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Consumable parts?

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While reading up on the UM2+ I found some topics discussing the TFM coupler, mentioning that its a "consumable", a part that is intended to be replaced on a regular basis as it fails.

This has me thinking:

What other "consumable" parts are on the UM2+?

How often do these need to be replaced?

Are they all proprietary like the TFM coupler? (i.e. they are specific to the UM printers)

What should I do to avoid replacing them? (For example, how long every day can I run the printer at 230c without damaging the TFM coupler?)

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Any moving part will wear over time but with regular maintenance like cleaning, Oiling, Greasing etc. you will prolong their use.

The Main consumable parts are nozzles and TFM coupler.

You can get replacement TFM or TFT couplers from different manufacturers and these can now last 1000s of print hours compared to the old UM2 setup which could only last 1 spool.

The belts do wear and stretch over time. Mine lasted 2 years and now require replacement but this depends on how often you print. You can print new spacers to help align these to help stop any side wear on these.

There are lots of manuals and guides with advice on how to do the maintenance so dont be put off by it.

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Its hard to say but in my experience (more than three years with UM2) the Teflon coupler I have replaced several times but since I installed an 'I2K' spacer from 3D-Solex I have not had to replace the Teflon piece again, now more than 600hrs since last change.

I suppose you may need to replace the Teflon Bowden tube occasionally, in my case I have replaced once.

Also the print nozzles can wear out from printing abrasive materiel, like metals filaments

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I judge the usefulness of a product, in part, by how well it will work if the company that makes it were to go out of business.

Of these failure points, how many of them are UM specific parts and how many of them are just generic/standard parts?

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With the Ultimaker2 you don't need to worry there at all. There's plenty of 3th party alternatives for the consumables (3dsolex.com for example) and looking at the large installbase of the machine i don't see this become an issue ever....

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I pretty much agree with the above posts. Nozzles and couplers are the main consumable. I'd say belts 3000-4000 print hours if you start to see XY issues and they seem to be degrading/you start to see XY wobble.

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The belts can also start to squeak. Which is really annoying.

Yes, but you can handle that with a bit of chemically inert silicone grease. :) The sort of thick white or yellowish silicone grease that is also used in binoculars, camera's and microscopes. And this thick grease does not leak and does not splatter around. But do not use petrochemical oils or greases, as they might chemically attack the rubber. Gently wipe the edge of the belt with it.

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A couple of days ago I sat down to sort this question out as well as I could.

I wanted to be pessimistic about the longevity of parts because this calculation was for being able to give a price to people for commission prints. Thus I would like the calculated lifetime of every part to be about 2/3 of the expected.

I would love to get some input on everyones experience of lifetime of parts so that I can make the calculation better. I might even have missed something though I think it is fairly complete.

Please allow me to reiterate. These are PESSIMISTIC approximations and NOT based on enough data. Most often they are GUESSES which I have then halved.

1. Printer itself

Comment: This is until it something expensive breaks or general wear makes the printer unsuitable for commercial use. This also includes fans as they are normally rated at about 50000h and thus should outlive the printer.

Lifetime: 6000h

2. Fan shroud

Comment: I use laberns fan shroud which takes a beating and needs replacing quite often. Using the original fan shroud this can be ignored completely.

Price: $4

Lifetime: 100h

3. Teflon coupler (with I2K)

Comment: The I2K should not require replacement for the lifetime of the printer. Swordriff claims more than 1000h at 260 degrees celsius so 1000h is probably a suitably pessimistic calculation.

Price: $21

Lifetime: 1000h

4. Nozzle

Comment: Non abrasive materials. Most wear will probably be external.

Price: $14

Lifetime: 500h

5. Heater+PT100

Comment: Swordriff claims that these are consumables but I assume that they will hold up for quite some time.

Price: $52

Lifetime: 1000h

6. Rods and linear bearings

Comment: This is probably one of the most pessimistic estimations as well as the most expensive part.

Price: $80

Lifetime: 1500h

7. Bowden tube

Comment: Mine show significant wear after about 1000h so I think that this one is fairly realistic.

Price: $20

Lifetime: 1000h

8. Belts

Price: $15

Lifetime: 2000h

9. Other

A catch all for other stuff. About $20 per 1000h

10. Electricity

With heated bed the machine may use as much as 200W during prints. Calculate accordingly.

11. Bed stick material (hairspray, tape, glue etc)

Probably about $10 per 1000h.

Cheers

Edited by Guest

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1. Printer itself

Comment: This is until it something expensive breaks or general wear makes the printer unsuitable for commercial use.

...

Lifetime: 6000h

 

We have two UM2's at Stockholm Makerspace, and i believe both have passed the 6000h mark, and i know of multiple UM2's that had been running way past the 10k hours mark and more in commercial use, so this is probably quite a conservative rating.

