Incredibly fast 3D printing with the Ultimaker

ultimaker_3d_printer

There’s a new 3d printer on the block, and hot damn is it fast!

Hailing from the Netherlands, the Ultimaker 3D Printer has finally hit US shores, and aims to give the MakerBot a run for its money. The Ultimaker was designed by Utrecht Fab Lab manager [Siert Wijnia] along with two frequent lab patrons, [Erik DeBruijn and Martijn Elserman]. The trio were big fans of the MakerBot, but they wanted to make a better 3D printer.

And make a better printer, they did.

The Ultimaker can print using Either ABS or PLA plastic just like the MakerBot, but it is several magnitudes faster than its predecessor. While the MakerBot utilizes a moving build platform, the Ultimaker has a print head that can move along three axes. The moving print head, along with offset motors which are mounted on the printer’s frame allow the Ultimaker to build taller object than the MakerBot, at higher speeds.

That’s not to say that the MakerBot is bad in any way – rather, the presence of a new kid on the block shows how the evolution and progression of open source design benefits us all.

Keep reading to see a video of the Ultimaker in action, you won’t regret it!

91 thoughts on “Incredibly fast 3D printing with the Ultimaker

  1. The head just moves in 2 axis, the platform goes up and down. And I think it can print roughly 75% further in all 3 directions, not just taller. And it’s more expensive.

    But it is darn cool.

    1. Bill, it appears you are right on the head travel, I don’t know wtf I was thinking.

      Assuming that the 1200 euro price is for a kit, I agree that it is pretty darn expensive. If they are selling them fully assembled, it would be a reasonable price.

      1. No, I’m afraid it’s kits only.

        And 1200 euros are about $1700, so it’s a bit more expensive than makerbot. I wonder what the price/build area is. I never calculated that.

        I do think this competition will lower the prices a bit. There’s also makergear’s Mosaic. I’ve followed both makerbot and Ultimaker since their inception, and as far as I’ve seen, they both have great print quality. (I’ve seen less prints on the ultimaker.

        Also to consider is that makerbot is on their second major revision and is an older company, while this is ultimaker’s first major revision.

    1. 1500 kilo-euro? that would be 1.5 Millon per machine. Since they’ve only sold somewhere in the hundreds, that means Ultimaker will be buying the state of Andorra with their spare change next month. That, or you confused 1.5K(eur) with 1500K(eur). Or you could just say 1500EUR, as everybody will understand.

      BTW: go get it, the price per build volume is about 5 times as low as makerbot.

  2. So where can I buy one in the states? I can’t seem to find a link to any sort of store in the article. I could be blind.

  3. I’m definately adding this thing to my christmas list!

    concerning the strenght of the parts, are they equally as strong as molded plastic or are they stronger/less strong? Because this can be very handy to fix a lot of toys/tools/etc that i have laying around ^^

    1. Slightly less strong in theory, but you do have the opportunity to increase wall thickness for stronger parts. (extra shells in skeinforge)

      But to counter that: I have been having a go with a hammer on a test-tube Martijn printed, and I could not get it to break. ABS and PLA are pretty tough. And yes, that is one of the appeals of 3d printing.

    1. Am I missing something? The website’s buy button leads to an IndieGoGo page (Looks identical to kickstarter, confused me), where they’ve reached a little over 1/5th of their goal, and have 36 days left.

  4. I really, really wish there was as much community interest in (reasonably) affordable laser cutters/mills. I’m way more interested in material removal techniques than extrusion or sintering.

    1. not false, but today lasercutting is more expensive, and “classical” cnc tools make a lot of noise and i can’t use it when my children are sleeping…What is cool with the sumpod, is that u will be able to drill and engraving PCB, as a lathe too, dual extruder, ….

      1. It was just cheap, looks good, dont really know the quality yet, and can use it as a cnc which is the reason I went for it rather then a huxley. Just waiting for it to be shipped to find out. But really the price was the main factor in me getting one, although see it went up to $550 now.

  5. Unfortunately it is almost useless for ABS because it doesn’t have a heated bed.

    Not to mention the quality suffers greatly when running at top speed, from what I’ve seen.

    1. Not true ;) I’ve one standing right here and quality doesn’t decrease a lot with speeding up. In a matter of fact stringing even is reduced by fast travel movements.

