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After owning a printer and much research, I have decided to buy my way into the Ultimaker family. Now I need to decide whether to get the UM3 or the S5. On the surface the UM3 is an easy choice for me. The resolutions and tech seem very similar in both and I am not really seduced by the touch screen or large print volume of the S5, although they are impressive. The only reason I even consider the S5 is the filament flow sensor and the overhauled print bed leveling. Which are both things to heavily consider! Running out of filament sucks and can be a huge waste! I have also spent hours/weekends toying with settings and leveling print beds. I really just want something reliable. I know the S5 is supposedly more reliable, but how much so? $2.5k more? Any help or suggestions is greatly appreciated.

 

The object in the image below was modeled by myself and printed with my makerbot. This also represents the things I enjoy to make/create.

Sharktore.jpg

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I own an UM3 and I am happy with it, but sometimes I would like to have a bigger build volume. 

One more difference is, that you can print (official) also abrasive materials on the S5, because there is a new print core (CC) and the feeder gears are harder than the ones for the UM3.

 

It is really hard to decide, but I would go with the S5, but only because of the build volume, the rest is nice to have but no argument for me to switch from the UM3 to the S5.

 

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My company owns an S5 - we are happy with it, but I don't think it is more reliable than the UM3. If you really, really want an Ultimaker and need the build volume or the "official" printing capability for abrasive materials @Smithy mentioned, go for the S5. If you just want an Ultimaker, consider the UM2+ (if you don't need dual extrusion) or the UM3.

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Hi @GigaWaTT , welcome to our forums! 

Happy to hear you are considering getting an Ultimaker. 

 

For starters, I think both Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker S5 should be able to do a great job printing such organic models as the image you have attached. Especially with PVA supports you shouldn't need to worry about overhangs or bridges anymore both can print at a good enough resolution to smooth out any curves. (like 60 micron). 

 

Regarding which is better choice for you, a clear indicator of course is build volume. Do you need the larger size? In that case the Ultimaker S5 is the obvious choice. If you don't really, the Ultimaker 3 could be a good choice either (although generally a lot of people are also tempted by 'what if'). 

 

The flow sensor, active leveling and touch screen add quite some added value to the Ultimaker S5 in terms of reliability and user experience. The touch screen is more than just a larger interface, it can also show visual guidelines when you need to execute certain maintenance tasks for example. 

 

Overall, both are great machines and I don't think you can make a wrong decision here. 

 

Are there any other specifics that you want which might steer you into a clear direction?

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Thanks for the feedback! It really sounds like build volume is the deciding factor. @SandervG I have seen forum posts where many people have issues with the active bed leveling and say leveling manually is usually better. Is the S5 more of an improvement than a solution to this problem? I think I've ruled out the UM2 versions as I'd like dual extrusion and I've read the UM3 is much more reliable. Thanks again! 

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There are also a lot of people complaining about the active leveling on UM3 as well. Some do manual leveling for years and therefore have a lot of experience in it. Maybe they can do it quicker and more accurate than the active leveling. The experts do it during printing the first layer and checking the extruded line.

 

So I would say it is more a personal philosophy than a real problem with active leveling. 

 

I only use active leveling on my UM3 and never had any issues with it. And if there would be an upgrade for my UM2Go I would buy it. I am lazy 🙂

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I can’t speak of the 3 however, the S5.

 

I like the peace of mind and frankly, consistant results received from the active bed leveling. 

 

I did a manusl level when it was received a few weeks ago and have let it complete the active bed leveling since. There were a couple instances when it failed during the active bed leveling process; why I can only speculate and yet it retried without having to reload the print and always successfully on the second attempt.

 

For what it is worth, the S5 has a more comprehensive when compared to the 3, active bed leveling routine; roughly 50 points are checked which I find value in.

 

Regardless; I think that both the 3 and the S5 would be enjoyed.

 

Takes care

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Thanks everyone! I was hoping to get more opinions from those, like @P3D, who have both or have upgraded from the UM3 to the S5. I was curious to know if those folks had experienced any noticeable difference in build quality or reliability. 

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As shared; no personal experience with the 3 however, I know a few that have them and all with great success.