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We have two UM2's at Stockholm Makerspace, and i believe both have passed the 6000h mark, and i know of multiple UM2's that had been running way past the 10k hours mark and more in commercial use, so this is probably quite a conservative rating.

 

With my 2/3 rule that would equate to an expected lifetime of 9000h. Do you think it can be safely increased?

Also. I would be great to hear about rods, belts, heater elements and such on the two printers. Two 6000h+ printer should give some useful data. :-)

Edited by Guest

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My original goal for the topic was more about how long should I expect this to work before replacing parts, and how long after Ultimaker discontinues support/replacement parts for the machine (or they go out of business) will the machine function before it has to be replaced. Some of these components are generic components, and some are printable. The rest are Ultimaker specific. Even "open source" doesn't help if there is no longer a big market for the 3rd party parts.

As you are doing with your calculations, I like to take the most pessimistic approach (for example Ultimaker going out of business) and then I am ready for the worst.

A list like this is great, and it will definitely help consumers not only make a more educated decision, it will also give users point by point inspection guide for part replacement. If we could just get more accurate data and remove some of the guesswork, it would be very useful! Keep at it! I am very interested in the final form this data presents!

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I don't think Ultimaker going out of business is a real concern except for warranty issues. For one I don't think they will be going out of business.

But lets take the fatalistic view and for a moment say that they do. I agree that open source does not help in every case but I believe that every single part on my list is available from a third party source and much of the general components are standardised.

The only components I can think of that could possibly break unless you drop the printer and that are not generally available from a third party or as a compatible solution that will make do are the control boards and possibly the heated bed. And both of those are manageable by switching to a different control board and replacing the bed with an aluminium sheet and a silicone heater. The components are not standard but their function is.

Everything else will either be parts that are unlikely to break (like the enclosure), available from third partys (like teflon coupler and nozzles), possible to manufacture yourself or using contacts either as a straight copy (like the aluminium plates in the head) or compatible part (like an IRobertI feeder) or picked up from the same manufacturers that Ultimaker use (like stepper motors and rods).

Of course, this is entirely separate from issues like how easy any of the above is if standard parts can't be ordered straight from an Ultimaker reseller. But then again, if that is a deal breaking concern you are most likely a medium sized company with mission critical need for the printer and as such will just buy a new one from a company that is still in business and will provide you with support.

I wouldn't worry about it.

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But then again, if that is a deal breaking concern you are most likely a medium sized company with mission critical need for the printer and as such will just buy a new one from a company that is still in business and will provide you with support.

I wouldn't worry about it.

 

I am not a business, of any kind, and its a definite worry I have. I think its even more of a worry for those that are not a business. A $2500-$3500 printer is a hard purchase for someone not getting any income back from it. Now thinking that the $2500-$3500 might be a paperweight if the company building it decides not to support it or goes out of business, thats a hard pill to swallow. I admit that this is an unlikely scenario, but I have had plenty of experiences that tell me its prudent to be prepared for this, or at least know how it will affect you.

Not quite the same (and its only one of many examples), but Sega looked to be doing pretty good with the Dreamcast, it was a refreshing departure from the Saturn and the awful mess of the Genesis add-ons. It came as a pretty big shock to me, four months after I bought a Dreamcast, they announced they were no longer a platform holder and the Dreamcast is discontinued. Enough research, and pessimistically connecting the dots, might have shown that they are headed that way, but it was a surprise.

I have seen many other situations since then, from major companies being bought out, refocused, and existing products discontinued, to closing their doors when you thought they would go on forever.

I am not trying to sound like I think that everyone should panic and stock their cellars with TFM Couplers, my original question was just one of planning. What parts should I be paying attention to for replacements, what ones should I buy a few of for just in case purposes, and what ones are generically sourced.

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Agreed. But my point is that if you are concerned that an open source printer from a well established and respected company is going to cause you trouble if they go bust you are most likely looking at mission critical deployment.

If Ultimaker go bust and you have an UM2 at home (like myself) for your personal use and for acquaintances then you won't have a problem with spending a little time replacing the feeder (for example) with a third party solution that works about as well if you are unable to source a genuine part.

Like I said. Very few parts on an UM2 would be impossible or even very hard to find suitable (albeit perhaps not identical) replacements for if the genuine article is unavailable. There are even a few threads on this very forum from people who have tried to build their own from scratch. Though I should point out that I think such a venture will either produce a machine of inferior quality or not really save any money compared to buying a complete. But that is another matter.

As for parts you should have laying around in case of emergencies that will be a question of how critical your printer is. For me, having a working printer was critical enough that I bought two. And it has saved me quite a bit of grief. But it comes at a price...