  6. my question is does it actually WORK out of the box? our gen 2 makerbot couldn’t do a damn thing until we kept upgrading and upgrading. at this point we’ve spent easily 1500 on it and even now it takes some serious tweaking to get a good print.

    when the owner of a company publicly says they love open source hardware because they can sell underdeveloped junk and get other people to fix it for him i think there’s an issue.

    1. My Makerbot Thing-o-Matic worked pretty darn well out of the box and after a few days of tuning.

      I’m not completely disagreeing with you, my Makerbot experience does make me feel like they over sell it a bit, it’s is still a developmental system and is not as easy as ‘just click print’. But the only extra money I’ve spent on it has been buying more plastic!

  7. It was very refreshing to see these printers. I thought all extruders are too lethargic to be useful and Ultimaker refreshed my interest.

    It appears that extrusion based printers seem to have their resolution severely limited. It’s always hard to tell by the videos how well does it look in reality, but the surfaces seem to look very corrugated, with lots of unwanted pieces of plastic poking out in every direction. Is it possible to improve this, or is this a fundamental property of this method?

    Also, can you make hollow things? In a video with that strange octopus-like head it appears that the head is all filled. That doesn’t seem very rational?

    Suppose you’ve ran out of octopus heads and liberty statue ideas and want to make something for your next project. What is the smallest size of detail that makes sense on this printer, and what is the smallest size of a part that can be printed. For example, I want to make a fitting to join two pipes, or rods. Can I make it for a rod 5mm in diameter? 10, 25? What would be the outer diameter of such fitting? Can you print a gear and what would be the smallest possible tooth size?

    1. I think the answer to most your question is ‘it depends’.

      Can you print hollow? Yes, well mostly, depending on several factors. I have printed 2cm^3 hollow calibration cubes before. But mostly you want your printed object to be either solid, or with an auto-generated mesh to keep it rigged but use less plastic.

      The plastic comes out at 0.5mm on the stock tip, that’s the best resolution. I think you can get tips down to 0.3mm.

      I suggest you look around thingiverse for a while. There’s some impressively complicated designs that were printed out pretty well.

    2. The level of detail depends on the nozzle. There is some slight expansion (huge expansion compared to relative size though .5mm -> .75ish)

      As far as hollow/overhang it is limited to roughly 45 degrees. Anything more and you need support structures.

      Surfaces can be glassy clean, and some clean up is usually required. (ie: a rough run over to remove strands that aren’t part of the object.) Decreasing print speed can decrease those strands, as does the recent move towards retracting filaments during movement of the head.

      I’m amazed that the RAMPS gets all the attention, when you can build a Sanguinololu (http://reprap.org/wiki/Sanguinololu) for around half the costs.

      Can you make a 5mm connecter? Yes. Can you make a 2mm connecter? With some sanding down and the newer nozzles, yes. Outer diameter depends on the strength you need. If you need huge strength, you’re looking at a two part coupler to prevent sway at the joint. (or a really long female-female piece.)

      Strength is around 85-90 percent of molded (so I’ve heard, never seen any stats).

      1. I think RAMPS gets the attention because it has the space for a 5th pololu stepper driver, so one could run a second extruder if one wanted. The extra i/o that RAMPS has is nice as well for things like SDRAMPS and LCD support. Sanguinololu does have SD support but for those who are trying to avoid soldering there is no pre-made SD board for it. You have to solder your own.

        I had been dead set on purchasing RAMPS 1.4 when it releases but after a talk with Kliment and Joem_ on the RepRap IRC I decided to buy a sanguinololu pcb and build it myself. I think I am in it for about $62 total including PCB and all the parts from Digikey. Joem_ sells full kits on eMaker for less than that.

      2. Actually 1.3a allows the 5th stepper for Prusa, JoeM just got the kits together for it. Do you still have your BOM saved on digikey? I wanted to check prices before I got a set of 10 between them and mouser, but everytime I start to make a new BOM I get distracted.

      3. I do have the BOM with links and Digikey part numbers. Beware though, digikey has FTDI chips on back order and do not have the resonator listed in through hole at all. I picked mine up from Sparkfun as I was placing an order from there anyway.

        I am getting a 1.3a PCB IIRC. I didn’t had the 5th stepper support though. Are you ever in the reprap IRC? If so ping me im TheMakersWorkbench on there. Ill share the BoM with you. I plan on uploading it to the wiki once I get all the mouser parts placed.

