Ultimaker, a leading manufacturer of open source 3D printers, has announced
the third generation of their 3D Printing product line. Named the Ultimaker 3, the next generation of 3D printers has geared up to advance professional desktop 3D printing enable “users gain freedom of design never before accessible in the professional environment.”
Ultimakers first completely new desktop 3D printer since 2013, features 2 sizes. First, a regular size “Ultimaker 3” and second a larger version touted as the “Ultimaker 3 Extended”.
“The new Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended add dual extrusion to the Ultimaker’s industry-dominating 3D printing technology. With a host of new, intelligent features, the latest generation of Ultimaker technology is a technical tour de force. It demonstrates that Ultimaker is serious about meeting the growing demand for accessible, professional 3D printing.”
With the duel extruders, you can print in two colors or two different materials. See the images on the right. Printing in a material such as PLA or ABS using the first extruder and then a water-soluble support using the 2nd extruder, there is no limit for desktop 3D printing. You will be able to build extremely complex geometry with as much support material as needed. All without the headaches of having to break away the support material by hand and living with ugly surface marks and burrs left by the support. All you have to do is run your printed model under water and let the support material melt and dissolve away. Leaving you with a very clean model with smooth surface. Not a mark or burr left behind.
Some of the new features:
- Dual Extrusion – The Ultimaker 3 offers dual extrusion right out of the box
allowing you to print 2 materials or 2 colors. Very important for those that want to use water soluble material for supports to enable highly complex geometry. Print the design with your first choice of material then use water soluble support material on your second extruder. When done place your model into a tank of water and watch the support material dissolve away. Leaving your design intact with minimal sanding and hassle of breaking away support material. The Ultimaker engineering team has added a unique mechanism that automatically lifts the nozzle not in use, keeping it clear of the print job. Thus enabling a higher quality professional surface finish. Very important for a professional line 3D Printer.
- Swappable Print Cores – Comes with print cores that you can swap out very quickly. Labeled as (AA) build materials and (BB) support materials.
They come with customized nozzle geometry per material. This allows for fewer clogs and much more reliable printing. This can be a major headache saver, spending far less time dealing with technical issues. I know from experience when printing quick prototypes or making quick prints for testing design options, this is a must for any printer billed for professional use. Being able to send out programs to the printer on the fly and doing multiple design iterations as quickly as possible. It can be very frustrating having to deal with clogging issues. Most of your time is better spent toward engineering your project.
- Optimized Cooling – Ultimaker 3 features powerful fan system 2 radial fans and shrouds create more pressure buildup to increase airflow. This enables improved cooling and higher quality bridges and allowing faster print speeds with smooth surfaces.
- LED Status Indicators – The Print Cores feature LED lighting to alert the user if any user interaction is required. This is something most systems do not have.
- Enhanced Printer Automation – Eliminating guesswork by utilization of smart material detection through NFC technology. Along with active bed leveling, enables the Ultimaker 3 best settings for each material along with auto correcting bed leveling errors.
- On-board camera – To monitor printing remotely. Very handy for those long print jobs or if you want to set up your printer to run lights out. Nothing worse than coming back to the office the next day and finding a whole roll of “spaghetti” in your 3D printer. It is nice to know you can view the status of your print job, enabling a peace of mind.
- Better Connectivity – USB port, Ethernet, and WIFI all built in allowing greater options for connectivity.
Ultimaker 3 is now optimized for a large range of materials right out of the box. Providing Cura with profiles with best print settings allowing for less tweaking of your slicing program. To name a few, choose from Nylon, PLA, ABS, CPE and PVA. Also very important to those of us professionals who use 3D printing every day to test design, fit, and function on parts, jigs, quality gauges etc…
Ultimately the Ultimaker 3 has spent the last 3 years on major design improvements and looking to add greater efficiency with minimal downtime to make their product more attractive to professional users. As a Product Design engineer that has used 3D printers every day for several years now, I can truthfully say it appears that Ultimaker has achieved their main goals with their new Ultimaker 3 line of 3D Printers.
“Our team is constantly working to evolve the 3D printing market, and the Ultimaker 3 represents three years of development with the goal of delivering a product that serves the needs of demanding businesses,” said Jos Burger, CEO of Ultimaker. “3D printers have historically been tapped by businesses for straight-forward prototyping and short run production. The extended capabilities of the Ultimaker 3 introduce a wide variety of new applications and we’re excited to get them into the hands of professionals that can capitalize on the benefits of 3D printing across a variety of industries.”
As a Product Design engineer that has used 3D printers for several years now, I can truthfully say it appears that Ultimaker has achieved their main goals with their new Ultimaker 3 line of 3D Printers.
To me, there is nothing more annoying than having to stop and fiddle with your printer settings or disassemble a print head due to clogs in the middle of a large project with short lead times. This can throw your whole game off by interrupting your thought process and taking away from your design workflow.
Professionals want to be able to send their prints straight to the printer and go on working, with minimal user interaction. Hoping to get a good functional print and being able to evaluate their design and send another print job to the printer as quickly as possible if needed.
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