If you can live with the printer being unusable for say a week then I would say that you don't need to have anything lying around at all. With two notable exceptions.

1. If you don't have an I2K, or even if you do, an extra teflon coupling isn't a bad idea.

2. If you are using a printed fan shroud (I use laberns and I highly recommend it) you should have an extra since failed prints tend to scrap the shroud.

Other than that I don't think it is worth to have extras of everything lying around unless you really rely on your printer. I recall gr5 or perhaps it was Neotko mentioning that the printer was so critical that he had a whole bunch of extras lying around to assure it wasn't unusable for more than hours unless the very worst happened.

Not all parts will fail without warning. You will most likely have some time to prepare for replacing bearings and rods or belts. Some other parts may fail without warning but cost serious money (like the control board). If you are looking for the middle road between having just the very basics and having a complete extra printer and don't mind shelling out $100 on spares just in case then I would get a bowden tube, teflon coupler, nozzle, heater, pt100 thermocouple and a fan shroud if you are using a printed one.

But personally I would think even that is overkill. None of those parts are proprietary and all are easily obtainable, Ultimaker or not.

Cheers

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was Neotko mentioning that the printer was so critical that he had a whole bunch of extras lying around to assure it wasn't unusable for more than hours unless the very worst happened.

I indeed at the beginning I was so worry that I have way too many spare parts. I have enough now to make 1 full printer and a half.

For the OP you should think about your printer as just a group of mechanical parts. The firmware, cura, all that is what makes it easier to use. The rest is just metal and electronics. And it doesn't have much complex electronics btw, is a very old atmega chip with a very outdated board (imo).

Since most of the things are just motors, belts, etc, everything can be changed for a new partor upgrade to a newer or better version. So, in the event of aliens invading tomorrow UM offices and making all disappear, don't worry that nothing is really unique to the point of not you not be able to change for a lesser or better part.

Also, that's the beauty of open source, the diagrams and basic info to change one part for other is there and available.

For replacement parts. Coupler, every 2000h using pla temps, heater, sensor, around 5000-10000h might give trouble, nozzle, depends on how much you care about quality, I use ruby olsson nozzles to use any material.

If you want to pack backups of critical parts, get a belt kit, a um2+ upgrade kit and a um2 board. This way you could change a for b and wait for a new replacement to arrive.

IMO current umo, um2, could easily be updated or upgraded for the next 5 years without much or any trouble.

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For replacement parts. Coupler, every 2000h using pla temps, heater, sensor, around 5000-10000h might give trouble, nozzle, depends on how much you care about quality, I use ruby olsson nozzles to use any material.

That would be with i2k then, right? I will adjust my calculation for heater and sensor to 3500 hours.

Do you have any other suggestions for my list?

Cheers

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For replacement parts. Coupler, every 2000h using pla temps, heater, sensor, around 5000-10000h might give trouble, nozzle, depends on how much you care about quality, I use ruby olsson nozzles to use any material.

That would be with i2k then, right? I will adjust my calculation for heater and sensor to 3500 hours.

Do you have any other suggestions for my list?

Cheers

 

I2K, no, that's just the TFM that last longer than the PTFE. In my experience I2K only adds something to the table when you need to print much at 250-260+. Otherwise you will not notice much difference.

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I2K, no, that's just the TFM that last longer than the PTFE. In my experience I2K only adds something to the table when you need to print much at 250-260+. Otherwise you will not notice much difference.

 

I was under the impression that the TFM coupler only lasted about 1000 hours, which of course is still a major improvement.

Oh well, both my printers are already upgraded with I2K and I hope soon to print more abs so perhaps it is just as well. :-)

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I2K, no, that's just the TFM that last longer than the PTFE. In my experience I2K only adds something to the table when you need to print much at 250-260+. Otherwise you will not notice much difference.

 

I was under the impression that the TFM coupler only lasted about 1000 hours, which of course is still a major improvement.

Oh well, both my printers are already upgraded with I2K and I hope soon to print more abs so perhaps it is just as well. :-)

 

Normal old PTFE (um2) 50-200 print hours

PTFE +I2K probably around that? Dunno

TFM (um2+) coupler 500-2000h

Edited by Guest

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I think for the little fans, you should rather calculate 1000 to 2000h to be on the safe side. As in the old Pentium and Pentium II computers, their bearings might wear out fast, depending on the production batch.

I have one UM2 fan (the tiny nozzle-cooling fan) that started to make noise after about 1000h. Which means its bearing is getting worn out. So I injected that bearing with oil (*), and now it is running smooth again, but this won't last forever of course.

