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latreides

Filament size worries

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Hello Ultimaker community!

I am considering getting an Ultimaker 2+ but the one thing that has me hesitating is the 2.85 mm filament.

The writing has been on the wall for a long time now (1.75 mm vs 2.85 mm), and with Ultimaker releasing the Ultimaker 3 that still uses 2.85 mm filament, it seems like Ultimaker is ignoring this writing and that has me worried.

I do not personally care about the differences between them except that it seems like fewer and fewer filament suppliers/manufacturers are supporting the 2.85 mm standard.

Is there a light at the end of this tunnel?  The forums have topics about people hacking together their own 1.75 mm support, are there any plans for Ultimaker to release a 1.75 mm adaptor?  What about a quality 1.75 mm 3rd party kit?

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There are quite a few filament manufacturers that make good 2.85mm filament--off the top of my head: Ultimaker, Faberdashery, ColorFabb, and Protopasta are some of my favorites.

I think gr5 has a 1.75mm conversion kit at the gr5 store.

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There are quite a few filament manufacturers that make good 2.85mm filament--off the top of my head: Ultimaker, Faberdashery, ColorFabb, and Protopasta are some of my favorites.

I am not happy paying $40-$80 per kg for PLA when I can get some really good PLA for $21 from MakerGeeks (or $15 if I don't care about the color). With the amount of filament I go through, the cost difference is non-trivial. What happens when these other places and brands stop supporting the 2.85 standard because it doesn't make business sense to cater to such a small number of printers? With little to no competition, what is stopping the limited number of suppliers from increasing their price even more as the availability of 2.85 decreases? I am worried about a non-forced vendor lock-in created by other vendors moving on to more lucrative pastures.

I think gr5 has a 1.75mm conversion kit at the gr5 store.

I will look into that, thanks. I just want to know that the option is there when it is eventually needed.

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I kinda think that market forces will take care of the issue. Your worries appear to be based off the idea that Ultimaker will not respond and instead stay stagnant.

And, even if they do, someone will see the opportunity and make good conversion kits. Look at how fast proper print cores (Meaning properly adapted to the new tech) popped up as 3rd party additions to the UM3 series.

I've been in computers since '85 and the stagnant companies do not survive or they become adaptable by way of 3rd party mods. I think Ultimaker are a bit more savvy than to stagnate. I mean, really, do you think they would continue to make printers for a filament size that basically would not exist? That would be business suicide. And, if they do, someone else will come along.

Some changes are slow to take an industry and others take over quite quickly.

But, by the time this all happens, I think most of us will be upgrading our printers as other, more radical changes take place. Think about it: our computers, that we purchase for a mere few thousand dollars (Francs, Pounds, whatever) are far more powerful  and can do in real time more-so than the supercomputers of just 15 - 20 years ago and I can remember when the UM3-X I have would have cost at least 25K or more. And just a little over 30 years ago, it would take 24 hours just to render a frame of the original Tron movie. Disney had that thing rendering on every supercomputer in labs and institutions it could get time on.

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There are quite a few filament manufacturers that make good 2.85mm filament--off the top of my head: Ultimaker, Faberdashery, ColorFabb, and Protopasta are some of my favorites.

I am not happy paying $40-$80 per kg for PLA when I can get some really good PLA for $21 from MakerGeeks (or $15 if I don't care about the color).  With the amount of filament I go through, the cost difference is non-trivial.  What happens when these other places and brands stop supporting the 2.85 standard because it doesn't make business sense to cater to such a small number of printers?  With little to no competition, what is stopping the limited number of suppliers from increasing their price even more as the availability of 2.85 decreases?  I am worried about a non-forced vendor lock-in created by other vendors moving on to more lucrative pastures.

I think gr5 has a 1.75mm conversion kit at the gr5 store.

I will look into that, thanks.  I just want to know that the option is there when it is eventually needed.

The disadvantage of a 1.75 Bowden setup (with a tube as long as Ultimaker) is that you lose the chance to print real flexible filament. Flexible PLA would work, but it's not quite soft. The common TPU based flexible filament is not going to work on a 1.75 version of Ultimaker.

I'm not sure about US, but in Europe there are a number of decent brands having 2.85 version of PLA together with 1.75 under 30Euro/kg.

