the right. Guess is doesn't make too much difference.

 

It is Meduza with Z ;)Please report how it works for you :-)

 

Sorry.

 

There have been a couple of versions of the UM2 fan shroud over the course of the UM2/UM2X/UM2Go. At one point there was fan shroud flap on the back of the fan shroud (making it easy to see the heater and temp sensor). At another point, a flap was added to the back.

The UM2+ fan shroud does not have a flap at the back.

If the rear flap is present, and in the way, you can bend it out a little, or snip it off.

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I'm not aware of any difference between Olsson blocks.

 

There is actually one, the early blocks had the heater cartridge on the side towards to the fan shroud so it had very little spacing between the block and shroud, the later ones that also were included in the 2+ are mirrored so the heater cartridge does sit further from the fan shroud.

 

I stand corrected then. Thanks for pointing that out!

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There have been a couple of versions of the UM2 fan shroud over the course of the UM2/UM2X/UM2Go. At one point there was fan shroud flap on the back of the fan shroud (making it easy to see the heater and temp sensor). At another point, a flap was added to the back.

The UM2+ fan shroud does not have a flap at the back.

If the rear flap is present, and in the way, you can bend it out a little, or snip it off.

Ah, I see. There is a small flap on the original fan cover it seems. Or perhaps it is something else. It obviously did not interfere with the block though. I am running the Zetoff shroud since friday and will be switching to Labern as soon as my ny ptfe coupler has arrived so I guess it isn't very important exactly which version of the block it is.

Thanks

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