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Prusa i3 MK2(s) vs. Ultimaker II+ or Ultimaker 3

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Hi everybody

I started my journey through the vally of filament last week with a Prusa i3 MK2 kit. Honestly... the quality is great but it's a kit... I don't have time to change PEI foils because the nozzle got rammed into the bed during calibration, adjusting and re-tightening screws every 2 days and other ugly things etc...

I want to have 3D prints as easy and reliable as it gets. So the question is: Is Ultimaker more the product I should go with?

One thing that's worring me is printing time. If I load the same model into Cura and into Simplify3D and compare the printing times it seems to me the Prusa is much faster with the same quality settings.

Another issue is printing with PVA... would be sooo cool but if printing time doubles and more it looses its attraction to me...

Ah and one other question... if I go for an UM can I use my existing 1.75mm filament?

To UM or not to UM that's the question ;) Any recommendations from the pros here?

Greetings

John

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I own a Original Prusa i3 MK2 and an Ultimaker 2+. With respect of the print quality of the final print, there isn't much difference. Considering the kit is 750,00 Euros vs. the 2.150,00 Euros for a UM2+, this is quite remarkable. If you're on a tight budget and do not mind getting your hands dirty, go for the Prusa. Get 2 even.

You mention speed, my UM2+ is way faster than the Prusa, I've never done anything to try and tweak the Prusa, it is basically using all defaults, so this might not be a fair comparison - but then again, I never changed defaults on my UM2+ either. I use Simplify3D for both them, as I neither like Slic3R nor Cura. (Perhaps I could start tweaking acceleration / motion settings on both, but quite honestly, I don't care enough)

Why I prefer the UM2+ over the Prusa?

Well, lets put it this way: I spent hours fidgeting with the Prusa getting the frame straight in the first place. That's what you expect when buying a kit. I didn't expect the following. In the 5 months I owned my Prusa, this is in short what I've run into:

- I had to stop printing during the night and at dinner time because this thing made one hell of noise (despite sitting in the basement) and my wife wasn't best pleased.

- I kept going back securing nuts with LocTite cause I got tired of re-tightening them (i think they came lose with the vibration introduced with crappy failing bearings).

- Redo the wire harness because it was dragging across the bed or catching on the electronics box

- In the end I had to replace all bearings and rods on the MK2 (supposedly, Prusa switched to better quality bearings and proper rods with the MK2S - time will tell)

- both fans failed, one because of a broken bearing, the other one with a broken wire somewhere down the wire harness - the constant bending and moving seems to eat wires alive. There will be more failures, I am certain.

- I still have unresolved issues with the Feeder, it doesn't load/unload filament properly. The brass hobbed bolt is already showing signs of wear, the inner parts are quite chewed up. I should replace it it now, but I am still hoping that my Multi-Material upgrade will eventually get delivered before this fails completely.

Contrast this with my UM2+ that I've owned well over a year now:

- when i got my UM2+, i noticed that all pulleys were lose and had to be tightened.

That's it. I guess eventually i will have to replace the PTFE coupler. ATM it is still hanging in nicely.

The frame design of the i3 doesn't feel terribly sturdy. I think it's wobbly even. And I am not sure why this doesn't affect print quality more than it does. Either way, I prefer the semi enclosed UM2+. I added a door and hood for it, done. For the i3 i had to build a full box around it, taking up precious desk space. I could fit 2 UMs in the space where the Prusa is.

I am not sure whats going on with Prusa, but spare parts availability is not great. I bought spare parts, and despite them being as listed "in Stock" when i prepaid for them, it took them 2 weeks to ship them out (4 parts can only be bought from Prusa: Sensor, bed, hobbed bolt & PEI sheets - good luck finding all them in stock at the same time). So, the printer was out cold for 2 weeks in 5 months, plus downtime when the fans failed or swapping the bearings. The main reason why I bought the Prusa was the Multi-Material Upgrade kit. Don't get me started on that one ;-)

Some days it felt like I've been messing with my Prusa more than I was printing with it. My UM2+ just works. If you want a new hobby: "fussing with a 3D printer", get the Prusa, you'll love it, it prints great!. If you want a tool that gets a job done reliably and you do not mind the hefty price tag, get the UM2+.

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This seems like a rather odd question in many ways, as StephanK was on about.

The prusa is about €750, much less for the really cheap clones and still substantially less for the pretty good clones. An UM2+ used is at least €1200, new they are more than €2000. An UM3 clocks in at about €3600. We're not talking apples and oranges here.

