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Can't get my Ultimaker to work

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Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

Hey all,

I am writing here because between me and two friends we've just about at our rags end trying to make this blasted thing work. The assembly all went well as far as we can tell however we have a number of issues and have only manage to print 1x 20mm cube and 2 bits of a 20mm cube, most of the time it doesn't work well enough to print anything except drippy plastic...


1. Brown gunk

Despite being very careful about the length of the tube and fully reassembling the extruder head, we still occasionally get brown gunk come out of the space between the metal block and plastic tube. I am not worried, but why is it doing this?


2. Temperature accuracy

It seems that my Ultimaker is chronically under-temprature, I have been watching it whilst writing this post, it's set to 215ºC but never seems to deviate from 209ºC. Again not major concern but I worry it might be loosing temperature during extrusion.


3. Extrusion

This is my main issue, it seems like the extruder is rotating and pulling in material but not really extruding any, or that plastic runs out by its self when the motor isn't running, and it seems that the ReplicatorG control panel doesn't work so I can't seem to get things setup.

We're all super disappointed by our new gadget, we really hoped to have something coming out by now, but we've either missed something or there is something wrong with what we are doing.

Please help!

Tom, Olly and Luke

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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    If it's not extruding you need to run hotter. Like 230 C. That's what I extrude at. Some people ahve said (potentially as a result of thermocouple systematic error) 260 or so. Just try hotter and see if it extrudes.

    Some good checks are:

    See if you can push the plastic through the bowden tube by hand (without hot end attached). If this works then attach the hot end and see if you can extrude by hand. If THAT works, then try using the motor. The brown stuff may be a result of the ptfe thread sealing tape used to secure the connection between the brass tube and PEEK insulator. Some people have said that that causes brown leaks. Make sure the bowden tube is really pressed against the end of its stop in the PEEK. One way to do that is to make it stick out from the print head a bit too much and then tighten the aluminum plate as far as it can go (leaving a gap between aluminum and wood). That way you know you are tight on the bowden tube and tehre isn't a leak spot there.

    If you still experience leaks then what I would suggest is running some ABS filament through, and then flushing it out with PLA. ABS somehow fills in gaps. After I've done this I have had zero problems with leaks.

    Don't use replicatorG use Printrun, and I would recommend KISSlicer or slic3r or Cura for slicing. You should try Cura or slic3r first because they have pretty good settings to start with.

    In order to get your extruder to work well you have to calibrate the steps/mm. So draw a line on the filament some two inches before it enters the plastic feed assembly and measure the distance to that line using a pair of vernier calipers. Tell the extruder to advance 10 mm and then measure again. Repeat this several times and take the average distance it actually moved the filament, and figure out your steps/mm from that. THEN, use your vernier calipers (micrometers tend to squish the plastic! SO they won't help you be more accurate here) to measure the filament diameter in several spots and report that number up to 4 significant figures to your slicer (be it slic3r or Cura or KISSlicer, whatever). Those are the only calibrations you need to do with the extruder, and if they dont seem to work make sure to measure your filament diameter to see if it isnt varying.

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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    Check through the other posts on this and the google groups. Your problems are not uncommon. The only issues you are having that concern me are your temps.... which I suspect is a replicator g issue.

    Don't use replciator G like destroyer said. I assume you upgraded to the the Marlin firmware.. If not go here to build a custom marlin, Daid made an awesome tool to build you own custom marlin firmware and installer


    Pull down SkeinPyPy beta 4 from Daid also.. this is the easiest way to get up and running.. the beta4 package has printrun built in and the Skenpypy slicer with all the settings set up for the Ultimaker


    You need to fix the goo issue for sure. You will just have clogging issues in the future if you don't. Take the head apart, heat it up with a lighter or propane torch (be gentle with it you can melt the brass with a propane torch) and cook out the plastic. It will turn to powder and you can blow it out.

    Use permatex high temp engine thread sealer instead of the teflon. It's hard to get the teflon to seal if the brass has any flaws in it. You can get is at any automotive shop.

    http://www.permatex.com/products/automo ... ealant.htm

    Best thing you can do is be patient. Initially the ultimaker can be a pain because there are so many variables from communications issues, extruder issues to mechanical issues. Baby steps! One issue at a time!

    Like destroyer said start at a higher temp, like 230-240. Some Ultimakers (like mine) actually were pretty off on temps. Mine was something like 20 degrees off. So I didn't get PLA to come out till almost 250.

    I am getting some prints now that are better than the ones I got from quickparts.com from $25k machines.

    The guys on this board (and google groups) check in almost daily so you will get answers here way faster than through emailing the ultimaker guys (they are up to their necks in orders)


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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    I have the same goo issue, but I am printing normally: I think it is the teflon I put in the thread that is discoloring and melting away (it should melt above 260, but cheap teflon tape is prone to melting at lower points). I've printed a couple of hours without serious problems right now (except for not being able to print large things due to extruder jammings). Sometimes a bit of PLA oozes out, but that is a veeery slow process. I just wipe it away every few prints.

    A better solution for this I think is to use high-temp sealant, I came across hints of stuff they use to seal spark plugs but I couldn't find an official name (loctite something, but the loctite site does not show high temp sealants).