Other than Ultimaker, the recently really popular dual extrusion printer BCN SIGMA R17 is also using 2.85. These two dual extrusion playmakers are going to lead the community for a while. I think 2.85 with Bowden will at least have growing source of material if not join 1.75 direct drive as common setup.

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I'm not sure about US, but in Europe there are a number of decent brands having 2.85 version of PLA together with 1.75 under 30Euro/kg.

I am not worried about today, I am worried about tomorrow. I can find a decent amount of 2.85 today, but it is harder to come by than 1.75 as less vendors sell it, less manufacturers make it, and even when they do, they offer less selection than their 1.75 filaments. As the number of 1.75 printers grows (seems almost exponential these last few years) and the number of 2.85 printers just kind of stagnates with one or two additions every now and then, the incentive that most manufacturers will have to make and supply 2.85 is diminishing.

I do not want to be on the losing side of a standards war. I've done this enough over the last couple decades, from VHS/Beta to BluRay/HDDVD.

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I'm not sure about US, but in Europe there are a number of decent brands having 2.85 version of PLA together with 1.75 under 30Euro/kg.

I am not worried about today, I am worried about tomorrow.  I can find a decent amount of 2.85 today, but it is harder to come by than 1.75 as less vendors sell it, less manufacturers make it, and even when they do, they offer less selection than their 1.75 filaments.  As the number of 1.75 printers grows (seems almost exponential these last few years) and the number of 2.85 printers just kind of stagnates with one or two additions every now and then, the incentive that most manufacturers will have to make and supply 2.85 is diminishing.

I do not want to be on the losing side of a standards war.  I've done this enough over the last couple decades, from VHS/Beta to BluRay/HDDVD.

Dual extrusion is the future. Direct drive doesn't play well with dual extrusion. 2.85 is better than 1.75 for Bowden.

Besides, unlike DVD player, you can easily swap the entire extrusion system of printer with little cost.

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I'm not sure about US, but in Europe there are a number of decent brands having 2.85 version of PLA together with 1.75 under 30Euro/kg.

I am not worried about today, I am worried about tomorrow.  I can find a decent amount of 2.85 today, but it is harder to come by than 1.75 as less vendors sell it, less manufacturers make it, and even when they do, they offer less selection than their 1.75 filaments.  As the number of 1.75 printers grows (seems almost exponential these last few years) and the number of 2.85 printers just kind of stagnates with one or two additions every now and then, the incentive that most manufacturers will have to make and supply 2.85 is diminishing.

I do not want to be on the losing side of a standards war.  I've done this enough over the last couple decades, from VHS/Beta to BluRay/HDDVD.

Dual extrusion is the future. Direct drive doesn't play well with dual extrusion. 2.85 is better than 1.75 for Bowden.

Besides, unlike DVD player, you can easily swap the entire extrusion system of printer with little cost.

In my experience 1.75 is better than 2.85 on bowden, except for flexibles where 2.85 can create a bit more positive pressure. Ofc with a really good feeder the difference is minimal.

Direct drive dual. Totally doable (check zge) And it doesn't matter much if is 1.75 or 2.85. Ofc 2.85 is better for ZGE just because it needs less rev/mm extruded, but ofc for small details is better 1.75 since you can push less filament if needed.

Perfection doesn't exist, and everything depends on what you want to print more often.

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I did a lot of research before I bought my printer. Sizes, brands, filaments, etc.

I do not remember there being a lot of one or the other. And, depending on the type of material you choose to use, filaments will be limited one way or another.

But, the comparison between Beta/VHS, etc is a false equivalency as they were not upgradable. And, going from DVD to Blu-ray did not invalidate being able to play DVDs.

Printers will always be modable and with an open source community like this, it will always have some sort of mod you can use.

Market forces drive things and even the UM2 has mods available for 1.75.

But, if you are worried, then I suggest that you go with your gut as there is no right or wrong on this. And the way tech changes, it does not matter with the speed at which things change.

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I thought of this and wanted to pass this along from an old timer's point of view.

Way back in the dino days of computing, when the Mac was just a black and white tricorder screen size, running off one, or two if you had money, floppies (375K hard casing) and the PC was struggling to get more than 8 colors, and what we enjoy now was just science fiction, there was the Amiga.