Reminds me of The Big Bang Theory. It's a little wrong to call a tomato a vegetable, it's very wrong to call it a suspension bridge.

Sure, both are 3D printers but even if we suppose that an i3 could compete with an Ultimaker, it's still a pretty big price span to look at.

That said, I have seen some really excellent prints coming out of i3 printers. But it does come at a price. Or rather, it doesn't. As you have noticed, an i3s aren't plug and play. They are good but more of a tinkering model, as Stephan noted. And if I may voice an unpopular opinion, the hot end leaves quite a bit to be desired, even if we only focus on print quality.

Now, an Ultimaker on the other hand, is a well honed precision instrument. I found it hard to really understand the difference it made before I got one and sure there are a few bad points too, quite apart from the hefty price tag. Especially if you get en UM2 as I did, the 2+ made things better.

So an Ultimaker will require a slight bit of tinkering as well. And the bowden system instead of direct drive does come with certain drawbacks.

However, there are so many points in favour. I don't have time to list them all but a few:

*I doubt very much that you will be able to get close to the print speeds the UM2 does on a Prusa no matter what simplify tells you.

*The hot swap nozzle feature of the Olsson block is pure gold. I can't do without it anymore, no way.

*It is fairly quiet for a 3D printer.

*It looks great.

*Print quality is ridiculous.

*Cura has predefined profiles, just pick one, do a few minor adjustments and it will work excellent if you don't have time to go into the deep end. Haven't tried Simplify yet but I hear it is great.

To follow Stephans excellent list. This is what I have done to my UM2. Many of these things are upgrades that came with the UM2+ already so keep that in mind.

*Fan was pretty loud so I replaced it with a much quieter.

*Led strip worthless, replaced with new.

*Trimmed the PTFE coupler after a few hundred print hours because of slight deformation.

*Have bought I2K spacer but not mounted yet.

*New fan shroud (Labern)

*Geared feeder (Meduza)

*New extruder and drive gear (IRobertI)

*Leveling feet

*A spacer for screws because they were 3mm too long and interfered with the new fan shroud

*Olsson block (mine came with it actually, but many don't)

*New spool holder

Basically all of these were upgrades I made to make it work even better, some more important than others. Only actual repair I did was the PTFE coupler. But it basically worked wonderfully straight out of the box. Literally. Even though it was second hand.

You won't be able to use 1.75mm filament without some serious modifications. I will do it eventually because my filament supplier tells me he will be phasing out 3mm filament over time and tightly wound coils when spools are almost empty create a bit of trouble. But it will cost about €100-150 or so. Good news is that if you decided to go with a cheaper used UM2 instead of a 2+ and you didn't get the olsson block, that €150 upgrade would also get you that.

To summarise my thinking here. If you have say €1200-2500 lying around and want the best printer that money can give, buy an UM2 or UM2+, used or new depending on availability and preference. If you have €3600 lying around and want something even better, I think it will be hard to beat an UM3, although I would take my time and check out the competition that is in that price range as well. But I doubt there is any serious alternative.

If you feel that the prices above are more than you would actually want to spend on printing, give it some serious thought if you should instead invest the time in getting the Prusa as good as it can be.

Cheers

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Well... I don't even own an Ultimaker but already love one thing: The community. Thank you so much guys for the great help and your time... I'm really grateful and it does help me quite a lot.

I guess I will keep the Prusa to fiddle around a little bit during cold winter nights and probably go for an UM2 Extended+ for serious work...

Greetings and many thanks again

John

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Not a lot I can add to this I think, except one thought I had about the proposed printing times in S3D. It may give you some estimation of how fast a printhead can move around, but you can only know how realistic this is if you have also seen and compared the print quality this generated. Or even if you pushed beyond these estimations to see if it indeed is the limit.

I don't own a prusa so I can't really draw the comparison but obviously I agree with the reliability of Ultimaker. And even more with the kuddo's to this amazing community :D Hopefully you feel welcome here, even when you don't have your Ultimaker 2 Extended+ yet and continue fiddling with your Prusa. :)

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In the hands of the proper person, almost any printer that allows for tweaking can produce excellent prints. Be careful when making judgement on that.

