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Is the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle the right choice for research?


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Posted · Is the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle the right choice for research?

Hello everyone,

I'm a PhD student involved in various research involving 3D printing. We typically 3D print with antibacterial and electrically conductive filaments. My university is about to purchase an S5 Pro Bundle based upon my suggestions, however digging into this community I'm starting to have doubts.


My main doubts surround around the Material Manager, I find that on the Ultimaker Marketplace that no Generic material filaments are compatible with the material manger. This opens up a host of questions, why aren't they compatible and how do I overcome this non-compatibility? I seem to have some answers, you can simply remove the material manager and run a single filament roll...but then why spend the big bucks on the bundle and deal with the hassle? It also appears that most 750g filaments will work on the material manager.


Since we're most interested in using filaments that are not approved, is there a point in getting this pro bundle or do I just stick with the normal S5? 

Thank you! 

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    Posted · Is the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle the right choice for research?

    To print with the Material Station, you really need a profile for that specific material since the profile controls the cleaning process at the end of the print to make sure that the nozzle is clear and ready for whatever your next material is. If it didn't do the cleaning, and you printed ABS and then tried to print PLA, you'd have under extrusion issues; this process in the firmware/material profile takes care of that. Ultimaker is adding more profiles for the Material Station as the filament manufacturers in the Material Alliance make them available.


    Other factors related to Material Station compatibility also include the size of the spool and spool core diameter. If the spool physically does not fit well inside the MS, it's not going to unwind well.

    If you have a specific material that you have to use that doesn't have a profile supported for the MS, then I'd recommend going with the S5, or the S5 with the Air Manager--the Air Manager is handy, even without the MS. The Material Station has a lot of ways that it's useful, but it sounds like it might not be the right fit for that particular project. 

    It looks like there is one anti-bacterial filament in the Marketplace with a MS profile: https://marketplace.ultimaker.com/app/cura/materials/Daniel/Copper3D_PLActive_2019

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    Posted · Is the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle the right choice for research?

    The material station can help with large parts (> 750g) or with sensitive filaments (PA, PVA). Also for serial printing or when the printer is used heavily (>8h) during the day. Also over night when changing material. The station does not accelerate the printing process (rather the opposite). But it can reduce the manual changeover time between filament rolls.

    If you have multiple 3D printers or a small production run, you'll appreciate it. Those are more economic considerations. For experimentation, I find the Material Station to be a hindrance. It turns the S5 into an automated black box, so to speak. The Material-Station is not adjustable and depends on preconceived profiles.

    With filaments from other manufacturers the compartibility is not absolutely necessary but a similarity to generic profiles should be given. If this is not the case, the printer can, as you have found out, be returned to the normal roll feed. A parallel operation of material station and roll feeder is not possible. A conversion is cumbersome. Plug and Bowden of the material station must be removed. The roll holder must be plugged in.

    I would also say that an S5 alone with Airmanager is the better choice in this case. The option material station can be purchased later. The Airmanager is also not adjustable but it creates constant conditions in the working area of the printer.

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    Posted · Is the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle the right choice for research?

    Hi @Dimitriman, thank you for your message and getting in touch with the community. 

    You mention that the material station is not compatible with generic materials. I was wondering if you meant the Ultimaker filaments by chance, Due to a very silly bug they are not listed as compatible, but they are. We're working on fixing that. It is not listed correctly on the site. 

    What the material station does really well is making the process less manual, and easier to print remotely, large batches or large prints. Where you otherwise may have to predict/calculate how much filament you have left before a print starts, the material station will just switch automatically to the next spool of the same material and continue your print without manual intervention. 


    It is true that without the material station, the UMS5 will detect if you run out of filament and pause the print for you, but it can not continue before new material is loaded and this may be several hours if it happens over night. If your prints are usually quite small, I would say it is a small risk. 


    Hope this helps! 

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