    I also had the chronic undertemp: wasn't able to reach setpoints above 210 (setting 230 made it go to 220, etc). I fixed this by switching to Cura and have Cura update the ultimaker to Marlin. Works perfectly now, temp wise. I print at 205.

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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    Well I have upgraded to Marlin and moved the head closer to the bed by adjusting the Z-axis, it was perilously close before, now its probably even closer. It managed to print a test cube, will try the whole cleaning thing, but my the plastic peek insulator is plastic on mine and the brass thing will not come off anymore?

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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    I switched from teflon tape to Permatex High Temperature Thread Sealant PX#59214 which you can get at any automotive parts store. Much easier to apply and I've had no goo or head leaks since.

    Marlin, Cura, search the forum for bed leveling ( i use tin foil and a multi-meter), and print the fine Z adjuster


    to get the bed really dialed in.

    I also added an M3 nut to the thumb screw on the extruder. This acts as a jam nut to keep the thumb screw from loosening on a long print.



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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    Just as a side note I have the ptfe brown leak and it hasn't caused any problems for printing. It just leaked a bunch, and then when it was all done it stopped leaking and i wiped it up.

    SO I would say, don't worry about that make sure you can print stuff first.

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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    I definitely want to use CURA or Slic3r... but it seems that i cant manage to get Cura to run on my mac...

    All i get when i download the latest version is bunch of useless(to me) text documents.. looking like this below:

    I may be very nooob on this but if anyone can help i would be thankful.




    This page is in the table of contents.



    Cura is a GPL tool chain to forge a gcode skein for a model. Based on Skeinforge.

    The slicing code is the same as Skeinforge. But the UI has been revamped to be... sane.


    from __future__ import absolute_import

    import __init__

    import sys

    import platform

    from optparse import OptionParser

    from util import profile

    from util import sliceRun

    def main():

    parser = OptionParser(usage="usage: %prog [options] .stl")

    parser.add_option("-p", "--profile", action="store", type="string", dest="profile", help="Use these profile settings instead of loading current_profile.ini")

    parser.add_option("-r", "--print", action="store", type="string", dest="printfile", help="Open the printing interface, instead of the normal cura interface.")

    (options, args) = parser.parse_args()

    if options.profile != None:


    if options.printfile != None:

    from gui import printWindow



    if len( args ) > 0:



    from gui import mainWindow


    if __name__ == '__main__':


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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    Getting Cura to run on the Mac is still a bit difficult, and I couldn't get it to work on an iMac on monday (And I made Cura...). But I think I know what I did wrong, I installed the wrong version of wxPython.

    You should have downloaded this package:

    https://github.com/downloads/daid/Cura/ ... RC2.tar.gz

    and extract is somewhere.

    Then run the following commands in a console window:


    sudo easy_install2.7 PyOpenGLsudo easy_install2.7 pyserial


    Next download and install:

    http://downloads.sourceforge.net/wxpyth ... -py2.7.dmg

    And finally run:


    cd [location where you extracted osx64-Cura-RC2.tar.gz]python2.7 ./cura.py


    (I think the startup script "cura.sh" doesn't work in all cases, depending on your version of OSX it might work, but it might also fail)

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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    My Teflon tape didn’t stick to the screw when I assembled it. Now there is a lot of PLA leaking from below the aluminium block. I’m wondering what’s the best way to fix it.

    destroyer2012 mentioned that ABS can fill the gaps. Does this work even without any tape?

    Or in case of using permatex (c ernst, thedudevt), do I have to disassemble the whole printing head? Or which parts are affected? It seems that most of the parts of the head are somehow interconnects.

    Thanks for any help

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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    I am currently running with ABSOLUTELY NO TAPE whatsoever.

    The secret is to screw the nozzle on so it presses up against the aluminum block, then screw that assembly tightly so it presses up against the PEEK. You have to screw it in pretty tightly, but not too tightly! Because then it will break. I did use a couple of wrenches to get it tight but i turned the wrenches VERY CAREFULLY after having finger tightened everything, only about an eighth of a turn to get the nozzle to sit tight against the aluminum block, and about the same to get the aluminum block/nozzle assembly to sit tight against the PEEK. I haven't had any leaks, but I have been extruding with ABS which has a much viscosity and so doesn't leak very much.

    What happens when you extrude with ABS is the extruder gets hot enough to liquefy the ABS and that fills all the tiny gaps. Then when you go back to PLA you are not having the extruder hot enough to melt the ABS, so the PLA does not get through the parts where ABS has filled gaps. This should work with tape or without.

    As far as print temp, I have recently gone way down in temp, printing PLA at 180 C and ABS at 230. Just goes to show that a wide range of temperatures should work.

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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    That’s good news! So nothing has to be disassembled, right? Just tightening the things as you described. Did you heat up the nozzle before? Should it left hot during the whole operation? (somehow one have to get rid of the leaked material to close all gaps). Thanks!

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    Posted · Can't get my Ultimaker to work

    Oh yea I did that with a brand new nozzle before I extruded plastic. Had to switch it out for my old one because I screwed up the tip with a pair of flush cutters (Don't use flush cutters to remove caked on plastic!!! Heat it up don't be lazy) SO yea I would heat it up before tightening. But don't over do it! The heater barrel breaks easily. Just an eighth turn past hand tight is fine. ANd if it still leaks then maybe turn it a bit more.

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