 

Of course. But they're still excellent prints coming out of i3 printers. If you want it is possible. That not everyone will have the knowledge, experience or whatever to make it so is pretty irrelevant to that statement on its own and even more so when taken out of context as in your quote. I think the rest of that paragraph made it clear that getting excellent prints from an i3 comes at the price of tinkering and the not so much price of the initial investment. Which is pretty much the opposite of an UM2 or UM2+.

Cheers

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"To summarise my thinking here. If you have say €1200-2500 lying around and want the best printer that money can give, buy an UM2 or UM2+, used or new depending on availability and preference. If you have €3600 lying around and want something even better, I think it will be hard to beat an UM3, although I would take my time and check out the competition that is in that price range as well. But I doubt there is any serious alternative."

At this point in the technology I don't think price is a fair comparison for printers. In my experience it is not appropriate to say the Prusa i3 is not nearly as good as the UM3 just because it is less expensive.

I currently own a UM3 Extended (>$4,500) and a CEL-Robox (<$1,400 with dual material head) and am considering the Prusa i3 MK2s with Multi-material upgrade (~$1,000). The only advantage the UM3 has is print size and Cura will not even let me use the full print area advertised for the UM3. For most prints the Robox prints better quality with much less hassle than the UM3. This is especially true for ABS, as I get less warp with the Robox. PETG is considered one of the most popular 3D print materials and the UM3 does not even have a print profile for PETG. The Robox has print profiles for all popular materials and many specialty materials. Based on discussions with a friend who owns a Pursa, it also has print profiles for a large variety of materials, including PETG. My Robox is 3 months older than the UM3 but has ~1000 print hours (Based on internal counter for two separate heads). The UM3 has less than 200 print hours because it is too much trouble to set up.

I have spent the last 2 days trying to print a simple flat plate on the UM3, using PETG, and can't get past the first layer. If it were 1 1/2 inches smaller, I could print it on my Robox and be done with it.

In my experience there is no such thing as out-of-the-box printing. If you are not "willing to get your hands dirty", 3D printing might not be for you.

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here are my 2 cents;

to address @traveler218; I've been printing with multiple UM3s for months now, and I have a very different experience.. super smooth prints, all materials "just work" and i've printed about 30 kilos of PETG without any issues.. happy to chat to see why it's not working for you..

those 3 printers have different audiences..

the Prusa I3 is just a great printer for someone that wants to get started with a "do it yourself" 3d printer, learn about the 3d printing process, tinker a little bit, but still get the great support from the company that built it, get future updates, improvements to the printer and overall a good machine. it will require more hands on time, and will be hard to evolve into a "set and forget" kind of printer. the only big drawback that i see is that it does not have any "box" surrounding it, making is susceptible to drafts and will have to work very hard to keep up heat.

great printer, great price, but requires involvement from you.

the Um2+ is the ultimate tinker printer with a combination of work horse for me. great printer, great price, great reliability and almost every mod is out there that you can imagine.. direct drive, floating drive, new heated beds, new heads, whatever you want, it's there.

reliable and working straight out of the box and millions of way to upgrade and change it. it is however completely ready to go so if you want to learn a lot about how a 3d printer works, I'd say the Prusa might be a better choice.. if you want to get a running start into 3d printing an d be able to tinker later on, this is the printer for you.

the UM3 is for me the ultimate work horse. i used to run a bunch of Um2+ printers, i immediately switched them to the UM3.

you basically buy the printer, plug it in, load the filament which is autodetected, load cura, it sets itself up based on your printer and loaded filament and cores, and off you go. maintenance is super easy with the changing of cores, downtime is minimal and the printers are super reliable. no, there is no real tinkering there.. but I've not seen the need for it..

hope that helps :)

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The UM3 has less than 200 print hours because it is too much trouble to set up.

I have spent the last 2 days trying to print a simple flat plate on the UM3, using PETG, and can't get past the first layer. If it were 1 1/2 inches smaller, I could print it on my Robox and be done with it.

In my experience there is no such thing as out-of-the-box printing. If you are not "willing to get your hands dirty", 3D printing might not be for you.

 

Way to necro this post.

I'm not saying the Prusa is bad. It has gotten excellent reviews and the multi material system looks great.

But I still maintain that it isn't in the same class as the Ultimaker 2 (which is the one I have).

I'm not sure what the problem is with your UM3 but I have incredibly little downtime on my two UM2s.

