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Nicolinux

QA Workflow at Ultimaker

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Hi,

After two months with the Ultimaker Original I have a good understanding about how the machine works. And knowing how complex and tricky it is to get good prints I wonder about the workflow at Ultimaker HQ regarding calibration and QA for pre-build machines (UM1 and UM2). Do you automate this task or are there "factory workers" constantly assembling new machines and calibrating them?

The reason I ask is because I can imagine that calibration and QA are very longwinding and tedious tasks. And now with the UM2 also targeting casual users, the calibration is more important than ever because people will rate their machine based on the first impression i.e. factory calibration. With the UM Original and the kit it is another story. Tinkerers are willing to fiddle and tune stuff before rating the "Ultimaker experience".

I'd be nice if you could share some details - if you are not giving away too many company secrets :)

 

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The biggest problem with ultimakers for new users is bed levelling and the um2 hit this issue very well. For one thing you can calibrate the level at the factory and it won't change through shippings! Amazing. Also it has a new wizard and turning the screws is so much easier I think. Right now when I put the screwdriver on the screw on the bed, just the weight of my pressing gently down on the screw shifts the bed down.

There is a belt tightener built into every block, and setscrews are hopefully tighted real well also so the pulleys won't slip (although this might be the most common problem - who knows!?).

 

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As gr5 says, in the Ultimaker² are a lot of improved components. We intended to make it as userfriendly and reliable as possible. This means less issues, and less calibration.

When the Ultimaker² is build and all components are at its place it is almost ready to use.

There still is the bed levelling, but we have been working hard to make a very user friendly interface that helps you level the bed. With the heated bed and new Z-stage the bed is much more stable and you don't need to relevel it every other couple of prints.

The assembly is done by experienced builders and we always have a thorough quality check before it is being processed.

 

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This mostly comes down to experience. I usually can fix up any printer in 10-20 minutes, unless it has a mechanical breakdown somewhere. Learning all the problems, that's where a lot of time sank into most likely.

 

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@gr5: I didn't knew about the improvements regarding bed leveling. How did they do it?

Bed leveling on the UM1 was a pain. Not only the weight of the screwdriver but also when one screw was turned, it moved the bed around, messing with the other screws.

Thanks for the infos guys. Can't wait for the UM2 (ss soon as I sort out my order problems).

 

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Nicolinux - you already pointed out the 3 screws instead of 4 and the thumbscrews:

http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/topic/2969-ultimaker-2-evaluation-and-feedback/

In addition wood can warp and bend from day to day enough to need constant relevelling so this is improved with all metal.

Also the glass is much flatter than the bed of the UM1.

Also there is something built into Marlin. I haven't seen it but non-ultimaker people have said it is very easy to do and very accurate and takes less than a minute. I think it involves extruding plastic and adjusting the thumb screws at 3 different points. I assume this is what you are asking about? I can't say much because I didn't try it or see it done yet.

 

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Also there is something built into Marlin. I haven't seen it but non-ultimaker people have said it is very easy to do and very accurate and takes less than a minute. I think it involves extruding plastic and adjusting the thumb screws at 3 different points. I assume this is what you are asking about? I can't say much because I didn't try it or see it done yet.

 

Yes that's it. I knew about the 3 screws instead of 4 but I don't think this is a big difference.

I have also read about the new auto leveling feature. But information is sparse, that's why I asked (and because I hoped it would be this cool auto leveling feature).

 

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It's not "auto" leveling. But it is firmware assisted leveling. The start Z height is stored in firmware and you simply rotate the button at the front to set it so the nozzle is just above the bed. This is done with the nozzle above the screw in the back.

After that the nozzle moves to the front 2 screws and allows you to adjust those so your bed is level. (It's done twice so you can do a rough adjustment first and then fine-tune it)

 

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Sounds good (and fast). Can't wait, can't wait :)

By the way, what happens if you need to remove the glass plate? Do you need to do the bed leveling again? With the Ultimaker Original sometimes I just had to give the acrylic plate a good hard stare and it needed leveling again...

 

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