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Ultimaker 3

alex jaspers

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a Good Day,


I am in final stage of deciding to buy a new printer and the choice is shifting between UM2+, UM3 or the raise3D N2 dual.

I know you can't just compare them one on one as they have specific advantages in different aspects.

I do not mind to tamper with mechanics and electronics.


But, I have a straight forward question. Due to its retractable nozzle, cap. levelling and build quality I am more shifting to the UM3, but it's build height is a bit limited.

the UM3 extended is requesting a bit too high level of investment...

I am not aiming at printing large parts, but rather small engineering parts and the combination with the soluble PVA has my strong interest.


But, The UM3 has been launched end of Oct 2016 so now 1 year ago and I can't really find a lot of strong positive review or community activity on it..

Is this printer really bringing the best on accuracy and consistency in printing as it is marketed!


- can it print ABS + PVA as soluble ?

- are 0.25 nozzle adaptors  actual available ? 


I guess a lot of people on this forum are maybe biased but it is very difficult to get good objective feedback.

Here are maybe a lot that are using the UM3 or you have good experience with Raise3D N2 


Thank you for your feedback





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    There are pros and cons for each printer. You will find a lot of reviews that swing in any direction for that person's experience/frustration.


    I do have the UM3E. I have had no regrets and it has been a very robust machine. Asically a year straight with virtually no downtime and almost all issues are filament related (humidity as an example) or user error (Almost always) If you are not looking for large objects, as you say, then you have a great playing field to choose from.


    But, let us get to the direct answers that are available:


    1. ABS and PVA are not really compatible. But the new breakaway material available does work well according to this.


    2. Yes, there are teeny weeny nozzles available. I do not mean to be cute about that, but the nozzle choices can go down to 0.1mm, so, yes, nozzle size will not be an issue.


    Accuracy seems to be a debatable issue depending on several factors. And, again, you may not need the UM3 family to do the prints you want and can go backwards (by way of newness) if that is desirable. I will let others who have experience with more printers weigh in on that.


    I did evaluate the Raise3D N2 Dual that you mention, but to be honest, I did not like two things:

    1. No way to do a manual level correction. This is extremely limiting I thought and have been convinced over the last year of printing.

    2. Really did not like the software as it was just slooooowwwwww.........


    That is an opinion only though and although, I am unanimous in that, it is just that, an opinion. Like all printers, I hear good and bad things about them all.

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    I do not have an Ultimaker but have seen many good results from them at trade shows. I nearly bought one about 4 years ago but I really wanted dual extruders and a heated bed and so went elsewhere. In my opinion the earlier Ultimakers did suffer from reliability, especially with the filament drive system. BUT many of the customers who were/are tinkerers got on OK with them, built fixes etc. and clearly the Forum, which has a great community, has been the go to place for people over the years with issues, especially new users.


    The Ultimaker 3 has moved on considerably with some great features and it seems to me that it is a lot more reliable because I do not see that many issues raised on the forum, especially with the drive system. If I were in the market for another printer I would be giving it serious consideration.   I doubt at the same price point you would find anything that was noticeably better and it has great support via the forum.

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    I am also thinking to buy UM3, as checked raise3D N2 dual which had some bad issues did not like.

    - Would not print PVA support, some people tried without success.

    - No lifting mechanism for the extruder (so big possibility to ruin your print when hit by the 2nd extruder.

    - If for any reason want to level the heated bed it would be a pain.

    - And Joel the 3d printing Nerd did not like the idea that can't control the fan, and it will blow air even when doing the 1st layer of printing as it is the same fan blow air to the extruders.  

      Also had a problem closing the side doors when loading filaments (so you have to be careful about choosing the filament.

    So left the idea of buying the raise3D N2 dual.


    The price for UM3 is a bit steep (compare it to size of raise3D N2 dual), that what stopping me for the moment - just hoping for any shop to offer a discount & will go for it even though I think its a dream as all shops have same price may be price controlled by UM themselves.


    BCN3D Sigma R17 3D  printer has the capability of printing PVA, but reviews disappointing.

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    Posted · Ultimaker 3

    Thank you all sofar with your valuable comments. Not an easy straight forward situation. 

    I think the UM2+ is actually the best printer for accurate small parts but then it fails the option to use soluble infill....

    strange issues on Raise like fan control etc, Such options are rather basic....

    The no lifting option of second extruder and missing auto leveling of it is more of a worry for a printer in this price range....

    How does it reach a 10um layer resolution in Z direction is a question to me?