That machine was hot. There is a reason that 35 years later there are Amiga groups and meets to swap parts and such.

They had software available that took nearly 10 years to even begin to appear/compete on other platforms. It had a 32Khz stereo (maybe 16 Khz) sound chip and 32K colors built on board. No memory limitation like the PC and much more software than the Mac or PC. Cool stuff...free stuff, enthusiasts and pros alike.

Yet, it died an ignoble death because the Amiga corp. could not market their way out of a wet paper bag.

They had fractals, 3D software, including blobs, and had the first non-linear video editing suite: The Video Toaster. And, the software went on to become lightwave and paved the way for systems such as Pemiere and Final Cut. Animation programs, mouse driven interfaces, GUI and image editing. And, to boot, it was used extensively in the TV arena (X-Files and Babylon 5 to name just two) and STILL could not capitalize on it.

This at a time when Alias and Wavefront were two separate companies and Autodesk was just a Cad program. Photoshop was not around and |Aldus Freehand dominated the vector market.

I tried to put together a 3D production studio in '87. One shader from Wavefront (Metal Blinn shader) cost $5K USD at the time. Adjusting for inflation, that would be between 15K and 20K. The equipment required a purchase of at least $1,000,000 and upkeep was expensive. Lower cost models and systems had limitations like 5 lights, etc. and everything looked like plastic. Animation cost $1K per second. Again, adjusting for inflation, that would be about 4-5K USD today.

This was also the time when the Quantel Paint Box was a $100K investment as a turnkey system. Photoshop killed that one quickly.

But the Amiga shone like a bright star.

And it died. Only to be remembered by those of  us who were there.

My only point is this: To try and prognosticate everything for an investment that, should by all reason, and using the old timer's formula, tech should be amortized over a 3 year period. Then time to look anew. Milk it for all it is worth though!!

Follow your gut. Investigate and make an informed decision that suits your purposes. Look at ecosystems and needs. For instance, something that may make me look outside of the Ultimaker family eventually is buildplate size.

But the mods are there for almost everything else.

But, that is me. And, what do I know? I am a noob in this arena. Never too old to be a noob.

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@kmanstudios

I understand your reasoning, but the price that UM is asking for their products is not an easy price when you go into it thinking that you are going to replace it in 3 years anyway, so it doesn't really matter. If UM was priced at a more "disposable price" then I would agree.

When I buy new technology, as a home user or as a business, I consider the replacement price, I consider what it would cost if the company were to close their doors the next day, I consider the complete price. I don't enjoy throwing money away. Its different if you buy a product that looks like its going strong, and it dies a year later (who can guess these things in the tech sector?). But buying something that clearly has the writing on the wall (2.85 mm) seems like you are just asking for trouble.

I am obviously interested in the UM. I am not here to troll or vent in any way, I am here to air my worries and see if there are official solutions or quality 3rd party solutions. All we have so far is a 3rd party solution on gr5's store, with very little information on it, how well it works, gotchas, etc... How many people here have done this mod? Any success stories? Failures?

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@kmanstudios

I understand your reasoning, but the price that UM is asking for their products is not an easy price when you go into it thinking that you are going to replace it in 3 years anyway, so it doesn't really matter.  If UM was priced at a more "disposable price" then I would agree.

When I buy new technology, as a home user or as a business, I consider the replacement price, I consider what it would cost if the company were to close their doors the next day, I consider the complete price.  I don't enjoy throwing money away.  Its different if you buy a product that looks like its going strong, and it dies a year later (who can guess these things in the tech sector?).  But buying something that clearly has the writing on the wall (2.85 mm) seems like you are just asking for trouble.

I am obviously interested in the UM.  I am not here to troll or vent in any way, I am here to air my worries and see if there are official solutions or quality 3rd party solutions.  All we have so far is a 3rd party solution on gr5's store, with very little information on it, how well it works, gotchas, etc...  How many people here have done this mod?  Any success stories?  Failures?