I did a larger print run for a board game accessory some weeks back. Had both my UM2s running simultaneously to produce the seven pieces for each accessory. One printer ran a 0.8mm nozzle to print a 220x160mm large plate in about 1,5 hours for 47 copies. The other printer ran a 0.25mm nozzle to print a set of grids for cubes with numbers in the bottom. It took eleven hours per print and I had to print 12 sets in all.

Out of all those 60 prints totalling almost 200 hours on two printers I didn't have a single clog and the only thing I needed to adjust was the feeder tension after I realised the first 11 hour print had some under extrusion. After that I just removed the pieces, selected print and printed the next one until I had enough. It was a veritable production line.

All in all I had slightly less than 10% failed prints and almost all of the failed prints for the 11 hour job was obviously from the very first one. The big plates obviously mainly failed from warping in the first corner. This was most likely because I couldn't use a skirt but went straight from priming to printing which made the first few cm of the perimeter of that corner a bit under extruded. I also printed straight on glass with hair spray because I wouldn't want to try and remove a 220x160mm plate from something more sticky.

I'd call that reliability and ease of use.

Cheers

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Since this topic is alive again..  and we're almost 6 months later.

I gave up on the Original Prusa MK2(S), it required fussing over it constantly. I gave it the nickname "my czech diva". So I tore it up, rebuilt its frame with 3030 aluminium profiles (google Haribo Mod if interested), swapped the crap bearings and rods, fully enclosed it in an acrylic box). This added another 500,- Euros to the total cost. And now we're starting to see something that i'd call reliable operation. Granted, it always produced great looking prints in the end, but at the same time there was always something that needed readjusting, tightening or redoing.

My UM2+, however, still just prints. Even the Teflon coupler is still hanging in. I oiled the rods 2 months ago and collected some dead flies from the bottom. It started to look a bit odd.

I do wonder why flies love to go in there to croak, but that's an entirely different topic

Edited by Guest
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I have an UM2 and have converted it to 1.75 mm for use with a Palette. It still prints the same quality but can't print quite as fast due to stripping filament. I got the 1.75 mm conversion, a 1.75 mm bowden, and some new nozzles from the link below and am quite pleased with the print quality.

https://thegr5store.com/store/index.php/um2-175.html

Cheers,

Liam

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Speaking of how freaking expensive the Ultimakers are (although I think it's worth it). Does anyone know where I can get a used Um2 + extended or an Um 3 in the U.S.? I checked 3dprinterclassifieds.com but the only one for sale was sold from Indonesia and the seller won't reply to my emails.

@FBRC8-Erin knows. Did you not also have refurbished models?

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This won't make me popular buuut....

For way less money, a Creality CR-10 can do an amazing job.

I was skeptical and bought one, since Ultimaker (still) does not have a large scale printer available. I have several hundred hours on an unmodified CR-10 (cost $380) and is doing some incredible prints. The Tevo Tornado is a bit more, has a faster heating bed (AC powered) and better print surface for about the same money too (haven't tried one yet).

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On 10/19/2017 at 7:15 PM, LePaul said:

This won't make me popular buuut....

For way less money, a Creality CR-10 can do an amazing job.

I was skeptical and bought one, since Ultimaker (still) does not have a large scale printer available. I have several hundred hours on an unmodified CR-10 (cost $380) and is doing some incredible prints. The Tevo Tornado is a bit more, has a faster heating bed (AC powered) and better print surface for about the same money too (haven't tried one yet).

 

Hey guys, looking forward to learning a lot here.  I hope resurfacing a post that's only a few months old isn't bad form.  In the market for my first 3d printer, and am trying to decide between the Prussa M3, CR-10s, and Ultimaker 2+ - hence why I'm posting here and now.

 

I'm in a bit of a unique situation in that I'm working for a not-for-profit company in the developing world - providing therapy services for kids with disabilities.  I want to start with 3d printing to build braces/splints/AFO's/prosthetic hands for kids who wouldn't otherwise have access to these materials.

 

As a result of my location, and the difficulty of ordering/receiving repair parts, and in a timely manner, one of my greatest values in purchasing a printer is it's dependability/reliability under normal use conditions with recommended maintenance being performed.  I'm getting the sense the Prussa lines may not be a great choice because of that.  Can anyone weigh in the Creality brand vs Ultimaker?  I'm heavily leaning to Ultimaker because of the support/community/company behind the machines, but the extra cost does give me pause.  Can you help persuade me?  From your collective experience, in your opinion, what do you think? 

 

Thanks so much in advance!