      1. That herringbone gear looks very nice. But I fail to see how it could come from a bot that lays out stuff in thick sausages like in these videos. Are there different printing modes? Or perhaps this gear was printed on someone’s super-tweaked for precision RepRap? Really in these videos and in most closeup pictures I have seen objects seem to have very uneven surfaces, nothing like these gears.

        Re: Thingverse, thanks, gonna take a look.

      2. I am sure that gear was printed with a .35mm nozzle on a very well set up RepRap Mendel at moderate speed. A lot of the photos you see come from Prusa Mendel’s or Makerbots that have never been tuned. Tuning is a very time intensive process and it uses up filament so most people say “ill do it later” or they just do not know how to tweak things. That is my problem with pre assembled machines, if you didn’t build it, you will never know how to tune it. Some of the best advice on tuning both the hardware and software can be found at any time of the day in the RepRap IRC channel. There is always at least 1 vet camping in there ready to help anyone.

  8. What I would be interested in is higher resolution- not faster speed. I don’t want to mass produce anything, it might well print overnight. But all the current makerbots do not have sufficient detail to print things that would really make sense (small gears, replace parts, etc…). Its more a solution without a problem.

    1. You can get much better print quality and resolution from even a Prusa Mendel simply by moving to 1.75mm filament, replacing the printed toothed pulleys with machined aluminum units, moving from a .5mm nozzle orifice to a .35mm orifice and printing from an SD card using a SD add on like Kliments SDRAMPS. You can spend a few hours a day tuning any of the current machines and tweaking the firmware and config files and get awesome print quality.

      The lack of speed in the current RepRap printers, Makerbots, and similar machines is due to their design. A flying head will always be faster than a moving platform.

    2. The thing with FDM is, the smaller the nozzle is the more travel has to do the printhead, so the possibility to print fast increases the usefulness of higher resolutions. People have gone as far as 0.15mm nozzle size but it takes really long to build an object at this detail if the printer is slow.

    3. > What I would be interested in is higher resolution- not faster speed.

      Several of us have used Ultimakers to print at a 0.075mm layer height (that’s 75 microns for Erik :P) with the stock 0.4mm (0.45mm?) nozzle.

      It takes a lot longer to print at that resolution and you can start running into the limits of the material, especially with overhangs, but it’s absolutely doable.

      I don’t know why george is so frothing about this. It’s a frickin’ awesome box and, IMO, well worth the money.

  9. Probably a silly question, but has anyone considered using a 3-D printer to deposit cyanoacrylate based dielectrics then overlay with water based silver conductors to print capacitor elements?

    I experimented with silver + cyanoacrylate (aka Superglue) for a N2 laser project and the dielectric strength is considerable so thanks Jeri for suggesting this approach.
    Also using Superglue + barium titanate emulsion should mean that the resulting structure is both mechanically robust and electrically reliable.

    A worthwhile technique is to obtain a bottle of Superglue, drop into a biological sample container then drop in some powdered BaTiO3 and agitate until mixed.
    Coating the inside of the dispensing tubes with Teflon should stop the glue sticking, and pre-etching the PCB with ampersulf (this is used to make P&P stick) to chemically roughen the surface in order to make the glue stick.

    Hope this helps…

  10. [headsup] Hi, I’m from Ultimaker [/headsup]

    People are talking about the resolution. Especially the Z-resolution is TYPICALLY low with this process. BUT: with a faster printer you can print more layers in the same amount of time to get a much more smooth surface finish. It’s also why the Ultimaker uses a 400 micron nozzle. Note that the extruder motor is also stationary (unlike many 3D printers) it can be beefier or have a geartrain, this allows you to push out plastic at a higher rate. This makes it possible to print higher res and still fast. Another thing is accuracy an tolerances (which has to do with resolution): this means you need good linear bearings and combat friction and backlash. We’ve incorporated many concepts in the design to reduce these.

    The following photo’s of prints show the resolution attainable:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/erikdebruijn1/UltimakerGallery#5621752034280569410

    https://picasaweb.google.com/erikdebruijn1/UltimakerGallery#5622501612365797538

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/gmEJ7toqlLPPk2TtO5E63Q?feat=directlink

    Erik

    P.s. We’ve heard several reports of people printing the same day their printer arrived… so apparently it also is easy to assemble.

    1. Awesome! I was looking for accuracy pictures. That’s really good. While it’s not the cheapest thing, I’m really thinking about ordering one. Even more because I’m also from The Netherlands ;-)

    2. So 0.4mm? Why say micron?

      How do you feel about charging £1500 for a open source designed machine?