 

We considered both as the price point difference is measurable. For us the larger build area was not pivotal and yet; we have come to appreciate it even in the short time we have had it.

 

For us, the following became the basis of selecting the S5. 

 

1. Filament sensor, as we typically run multiday prints and whether because we run out of material or it simply fails to feed we want the print to pause.

2. Glass doors, far easier to control temps and they look nice.

3. Feeder with upgraded filament tension setup for loading as well as the hardened gear sets for use with more aggressive materials and full use of the newly released CC Print Core.

4. Advanced auto bed leveling.

5. Touch screen; not because of the screen but rather because the interface offers more information and it easy to use.

 

Additional differences that are appreciated; no power brick but rather a simple power cord, quieter, and the aluminum build plate.

 

All the best with your decision.

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I find most of these to be good reasons for each machine. But I will echo a couple of things.

 

  1. Build volume. It is like owning a house. You will outgrow it.
  2. That filament sensor really saved my butt the other day when I was so tired, I did not hear the usual pop of the filament coming loose (because it did not do so) and did not know I had run out. I severely overestimated the amount of material I had vs needed. Kept me from ruining a print. And, my next print (since time was involved above) will be 222 Hrs. 4 minutes. So, yeah, good to have that sensor. PVA is the only filament I have had that can get a bit strange due to it softening if getting moisture.
  3. Abrasive materials. Not all are metal. I found out the hard way that even glow in the dark PLA is abrasive. So, do not limit that thought to just metals and glass filled and all the cool new stuff coming out.
  4. Active leveling. Other than a few times since I got mine, it has worked flawlessly. And, the time I get issues with lines is when I cranking out a print as fast as possible, so that is not a leveling issue. But, slowing it down I can get really good quality. And, I even hear for people to slow down their prints on the grand standby (no sarcasm, actual respect) of the UM2 series.
  5. And it does hold detail quite nice. This post shows where I printed planar representations of people that were smaller than a US quarter/3 Euro coin.

 

I own both machines. So, I can say with experience that you will not be disappointed with either. Both machines have opened up a lot of printing opportunities for the organic modeling. The PVA support usage is great for me and the weird stuff I do. It is very rarely I can use standard one extruder print and support.

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The filament sensor is ever so handy, i run prints that are over a day long sometimes why i'm at work or in bed sleeping so the print stopping due to filament running out or snapping and me being able to start it off again. not only saves time but could save you a lot of filament what if you sell stuff will means you still make the planned money from the print.

 

Build size is something that can also be very handy, but if goes by what type of things you print, if you only ever print small items then the extra size will never be used, but if you never know what you might be printing then that extra size is real good to have so you might not have to cut and join a part like might have been case with a smaller size.

 

Bed leveling i have found to be great and as been giving me perfect first layers over and over, i just make sure from time to time i do a normal bed leveling myself so the auto level is not having to do as much.

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Thanks everyone! I feel much more informed, but I'm still not sure I'm any closer to making a decision! I thought the S5 would be more reliable, but feedback seems to indicate both are reliable machines. I would be more inclined towards the UM3, but now I feel I've underestimated the potential of the large build volume and the filament sensor. I watched review vids for the S5 I had to pick my jaw off the floor after seeing builds utilizing the space. @kmanstudios @Carla_Birch Where/When does the print pause when the sensor detects the end of a filament spool? Is it as soon as the end reaches the sensor? I imagine you could then load a new spool melt the ends together and resume the print? @Shadowman I know the power brick is gone on the S5, but is now installed beneath the printer itself, correct? Does this add to the stability/weight of the printer? Does stability even matter? I have a printer on a heavy desk, but still get some vibrations. Is this even an issue to consider?

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From what I can tell with the sensor it knows when the flow of filament stops at the hot end so by that when you run out it will be soon as the end goes past the feeder as it’s no longer being pushed so you are left with filament in the tube. That’s what it was for me when I run out one night what saved a day long print as I run out at like 90% done so was a life saver

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Having the power brick effectively integrated within the underside is simply; nice. I don’t think lower weight aka additional ballast is a plus as the S5 is very stable.

