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The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

Yesterday we successfully introduced the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle to the world. If you have not seen it yet I highly recommend you watch the introduction video we made of the Pro Bundle

 

The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle exists of 3 products:

- The Air Manager

- The Ultimaker S5

- The Material Station

 

The collection of these products, the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle, is designed with flexibility and reliability in mind. Two key cornerstones. we feel, that play a large role in the performance of our products. 

 

The Air Manager

The Air Manager filters out 95% of UFP that a material emits, ensuring a continuous safe work environment. From research it is not proven that all materials require such a filter, but from some it is known. And in combination with the flexibility the material station provides by being able to load 6 different materials, making sure you are always working in a safe work environment regardless of what you print with is a valuable reassurance. Besides the filter, it also keep any dust or cold drafts out and since the Ultimaker S5 is connected to the Air Manager it can also regulate the fan speed based on which material you are printing with to ensure optimal print quality. 

If you want to learn more about how the Air Manager works exactly and which value it can bring, we put the effort in writing a very informative white paper about it. You can find it here if you are interested! (I recommend it). 

 

The Ultimaker S5

We obviously all know the Ultimaker S5 and what it stands for. It's large build volume is an ideal stage to 3D print many different applications on. This is supported by the wear resistant feeders and the possibility to use a CC core. When used in combination with the Air Manager and Material station it makes sure everything works together to provide you with the most efficient workflow. 

 

The Material Station

I just love this new addition to our product range. The Material station can hold up to 6 (different) reels of filament and will keep them safe and dry. It is humidity controlled, so even PVA and Nylon will stay in optimal condition in humid environments. Being able to load 6 materials is great many scenarios, but 2 in particular. When you mostly work with the same material (let's say Nylon), you can load 5 or 6 reels of Nylon in the material station. When one spools runs out, it will automatically switch to the next reel, even if this would be mid-print. It also has flow sensors so it knows when it has reach the end of a spool. This provides a lot of reassurance that your print will finish successfully, especially when you print large models that require a lot of filament. You can just start with the remainder that is left on your spool. 

 

The other scenario offers you a lot of flexibility. Usually when 3D printing is introduced within a company or organisation it takes some time for it be adopted in existing workflows. When this happens, processes need to be standardised in order for them to be reliably replicated over and over again. We often sees when this has happened, this can open to door for companies to start distribute manufacturing digitally. This can be on a small scale, like with printers (or printer groups) on different floors, or on a larger scale like different different offices or even different countries. 

Where the Material Station really adds value here, is when you want to start prints remotely, you can load a variety of material in the Material station and it will automatically pick the material that matches your print settings. This provides a lot of flexibility and reliability, because when the Material Station has selected the right material for you, the Ultimaker S5 will actively level your bed and your print will start in a safe environment, assured by the Air Manager. 

 

If you are interested, we also wrote a blog about these new products which may add some more information on what I wrote here. You can find it here. A few others links which you might find interesting:

We also asked our engineers who worked on these products for their perspective; you can find it here

Product page of the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle with more relevant information: https://ultimaker.com/3d-printers/ultimaker-s5-pro-bundle

 

Let me know below if you have any further questions about these new products and we would be happy to answer them! We'll start shipping the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle from October 18th onwards. When you have received yours, let us know below what you think! 🙂

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

I like the material station for what it allows, now, but perhaps more importantly, next steps. 

 

I'm not clear on a few things, so permit me to ask a few questions that might already have answers (but I can't find).

 

1) I can see that the material handler works with NFC coded spools.  How does it work with generic materials? 

2) I can see that the material handler will automatically find a new spool of the same material when the first spool is exhausted.  How big a leap would it be to allow material switching (to another color or even material type) mid job, something akin to a CNC automatic tool changer?  To me, this would be reason enough to buy the S5 pro bundle

3) next steps - leveraging the automated material handler and the print core technology, what prevents Ultimaker, in perhaps the next design cycle, from creating a filament color customizer, where several spools feed a integrator, either at the print core or upstream of it?

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 

John

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle
1 hour ago, JohnInOttawa said:

1) I can see that the material handler works with NFC coded spools.  How does it work with generic materials?

 

Exactly the same as previously on the spool holder at the back: you manually select the material from the list. Don't forget you control the material station through the S5 - it's not a stand-alone device.

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

@SandervG About the filament station, When a filament runs out and it swaps spools, what happens to the filament thats already past the feeder?

 

I'm also worried that if i got a few prints lined up and some are PLA and others say Nylon, again what happens to the filament already in the tubes past the feeder wheel? because i guess the filament is swapped inside the filament station so thats alot of filament left in the tube that needs to go somewhere?

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

PreFeeders and filament sensors are installed in the material station. When the filament runs out, it is already detected in the material station and the feeder pulls the filament back completely. So it is the same behavior as when you do it manually without the material station.

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle
2 hours ago, Smithy said:

PreFeeders and filament sensors are installed in the material station. When the filament runs out, it is already detected in the material station and the feeder pulls the filament back completely. So it is the same behavior as when you do it manually without the material station.

Do you know where the pulled back filament ends up at? Sometimes on my S5 it takes a few goes to get the filament past the feeder wheel and into the tube with the testion off the filament, my worry is how well can it unload and load the filament when it looks like the station as no way to lift the bar to take the testion off the filament feeder wheel.

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

The pulled back filament ends up in the material station, it just comes out where you feed it. I think the filament will just twist in there, without disturbing other spools.

