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U2: first impressions from a longtime Makerbot user

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I have just been playing an evening with an Ultimaker2 I'm fixing for someone else.

I have been building and using Makerbots from the first Cupcakes up to the Replicator 2X's

(I have several of them in my lab)

I though I'ld share my impressions, as I liked the Ultimaker 1 but had heard mixed reviews on the Ultimaker2:

-I like it! It's beautifully engineered.

With the Makerbots the next versions have not always been improvements (the 2X has lower quality bearings than the 2's and more backlash. The Replicator 1 print head was more reliable than the newer ones)

This is definitely not the case here: this is the same design, but better.

-I think marketing this as a 'trouble free' printer is a mistake. nobody has been able to deliver on this promise, and it is the reason I had heard some nasty things about this printer.

-I love the fact the company sticked to their story and has open-sourced the U2. It's all there on Gitbhub: solidworks files + a BOM. I'm a fan & converted.

-at first I didn't like the fact that everything was hidden away. To reach the steppers you need to remove some panels. This turns out to be trivial as everything can be disassembled easily. The print head looks too slick & delicate to my taste, but disassembles by removing the 4 main screws. Elegant.

-in general it is easier to disassemble and repair than I had expected based on the pictures I saw and the reports I had heard from other people using them.

-temperature settings are not done in Cura, but are set in the machine per material. I found this annoying and weird. However, I considered that this means you could print a single file on the SD-card with whatever material is loaded, withou regenerating the file. That is a nice feature.

-I have been printing with PLA and ABS and find the default settings for both materials a bit strange:

-PLA has the build platform set for 70°. I always had good results printing on cold blue painters tape, and so did the Ultimaker1. So why change this? Heating that bed takes a long time. For small parts this significantly increases print time.

-ABS has the cooling fans on. They shouldn't be. I find the default settings cause warping in flat prints. I turned of the fans, and increased minimum layer time to 25 s. This gives much better prints for my test objects

-ABS has the temperature set to 260° I've always printed at 230, and don't see why it is set so high.

-I don't like the fact that the LCD does not show actual temperatures for the bed & print head. You can monitor it in the 'Tune' menu but I'ld rather see it on-screen.

-though I always liked the Ultimaker 1, I decided against it for my lab, as we need high-strength parts for our robotics classes. I wanted to have the ability to print ABS.

If I would compare the Ultimaker2 to the Replicator 2x today, I would say the U2 is a better designed machine (easier to disassemble, lighter, better focussed design), with better parts (no plastic cantilever arms, no cost-savings on bearings, better cable harness,better high-temperature capability)

best, Lieven



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Hi Lieven,

Thank you for your detailed report.

It sounds like overal you are impressed with the machine which is a good thing to hear :)

You are right about the material settings being stored in the Ultimaker 2. I agree I had to get used to this in the beginning as well, but it is a very convenient not to make a slice for every material (even though Cura is very fast).

About the default profiles, the bed at 70º is too hot. I always tune it down to 55º/60º.

The reason it has changed is that you have a much (much!) nicer bottom finish with the glass plate.

You don't need any extra materials (like tape). And it avoids warping better then tape.

ABS with fans, I don't know why. I will pass this on to Daid as a suggestion.

Besides ABS, I have also printed in Nylon which is also very strong. Have you tried this already?

Thank you for your report!


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PLA bed temperture. Initial tests had shown that 70C was optimal. However, we later discovered that those tests where flawed. The default is actually at 60C right now:


As for ABS. It's just one of those things we have way less experience in. I knew some changes that had to be made, but they are certainly not dialed in perfectly. The fans are at 50% for ABS actually. I have had problems at 230C with ABS in the office.

As for the temperature on screen. It's one of those "easy to use/simplicity" vs "hackers" things. But there is the hackers version of the firmware: https://github.com/norpchen/Ultimaker2Marlin/tree/master/Compiled%20Binary

This adds a lot more info on the screens. Advantage of being open is that everyone can make their own version if they do not like the defaults, and are free to share that. I most certainly do not thing that "1 version will rule them all"


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@SandervG : yes, I have the Taulman nylons in 1.75 and love them. I ordered a 3mm roll yesterday, and a roll of polycarbonate. (haven't tried that yet)

to play around with.

I saw a post by Daïd they had considered the E3D printhead for the UM2. My interest is in mechanically strong components, for the PC this means higher temperatures. Do you know of anyone who has already mounted an E3D or a Prusa head on the UM2?

@Daïd: the enclosure/hood on the Replicator 2X does do a lot for ABS print quality. You want to minimise thermal stresses and keeping the whole print warm helps. Lasercutting a plexi hood and front lid for the UM2 is on my to-do list.

Then again, the Taulman nylon might make my interest in ABS a thing of the past.

best, Lieven


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After your comparison to Replicator's I'm glad that I decided for the Ultimaker even with the 2 month waiting time back in December. Again and again it is proven to be worth the wait :-)



Welcome to the forum and entering an interesting 1st post. I can disagree with anything you have said :)


@skint: hope you did not disagree with general impression that Lieven liked the Ultimaker 2 ;-)


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About the PLA and heated bed thing, I print small parts all the time, and got really use to UM1's blue tape as well. If it fails, restart quickly etc. But when I started using the UM2... I got totally sold on the heated bed.

It takes a tiny bit longer to start, but you get way more reliable first layer. You get a glassy smooth bottom, which is so important for objects that are sliced in half that you glue together later. It is virtually seamless.

On blue tape, part of the edge usually curls a little bit resulting in a bigger seam on a joined object as compared to that printed on glass.

The final print is also way easier to remove on a cold glass bed than on blue tape... and no need to replace a consumable.


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- temperature settings are not done in Cura, but are set in the machine per material. I found this annoying and weird.


Personally I found it infuriating, as I strongly prefer to set the both temps manually so I don't have to sit staring at the machine for an indefinite time waiting for it to decide to start a print. And the ideal temp for varies from print to print anyway, so the presets are usually less than optimal.

However, I discovered that Cura allows you to set both temps to 0, which disables the use of the presets and allows for manual control (Thanks, Daid). I also wind up using Kisslicer more often than not, so the presets are irrelevant with it.


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On the issue of the E3D hotend, Jonny has done some excellent work on a mount for the UM1. Someone asked about UM2 compatibility and it was noted that the cross axes dimensions are the same between the UM1 and 2.

Have a look:


Jonny also recommended XT as a strong material when printed @ 100% infill.


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