      It uses a variation on the open source reprap extruder. The feeder is a wooden wade?

      The mechanism is taken from the MIT fabinabox?

      Software is also opensource? So why the price?

      They gave their time for you to make money?

      1. You don’t just TAKE an idea and have a good machine. It took lots and lots of prototypes before we got here. We’ve indeed got the concept of parallel kinematics from Fab-In-A-Box, but we have implemented it in a different way. We use the same rods as guides and to as rotational axes, reducing weight, components, useless voids, complexity and friction at the same time. Only down side is that you need linear guides to have narrow tolerances. Also, the build volume to outside footprint is the best of all 3D printers I am aware of. Last calculation I did it was about 30% for Ultimaker, 5% for Makerbot. Also, developing a new extruder and electronics took a lot of time.

        B.t.w. Micron sounds cooler doesn’t it?

        @george jones: almost everything is reimplemented independently. Of course deciding whose designs to base things on required many years of building many dozens of RepRaps in groups. Besides that, we co-develop the open source software WITH Makerbot.

        Also, it’s not £1500, it’s €1,194 (excl. 19% VAT, applicable to European Union citizens only). That’s closer to £1000 than £1500. Excl. about 34 GBP shipping. I agree that we would’ve wanted to make a cheaper machine, but we don’t easily make concessions in quality of the components.

      2. Nonsense. The parts are no more than £300.

        You have used what looks like cheap Oilite type bushings. With proper linear bearings only on the carriage. Most of the parts look like 5mm ply. Maybe 6mm. Yes you have used a £10 barrel heater.

        Youve taken the ramps board and redevloped it.

        But when did open source become about fleecing the public.

        I suppose this isnt as bad as makerbot thinking that its worth £1000 for them to build one of their machines. How long does it take? Are they getting in paris hilton to build it? Daylight robbery. yet noone calls them up on it? Why?

        Makerbots have only just started working. Thankyou to the 3000 customers used for testing. Now upgrade.

        If the people who bought the machines didnt buy into the open source mantra they would have gone bust years ago for not providing a product fit for purpose.

        I concede that you are only charging £1300!! to uk customers.

        Also on top of that you used the free fablab service to develop it.

        And your comment on co developing the software. So this is factored in, so why charge another 150 euro for better software?

        I like how this is now more expensive then the makerbot. Soon we will have £3000 open source, for the people, 3d printers.

      3. @george jones: If you can make a cheaper ultimaker, then why aint you making one yourself? All the hard- and software can be found online, thanks to the guys at ultimaker.

        Compared to the other derivates out there, its quite expensive. There are enough (cheaper) alternatives out there. Problem is: They are not as fast as the speeds that you can get with ultimaker.

        I am not sure, but the guys at ultimaker were the ones that made the RAMPS PCB that everyone is using now.

        Erik is one of the “founders” of the reprap community. I know him quite some time, and I have to admit that most of the work that you see in the ultimaker is because of research from open-source software.

        Difference between the ultimaker and all the repraps that are out there is the fact that the ultimaker doesnt use a big and heavy print head. Its because of the Bowden extruder design (which Ultimaker perfected) that it became so fast. It is based on the idea that it eventually can have multiple extruders.

        I find it weird that you didnt mention Bits from Bytes. Its acrylic, costs around 1000 pounds and has the same (almost exact) look as the first repraps around!

        Most of the ultimaker stuff is pre-built in-house. All you need to do is follow some sort of lego-style graphics to make the complete kit. No soldering, no fiddling with glue, putty or something that can get your hands dirty. When I was building the BfB machine, it took me a whole weekend to put it together, only to get it shaken apart couple of months later…

        Its a robust machine, with lots of testing before they made the company, and apparently people are willing to pay the price for that machine.

        I work for a company that is not one of the cheapest in the neighbourhood (i know because dozens of people complaining that we are expensive) BUT we sell quality, where the cheaper ones are selling quantity. Bit like comparing the local pizzaria with Dominoes. Big & fast but made in an electronic oven (which is not helping flavor), or small & slow but has a real italian stone oven (which I have to admit, is really something you should taste).

        Food for thought ;)

      4. But wasnt the point of reprap to make a cheap 3d printer that everyone can afford?

        It is a community sourced solution. Yet I bet most of the community cannot afford one. Why?Is ply expensive? No? But not every one has a laser cutter. So the charge for not having a laser cutter is now four times the cost.