 

We also have our’s on a solid desk in addition we have thick felt pads under the four corners that eliminates the transient vibration and associated noise.

 

Takes care 

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56 minutes ago, GigaWaTT said:

feedback seems to indicate both are reliable machines.

That would be for printability, but the S5 does ease out past the UM3 series with the buildplate leveling. It actually accounts for uneven glass and not just the overall buildplate leveling itself.

 

56 minutes ago, GigaWaTT said:

 Where/When does the print pause when the sensor detects the end of a filament spool?

There is a mechanism in each feeder that detects when the filament is not moving anymore or has past it and there is no more filament to track. This makes it good for a few things like when the PVA gets gnarled up because it is too moist or when the other filaments stop moving for a variety of reasons like a crudded up bowden tube. Dust, etc. can build up or uneven filament sizing. This lets you check what is going on and not just replace the filament.

 

56 minutes ago, GigaWaTT said:

I imagine you could then load a new spool melt the ends together and resume the print?

I actually do not do that. Here are my reasons:

  1. The filament that is left in the bowden tube after running out makes great cleaning filament for hot and cold pulls.
  2. Trying to melt those ends together and keep them smooth is not always easy. If it varies too much or is too hard, it will stop moving, by way of jamming in the bowden tube or at the feeder wheel.
  3. This refers to the above statement about uneven filament sizing.
  4. I sometimes also use the leftover filament to do after work/post processing such as using it as a welding agent between two parts, filling a gap in two prints being put together (say top and bottom parts) where there is always some sort of gapping seam.

I just take the leftover filament out of the tube and load a new spool. When the S5 goes into pause mode from a filament sensor trigger, you have access to all the menu items and I just go to the change filament commands and replace the used material with a fresh spool. If the problem is PVA getting moist, I change it out for a fresh spool and then use my filament drier to refurbish the older filament spool.

 

56 minutes ago, GigaWaTT said:

I imagine you could then load a new spool melt the ends together and resume the print?

And, yes, you can still do this too...I just prefer not to. I know I quoted this twice, but did not want the information to be lost on the agreement that it can be done.

 

56 minutes ago, GigaWaTT said:

I feel I've underestimated the potential of the large build volume

Yeah, I cannot agree more with that. There are some who complain it is not fast enough, but I see so many tips, even for smaller printers, to slow down the print speeds anyway, so this is not really an issue for me. Would I like it to be faster? Ummm, yeah.....especially when I have a 12 day print coming up. Uggghhhhh.....

 

 

Things to consider:

 

The S5 has a hardened feeder wheel to use with abrasive materials. The UM3 series does not and abrasive materials will kill the knurled wheel in a matter of time.

 

There is the CC 0.6 Core that I am really looking forward to. I do not do much abrasive materials prints, but honestly, when glow in the dark PLA is abrasive (it is) even that will kill the wheel eventually. Gotta print fun things for the grandkidlings....

 

The feeder is redesigned with a flip switch to make it much easier to manually move filament in and out of the feeder. No more squeezing that screwy lever on the side of the feeder. That can get to your fingers after a while and the flip mechanism actually speeds loading and unloading or checking filament jams.

Edited by kmanstudios
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The scales are definitely tilting towards the S5. Is there anything that's a must accessory? I was thinking along the lines of a spare glass build plate (giving prints cool time & easily swap in case of botched print) Necessary? Are all glass build plates created equally or are some better than others?

 

Thanks again everyone! I feel much more confident in my knowledge and expectations.

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Spares = potentially less down time for a multitude of reasons.

 

With the S5 we also purchased the .25 AA Print Core and a mix of filament.

 

In addition we purchased 3 spare Print Cores; one of each so if we have one get clogged we can quickly swap it and tend to the clogged issue at a convenient time, a glass build plate for both a backup and to allow us to remove a print and let it slowly cool, cleaning filament; we have never used it so we’ll see if it is easier and more consistent than using PLA. If nothing else I like the idea of it being clear thus easier to see the dirty material drawn out of the Print Core, spare collets, spare white collet clips, and a few more silicon Print Core covers, and a spare hot end fan for the same reason as the spare Print Cores; if one goes bad it can be quickly swapped and any warranty issue dealt with after the fact.