Aaron

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I don't know about the Creality but the Prusa isn't a bad machine in any respect.

3D printers in general are a bit of struggle. When they work fine they really work fine. But when they start to act up they can be frustratingly difficult to get back on track. And they require a fair bit of know how to maintain.

That said, it's incredibly hard to beat the UM2 for reliability. And I think I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the Ultimaker is by far the easiest of the three to get up and running. Cura doesn't produce the quickest or most optimised prints but it produces fantastic results out of the box. When I just want to print and need good results quickly for a one off item I still fire up Cura and change a few settings to my liking. Even though I mainly use Simplify3D now to get more power to optimise print speed for production runs.

There's also a few weird holes to fall in for the unweary traveller. It would be easy to say that the Prusa is more reliable because it has builtin auto bed leveling. Yeah, sure. But since the Ultimaker takes 30 seconds to re-level in the fly and can easily go 200 prints hours without needing an adjustment that is a somewhat moot point. I'm sure the Prusa actually benefits from the bed leveling, because the carriage design is a bit prone to skew the bed and is a real pain to adjust (at least the old design and many clones suffer from this). My friend, who has a i3 clone, installed a level probe over christmas for this very reason.


I have no knowledge of the community around Prusa though I'd venture that it is also very good, as is the Ultimaker community. Though I think that the fact that there are so many i3 clones out there might make it harder to find accurate information about the genuine ones. There are very few Ultimaker 2 clones in circulation, so when you find a thread about it you pretty much know it will apply to your machine as well.

 

But I understand your situation. Why should I buy a machine for well over €2000 when I can get this other machine with great reviews for €1000. I think the best summary I can make is that I have a very, very hard time thinking that you can go wrong with the Ultimaker 2+ or a 2 with improved feeder, I don't think you need the Olsson block though it is very nice to have. I can however see a risk that you can go wrong with a Prusa MK2S (which seems like the best model to get).

One should also realise that different printers have different shortcomings. In a perfect world I would recommend anyone who has a 3D printer to get a second and possibly of a different kind that compliments it. Myself I have two UM2s because for me the machine have very few shortcomings and a second one compliments the first one beautifully. It is quite easy to damage something that could be easily fixed if you only had a 3d printer to do it. Not that you should expect a quality machine like the UM2 to break down any time soon of course. My point is that if funds were not an issue I would either buy a UM2 and a MK2S. Or i would buy two UM2s. Or I would buy a MK2S and try it out and, if it works well, I would buy a second one or an UM2 if the MK2S did not work as well and then continue using the MK2S as a secondary machine.
Indeed I have had some thoughts about buying a MK2S as a third printer just to get a machine that can do multi material and keep my two UM2s as my primary workhorses. But if I had to pick one single option I would go with an UM2.

One last thing. I do not know what kind of material you are thinking about using. There might be a lot in this rather long post that changes if your primary requirement is to print something special.


Hope this was at least somewhat comprehensible.
 

Cheers

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9 hours ago, DWTherapy said:

 

Hey guys, looking forward to learning a lot here.  I hope resurfacing a post that's only a few months old isn't bad form.  In the market for my first 3d printer, and am trying to decide between the Prussa M3, CR-10s, and Ultimaker 2+ - hence why I'm posting here and now.

 

I'm in a bit of a unique situation in that I'm working for a not-for-profit company in the developing world - providing therapy services for kids with disabilities.  I want to start with 3d printing to build braces/splints/AFO's/prosthetic hands for kids who wouldn't otherwise have access to these materials.

 

As a result of my location, and the difficulty of ordering/receiving repair parts, and in a timely manner, one of my greatest values in purchasing a printer is it's dependability/reliability under normal use conditions with recommended maintenance being performed.  I'm getting the sense the Prussa lines may not be a great choice because of that.  Can anyone weigh in the Creality brand vs Ultimaker?  I'm heavily leaning to Ultimaker because of the support/community/company behind the machines, but the extra cost does give me pause.  Can you help persuade me?  From your collective experience, in your opinion, what do you think? 

 

Thanks so much in advance!

Aaron

 

I have the Ultimaker 2+, Creality CR-10 and an FT-5 (Folger Tech) printer.  The FT-5 is landfill.  Don't bother.

 

That said....there's a few things I mention that you might find interesting in a YouTube video I made recently..

