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A short review of the Ultimaker 2

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I'll start by answering the questions the sales and support team asked me by email:

# In what condition did the Ultimaker² arrive at your doorstep?

The bottom of the box was wet.

# What do you think of the way it was packed?

Not better than the Ultimaker, the glass had moved. It could have broke and I could have cut my hand.

# What did you think of the manual?

There is one, that's a good point. It is very similar to that of the Replicator. Most pages describes procedures that even neophites could guess. And serious issues such as underextrusion aren't troubleshooted.

# Did everything make sense?

I only skimmed through it.

# Was it easy to understand?

I don't know about the manual but on the OLED screen it was not clear when to turn the control wheel and when to turn the screw.

# Do you miss anything?

The importance and the purpose of masking tape and glue stick (especially) is not explained. It should also say why kapton tape isn't included.

# What was your first impression when you turned it on?

Less impressive than I imagined.

# What was your first experience when you used the Ultimaker²?

Followed the bed leveling procedure and then did test prints.

# After the bed leveling, did it work right out of the box?

The feeder ticked a lot so I manually forced the filament in.

# Prior, during and after the order, what is your general feeling?

The ultimaker store is a complete failure. I went to order from igo3d which was also a major failure. I wasn't notified of shipping.

# Is there anything else you think I should know?

• Very bad: the frame is not made of aluminium (as I read) but PVC with aluminium sheets on both sides.

• Bad: maintenance seems to be very difficult as you can’t easily access the X and Y motors without removing hiding "L" shaped panels and removing the left and right sides of the frame on which the the rods are resting (and on which calibration depends!) ! The belts are loose and I didn’t see a mechanism to tighten them. If there is one its access would be difficult because hidden under the frame.

• Bad: I expected to hear some sound effects or music particularly to warn me of the end of the print.

• Not good: the squeaking sounds have disappeared but the 3D printer is still not silent enough. The extruder fan seems to be the most noisy element and it never stops. The feeder motor also creates a very distinguishable treble noise during retraction. The R2 and R2X are notably more silent.

• Good: the new OLED screen combined to the new interface, even if partly hidden under the frame, is quite pleasant especially to make the difference between long similar filenames.

• Not good: the LEDs inside the frame are positioned in such bad way that either the light is blocked by the rods or it is directed away from the bed. In the dark you see the printer but not the print.

• Bad: surprisingly (or not) the print quality is not better. The culprit is the software, Cura. No matter how good the hardware and firmeware are, if the slicer doesn’t do the right job you can’t get better prints. Makerware is far superior. Most of the slicing issues that appeared with 13.6 are still present and some other settings seem to have been removed such as retraction speed&distance, printing temperature, filament diameter and flow. This makes the distinction between PLA and ABS impossible and the use of very different materials also impossible.

• Good : Underextrusion is less present at 100mm/s.

• Good: priming is now good enough that prints success on the first trial.

• Good (I guess): PLA sticks well to the naked heated glass bed, at least for small parts.

• Good: heating up of the extruder and bed seem quite fast (faster than the R2X) - to be verified.

• Bad: there is no handle ! just like with the R2X. Each time you have to grab it with caution from the inside of the frame.

• Good: the Z screw has a smaller diameter which allows the bed to move up and down much much faster. You should also be able to move it by hand.

• Bad (I assume): several endstops have been removed !

• Bad: there is now very little space under the hot end to see and access the print

I printed two torture tests and the twelve new Graphica (3dkitbash) models in PLA at 100mm/s and 0,2mm layer height. The above observations were made the same day.


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