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jimbojoe

Have UM Original - Love-Hate relationship - Should I get UM2?

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Ok, so here's the basic question: I have a UM1, and I want a new, better printer, but I am worried the UM2 will have the same problems my UM1 had.

I got my UM original about a year and a half ago. It worked very well at first, but there were plenty of issues. Z-screw leveling issues, bowden tube-popping issues, belt tension issues, extruder issues, and primarily under-extrusion / nozzle clogging issues. Oh GOD, the nozzle issues. The improved somewhat when I finally printed a filament cleaner, but after X hours of printing (which good, expensive filament), they would inevitably come back. I probably took the hot end assembly AT LEAST 200 times (and the burns and annoyance that come with that). It seemed that for whatever reason, no matter the filament or precautions I used, this device was prone to under-extrusion. I own at least 20 UM1 nozzles, and at least 6 of them are from UM directly, and you know how much that cost me from shipping alone. I swear, some days I wanted to strap my UM to my chest and jump off my 12th floor balcony. But other days, it would print something beautiful, and redeem itself.

Now, the UM2 has some advantages over my UM1 that I know I want. I want a heated build plate, the ability to print in ABS, etc. But there are a few things I would like that would change the game in my 3D printing journey that it doesn't have, e.g.: 1) a significantly bigger build plate than UM1; 2) dual extrusion (until 1Q05), etc. But the one of the most important things, I guess, for me is reliability. I know no printer is perfect, but from what I can tell from the forums, under-extrusion and nozzle clogging (despite the atomic method) seem to be just as common, if not MORE common with the UM2 than the UM1. Lots of other people are also complaining about extruder skips for various reasons. I do not think I could deal with another printer that I would just be waiting to inevitably under-extrude and become an expensive (temporary) brick. From what I'm reading, anyway, it doesn't seem that this issue has been completely fixed and is now a rare issue.

I am probably willing to pay up to $5,000-$6,000 for a new printer as long as it is reliable and has my accuracy requirements, but I don't know if I want to trade away all my knowledge with UM machines, all my 3mm filament, the open-sourced roots of the UM, Cura, and the many other benefits there are in owning a UM. Does anyone have any suggestions and/or relevant commentary regarding their experience with the UM2 over time? Are my fears re: clogging exaggerated? Or is the UM2 about the same as, or less reliable than the UM1?

 

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Nobody can tell you that a UM2 won't give you any of those problems, that would be asking to prove a negative. All I can tell you is that I've had none of the problems you mention with my UM2 except for underextrusion, which is greatly improved by switching to Robert's feeder, and doing tests on the filament to see what temperature it likes best.

 

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Hey Jimbojoe,

Reliability is one of our focus points for sure. Unfortunately, while we are working hard to find solutions, the technology is still prone to these problems. My guess is that some of these problems will stay for the years to come, even in high end printers. Stratasys has been working on this technology since the eighties, and their $50,000 printers still break down.

Compare it with 2d desktop printing, which has been around longer and has seen much larger R&D investments. They've come a long way, but paper jams still happen. And these machines work with ISO-standard paper, with a set weight and dimensions. Many expect our printers to work with whatever brand of filament they throw at it.

You can do alot to make these problems happen less. You're already cleaning your filament. Are you using 2.85 mm? Have you tried different suppliers? Different materials? PET+? Nylons? Fresh nozzle/teflon?

I can tell you straight away that the UM2 is not the do-all end-all. But is it one of the most reliable, if not the most reliable fdm desktop printer out there right now? You bet!

 

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Having played with and owned various 3D printers I certainly believe that those kind of issues happen with ALL of them, however the UM2 is such a stable machine. Yes we all know that 3D printing is never a plug and play scenario, but the UM2 is almost that... the reliability of ultimaker machines has allowed them to knock makerbot from the top spot!!

 

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Although i also had some frustrations i really love my UM2.

I think its rather stable. A different feeder is a must have imho, but a very simple upgrade. The main thing i really do not like is the heaterblock-nozzle all in one design.

I have never used a um1 myself but maybe you should just consider the heated bed upgrade kit in stead of an um2.

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I regularly swap out nozzles on the UM1 to clean them and to swap nozzle diameters - frankly I am amazed at what they can do when squeezing plastic through a 0.4mm hole! - I put a dust cleaner on my filament and some old filaments just clog - and I throw them away, but that is rare.

When I look at the number of moving parts, the number of user variables I am continuously amazed at the reliability of these machines (I have 2 UM1s). Just changing the filament - from the same manufacturer - causes changes in the settings to get a good print, and IMO you just need to get a feel for it or stick to a single filament type.

I am always popping my bowden in and out - if it pops out on its own you may not have the tensioner in the bowden holder - or print up one from T.V.

I lightly oil my machine, wipe it down a bit, tighten the screws and away they go - normally the two of them printing my own stuff and commercial (3dhub) orders or e-nable hands.

Some days they need a bit more maintenance than others, but most days they are plug and play (after a few tweaks to get the settings right.

From what I have seen the UM2 is a move towards more P&P but inevitably has some of the issues from 3dp process - and not being able to change the nozzle is one that stops me from upgrading (apart from being able to justify three printers!)

However, from my reading of the other fora (see mb Gen 5) I think they have achieved a good balance of price point reliability and availability. There are other machines like the Zortrax but they force you to print always on rafts, or the Lulzbot - but you are again a hands on tinkerer.

