An Interview With [David] Of Ultimaker


After interviewing the creator of Slic3r and the folks at Shapeways, [Andrew] is back again with his adventures in 3D printer videography and an interview with [David Braam] of Ultimaker

About a year ago, [David] looked at the state of the art in 3D printer control and Replicator G. While Replicator G, along with Pronterface and Repetier-Host both convert 3D models into G-code files as well as control the printer while its squeezing plastic out onto a bed. [David] thought the current state of these RepRap host programs were janky at best, and certainly not the best user experience for any home fabricator. This lead him to create Cura, a very slick and vastly improved piece of host software for the Ultimaker.

Cura isn’t just a fancy front end on an already existing slicer engine; [David] created his own slicing algorithm to turn .STL files into G-code that’s immensely faster than skeinforge. Where skeinforge could take an hour to slice a complex model, Cura does the same job in minutes.

There are also a bunch of cool features available in Cura: you can rotate any part before sending it to the printer, as well as pulling voxels directly from your Minecraft world and sending them to your printer. Very, very cool stuff, and if you’re running a Ultimaker or any other RepRap, you might want to check it out.


25 thoughts on “An Interview With [David] Of Ultimaker

      1. I was first with the Minecraft feature. But I didn’t make a huge fuzz about it :-) Makerbot also didn’t create ‘their’ minecraft feature, someone else did, they are just using it.

    1. Unlike the other “OMG TYPO!” calling usually happening here on HaD. You actually are a bit in your right here.
      I go by the name Daid online. But when I see people face-2-face I ask them not to try to pronounce it. It’s not intended to be pronounced. David is my real name. Daid is just David without a V. It’s just a name which I use online. So, yes. That’s me, that’s my beard. And, yes, that’s me in my “I WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD” look on that photo.

      For those that are interested in a more detailed look into Cura. I also gave a presentation last Monday on it. Which more in depth details. It will go up on the Ultimaker blog once it’s edited, could take a week, usual editor is a bit busy with Wimbledon. (And it will be full of spelling mistakes for HaD commenters to make fun at!)

      1. It is indeed printed on one of the UM+ printers. I have some ideas on how to cut up a large object into bits and add connector pieces. But that’s a whole project on it’s own.

        (This UM+ printer has a print height of 550mm)

  1. Skeinforge is the slowest of all the slicers out there, and not one of them out there is unable to also rotate before generating the gcode.
    Why does Ultimaker stuff wind up on this site so often? It’s a mediocre and expensive printer at best. And closed source to boot.

    1. first, Ultimaker is quite a decent printer compared to the many out there.I have seen quite some printers, and hardly any could show prints with that nice surface. Although, one needs to tinker a bit to get it going well.
      Second, since two days, cura does include a new c++ written slicer, where slicing is done in real seconds. I have not done so many test prints, yet, but it seems nice.
      Third: For my works, it sufficiently open source. The plans are online, part lists are missing however. Its much more open than Makerbot, and one of the only major printer producers that does that still. I kind of understand Ultimaker with their move: I made the plans for the Ultipanel CC-NC, and now one can buy clones from hongkong.

    2. I’m wondering if you are a troll or just uninformed.

      Skeinforge in Cura was always “until something better could be plugged under it”, but nothing better poped up in a year. Slic3r is way to picky on none-manifold models, and has a tendency to crash. KISSlicer doesn’t provide an open interface, nor is open-source. Skeinforge on it’s own cannot rotate objects. Makerbots “miracle-grue” is unmaintained. (As Makerbot has gone closed source). So I went to make my own, which wouldn’t have been possible without Ultimaker paying me.

      KISSlicer is unable to rotate objects freely, except for 90 degree angles. Slic3r cannot rotate on it’s own and Repetier makes this possible with difficult number entry. Cura actually gives you rotation circles where you can just drag.

      Ultimaker won best in quality and speed by Make magazine. Ultimaker pretty much started with PLA printing, and 0.1mm layers. And people are doing 0.06mm layers regularly on the Ultimaker. If that’s medicore then you are living in bizaro-world.

      Most of the design that you need to know to tinker with it is open on an none-commercial license. All the electronics and software is 100% OpenSource. Sure, you cannot make a 1:1 copy and start selling it for less then we do. Because you know, we want to eat and live and continue development. (And even with this, there are a few copies out here if you start looking)

      Ultimaker hired me as a full time open-source software developer. How bad can they be really then? We also have an experienced and excellent support staff that helps out people with any problems they have on their printers. We are a proper company, not some guy selling RepRap kits from his basement.

      1. Our hackerspace had a Ultimaker donated, and I must admit that it is phenomenally awesome! We had to buy some (expensive) parts to get it running again, but compared to the Makerbot cupcake, Makerbot 2, and the Solidoodle (the only printers I have printed on), this is in my opinion the most hassle free and amazing printer. The parts printed are extremely solid, and the layers do not peel back!! Also, Cura is amazingly easy to use, I was able to use it almost immediately. I am very surprised that there have been only 2000 downloads.

  2. Just installed Cura. Cura has the serial port and baud rate defaults set to auto. This means that it will not necessarily find all 3D printers like my PrintrBot plus. I set the port to com4 and the baud rate to 115,000 and the Printrbot jumped alive.

    I’ll do the configurations and print something at a later time.

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