Tech Breakdown: An In-depth Review of the Ultimaker 3
Our engineers examine why the Ultimaker 3 is the perfect machine for print-to-production parts.
We know that Ultimaker is one of the industry's top manufacturers - they make reliable, easy-to-use 3D printers. The Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended are no different - we've taken the time to further investigate these printers to show you why they are top-notch.
- Dual Extrusion
- Fully Automatic Bed Leveling
- Filament Spool Identification
- Swappable Print Cores
Dual Extrusion 3D Printing
The most important feature of the new Ultimaker 3D printer is the ability to print with two materials at once. While many other 3D printers have had this ability before now, they have always been plagued by a problem. While one nozzle is printing, the other one will be dragging through the print leaking plastic and creating a mess. The Ultimaker 3 has a unique solution to this problem. The second nozzle actually gets lifted up out of the way while the other one is printing, thus avoiding dragging the wrong color/material through the print. The Ultimaker 3 makes the cleanest dual extrusion prints we have seen. The automatic leveling system also takes care of the vertical calibration of the two nozzles.
3D Print with Two Colors
With two nozzles, you can make prints with two different colors of 3D filament. The nozzle lifting mechanism ensures that the colors will not be mixed, and the prints will come out clean and crisp.
Thanks to the nozzle-lifting mechanism, there is no messy filament drag when printing with multiple colors
Dissolvable 3D Support Materials
The most important advantage of dual extrusion is the ability to use dissolvable 3D filament to create supports for more complex prints. This means that you are no longer limited to printing shapes with a flat side on the bottom. It's quite simple - support materials like PVA and HIPS dissolve in water or limonene, leaving your print nice and clean, minimizing touch-ups.
A complex print using PVA support material
Onboard Wifi - 3D Print Wirelessly
If you look at the back of the Ultimaker 3 3D printer, you will notice that something is missing. Gone is the USB port that you are used to for connecting your computer to the printer. Instead it has been replaced by an ethernet port, and more importantly, a wifi antenna. You can now control the printer wirelessly from any computer in your house, office, etc.
You can also control the machine from the Ultimaker 3 app for Android or iOS. The app lets you print STL or G-Code files directly from your phone or tablet. It also lets you monitor the prints with the onboard camera.
Fully Automatic 3D Printer Bed Leveling
The Ultimaker 3 uses a capacitive sensor to detect the minute displacement of the nozzle as it presses against the bed. This has a couple advantages over the conductive and inductive sensors used on other printers. Conductive sensors require the nozzle to be completely clean in order to make electrical contact. With the Ultimaker 3 3D printer you don’t have to worry about a dirty nozzle preventing it from working. With an inductive sensor, you must precisely calibrate the distance between the nozzle and the sensor. With the Ultimaker 3, this is not necessary since the nozzle itself is what does the sensing.
3D Filament Spool Identification
The spool holder on the back of the Ultimaker has a built in NFC reader, which detects chips embedded in Ultimaker’s filament spools. This allows the machine to know what kind of 3D filament you have put in it. The correct settings for that filament get automatically applied in Cura. Don’t worry, the Ultimaker 3 isn't proprietary when it comes to filament - you can use any and all of the 3D filament that we sell.
The Ultimaker 3 has a built in camera, allowing you to monitor your prints from your computer, or from the Ultimaker 3 mobile app where you can receive notifications on your phone.
Ultimaker 3 onboard camera
Swappable Print Cores
In 2015, Ultimaker released the Olsson block upgrade kit for the Ultimaker 2, allowing it to support interchangeable nozzles. Now with the Ultimaker 3 they have gone one step further. The entire hot end can be swapped. This allows you to easily change the nozzle size, without having to unscrew the nozzle. They also have different print cores made for printing different materials. The Ultimaker 3 comes with two AA cores, for printing regular plastics, like PLA and ABS filament, and one BB core for printing dissolvable support materials, like PVA and HIPS filament.