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eldrick

Ultimaker parts ordering costs are unacceptable

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I have been trying to get a spare brass printhead nozzle for my UM2, so I can drill it to .5mm for faster printing.

I contacted Sales@, and was quoted a very high price for the tiny piece: Euro 69.50 = US$95, which is more than enough to buy Two entire J-head extruder heads with thermistor and heater - significantly more complex parts.

However, not having another source, I elected to purchase it anyway, until I saw the incredibly high cost that they quote for shipping: Euro 25.96 = US$36.

This is simply nuts - they could use International Post and mail this fingernail-sized piece of metal to the U.S. for less than 4 Euro. I view this as stunningly bad customer support, as I can buy similar small bits from England with postal shipping costing less than 5 Pounds.

 

I conclude that Ultimaker simply has little interest in customer support outside of Europe, as their policies make it prohibitive to keep their machines running here in the U.S.

 

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We neighbors in Germany, have to pay at least 15 euros for safe shipment via DHL or FedEx recently. For small parts, there are, as far as I know, for example, low shipping forms with special protection, this could be used I think.

Anyway, the price of spare parts determined Ultimaker, we will all see where it's going at the end. I feel the prices of many things UM very high, but the hot-end is probably a more specific Ultimaker-invention, I think. In this case, I can still understand reasonably well.

Nice that you have at least getting a useful answer regarding your spare parts inquiry. I would be happy about that ...

Markus

 

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So far, spare parts support to the US from UM has been limited, to say the least.

I have had great service from illuminarti, and I'm hoping that he soon takes over US support for Ultimaker, as UM is doing a really lousy job of aftermarket support with parts: none offered for purchase online, overpriced when you can get their attention, slow response, and now outlandish shipping costs.

If UM does not step up to improve their parts support, I'll be inclined to sell the machine, and certainly unable to recommend their printers.

 

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Every other company I do business with in the EU offers the customer a choice of shipping methods for small parts orders: tracked and insured, or mailed as a small parcel for one-quarter of the cost.

I view Ultimaker's intransigence on this issue as a significant customer service issue, and as major barrier to non-EU sales and support.

It is very foolish policy on the part of UM's management.

 

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I am only in the UK and I refuse to pay their shipping costs for parts. I have had a PEEK and PTFE hot end parts custom machined for me cheaper (and quicker!) than to have it sent from Ultimaker. Most other parts have compatible equivalents on eBay for a fraction of the cost. Its a shame because I want to support their company, but they make it very hard.

 

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If illuminarti were to work here, he'd be quickly swamped in work, making it impossible to provide the same service as he does now.

But i'm shocked to see that we sell those parts for that much money. I suddenly understand why there is such a lively trade of 'counterfeit' chinese parts on ebay.

 

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I have been trying to get a spare brass printhead nozzle for my UM2, so I can drill it to .5mm for faster printing.

 

I contacted Sales@, and was quoted a very high price for the tiny piece: Euro 69.50 = US$95, which is more than enough to buy Two entire J-head extruder heads with thermistor and heater - significantly more complex parts.

 

I don't know what Ultimaker would charge for the heater, but the nozzle, the Pt100 and the 2 isolators (stainless steel and PTFE) seem to total 147 EUR (which is precisely 200 USD). These components don't yet make an extruder.

 

 

I conclude that Ultimaker simply has little interest in customer support outside of Europe, as their policies make it prohibitive to keep their machines running here in the U.S.

 

I don't think it get much better for Europe... Here, the prices above are prices without VAT - there's 21% added on top.

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I contacted Sales@, and was quoted a very high price for the tiny piece: Euro 69.50

 

WTF? Really? They are asking that much?

I know the nozzle is not the cheapest piece to make. Actually, it's one of the more expensive mechanical parts in the machine, due to low tolerances and complex machining. And spare-parts never have been really cheap. But this is nuts. You can almost have one printed in silver at shapeways for that price. Hell, you could print them in brass for that price at shapeways.

(I'm not allowed to say anything about actual production prices, or markups. Not that I know. But if I where allowed to say something and I was to do a guess, I would say 5-8x markup. But, I'm not allowed to say anything, so I say nothing)

Shipping always has been a problem. I know they tried cheaper options, but then shipments where getting lost, causing other problems. IMHO, they should drop-ship a whole bunch of spare-parts to the US and then you can ship them cheap, piece by piece from there. Logistics on that is harder, but not impossible.

 

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I am at a loss, slowly. And I write this with no pleasure.

In mid-March I started a few parts to beg, to this day I have a lot of nothing. And I do not need all the parts at once. I would be happy if I could get the main parts, and later the rest unimportant.

So that I can prevent longer machine downtime.

But it seems, prefer UM raises many new machines out of the house. It's probably made a kind of gold rush mood. Congratulations, think calmly to you, and wasted no second thought to those who give you the money for all that.

But a manufacturer also has obligations towards the customer after the sale. I've always believed at least so far.

Inventory customers do not bring enough sales and nerves only, with a request for a couple of spare parts, I think.

All available parts are required for new machines, it would be a shame maybe a couple of machines to sell less.

I would even be willing to high price, including the high shipping cost to pay for a new part of Teflon, for example, because mine is six months in use and totally internally worn. I can not build it yourself, because for this I have no machines and tools.