 

Our objective is not to be shut down; particularly after hours and or over a weekend should a typical issue crop up.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Shadowman said:

Spares = potentially less down time for a multitude of reasons.

What more can you say? 👍

 

2 hours ago, Shadowman said:

a glass build plate for both a backup and to allow us to remove a print and let it slowly cool

Oh.... 😂

 

I have found that I rather like putting my fresh prints into the freezer and using the spare to print with immediately. This has two aspects to it.

  1. Really slides off the glass most times or can be gotten off easily with a sharp knife to get up under it.
  2. The freeezing brittlefies the brims and they just peel right off with very little effort leaving just a tad bit in some cases to get trimmed off with an X-acto.

BTW, @Shadowman is correct. But, keep in mind, those are  just good practices for any machine you get. Spares definitely make the difference.

 

You could also look at your hard core options. @gr5 is very knowledgeable about them and may be available to lend his wisdom on those things.

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Into the freezer; huum... never tried this and yet with a fully cooled build plate the prints are able to be removed easily.

 

We will try the freezer next.

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The only time I have to use a knife to get the prints off is if they are really cemented down with a lot of PVA support. I just pop it into the freezer fresh off the build area. Hot glass and all. I do not have much in the way of food in the freezer, so it is not going to cause issues there. But, it can be an issue if the print fills the volume vertically. The racks in my freezer are not really that adjustable in height and well, sometimes, I just gotta do the ol' water thing.

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I will definitely try it; I should also say that since we received the S5 that PVA has been our best printing friend. Brims and Rafts as well as supports are always created with PVA and the results have been spectacular.

 

Yes, material costs are a bit higher and there is an increase in print time however, the net results make me smile. We also have the designated Breakaway materiel but have not tried it yet.

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6 minutes ago, Shadowman said:

We also have the designated Breakaway materiel but have not tried it yet.

I have that as well. But, nothing yet to try it with. It is either too flimsy to be supported with a hard material or, regular PLA works just fine.

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LOL: with the PVA we are now printing complete assemblies that used to be glued together after the fact and some extremely complex and delicate prints; some prints are completed just for the sake of doing so to see what our and the printer's limits are and to what degree our expectations are met. Thus far our expectations have been exceeded on many many levels. 

 

I only wish, and frankly expected, that the PVA would dissolve a bit quicker but we have come to except that we toss it in the water for several hours; longer for the more complex parts, and then as it nears the end of of the dissolving process a nice soft toothbrush does a wonderful job of finishing the process.

 

When compared to the old Exacto knife and sandpaper; there is no comparison. Furthermore; much of what we find our self printing simply can not be printed with breakaway support. .

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GigaWaTT

 

I feel that I owe you an apology as your thread went off topic and I was part of this happening.

 

Hopefully, even when off topic you recognize the satisfaction, appreciation, and enjoyment experienced with the Ultimaker printers. 

 

As others have shared; whether a Ultimaker 3 or a Ultimaker S5 I personally have “no” doubt that it will exceed your every expectation.

 

All the best.

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43 minutes ago, Shadowman said:

As others have shared; whether a Ultimaker 3 or a Ultimaker S5 I personally have “no” doubt that it will exceed your every expectation.

That being said, I would add that I have 2 UM3Es and one S5. They both run 24/7. My prints lately have been running many days at a time. Most errors are user based. Such as, I had to clean the feeders on both UM3Es within the last 24 hours. I cannot remember the last time I did that. Other stupid things when I get into design and print mode and do not think of those little things as time slips by.

 

1 hour ago, Shadowman said:

I only wish, and frankly expected, that the PVA would dissolve a bit quicker.....

I use Matterhackers PVA for a lot of things, but always have UM PVA on hand too. I find the Matterhackers PVA (aside from being less expensive on my fixed income) dissolves a lot quicker and not so gummy. But, flowing water does help with that.

 

I too, hope that all this sorta off topic stuff helps with your decisions @GigaWaTT. It is all part of the experience since both are dual extrusion.

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