    Regarding pricing of UM3 there is no discount indeed, but if the printer is actually delivering as promised that is fine.

    but a lot of tweaking seems to be done to get good looking parts on the expense of dimensional accuracy. 






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    1 hour ago, alex jaspers said:

    ....... a lot of tweaking seems to be done to get good looking parts on the expense of dimensional accuracy. 






    This is an issue with Prosumer level 3D printers of all kinds. The thing about the UM3 family, is that I remember when a printer of this calibre was starting in the $20,000 USD range. And, each machine must be learned as they are all different to some degree or another. So, the accuracy is an issue enough that even great printers (Fine detail laser resin models, etc.) have articles about the 'slop factor' and how to plan for dimensional shifts.


    The UM2 series does have a lot of mods available and can do dual prints. I am just not sure how that works.


    Back in the day, when companies we did work for were all using Heidelberg printing presses (very, very good printers that run in the millions), we would have to 'fingerprint' a company's press so that we could get color accuracy. And, even then, with all that, things did drift off a bit and required skilled printing people to keep things on track and consistent from beginning to end of a press run.

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    Posted (edited) · Ultimaker 3

    I was trying to find a cheaper option of dual extruder, but do not want to compromise reliability & print quality. I studied every possible options (I think), returned back to UM3. There are many China products, they would say they are the best for example if you search youtube saying best 3D printer CR-10 will come up by many revisers. But I came to conclusion they are not comparing these printers to industrial professional quality printers. They are comparing them to budget printers, and I surpass these kind of (swearing) printers :).  


    I have UM2+ & Zortrax M200, but seems I became addicted to 3D printers and now I want UM3, even though after buying UM2+, Zortrax collecting dust, but still do not have the nerve to sell it as Zortrax is the master of ABS, unfortunately I tried ABS with UM2+ & disappointed (do not sick and print was so brittle when contacted UM support they did not had a clue, so stick to PLA as I have Zortrax for ABS (Zortrax do not need enclosed cover to print ABS successfully from experience). Not to mention Zortrax Inventure is disappointing if comparing it to UM3 if the one want to consider it as dual extruder.

    Edited by LeoDude
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    Reliable dual extrusion in the prosumer space is quite rare at the moment and not as plug and play as the marketing guys want you to believe. 

    I like my UM3 but also quite like the BCN Sigma R17. I think the IDEX system is quite clever and has some advantages over the retractable nozzle approach.

    The BCN Sigma can also be modified to personal requirements. The UM3 sadly is quite closed in this regard at the moment. 

    @neotko : As a professional owner of both machines, which one would you choose?


    Regarding the raise3d: I don't think you can do bigger dual prints without bleeding of filament. The print volume is great and the machine, from what I heard, is really reliable.


    I wonder if you really need a dual filament system? A lot can be done with just one nozzle and single nozzle prints are also quite a good amount faster.

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    I am not into painting 3D prints. Also the idea of having limitless possibility when come to PVA fascinates me. I am still in the lazy mode, that looking for reliable printers i.e. not yet into tinkering so Zortrax & Ultimaker is my ultimate machines (till now didn't do anything rather than change nozzle & lubricate axes) .


    I Was looking into Rova4d, it is crazy (full colour) 3D printer. But seems not much popular as no reviews and not cheap to take the risk of buying one.

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    14 hours ago, cjs said:


    @neotko : As a professional owner of both machines, which one would you choose?



    I would pick the bcn sigma. I seen users with old models having issues on the feeder and hotend, but not any user with the new R17 models. So for the price, that's lower, is better because:

    - Has modern steppers without the Zebra stripes issue like all current ultimaker models

    - Hotends are cheap as chips, for a 230€ you get a full hotend kit with nozzles 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8 and 1.0mm that's for the price of 2 UM3 cores.

    - Bed is fully usefull, no excuses of how they define 'print area' or clips to block, or the need to install a builtak to raise the bed to avoid the bed clips. Also they use Borosilicate Glass now, no just Tempered glass. It has a 0.1 max error on the surface, on UM they don't even tell you what error ratio you will get.

    - Bed leveling system is just easy as cakes, I will do a simple video showing it because it's great imo. Also their firmware allows you to readjust on 0.025 decimals manually if you want to fine tune it and actually know what's changing.