Markus

 

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Dear Markus,

I had new UM1 teflon pieces made by a local CNC machine shop, and got 10 for 35 GBP, including delivery. It was some hassle, and I had to draw it first of course, but because it was so easy for them to make, I basically only paid the setup charge on the machine. That was a couple of years ago. I do encourage you to phone a couple of local machining companies.

I was using ABS, and the teflon pieces wear out quickly, so there was no way I could pay UM prices for them.

From what I am reading here, it's tempting to go into business making UM spares!

 

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I think this high price for this nozzle is temporary. I hope. But keep in mind that this is an open source printer and you can order the part yourself. It's quite complicated - unlike the nozzles on the UM Original.

Having said all this I know that UM was giving these out for free for a while and now it sounds like they are over charging. Eventually I suspect they will find a reasonable price in between.

Note that for upgrading ones machine to a new capability (second extruder or having a second nozzle with a different diameter) $100 seems reasonable. I get a whole new capability (e.g. .7mm diameter printing! More than twice as fast!) But if I broke my nozzle and wanted this small part replaced then $100 seems expensive.

 

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Eldrick, also note that if you posted this rant on any other company's forum your post would be deleted. Now that's "open"! That right there tells me UM is a great company to buy stuff from. I mean it's great to be able to complain about the price of a part on a UM2 openly on their own forum. And UM employees are kind of agreeing with you even. That's so awesome! That would never happen with makerbot. They would delete your post and ban you from the forum. And the cool thing is that because the part is open source, if there is high demand, someone will start selling these nozzles.

Already you can buy nozzle kits for UM1. You can by a set of 7 nozzles for about $100. Some day you will be able to do that for the UM2.

 

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That might be the first good deed. Because obviously not enough existing staff.

To make available a good machine for the reproduction of each, which is also a good deed and corresponds to the open source idea.

But with the sale of finished machines, business interests are pursued. This is not open source, and to ensure customer satisfaction, is one of the most important duty exercises for providers.

I very much hope it will actually happen soon an improvement.

Markus

Edit:

I can discover no official MakerBot forum with a quick search. But MakerBot but should already know that there is always room for reports of negative customer experience. Either foreign manufacturers forums, unofficial forums, and much more, it continues.

The right way is to communicate with the customer and solve existing problems together, I think.

 

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Hi All,

I wanted to give you an update about the repeated request for spare parts for the Ultimaker 2.

For a while we could not put them online for purchase because, as the lead time proved, we couldn't afford to

sell them individually and run out of stock. Instead we did offer them to our users when they contacted our sales department. They have always been available, but perhaps not in the most easy way. Our apologies for any inconvenience for this.

Following the current lead time, it shows that we are starting to control the situation and this means we are taking steps on making some parts available through the webshop. We are finalizing some preparations but since the topic is getting bigger I wanted to share this update with you that within a reasonable amount of time they will become available.

Hopefully this is some reinsuring news and we will meet a lot of your needs. Because that is our goal.

Being a (successful) start up we hare expected to grow in all ways and directions all at once, sometimes we may not grow as fast as expected but we do aim to meet your needs and requests. Thank you for your time and taking the effort to express your needs, so it gives us direction.

 

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gr5 - you have a point - at least they are open to criticism.

However, it's not rocket science to order a few percent extras for spares and replacements when purchasing small parts from an outside supplier, so I see little justification for not offering at least the most common parts for sale at reasonable prices.

Nevertheless I paid a truly obnoxious price for what should be a $15 nozzle (sales accepted the payment three days ago) and I have not yet received a shipped notice or a tracking number. If this also take an inordinate amount of time for UM to get around to shipping it for $36 (like mnis' experience), I will be truly pissed off.

 

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I asked for a quote on some of the parts and got quoted the following prices:

1266 Bowden Tube € 17,50

1154 Print Table Glass € 57,50

1301 Integrated Nozzle Heater Block 3mm Filament € 69,50

1313 Model Cooling Fan 12VDC 0.1A € 15,00 p.st.

1330 Hot-end Cooling Fan 5VDC 0.008A € 20,00 p.st.

€ 14 shipment cost from NL to BE, for a distance of lets say about 200km. I all find this ridicoulously expensive. €57 for a glass plate? Is it gold coated?

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The files are OS, wouldn't be that hard to find a party willing to make them.

 

Hi nallath, can you clarify the license on those files, or find someone who can?

The hardware files are released for "non-commercial" use only, using this license (per the LICENSE file on github): http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

This license seems to mean that:

 

  • Parts for the UM2 will never be able to be legally sold by any third party. If I pay a third-party machine shop to make a part, the machine shop is in violation of the license, right?

  • The sale of derivations, including improvements based on existing parts, also seems to be prohibited by that license. If someone wants to sell an improved part for the UM2, they can't legally do that, right?

Am I reading this wrong?

Steve

 

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Personally. I'm not that happy with the cc-by-nc. It's a odd license, it's unclear if you actually can enforce the -nc part. (Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer)

What the intention is from Ultimaker, is to prevent a copy-cat machine from a big party. I've seen a shop sell Ultimaker Original wooden parts, and we didn't do anything. There are even whole Ultimaker Original copies. Nothing was done about those, except when they used the Ultimaker trademark.

People have also sold bits and pieces of the Original. There are quite a few machines that are clearly based on the Ultimaker Original drawings, but improved (or not actually improved, only changed). So nobody at Ultimaker is actually trying to enforce the NC part.

So steve, you have my blessing. That's the best I can give you. As well as the knowledge that I'm seriously unhappy about the pricing situation.

 

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