Did not think you were trolling. And, I am just offering perspective of seeing "The next best thing' for 35 years and how things swing no matter what people think. I remember one time when I was actually asked if the company I worked for should stop investing in Apple products as the PC was more powerful, cheaper and had software that the Apple did not have available and was getting converts all the time. Programs like Quark, Adobe, etc. that were thought to never stray from the MAC line did so.

"Closing the doors" the next day is not going to happen. If you are really worried about your investment, get your own struder (quality, not cheap) and make your own to your own specs.

And, getting a product that amortizes out at about $1K a year (not to mention supplies as the added as those costs really vary) and the variety of what is available. Honestly, I cannot think of anything I would really need that cannot be found in the 3MM family of filaments.

And, I also said to follow your gut. You know your needs better than anybody else.

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I am obviously interested in the UM.  I am not here to troll or vent in any way, I am here to air my worries and see if there are official solutions or quality 3rd party solutions.  All we have so far is a 3rd party solution on gr5's store, with very little information on it, how well it works, gotchas, etc...  How many people here have done this mod?  Any success stories?  Failures?

The ones in gr5's store is essentially from 3D Solex. Check their website.

A credible 1.75 conversion would be e3d. Not the Ultimaker upgrade kit from e3d, but modify the hot end yourself.

I would doubt the stock feeder of Ultimaker though. The "pineapple" drive gear profile is not optimised for 1.75 filament. Not only you need to change the hot end, you'll probably need to get a new feeder for fast print speed as well.

In 3-5 years, the printer would need a lot of servicing. It's not as durable as conventional electronics at home. You'll probably need to replace parts here and there, swapping extrusion could be one of them. Ultimaker 2 is an open source machine, as long as you know how it works, it's not going to be some trash you have to throw away.

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2.85mm is used by a lot (most) professional/high end FDM/FFF 3D printers.

It's good ultimakers uses it too.

Honestly i was introduced to 1.75mm filament from people purchasing cheap 3D printers, having issues and coming to us to print their parts or for help.

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2.85mm is used by a lot (most) professional/high end FDM/FFF 3D printers.

It's good ultimakers uses it too.

Honestly i was introduced to 1.75mm filament from people purchasing cheap 3D printers, having issues and coming to us to print their parts or for help.

Which high end FDM 3D printers are your referring to as Stratasys and 3D Systems are both using 1.75 filament?

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2.85mm is used by a lot (most) professional/high end FDM/FFF 3D printers.

It's good ultimakers uses it too.

Honestly i was introduced to 1.75mm filament from people purchasing cheap 3D printers, having issues and coming to us to print their parts or for help.

 

Which high end FDM 3D printers are your referring to as Stratasys and 3D Systems are both using 1.75 filament?

 

Our Stratasys uses powder/pellets so... lol Their FDM printers have used both sizes in the past btw.

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I think some of you continue to miss the point I am trying to make.  Its not about what printers support 2.85 right now.  Its not about what vendors supply 2.85 filament right now.  Its about the trend towards 1.75.  Almost all new printers are 1.75 and some printer brands that used to be 2.85 have moved on to 1.75.

The number of printers being released is increasing each year, and almost all of them are 1.75.  Even if all of the current 2.85 printer companies stayed that way (which is not the case), they are becoming even more rare because 1.75 is saturating the market.   This means that outside of first party, and a few select third party, many vendors are not going to support the 2.85 size because its such a relatively small market.  I have found many cases of vendors (and the manufacturers) dropping support for 2.85 filaments for this very reason.

Because of this, I worry that in a couple of years, I might be forced to spend 3-4x the price for filament that I pay currently.   Right now I can get 1 kg of really good filament for $15 (if I don't care about which color I get) or $20 if I do, or I can spend $50 for 0.75 kg from Ultimaker or similar.  I like that I have the choice.  What happens when these other vendors decide its not worth supporting the 1% of printers that use 2.85?

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Nobody misses the point. You are looking for the perfect solution. Everybody seems to be pointing out that there is no perfect solution. So, I think I bow out of this as it seems to be becoming more of an argument you need rather than constructive information for you to make a better, informed decision as all you come up with are reasons to not use a machine based on 3mm filament.

So, go use a machine that does not. It is that simple.