Most days I have to help my inkjet and laser printers with paper jams or door switches - and would put my UM up there - but it DOES need more operator input I agree.

James

 

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jim can't receive messages until he validates his email. There is no qty limit. The 3 posts is so that moderators don't have to approve his messages.

jim I'm skeptical about any reliability differences between the printers.

The heated upgrade kit is well worth it. I don't have to level anymore and I can print ABS. The underextrusion is probably worse on the UM2 if anything because the motor has less power (on purpose) so that you get skip-backs on the stepper instead of grinding the filament.

Nozzles are $5 each including shipping so I'm not sure what that problem is exactly. Replacing a nozzle on UMO is just 2 minutes once it warms up. It's 20 minutes on the UM2. Plus nozzles are $40 I believe (not including shipping) on UM2 and only UM sells them so... "win UMO" when it comes to nozzles.

The UM2 main advantage is it looks nicer (to some people) and it is quieter. These were not among your complaints.

It sounds like your bowden is damaged - if you take it out of the head too often or without releasing the metal blades that hold it in place it gets scraped. I recommend you get a new bowden tube instead of a new printer.

I'm told the reliability of other manufacturers 3d printers is MUCH WORSE than Ultimaker. Especially the latest line of Makerbots which have nightmare problems with the extruder assemblies. You might just have been unlucky with some parts of your UMO. Or maybe you print too cold. Or too fast. Or maybe you have a dusty environment or maybe your feeder creates sawdust that makes it's way through the bowden to the head. Maybe your thermocouple is off such that you are printing colder than you think.

Emotionally you may be tired of fixing your UMO - and don't want to buy a new one. But I recommend you stick with your existing one or buy another UMO kit.

 

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gr5 - Where do you buy UMO nozzles for only $5 including shipping?? And what is your preferred method of swapping nozzlse? Do you have a UM2?

jameshs - What dust cleaner do you have on your UM? And what is your preferred method of cleaning out the nozzles? The only way I've managed to do it is to strip a copper wire, wind a few strands, heat up the nozzle, and try to poke the wire through, but it does not work very well. I bought some 0.4 mm drill bits awhile back, but they kept breaking off inside.

 

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jimbojoe,

I uses the Iroberti filter https://www.youmagine.com/designs/dust-filter%20and%20I%20find%20it%20really%20makes%20a%20difference%20-%20printing%20was%20straightforward,%20and%20on%20some%20filaments%20where%20I%20need%20oil%20I%20can%20lightly%20coat%20the%20sponge.

For a sort of clean I do atomic in the printer.

For a serious clean the easiest way i have found to clean is to take the nozzle off (when it is warm) and use a heat gun - holding in tweezers - over a board to let the PLA drip out. Then I use atomic on it with some filament - i.e. push it in and let it cool a bit and pull it out - as i can see the filament come through the extruder and see the shape of the inner nozzle on the filament I know I have cleared the nozzle. I still do this a few times.

To clear the nozzle for really bad blockages I bought some hyperdermic needles - small and strong - and smaller than .4 - I warm the nozzle and then push the needle in and out - then do atomic.

If I want to drill, then I drill a hole in some MDF wood, screw the nozzle firmly into that (so I know it is at 90) and then put a pin vice in my pillar drill (just a domestic drill in a stand) and hold the drill bit in that ... and gently use it.

But I have never had to do this to clear a nozzle - just to make it bigger (I love a 0.65 nozzle)

When I get under extrusion, it is either a bad filament (I have had 3 rolls that have 'become bad' from good suppliers) or the blockage - if a nozzle blocks once a month I think that the filament is bad.

or the nozzle has just got dusty.

the other thing to check - is that the hobbed bolt is clean. Open the extruder and either brush with a wire brush, or i use an air jet to clean out any ground filament.

Check your delrin bearing (the round one that pushes the filament against the hobbed bolt - on one of my printers this did not move and was worn down - adding friction - I replaced it with a new bearing and that has really improved things. if you find this to be the case let em know and I will send you the ref for the bearing. (this new bearing also lets me print ninjaflex).

Check the tension on your extruder spring - neither too hard or too soft!

Any one of those can cause under extrusion.

Hope that helps!

James

 

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Yes, those will work on UM1 and many other reprap style printers. They will not work on UM2 which has an integrated heater block/nozzle.

My mistake - they are only $1.52 each.

I recommend drililng them out to different sizes. .4mm is great but .8mm is also a very useful size - you can print much faster. 4X faster. with only a small loss to resolution. .6mm nozzles and larger don't clog nearly as easily either.

 

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jameshs - whenever i remove the nozzle that way I seem to damage the heater block with the pliers over time. I know the solution would be to grip softer, but sometimes it takes work to get a nozzle off, at least for me! Also, where did you get the needles from?

And does the atomic method work the same for the UM1, as what I've read has been mostly for the UM2?

I ordered all my filament from Ultimachine. It seemed to be of good quality. But what other suppliers do people trust and use to avoid clogs?

Finally - and I know that this has been a long post already - it seems as if my UM1 Z-axis quality has diminished a bit over time. Walls that would have been quite smooth in the past are now a bit ripple-y. I don't think the "rippling" is consistent with the pitch of the z-screw. What could be causing that?

 

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Just in case: Do you have the hot-end upgrade installed? That upgrade made a huge difference in my case, with a UM1 from mid-2012. I had recurrent problems with both filament plugs and nozzle clogging. After I replaced the hot end with the new version, this hasn't happened a single time, making the printing experience a lot more enjoyable.

 

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