        I thought ULtimachine created the ramps board not ultimaker? Then just made it a single board instead of an arduino addon. No?

        What I don’t get is why all the founders of reprap are now making some of the most expensive machines? Adrian and makerbot now offer a £1000 + £1000 to build it machine. Sells works for BFB? Erik sells a £1300 machine.

        What happened to making an affordable quality machine? Why the great markup? Again the r&d is community sourced. How many makerbot owners helped the evolution of makerbot. Does this now mean the makerbot is cheaper. No, the machine that works after two years of not is more expensive than the last. Why, is it professionally made. No, its laser cut parts still. I think now it uses proper bearings. Probably a dollar each if that. what version hot end is makerbot on now. MK6? How many of the others worked?

        But make excuses as its open source. They are all about the community. Rubbish.

        Seriously £1000 just to build it? How long does it take?

        3d printers will never take off as most people are priced out of the market.

        Smoke and mirrors. Look how fast it is? micron? we have another bre in the making.

        I did love the older videos when bre would turn up on a news show saying how great his machine was. $1000 buys you a 3d printer. A printer that didnt work. But hey its open source, Work in progress. No guarantees.

        I wonder how many people kept buying new hot ends based on his sales patter. “no, mk4 is our best yet”. “look we have a mk5, upgrade now”

        The average makerbot customer could probably of afforded a dimension by the time everything works.

        I predict the next machine will have a bigger build surface. Probably $2000. Look big prints.

  11. I like their technique for moving the head horizontally, seems more scalable and stable than what makerbot (and everybody else) uses…? Has somebody built a CNC like this yet?

    1. Yes, there are CNC’s that move the head. For large CNC machines this is almost a requirement (1 meter cnc would need 2 meter rails to move on) however, because the CNC is cutting the head needs to be stablized a lot more, it’s heavier. Head moving CNC machines are more expensive then bed moving CNC machines.

  12. My thought is that the use of a variable tip could give you speed using large dots and finish using smaller dots. Let’s think about the fact that a hybrid of methods can give you real advantages. I do like the head movement on this and the speed is very nice. I would also add three or four types of plastic if I were to do this for serious prototyping. Colors? Why not…

  13. I don’t know why everyone thinks this is expensive. Apple’s 300 DPI laser printer was $7000 when first introduced. Early 10 meg harddrives were $5000 USD.

    This is still emerging technology, and that’s CHEAP. Laser printers and HDs were once considered ‘niche’ products, too. Wait until the next generation.

    Me, I’m thinking about getting one…

    1. I think that the sizes of niches of laser printers and 3D printers are hard to compare. Paperwork in our bureaucratic-driven world is ubiquitious and fast and silent printers were, and still are sought for. Making plastic parts.. anywhere outside some “hackerspace” or what would you call it, it’s a solution desperately needing a problem.

  14. Its extortionate.

    The parts would add up to approx £300, if less. £1500 here for mit inspired axis and open source reprap developed electronics?

    open source strikes again. Nerds have money but it seems no sense.

    Look at makerbot for proof. hasn’t it only started really working in the last 6 months yet been on sale for years? bre can surely sell?

  15. It’s CHEAP. Regardless of whether the Applewriter is a valid comparison, adjusted for inflation that $7000 printer equals approx $14K today.

    The parts are worth X? Wait until the economies of scale catch up. Sure, 3D printing may never be as popular as 2D, but laser printers hold a relatively small % of the market and are VERY inexpensive (although that % is growing).

    Just be happy you’re not in the position I was 10 years ago–switching from film to digital cameras…ouch! Sheez–any idea what a 256MB flash card cost in 2001? Let alone the cameras, which were junk after 2 years…

    1. But they were guaranteed to work. This is buyer beware? Work in progress. It should be priced as such.

      Look at makerbot. Id love to see how many people kept buying the same parts because they broke, through bad design.

      You cant compare kodak et al with the open source movement.

  16. Since open source is open source, I’m just going to glean the best of all the 3d printers and build my own, call it the “China Syndrome”

  17. Are there any 3D printers that can make results that don’t look like the item is made out of tiny little coils? Or do those cost 10x more or something?

    1. Yes there are. If you decrease the z-step on the these 3D printers the coils get smaller (as good as invisible is the goal), or you need an “Selective Laser Sintering” 3D printer, which sets you back atleast $10.000, and is more expensive in the materials.

