The Ultimaker 2 is the newest FDM printer at MS. Its design is of a later generation than our Makerbot Replicator 2X and UP!. The method of printing is almost identical but the implementation is more refined, so as a result the UM2 is expected to be faster, quieter and more reliable (in terms of both print outcome and maintenance).
The manufacturer's product information page is here.
The UM2 is expected to be commissioned (with training available) from 26th July 2015.
The Owners are those nominally in charge of the equipment, organising its maintenance, training others to use it, and generally being a point of contact.
The current Owners of the Ultimaker are:
- Rob Voisey
- Stephen Harrison
- Paul Edgington
If you have any questions, problems or concerns around the 3D printer, these are the people to contact.
The Trainers are not in charge of maintaining equipment, but have been more thoroughly instructed in its use and can train others. They may run extra classes for recently trained learners.
The current Trainers for the Ultimaker are:
To get trained on the Ultimaker and be added to the qualified user list, you will need to arrange for a training session with one of the owners.
If you'd like to arrange training, please see:
Note that persons who were previously trained on the Makerbot and UP! can attend a short conversion course to be signed off on the Ultimaker. Such members should not use the Ultimaker without having done this.
General Health and Safety
The Ultimaker is an expensive tool with a (small) risk of injury and fire, so is very important you know how to use it to avoid damaging yourself and the machine. The Ultimaker is a potentially dangerous piece of equipment which must only be operated by members who have received appropriate training and who take due care. The top things to always remember when using the Ultimaker are:
- ONLY USE THE ULTIMAKER IF YOU HAVE BEEN TRAINED
- ONLY USE THE ULTIMAKER IF YOU HAVE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS
As a responsible user, you should be very aware of the following risks and how to deal with them:
HEAD CRASH - incorrect calibration could cause the nozzle to hit the platen at job start
- Pay close to attention to the start of the job and be prepared to immediately abort the job if necessary
TRAPPING - The head and bed of the machine are moved by programs in the machine's memory.
- Be careful when near the machine, it will possibly move even if the PC is off
- Ensure you are familiar with the 'Pause' and 'Abort printing' functions on the Ultimaker so that in an emergency you can quickly halt printing.
BURN RISK - the platen on the printer is heated, and will reach temperatures up to 100C during a print run which could cause skin burns. The extrusion nozzle can reach temperatures of up to 260C. Do not touch either of these areas while printing, and keep the guard door securely closed while printing.
- Be careful when the machine has recently been used, especially when removing your print, as it may still be hot enough to burn
ELECTROCUTION - as with all mains powered devices there is a small risk of danger from exposed wires. Always do a manual check that the wiring is safe, no cores are exposed or wires trapped.
FUMES - In high concentrations ABS fumes may cause irritation. Do not spend extended periods over the printer whilst it is printing, and turn on the extractor/inlet fans of the main space when doing long print runs.
Plastics used in the printer
IMPORTANT The Ultimaker uses 2.85mm diameter filament. This must not be confused with the 1.75mm filament used by the other FDM printers at MS.
The Ultimaker can print with three different thermoplastics; PLA (Polylactic Acid), ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and CPE. It is important to select the correct material on the printer control panel when loading filament as the printing parameters vary significantly.
PLA has a relatively low melting point and is capable of producing high quality prints at very fast speeds. It produces very few fumes and the odour from the melted material is actually quite pleasant. Prints are durable but not as strong as ABS, nonetheless this tends to be the material of choice for printing on the Ultimaker. PLA is available is a wide array of colours and finishes including metallic, glittery and stone effect.
ABS has a higher melting point than PLA and can be hard to get to stick to the platen. It generally requires a hot platen and raised/consistent ambient (which is why we have added a door and lid to the Ultimaker). Although more difficult to work with the resultant prints can be very strong.
CPE is a newer material with similar properties to ABS but without the fumes. This material needs to be printed at a high temperature which causes rapid wear of certain components in the extruder. For this reason we do not stock CPE and request that you contact an owner before using it.
The communal stock is kept in plastic boxes under the printers. Plastic filament is susceptible to absorption of moisture (i.e. it is hygroscopic) which causes it to expand and jam in the printer. For this reason the boxes have been fitted with a recirculating dehumidification system. It is important that the lids are removed for the shortest time possible, and that filament is returned to the box as quickly as possible when printing is complete. This will minimise wastage and reduce our costs.
Specific Safety Tips
There is a burn hazard from the nozzles and the heated platter, as mentioned above. The Ultimaker will display its current temperatures but you should not rely on this. The head may also move unexpectedly. Do not open the front door or place any part of your person inside the machine during or immediately prior to printing. ABS fumes over a long period may be harmful - if you feel light-headed take a break in a well ventilated area.
3D printing can be a lengthy process and you are not required to stand by the printer for the whole duration. You should, however, be present for the first few minutes, monitor your print using the webcam, and whenever possible be nearby to abort a failed print. If you spot the printer unattended with a failed print (this is obvious when it happens, with a rats nest of filament quickly forming) you are encouraged to abort the print on behalf of its creator.
Always switch the printer off at the back when you are finished.
Avoiding Damage to the Machine
The bed is made from glass. Use only plastic implements to remove your prints to minimise the risk of damaging the glass. Should you need to remove the bed for any reason (it is held in with clips) take care handling it and perform a bed levelling operation when you refit it.
The bed should generally be kept clean and free from dust. Wipe only with a lint free cloth (micro fibre cloths are provided) and avoid touching the build surface with your skin.
Using SD cards with the Ultimaker
The Ultimaker 2 does not yet support direct connection to a PC (this may come as a future upgrade) so you must copy your sliced (G-code) file to a DOS formatted SD card using the SD card writer attached to the PC, and then insert the card into the printer. We have found the Ultimaker to work with most modern cards. Some SD cards are available next to the printer - please remember to return them after use.