Tech Breakdown: Ultimaker S5 3D Printer Review
The Pros at MatterHackers break down and review all the new and improved tech in the first 3d printer from Ultimaker in their new 'S' line of products.
The Ultimaker S5 3D printer is the largest, dual-extruder model available from Ultimaker. Released in June 2018, the S5 is the first in the new ‘S’ line of Ultimaker 3D printers, and it boasts a ton of new and improved features to help any enterprise achieve amazing, professional prints time after time.
- New 4.7” Touchscreen
- Dual Extrusion
- Fully Automatic Bed Leveling
- Filament Spool Identification
- Filament RunOut Sensor
- Build Plate Camera
- Swappable Print Cores
- WiFi Enabled
- Large Build Volume (330x240x300mm)
- Outer Dimensions (457x520x495mm)
- Weight 20.6 kg
- Swappable Build Plate Surfaces (coming Fall 2018)
One of the most visible improvements that comes with the new S5 is the 4.7” touchscreen interface. It works exactly like a phone touchscreen - something that everyone is very familiar with - and is a definite improvement over the spin-wheels and LCD screens from previous models.
The graphics are extremely crisp and clear. The options on all menus are easy to read, and the tutorials are incredibly easy to follow, as they come with pictures for the user to reference on every step. Changing filament, changing print cores, leveling the bed - everything you need to do with this 3D printer is outlined in very easy to follow tutorials. Anyone could easily step up and quickly have a new print up and running on the S5; the interface takes the learning curve down quite a few notches.
Like the Ultimaker 3 before it, the Ultimaker S5 utilizes a Print Core system; instead of removing nozzles, you swap out the entire hotend, nozzle, heater block, heat sink, and electronics and swap in another unit. There are several different types of Print Cores with different internal geometries of material capabilities, like the AA core for build materials, the BB core exclusively for PVA, and the CC core for composite and abrasive filaments. And rather than having the two print cores mounted level with each other, the Ultimaker S5 utilizes a lever to lift and lower the second print core to prevent oozing and smearing of materials in a dual extruded print job. They are also capable of printing almost any material, as the print heads can heat to 280°C, which gives the user options for dual material prints using nylon, PLA, ABS, TPU, PVA and more.
Changing filament is also easier, thanks to the release lever on the extruder; you no longer have to hold a button down with one hand to change the filament with the other. Now you have two free hands to change filament. The Filament RunOut Sensor also ensures that if you run out of filament during a print you can come back and resume the print right where it left off after installing additional filament - no more lost prints!
The dual geared feeder is also optimized for composite materials, which is perfect for engineering applications. The XYZ resolution has also been slightly improved to 6.9, 6.9, and 2.5 microns due to upgrades on the gantry with thicker rods, and a slight gear reduction to make it much more rigid and precise.
Fully Automatic and Adaptive Bed Leveling
The capacitive, active bed leveling process is the same and still ensures a perfect first layer every time. With the larger bed, there are additional points of contact that the S5 measures to ensure better accuracy for the build plate overall, ensuring even larger prints will be precise and accurate.
The larger build volume of the S5 allows for more options in both single and dual extrusion prints. Once you have completed the prototyping and testing of single parts, there is much more room to iterate that best model in multiple parts. The front ‘barn-doors’ on the S5 also help control the airflow inside the chamber, allowing easy, stable printing of ABS and other temperature sensitive materials.
Smart Spool Detection
If you are using Ultimaker filament, the S5 will automatically detect the filament and adjust temperature settings accordingly. If not, the S5 is open to accepting any filament type from any manufacturer in the 2.85mm diameter. According to the Ultimaker website, the S5 is optimized for the following materials:
Build Camera and WiFi
The built-in camera can help you monitor your prints remotely if you need to start a print job and go somewhere else. With the Ultimaker app, you can start and stop prints, get filament runout notifications, and connect additional printers for workflow optimization. All of this data is communicated wirelessly via WiFi through your network. You can also transmit and receive data from the printer directly to your computer - no hardline USB connection is required if you have a wireless network.
Swappable Print Cores
The S5 comes with two 0.4mm AA cores, and one 0.4mm BB core. The S5 automatically detects which print cores are currently installed, and the touchscreen interface walks you through the steps of switching them out or installing a second core when the need arises. It takes just a few minutes, and swapping cores does not involve any tools - it’s all done by hand, quickly and easily. Additional nozzles and print cores are available in sizes from 0.25mm to 0.8mm.
Layer resolution is excellent even with a standard 0.4mm nozzle. Ultimaker reports a resolution of 20 microns with a 0.4mm nozzle, and our tests came extremely close to matching that mark.
Swappable Build Plate Surfaces
At the time of launch, the S5 was shipped with the ubiquitous heated glass build plate. But starting in the fall of 2018, Ultimaker will be shipping an additional heated aluminum build plate to current S5 owners, and it will be included with all new S5 shipments afterward. They are also working on offering additional surfaces in the future, for more print bed options.
As the first in the line of Ultimaker’s new ‘S’ series of 3D printers, the S5 stands out as a great new addition to an already well-known and reliable manufacturer. From the extremely easy-to-use touchscreen to simple swappable print cores, straightforward filament selection, loading and changing, to the giant build volume and ability to network and monitor remotely, the S5 is an awesome machine for any workflow.
Please Note: The Aluminum Build Plate is currently in development and at this time, Ultimaker does not have an expected ship date. MatterHackers will update all product information as it becomes available. We appreciate your patience!