 

I can't explain to you why it works, but you don't have to worry that the unload won't work. From the people who have already tested the Material Station there is only positive feedback and the whole thing works fine.

 

The Material Station is packed with technology and not just a simple box with extended Bowden tubes. This technique not only ensures that the load/unload process works, it also ensures that the retracts during printing function properly.

The material station is controlled by the S5 which handles the data from the sensors and controls the feeders.

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle
11 hours ago, Carla_Birch said:

my worry is how well can it unload and load the filament when it looks like the station as no way to lift the bar to take the testion off the filament feeder wheel.

 

No need for worries. The unloading of the filament with the Material Station installed is a bit different to the unloading you might be used to. It cools down the filament until it can rip it apart in the print head in such a way that only a peaked tip comes out which goes easily through the main feeder.

Afaik there should also be a special tool included in the package with which you can prepare the filament end for an ideal shape of the tip at loading.

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle
19 hours ago, JohnInOttawa said:

2) I can see that the material handler will automatically find a new spool of the same material when the first spool is exhausted.  How big a leap would it be to allow material switching (to another color or even material type) mid job, something akin to a CNC automatic tool changer?  To me, this would be reason enough to buy the S5 pro bundle

Agreed, but it's not supported at this moment. The main reason for that is that we can't move the feeder wheel over a given bit of filament too much, since it "bites" a bit into the filament for grip. If you do that too often (eg, retracting a lot), this could cause some issues. We currently have that dialed in with Cura to a pretty safe margin.

If you would switch a number of times per layer (because you could theoretically use 6 materials in one layer), this will add a number of passes to the material that Cura will have some trouble keeping track of. So in order to fix this, we will have to do a fair bit of experimentation to see if those multiple passes will cause issues (and most importantly, when).
 

19 hours ago, JohnInOttawa said:

3) next steps - leveraging the automated material handler and the print core technology, what prevents Ultimaker, in perhaps the next design cycle, from creating a filament color customizer, where several spools feed a integrator, either at the print core or upstream of it?

Do you mean like mixing material colors so that a specific color could be reached? If that's what you're asking, I can say some things about the difficulties that it will bring (again, most of this is theoretical since I'm Software engineer and we haven't actually tried it).


The main issue I see with mixing is the actual purging and ensuring that the mixing is done right. It's going to be pretty tricky to reliably feed (and mix) 10% white and 90% black to get the very dark gray that you want. You can improve the mixing by increasing the hot zone (area inside the nozzle that is hot enough to make the material liquid/gooey), but this comes at the expense of less control of what comes out of the nozzle (oozing) and having to purge more material when changing (longer hot area means more volume).

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle
4 hours ago, Dim3nsioneer said:

 

No need for worries. The unloading of the filament with the Material Station installed is a bit different to the unloading you might be used to. It cools down the filament until it can rip it apart in the print head in such a way that only a peaked tip comes out which goes easily through the main feeder.

Afaik there should also be a special tool included in the package with which you can prepare the filament end for an ideal shape of the tip at loading.

It's also where the material alliance comes into play again. We're working with them to find settings so that a good tip can be created automatically. We have default settings for most common (generic) profiles, but it's usually a good idea to get settings as specific as you can get them.

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

nallath, thank you for your great response!

 

It's always the same with making and innovation - there is the curve of what is possible and another curve of what is practical.  The challenge is finding where the curves intersect.  ( In my case, it's often not curves, but scatter plots, but perhaps that is another thread ;-))

 

The wear-out from retraction is something I hadn't considered.  I can see the attempt to run multi-colours on one layer as a bad corner case.  What I was thinking about was more along the lines of permitting a two - material print that also needed support.  If running a BB core in position 2,  the only real option to do this is permit material change on the fly.  How to do that without grinding up filament might require a combination of user awareness and Cura smarts.

 

The custom color option -  I see a possible interface with a technology like Mosaic.   I'm likely dreaming in technicolor here (pun intended), but having multi-spools in a controlled environment and ready between prints would sure be nice and elegant with a system like that in use.

 

I guess the essential message is that this announcement is both a step in its own right, and a platform for future steps. 

 

While we are in the dreamscape, now that you have a captive material handler, how about a print core that can handle continuous kevlar, glass or carbon fibre like a certain stateside offering? 😉  What a world beater that would be. 

 

Thanks again for supporting this discussion.  Greatly appreciated!

 

Cheers

John

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Posted (edited) · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

Cool developments, I have to say - this time it's really things that are quite unique, and if they work as intended could make desktop 3D printing a lot more hassle-free. Curious to see how well the completely enclosed build volume works out, especially if it's integrated with the rest of the printer like that.

 

Though I have to say that until the core job of printing with exact tolerances, easily removable supports etc. is implemented way better, for us it is hard to justify spending even more money on the UM ecosystem (may be a whole different story for many other people). A printer that is capable of near-automatic 24/7 operation, but is underutilized (because other printers get the job done without all the experimenting that would be neccesary for doing it with our S5) wouldn't be the wisest investment. I recommend taking a good look at said "stateside offering", and what they are capable of sqeezing out of the FDM process in terms of dimensional accuracy and general print quality.

Edited by P3D

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Posted · The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

SandervG, Any update on the availability of the Air handler and material station?  I ordered it from a US distributor at the beginning of Oct. and still waiting. Rumor is that Ultimaker is having issues with the firmware.

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