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Because of this, I worry that in a couple of years, I might be forced to spend 3-4x the price for filament that I pay currently.   Right now I can get 1 kg of really good filament for $15 (if I don't care about which color I get) or $20 if I do, or I can spend $50 for 0.75 kg from Ultimaker or similar.  I like that I have the choice.  What happens when these other vendors decide its not worth supporting the 1% of printers that use 2.85?

Then you convert all your machines to 1.75. As I explained earlier, it's easy. No matter what you convert with, 3DSolex, e3d, etc, it's all very simple.

If you are concerned by the filament market and don't feel confident about the conversion, then go for the one you feel comfortable with. If you really get a 2.85 printer you might worry about the filament market more. Forget about Ultimaker then. Look for a decent 1.75 printer.

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Throwing in my 2 cents...as has already been stated, 1.75mm conversion kits exist currently and some people are using them, but if the future does go that way, you know that the many more people would be doing the conversion and there would be a lot of support available for it in the UM community.

You can already see the type of support available here for other innovations such as the Mark 2 dual extrusion and the ZGE systems. A 1.75mm conversion would be less complicated than these, I would think.

In short, my guess is you would need to weigh printer design/print quality against future-proofing to make your purchase decision.

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Throwing in my 2 cents...as has already been stated, 1.75mm conversion kits exist currently and some people are using them, but if the future does go that way, you know that the many more people would be doing the conversion and there would be a lot of support available for it in the UM community.

You can already see the type of support available here for other innovations such as the Mark 2 dual extrusion and the ZGE systems.  A 1.75mm conversion would be less complicated than these, I would think.

In short, my guess is you would need to weigh  printer design/print quality against future-proofing to make your purchase decision.

I weighed my printer choices based on overall need and buildplate size and availability of materials. I do not need every color in the rainbow as construction was my main concern, as well as expandability and culture of the community around the printer.

Ultimaker fit my needs based on the above as well as reputation. And, I have not been let down. My biggest downfall is typical noob mistakes and pushing boundaries. But the community has guided me quite well as I progress as a 3D printer. Not just the how, but, for me the most important thing: The why. Knowing the why lets me draw independent conclusions and make better decisions.

Again, no one size fits all right out of the box.

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So, go use a machine that does not. It is that simple.

After many weeks of searching, I could not find a comparable machine to the UM line that uses 1.75mm. The closest I could come (in the same general price range) was the MakerBot Replicator+ but it doesn't allow non-MakerBot filament (which is far worse than using 2.85mm) and lacks a heated bed.

I ended up buying an UM2+ shortly after I made the original post in this topic, but that doesn't mean I am not still worried about the future with 2.85, quite the contrary, I am even more worried. "You don't like it, get something else" is hardly the way for a company or product to grow. Without people voicing concerns nothing will improve. This is my concern. This is my voice. I don't intend for it to be an argument.

I like knowing that there is a 3rd party conversion, though the whole reason I choose UM was to avoiding having to tinker with a printer, especially with a 3rd party add-on. If there were more than a couple success stories about this add-on, I would likely take the plunge, but information like that is hard to come by. This was another reason for creating this topic. To get feedback, either from people looking to do the same, or people that have already done it and can speak of their results.

Ideally there would be an official conversion. If enough people voice their concerns, maybe there will be?

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If you truly need 1.75

Get a bondtech

Get a 1.75 olsson

Youmagine google meduza 1.75

https://www.youmagine.com/designs/um2-print-head-top-for-2-85-1-75-filaments

Done

I use 1.75 on all my machines, and if you readjust settings (like retraction distance) you can print at lower temps. It gives better fine detail, but 2.85 can push more mm3

Good luck

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@latreides, congratulations with getting an Ultimaker 2+. I'm sure you will be happy with it. I understand it can be a concern, you want this investment to be something which is also prepared for the future. It is a good thing to think about tomorrow, but don't forget to enjoy today as well! You have a concern that 2.85 might go out of fashion, and some users here don't. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle. IF 2.85 comes more difficult to source, there is a variety of solutions available to modify your Ultimaker into a 1.75mm machine, like suggested above. But perhaps that will never be necessary. So I would like to suggest to not break your head over it and make sure to enjoy what tools you can use today.

And I'm curious to see what you will be making. Care to share your prints with us on our 3D print page?

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