 

 

For what you are looking to do, I really think the Ultimaker 2+ is the better product.  The CR-10 has no support site.  You are essentially on your own to support this device.  It was not factory tested, calibrated and known to work accurately when it left China.  YES...they are tempting because for experienced 3D printing users, it's not terribly difficult to enhance, upgrade and calibrate.  The fad right now is printing BIG and doing so inexpensively.  You need to reflect on what you want to do...play warranty and hope for the best....or buy a machine that comes with a solid reputation, support system, tested, UL listed and comes from the factory with a test print showing it's ready to go out of the box.

 

The push has been for cheap printers lately.  The Prusa's are nice, too but I'm not crazy about the construction of the MK2.  The newer MK3 is much more solid and who knows how long those take to get.

 

I can tell you that my Ultimaker printers have been my go to printer for prints I know will come out superb out of all three printers.  I wish Ultimaker offered a larger volume printer, since I print large pieces for my robotic projects.  

 

For what you have described, it sounds like you want to do more printing that troubleshooting.  The Ultimaker will cost more but perform so much better.

 

Let us know what you decide to do and the results you experience.

 

 

 

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If the UM2+ is too expensive for you, you should consider the Ultimaker Original+ (UMO+).  It's less than half the cost of the UM2+ and I would say it will give you 95%+ of the performance.  A disadvantage might be that it's a kit, but it's a very complete one with excellent assembly instructions.  This was actually an advantage for me, because in building it I became familiar with the guts of it, and was not afraid to repair and maintain it.

 

The UMO+ is very good as it comes, but there are many modifications available to make it perform even better.  Just do a search for UMO on this forum.

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THANK YOU guys so much for your replies, and assistance!  Once we start printing, I'd like to post some pics of our braces and the kids who are benefitting as a little thanks to you all for your contribution towards their health and wellness!

Please see below for my replies to your responses.

 

On 1/5/2018 at 2:53 PM, jonatanrullman said:


One last thing. I do not know what kind of material you are thinking about using. There might be a lot in this rather long post that changes if your primary requirement is to print something special.


Hope this was at least somewhat comprehensible.
 

Cheers

Thanks, it was helpful reading your thought process/analysis of what you would do if you were in my shoes!  Fortunately funds are enough that I can purchase a printer at this time, the UM2+ is at the top end of my budget, but still in budget.  However funds aren't enough that I can purchase multiple machines at this time :-D.  If this takes off and we're making a significant number of braces for kids, than perhaps I can raise funds to purchase a 2nd machine in the future.

 

To answer your question, primarily will be printing PLA for hands.  Will want to use a harder/stronger plastic for ankle/leg braces, but unsure if that would be ABS, PETG, or some other plastic.  Given that info, does that influence you one way significantly more than another?  I am liking the continual refrain of the UM brand reliability.

 

On 1/5/2018 at 9:11 PM, LePaul said:

For what you are looking to do, I really think the Ultimaker 2+ is the better product.  The CR-10 has no support site.  You are essentially on your own to support this device.  It was not factory tested, calibrated and known to work accurately when it left China.  YES...they are tempting because for experienced 3D printing users, it's not terribly difficult to enhance, upgrade and calibrate.  The fad right now is printing BIG and doing so inexpensively.  You need to reflect on what you want to do...play warranty and hope for the best....or buy a machine that comes with a solid reputation, support system, tested, UL listed and comes from the factory with a test print showing it's ready to go out of the box.

 

The push has been for cheap printers lately.  The Prusa's are nice, too but I'm not crazy about the construction of the MK2.  The newer MK3 is much more solid and who knows how long those take to get.

 

For what you have described, it sounds like you want to do more printing that troubleshooting.  The Ultimaker will cost more but perform so much better.

 

Let us know what you decide to do and the results you experience.

Thanks, that's really helpful to think through, I will set aside the CR-10 because of the lack of community component.  Since I'm physically isolated from others with this technology, I will be dependent on the online community to assist as needed and help troubleshoot.  It does me no good to buy a less expensive machine with significantly less support/community, then run into a problem and not be able to use said machine.

 

I am looking at the MK3 because of the upgraded features and stability I've read about compared to MK2.  They seem to have very active boards and a growing support community.  Wait time isn't a problem as I have a few months before our next visitor who would courier out the printer for us.  HOWEVER, per StephanK's earlier post, I don't want to wind up with a "Czech Diva".  I'm ok taking the time to assemble a kit, have some technical/tinkering in my background - but for close to $1k, I would expect it to perform well, consistently, and reliably once up and running.  Difficulty of getting replacement parts for a temperamental machine is a big strike for me.