    - You can enable Duplicate/Mirror mode to print two objects at the same time (using half the bed for duplication or a bit less for mirror since the head could collide otherwise) so you can use the printer to print 2 of the same objects, production wise is a nice option (they have it as default for sigmax and I made a firmware after @amedee explained me how to est the marlin compiler to comment 1 line of code), I even made a video about that XD


    - Firmware is very easy to edit and upgrade like on a normal printer, no need for Signed security firmwares like UM3 or the danger of briking a 3k machine because you edit the UM3 Json files and you mistype a comma (been there done that)


    Print speed and reliability for me are on par of the UM3, and using BCN3D profiles the prints go nice and smooth.


    - The feeder is a knurled bolt, that's good and bad, I never got an issue so far, but I see some old sigma users that they have changed it to bondtech for more reliability. So far I don't see the need, but I know that bondtech is a better feeder. Upgrading it it's easy, but on um3 if you plan to upgrade their feeder you can really brick the machine (3 weeks ago an user on twitter did brick his by just changing a wrong data on the machine um3 json. Ofc UM did send him a new board to replace his.


    - Price of components is more earth-level. For example the main board is 125€ on the sigma (3djake) and steppers are around 100€ for all. So a full electronics for the machine is around 225€. On the UM3 the 'printerboard' (the um3 white board) is 300€ and the Olimex linux board is another 300€ (that's 600€ for just basic electronics). 


    - Talking about price, the sigma is 2200€ (without taxes) and the um3 is 3000€ without VAT. That's 800€ that you can expend on bondtech, a full hotend pack, and you can even put some spare glasses for fast production.


    - Motion system on the UM3 is a light gantry with thin 6mm shafts to keep the weight down, but holds a 250grms printhead + cores. So it's moving a 300+ grams with thin smooth rods. That's the big speed limit for the um3, and the reason Cura team developed a lot of tricks to improve the ringing, this tricks are also used on Sigma, because it makes the print look better. Ofc the difference is on the infill settings... But that's for another day. Basically Sigma gantry is more heavy, but all rest on a solid frame with linear rails, that unlike smooth rods, don't wooble. On print speed both machines are very close.


    - Future upgrades on Sigma are very easy to install, and is actually Open Source, you can even download the tools they use to adjust the machine or see everything. On UM3 they took a year to just post some step files, and still they haven't post their firmware (not talking about their marlin 'driver') but the actual firmware. I don't know why they fear so much to being copied, but clearly they have a protect IP fear that blocks them to share back.


    Now offtopic


    My plans on the BCN3D Sigma for 2018 are to make the gantry lighter, thanks to the input from @gudo and other user on facebook. Probably using a markforged corexy idex setup. Would remove almost 400grs on the gantry making it a seriously fast dual printer. But well, that's just me, I like to mod stuff. So far I'm using it without mods =)




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    Posted · Ultimaker 3


    Today I made up my mind and bought a UM3 ext. after visiting a demonstration shop of UM, Raise3d and Zortrax.

    Looking forward starting experimenting with PVA infill with this fine piece of craftsman ship.

    But the first parts to print will be some hinges and lock for an acrylic front door and top cover. They also sell these as addon but pricing was out of resonable range.

    thkx for the various advises!

    Looking forward to join the Ultimaker users group


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    Posted (edited) · Ultimaker 3

    Until you decide to get fancy schmancy with the acrylic doors and what nots, just tape a piece of bubble wrap over the front :)


    When you get your printer, first to do is 'learning prints' such as overhang tests and such to gt a feel for things. Be prepared to trash some plastic as it is a learning process.


    Edit: Oh, ain't you already a member of the community anyway ;)

    Edited by kmanstudios
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    Posted · Ultimaker 3


    do all my posts continue to be under review for approval ...??


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    Posted · Ultimaker 3

    Hi @alex jaspers, congratulations on your Ultimaker 3 Extended! Do keep us updated about how it works for you and I'll be curious to read about your findings and how they meet your expectations. Most of this conversation happened during my holiday, otherwise I would have loved to add my 2 cents. Your posts should no longer need to be approved. :) (Edit; oh, I see you already made some new posts with some of your findings. I'll go and read those!)

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    Posted · Ultimaker 3

    @alex jaspers Happy printing! I would also suggest to check out Polysupport or the new Breakaway filament by Ultimaker. I actually prefer Polysupport over PVA for most objects. I haven't tried breakaway by ultimaker, but it should work the same I think. 


    @neotko Thanks for all the information. They are quite in line with my thoughts on the printer (only saw it at different 3d printer shows). Looking forward to see more of your findings/exploration with the bcn on twitter ;)


    @SandervG I don't mind to hear your 2 cents. I actually find it really interesting and I think it could be of some help for people researching. I always appreciated the open and objective discussions on this forum about 3d printers. ( I have been a silent reader for a couple of years) 

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