I do not think there is any <$3000 3D printer that does not need tweaking.
The problems are (in my book)
1. Materials are not equal.... So some materials like to print at 210 degrees - other at 230. Some are very even - some are not.
2. Self assembly - well the Ultimaker is only as good as you can get it. It is not easy to get all the items aligned perfectly.
And then on to Ultimaker weaknesses:
1. Hot End - is lightweight - but Matrial Extruder is far away - so material retention (spool back) has a lack before no material comes out. That gives more stringing than other solutions - but potentially can print faster since Hot End is more light weight.
2. Material Extruder with bowden cable - well is a very weak point. Some people have 0 problems - other have a lot. I cant really say anything positive about the current Material Extruder.
3. Temperature sensor - they seem to be all over the place. Some people measure 30 deg. difference - others - like mine is 16 degrees out. So when I set it at 225 - I am printing at 209. - That is a bugger for generic material profiles.
4. The bed levelling - well - you need to use a screwdriver from the top - just the weight of the screwdriver is enough to offset the level to much. I like the Replicators method better
5. The stop switches - are all actuated by wood ends. On X/Y it is not so much of an issue - but on the Z top switch it is. It is not easy to get the Ultimaker switch to stop the same place every time. There are small variations.
6. Maintenance - get some locktite and apply that to screws once you know things have settled (unscrew a bit - and locktite to screw and screw back in) - all the movements has a tendency to loosen bolts...
7. Maintenance of hot-end fx if your material plugs - you need to take most of the assembly apart (fan first, then bottom plate- then heat it up so you can remove the plug - and then "reverse")
8. Design - in general there is a lack of "error handling" in the ultimaker. There is no error if stepper motors are to heavy loaded (like when the extruder pushes to hard), no error if the fans are not spinning etc - the only "error handling" i have found is the temperature sensor - that stops the printer if it gets >268 degrees or below 0. (which is a bugger if you want to print at 260 degrees - and your temperature sensor is measuring -16 degrees lower than it should. That means max REAL print temperature is 252 degrees.
But once you learn all the features it is a great machine - if you need detailed prints, high speed and 8x8x8 build size. But fiddle free it is not....
1. Yes, the software will create it for you (a lot of stuff can be printed without support though). The main slicers right now would be Netfabb, Skeinforge (which cura uses) and slic3r, all of these can generate support automatically. And yes, you can create your own as well if you feel like.
2. PLA might be iffy at that temperature as it starts going a wee bit soft at those kinds of temperatures. ABS might be a better choice there.
3. As far as I know they're working on it. No idea on timeframe though.
4. It's a bit of both really. But I'd say the majority is in the actual hardware. It's pretty easy to get good results, getting those last bits of perfection out takes a bit of fiddling in some cases. It's not an exact science so it's hard to say "this is what you have to do". I'd say the main things is to get belt tension correct, that seems to be the thing that impacts print quality the most.
5. This one I can't help you on as I have no experience with the UP! printer at all.
Hopefully someone else will chime in and fill in the blanks. But I'll leave you with this; I doubt you'll be sorry if you go with the Ultimaker, it's a pretty damn good printer.
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