 

I will definitely follow up to let everyone know which way we go. 

On 1/6/2018 at 6:49 AM, rowiac said:

If the UM2+ is too expensive for you, you should consider the Ultimaker Original+ (UMO+).  It's less than half the cost of the UM2+ and I would say it will give you 95%+ of the performance.  A disadvantage might be that it's a kit, but it's a very complete one with excellent assembly instructions.  This was actually an advantage for me, because in building it I became familiar with the guts of it, and was not afraid to repair and maintain it.

 

The UMO+ is very good as it comes, but there are many modifications available to make it perform even better.  Just do a search for UMO on this forum.

Thanks for this idea!  I will definitely consider it.  I'm absolutely ok with a kit, especially when there are good directions and a supportive community in case I run into a hiccup.

 

Do modifications to UMO+ void any kind of warranty?  I will search and read up on the upgrade options out there and report back if I have any questions.  There's a big learning curve for someone completely new to 3d printing about what each upgrade does  for the print output, best bang for the buck, or even what the applicability of an upgrade will be for my use of the machine.

 

One question, I know I'll be using PLA for my hand braces as I can shape them after warming the plastic.  For my foot braces/AFO/prosthetic hands, I will likely want to use a harder plastic, but I'm not sure what type yet.  I know ABS is fairly common and someone in another thread recommended PETG.  Enabling the future also recommends nylon for some parts of their prosthetic hand designs.  Would the Ultimaker Original + handle Nylon - it's not listed on the table - or would their be some upgrade that would allow the use of Nylon?  And again, being brand new to this, I'm not even sure how often I would need to print in Nylon - so for the difference in price, maybe I could do without Nylon if the original is not able to print Nylon.

 

One other point - our buildings here don't have any heating/cooling.  So it's quite cold indoors in the winter (55ºF/12ºC).  Are any of the aforementioned printers maybe setup to be more successful in that type of enviornment?

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29 minutes ago, DWTherapy said:

To answer your question, primarily will be printing PLA for hands.  Will want to use a harder/stronger plastic for ankle/leg braces, but unsure if that would be ABS, PETG, or some other plastic.  Given that info, does that influence you one way significantly more than another?  I am liking the continual refrain of the UM brand reliability.

 

Well. Alright. Materials. We're into a whole new world of hurt here. There are about 30 different plastics available and all have their uses. My friend who works with plastic injection laughs at this. They have about 30 differents types of ABS with even more specialised properties, for example one that is only used when making parts for electrical appliances with an operating voltage of 5000 or more. But more importantly in your case, all have their disadvantages and limitations.

I think you should spend some time reading up on materials to figure out what what work for you. To take a few examples based on what you have written so far. The question of PLA vs ABS when it comes to hardness is not as easy as ABS is harder. To begin with hardness isn't always what you want and there are several kinds of forces that relate to it. I'm sure they have very nice names but it comes down to striking, bending, elongating and compressing. What does have more of a bearing on you is environmental factors. PLA has a much lower glass transition temperature, about 50 degrees celsius. It will basically start to deform in a hot car during summer here in Sweden. ABS is better at about 70-90-ish. PLA also deteriorates since it is made from starch. Reports say that plants pots for use in the garden made from PLA will hold up for a season or so before needing replacement. ABS however is harder to print. Depending on humidity you might even find that some plastics are hard to print with even though they would work fine for finished products.
This is just a few examples. But in this case I think that material has a much larger bearing than for most of us, so you should probably spend some time finding out what might work and not.

One last thought that has struck me. Contact Ultimaker directly. And Prusa for that matter. I'm not sure they can or want to do anything for you. But it seems to me like child prosthetics in the developing world is exactly the kind of project that Ultimaker shows off about (in a good way). So who knows. @SandervG might be able to offer us a comment on this.

Edited by jonatanrullman

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ABS is slowly slipping away as the preferred material for more hardness/ruggedness.   ABS can be tough to print with, you have the smell and also the harmful particles it put out (research this!).  Thankfully there are many new materials that offer the ease of working with PLA but higher strength and heat tolerance.

 

If you stay "within the family" of Ultimaker, they offer their Engineering filaments.  I've used Polycarbonate and there are others out there....and since it's within the Ultimaker eco-system, you don't need to worry if it will work with your printer   And...there profiles for those filaments are built into Cura too.

 

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