  18. @george jones… I agree with your posts. As I read deeper into this thread of comments, even before I hit your posts I developed a similar opinion. I’ve been watching this open 3D printer stuff for quite a while. It is not going in the proper direction at all, and some people are lining their pockets in the process.

    1. I really don’t get what’s your problem. The license permits re-use, they are well within their right to sell it at any price they like. And it’s not like they didn’t spend time developing. This clearly wasn’t just slapped together in an hour. But even if it was, it’s perfectly legal, and if people are willing to pay their price, let them… (and MakerBot’s customers also knew that it didn’t work very well at the beginning, but it’s not like any end-user bought it. These were fellow hackers, fully aware of the shitty quality prints they would get, and thanks to their work it got better… Exactly the same as with free software, production costs are low, but you pay for it by testing in the field)

      1. “Exactly the same as with free software, production costs are low, but you pay for it by testing in the field”

        Thats my point, they are selling work in progress for big money. £1000-£1300 isn’t small change.

        Also make money but stop going on about open source. Open source to me, is about wanting as many people to participate to make a product the best it can be. Even free.

        These people are taking it the other way. Trying to outdo each other on the price.

        Your point about the people who bought it is right. They have money and like to build. Lets fleece them then.

        Are you really defending makerbot? How many people were turned off 3d printers because of them. Maybe one of them could have moved the tech on.

        Has bre ever apologised to the people who got a poor quality product. Could you go on mainstream tv selling something you know didnt work, to not hackers but normal people. Kids with ideas?

      2. Well, Makerbot is one of these perfect examples of the glorification of unprofessionalism. It’s special in no respect at all (well except they had the chutzpah to make a business from it), far less impressive than what real 3D printers can achieve, but they get an incredible amount of exposure, just because, basically, they don’t know what they are doing. I don’t believe Bre’s appearances on Colbert etc boosted sales, they don’t have him on to help his business, it’s to present “maker culture” using something pretty but non-threatening. The example models on Colbert for example were horrible, even Makerbot can do better, but it fits the narrative better than if they had somebody from Z Corp show off a fully functioning multicolor planetary gear…

        I don’t think Ultimaker or Makerbot are “proper businesses”, it’s basically the material cost (their customers are informed enough to know how much lower it actually is) plus donation to their hacking efforts in the hope that something awesome will come of it. They won’t take the money and run, it’ll end up in the community somehow… So I don’t think this is as bad as, say, a chinese bootlegging company manufacturing Adafruit kits 1:1.

      3. I think makerbot and friends are worse. A chinese company producing a lower cost alternative to a open source project is what open source is about. Why make it open source if you want to sell it at a great markup.

        What we need is a chinese company making an ultimaker, down to the last bolt. I bet they could make one as good for a third of the price and still make a nice profit.

        If development costs are the issue then make it open source after you have recouped the cost. Remember though a lot of the costs are bourne by the participants in time. Even erik accepts that a lot of the parts came from elsewhere. Places that didnt charge.

        At what point does crowd knowledge make a cheaper product? Why is the price going up?

        Also why cant arduino make a low cost arduino. What prevents them? In your example the chinese are providing a legit service. Taking an open source design and making it cheaper. No loss in quality.

        I personally would have bought an UP! printer instead of a ultimaker. Everything is done correctly down to the software. It works out of the box.

  19. I ordered one yesterday!

    For the people complaining about the price. The price is made up out of raw material price, price for production (laser cutting the boards, putting electronics together) and a bit more to recover development costs.

    Also, the plans for the lasercut parts are on thinkiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:8563
    Part lists can be found at: http://wiki.ultimaker.com/Category:Part_of_Batch_03
    And there are excellent build instructions at:

    http://wiki.ultimaker.com/Mechanics_build_guide

    So you could build your own without ordering the whole package from ultimaker.com

    So, why did I order?
    -I cannot build the same quality woodwork (no lasercutter)
    -I know I’ll get all the parts
    -It shows quality parts made with it (unlike some of the horrible reprap blobs I’ve seen)
    -It looks sold, unlike a reprap which looks like it can fall apart if you move it.
    -It’s a hobby, it should cost money.
    -I like to support the makers.

    I could have build the electronics myself, I wouldn’t have used an Arduino. But that would have saved me only 100 euro or so. It’s the bearing, axes, belts, etc… that are quite costly. And the woodwork that would have cost me a lot of time and frustration.

