It’s been less than a year since Ultimaker introduced the new Ultimaker 3, the latest version of their ultra-popular desktop 3D printer series. The Ultimaker 3 hasn’t disappointed, it seems – like the company’s previous releases, it’s maintained a comfortable position at the head of “best of” lists and 3D printer buying guides, and has received consistently positive reviews. The 3D printer’s fans will be pleased to learn, moreover, that Ultimaker is releasing several new products to make the Ultimaker 3, as well as the Ultimaker 2+, even better.
“Our Ultimaker 3 has changed the way companies and organizations produce prototype parts, small-scale production, tools, jigs and fixtures,” said Paul Heiden, Senior Vice-President, Ultimaker Product Management. “With the additions of multiple materials, kits and accessories, as well as software upgrades, users can better optimize and maintain printers at scale and achieve consistent and high-quality output.”
On the materials side, Ultimaker is now offering polypropylene, or PP, filament. The durable, tough, semi-flexible material possesses a high level of fatigue, electrical and chemical resistance as well as low friction, and lends itself to both prototyping and end-use applications including everything from electrical components to living hinges. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio, good layer bonding characteristics, and a smooth finish. Ultimaker is offering PP in a natural translucent color, starting at $49.95.
In addition, Ultimaker is now offering printing profiles to support a wider range of engineering materials, including TPU 95A, CPE+, and PC. PVA profiles have also been updated.There are plenty of other new software features, as well, with the release of Cura 2.61. The latest version of the software contains enhanced support adhesion settings, easier and faster model auto-arrange options, support meshes and extruder buttons.
Some new nozzle sizes are now available for Ultimaker’s print cores. 0.4mm print cores were already available, allowing for highly detailed prints, but now 0.8mm are available as well, allowing for faster printing.
There’s also been a firmware update to the Ultimaker 3. Users now have the ability to restart prints directly from their 3D printers, without the need to start up Cura, and the material change procedure has been improved: now, when materials are changed, the printer automatically flushes out all residue from the previous material, ensuring a completely clean print core.
Finally, there’s the Ultimaker 3 Advanced 3D Printing Kit. This includes the following:
- A front enclosure add-on, which can be installed to prevent heat from escaping and to maintain a steady temperature of 45ºC. This allows for slower cooling and an overall more even temperature distribution, lowering shrinkage and reducing the risk of warping and delamination.
- 25 adhesion sheets
- An adhesive applicator
- An extra glass plate to enable users to immediately begin a new print job after the previous one has finished, without having to remove the first print and clean the plate
Depending on the material you’re using, elements of the Advanced 3D Printing Kit come more highly recommended or are even required; for example, PP requires the use of adhesive sheets. The kit can be purchased from Ultimaker’s site for $119.95; there’s also an Advanced 3D Printing Kit for the Ultimaker 2+ and 2 Extended+ 3D printers, retailing for $106.80.
Ultimaker is a company that never seems to stop improving and upgrading its products, and as the company continues to expand into North America and the global professional market, it also continues to expand its offerings to its loyal customer base. With stronger materials, faster print speeds, and upgraded software, Ultimaker’s popularity is likely to only continue to grow. Discuss in the Ultimaker forum at 3DPB.com.