(*) I did this by puncturing the silver seal with an injection needle and injecting a drop of oil through that hole. If you puncture the seal near the top, the oil will not leak away. But if you do this too early (before the bearing being worn out), or if you use incompatible oil, it might really reduce the life of the bearing. If you wait too long until the bearing is worn out completely, there is already too much damage and injecting oil won't help much anymore. I believe the optimal point is when the bearing starts to make more noise than usual (so it is near the end of its life anyway), but before it is slowing down due to wear and wobble.

Anyway, to be on the safe side, order new ones as soon as the current ones start to make noise. But these fans are generally available parts; it should never be a problem to find them.

For us, this open source aspect was very important and a major reason to choose for Ultimaker, instead of a closed source printer of comparable quality. Open source components, availability of component specs, multiple filament manufacturers, a good forum, and standard spool sizes were high on our priority list, as well as very good printing quality, of course. This is a very new and volatile market, and you never know what is going to happen. It is like cars before 1950. But even in stable old markets, you never know: just look at big car brands like Chrysler (now owned by Fiat and the cars branded as Lancia in Europe), Saab, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Rover, and so many others that got taken over or totally disappeared in the last years. It is a good idea to calculate this in, so you can relax and don't have to worry about it. And buy spare-parts from Ultimaker itself, instead of from cheap low quality sources: this will also increase their motivation to keep those spares in stock. :-)

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Personally I am not worried so much about parts that I can replace with generic after market parts (for example the extruder mount can be 3d printed and generic fans can be plugged in)

What I am curious about most is parts that have to be machined/manufactured, specifically for the UM (or its knock offs). These are parts that I would like to keep at least a single backup in supply, just in case. Remember the just in case doesn't have to mean Ultimaker goes out of business, in fact, the opposite could be true. If they get bought out by some other major company, and then get refocused on, say, commercial 3d printers, and the home user/enthusiast are no longer viable use cases. MakerBot just went through a transition much like this (no longer focusing on the enthusiast, only the commercial and education sector).

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Personally I am not worried so much about parts that I can replace with generic after market parts (for example the extruder mount can be 3d printed and generic fans can be plugged in)

What I am curious about most is parts that have to be machined/manufactured, specifically for the UM (or its knock offs). These are parts that I would like to keep at least a single backup in supply, just in case. Remember the just in case doesn't have to mean Ultimaker goes out of business, in fact, the opposite could be true. If they get bought out by some other major company, and then get refocused on, say, commercial 3d printers, and the home user/enthusiast are no longer viable use cases. MakerBot just went through a transition much like this (no longer focusing on the enthusiast, only the commercial and education sector).

I would stock, for fast and non stop production:

-Bed glass (triple check it's flat on the whole print area) is nice to have one extra for fast swap or for just-in-case

- 1 tfm coupler

- 1 Extra nozzle of the kind you most use

- pt100 and heater (3dsolex has them cheaper and they work fine, but for warranty purposes I would get from um reseller for the first year at least if that's a concern)

Or you could just go the expensive way and get a full um2+ upgrade kit, but is a overkill.

For the second year use I would get a belt set from um resellers (not expensive at all) and maybe if I'm too cautious I would buy a 5v small hotend fan, since having that fan is critical to keep extrusion going.

This way you could keep printing fast without much delay.

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Personally I am not worried so much about parts that I can replace with generic after market parts (for example the extruder mount can be 3d printed and generic fans can be plugged in)

What I am curious about most is parts that have to be machined/manufactured, specifically for the UM (or its knock offs).  These are parts that I would like to keep at least a single backup in supply, just in case.  Remember the just in case doesn't have to mean Ultimaker goes out of business, in fact, the opposite could be true.  If they get bought out by some other major company, and then get refocused on, say, commercial 3d printers, and the home user/enthusiast are no longer viable use cases.  MakerBot just went through a transition much like this (no longer focusing on the enthusiast, only the commercial and education sector).

fbrc8.com carries most Ultimaker 2 and Ultimaker 2+ spare parts, so if you decide you want some, they are available right here in the US.

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With my 2/3 rule that would equate to an expected lifetime of 9000h. Do you think it can be safely increased?

Also. I would be great to hear about rods, belts, heater elements and such on the two printers. Two 6000h+ printer should give some useful data. :-)

Yep, i would increase the expected lifetime to at least 10k hours.

We have replaced no rods, a bunch of nozzles and PTFE couplers, but since last january we have been running the TFM couplers (so ~2000h per printer) without change. The belts have never been replaced, they has begun to be a bit noisy but still works just fine.

We have replaced both temp sensors once, but that was because they were stuck in the original blocks when upgrading to the Olsson Blocks and we broke them trying to get them out, we also replaced one heater since we managed to break the cable when removing a bunch of plastic that had melted around the wires.

Edited by Guest

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