    1. Keep justifying the cost and it wont change. Thats one problem with the average makerbot customer. By paying over the odds it legitimises the ripoff. Bre can then use the sales figures to generate more sales.

      I like in the article that he feels no threat. You know why. He who shouts loudest wins. He will just do more shows. People are stupid. I like how one comment above said that makerbot was on the second major revision so it shows they have a quality product.

      rubbish. The first revision didnt work. DOesnt that make the thinga-majig the first revision. Yes the ply has been put through two years of testing. Probably as a sock stand or a bird cage. Add a bit of wire.

      1. I can pleasantly say to you. Go and search, lookup what quality stepmotors costs, lookup what quality bearing cost, lookup what axes, linear bearings, pullies, belts and couplings cost.

        You’ll be surprised, because it adds up.

        You’re the thing that’s wrong with the internet, you’re the scum here. If you lookup how much effort these people have put in to their product, and how much love they have for it. Then you wouldn’t be saying that they where trying to make a quick buck.

  20. I sense something wrong when everybody says that hobbies should cost money !
    Please free your mind from this kind of thought like “if it doesn’t cost money it’s worth nothing”.
    And may be, you will live a better life away from the consumerism.

  21. I can’t reply directly to george for some reason, but you mention that you would rather buy an UP! printer.

    The UP! goes for $2690 USD. According to Erik de Bruijn the Ultimaker would be just over $2000 to ship to the US.

    So, after all the complaining about how expensive it is, why would you push the UP instead?

    Sounds like astroturfing to me…

  22. A printer that is just slightly outdone in speed by a RepRap Prusa Mendel.
    “So?” you say “Just slightly.”
    The Prusa Mendel is €300. A tad over $400 for you US nuts.
    You have an extruder that doesn’t have a crappy hot-end.
    You’re not paying a charlatan who claims to run an open-source project, yet not releasing any part of the design and only selling the machine.
    You have a maintainable, cheap printer which can easily print nearly all the parts of itself which you can’t get in a hardware store.
    You can print spare parts yourself, because the design is actually open.

  23. Having read through the comments I noticed questions over quality of prints and possibe overhangs.

    This is my first 3d printer so I am not an experienced user, it was child’s play to put together and I have had no issues (touch wood).

    Currently my high quality prints are at 0.045 (45 micron layers) and I can print overhangs down to 15 degrees at this layer height. For reference a 50% scale print of the octopus on Thingiverse took about 1:40 at this layer height.

    http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/66753090@N08/6078178074/

    Kind regards

  24. The price of open source products mostly stems from parts that are not mass produced in sufficient quantities, the overall expense of decent parts (namely, stepper motors), and an unhealthy addiction to expensive manufacturing methods, and poor design choices that only exacerbate the costs (such as that plywood gear. Seriously?). Until someone can start mass-producing 3D printers in sufficient quantity, and have a market to buy them all in a reasonable time, expect to see some rather unreasonable prices. Or someone could figure out a cheaper/easier design.

    Having said all that, the professional 3D printers from StrataSys and HP (yes, the computer and 2D printer guys) are starting at around $7000-$10,000. So as the market opens up more, expect those prices to drop, and you’ll start seeing comercially built printers at your local BestBuy for $300, or free with purchase of any computer $699 or more, with mail-in rebate.

    1. You know when the price of 3D printers goes down to $300 the price of consumables will be sky high if HP is selling them. New inkjet printer: $30; ink for when the 1/2 filled stock cartridges run out: $60.

    2. George’s rant about the high cost low quality of open-source reminds me of Microsoft. The price of Microsoft’s products haven’t gone down over the years, they just release new products with different problems instead of just fixing the problems with the current product.

      Open-Source doesn’t mean “free beer”, non-profit. It means ” If you don’t like the product, you have the right to improve on it and do with the result as you wish as long as you don’t keep others from doing the same. People don’t purchase Open-source products because that is the only alternative, they purchase them because they either want to give back to those who helped make the product what it is or they want to help make it better and they don’t have the skills or time to help in other ways.

      I love DIY and hacking things, but over the years I’ve come to realize can’t make product XYZ at the same quality and price as the regular manufacturer. The only reason I can justify building it myself is either the pride of saying “I did it”, or because I want something custom that the normal item doesn’t have.

  25. In this way, the hydroxyl radical is sort of nature’s atmospheric “scrubbing bubbles. Thousands of people bought the wrong air purifiers every year and suffered the consequences. They take up much less power and therefore marginal electric charges.

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