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Starting scratch built UMO, mod suggestions?

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I am starting the build of my first 3d printer. After researching (drooling) for months about 3d printers i knew i had to have one. of all the repraps and makerbots and deltas i researched the ultimaker v1 i believe to have the best design and highly reviewed so thats what im gonna build.

a big draw to this design is how customizeable it is and id like to capitalize on that.

i want to make a few popular upgrades from the start. i have a few mods in mind and would appreciate some suggestions and experiences with each mod.

1. Use GT2 belts and pulleys?

2. Direct drive x/y axis rods? (saves me having to buy 4 pulleys and 2 little belts, and i think simplifies things.)

3.All metal hotend, E3D or Pico type? ( heard mixed reviews about clogging with PLA?)

4. heated glass build plate

5. what is recomended extruder for bowden style?

6. 1.75mm or 3mm? (also some mixed reviews, some say 1.75 is better quality prints some say doesnt matter)

any suggestions welcomed. i will be purchasing all of the components this week after making a few decisions about the above modifications. in the meantime ill be fabricating the plywood frame from the drawings provided by Ultimaker.

I think the opensource mentality is great and should be encouraged


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Sounds like you are on the right track :)

I think E3D got past their PLA problems, so I would say you can safely buy a v6 hotend from them... They have alot of other things in their store as well, like eg. the bronze bushings you need for the slide blocks.

Don't bother cutting xy slide blocks from wood, get some printed instead (like the reptar or similar)... Use this forum or 3dhubs for finding someone to print for you. You will need the hotend mount and extruder anyways.

What Electronics are you aiming for (board and stepper drivers)? There are alot of alternatives to the UM board out there...


Personally I like the compactness of having the xy steppers inside the frame instead of direct drive... It's mostly a visual thing though, and a matter of taste... I think direct drive probably works slightly better.

Another thing related to compactness... I added an Industrial PSU to the bottom of my printer instead of having that large Toshiba laptop PSU lying on the floor next to it... These PSUs have trouble fitting under the printer, so I printed some feet for mine... since you are cutting the frame yourself, you might want to edit the drawings slightly to just add a few more centimeters under the bottom...

Paint the frame parts before assembly, it looks much better than the wood


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Thanks, so an all metal hot end is a worthwhile upgrade?

I totally forgot to mention the slide blocks! I think the um slide block design is overcomplicated so I'll make a simpler one until I can print my own reptar or chopmeister blocks

As for electronics I was planning to use arduino mega with RAMPS board and LCD controller and a4988 stepper drivers. I already have 5 stepper drivers and 3 NEMA 17 motors I'll borrow from a desktop cnc router I made

From my research I I believe this board is compatible with marlin and cura? And has provisions for heated bed.

I was wondering about power supply as I haven't come across as much documentation about it.

I have already cut the panels for the frame to ultimaker specs but I may raise it up like you say and it will probably get a nice coat of whit paint. I plan to make videos and time lapse with my gopro ad I think the white will make a nice backdrop.

And yes #5 I referring to the feeder you are correct this part will be more complicated that most of the others I think

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A RAMPS board should do just fine and has output for a heatbed yes...

I think you want to go 12V with that, and get your heatbed and hotend heat cardridge to match that (typical specs are either 12 or 24V for these things, for some obscure reason UM went with the hopelessly incompatible 19V system)

E3D has both 12 and 24V cartridges.

With just one hotend, a heatbed, the normal number of steppers etc. you shouldn't need more than around a 2-300W PSU (depends mostly on the heatbed)

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Wow. Hand fabbing the frame. Just remember that the UM prints will only be as square as the frame. You can compensate a tiny bit for the xy rods not being at a perfect 90 degrees, but the z axis has no such adjustment. Might be a good idea to match cut the top and bottom and use a solid jig to make sure the wholes for x and y axis are all at the same height.

Looking at that tape, maybe that is already what you plan to do.

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Yes the sides that are opposite are taped together and cut so they are exactly the same and holes are drilled in a drill press through both pieces so they are perfectly aligned. Fortunately I have access to a great fab shop where I work as a carpenter. I feel confident I can achieve good accuracy and precision from the finished frame. If not I may break down and pay for the laser cutting. Just hate to pay for something I can build myself.

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I will start building an UMO within the next couple of weeks. As I am not in a hurry it may take several months, but it will be fun, I am sure.

Most parts I have bought already, but the most important problem isn't solved yet: The hotend.

You are planning to use an E3D, but how you will solve the heater cardridge problem? Will you use the original heater block with the 18V cardridge, or will you go with the 12V version of the E3D and ass another power supply. (I am planning to go with the original electronics as I have it lying around already)

Any help on this issue is highly appreciated.



PS: I cheated also regarding the wooden parts ;)


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If you are custom building, why not get electronics that support the voltage you need without having to mod?


good point, but as I mentioned above, I already have an original UM board and Ulticontroler lying around. So I don't like the idea to spend extra money.

On the other hand: If it gets too expensive to get the E3D running on 18V it may be cheaper to buy a RAMPS and run the entire thing on 12V. In this case I have a problem with the firmware I am afraid...


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