Blinking LEDs On The Internet Of Printers

When you ask for recommendations on which 3D printer to buy, damn the cost, the Ultimaker is consistently at the top of the list. There’s a reason for the popularity of this printer — it’s easy to use, extremely high quality, and has an entire freakin’ Linux system running somewhere under the hood. That last bit is opening up a few doors to some interesting hacks, like using a 3D printer as an RGB LED.

The Doodle3D team has been playing around with the Ultimaker API to see if they can make their software work with the Ultimaker printer. The Ultimaker has RGB LEDs, so obviously the simplest proof of concept in futzing around with an API is to blink a few LEDs. The actual code was written in HTML, JavaScript, and Node in just two hours. The author admits it’s ugly, but it works. Can’t go wrong with that.

While this is just a simple test of the Ultimaker API, it’s surprisingly high up on the Google results when you search, ‘Ultimaker API’. That’s a shame, because there’s a lot of power under the hood of this printer. If you have some sort of mod you’d like to throw into the ring, here’s the Hackaday Tip Line.

You can check out the demo video of this hack below.

7 thoughts on “Blinking LEDs On The Internet Of Printers

  1. I’ve been fixing an Ultimaker 2 for a school district that bought one early for their high school technology program. If I worked for Ultimaker, I would not be eager to show my face in public. The Ultimaker 2 was an early-release, essentially unsupported piece of junk. $135.00 for a thermistor? Are you freaking kidding me? I bought a 6-pack of thermistors for my $150 Chinese kit printer for $5 on Amazon. I called and spoke to one of their “engineers” about the school printer, their attitude was “they could just buy our latest printer to solve their issues”. What a scam. There are much better printers out there (Prusa I3) for far less money, with better support, that actually work and can teach children about what technology can do. Ultimaker can put their overproduced videos where the taxpayer don’t shine.

    1. Kpietryk, im sorry to hear you where having issues with your um2. It is true, the machine had some issues but I have a very early one as well and its been gping great for many hours. Even the early produced ones where pretty awesome. But rememvber, the um2 came out.of a small startup where the engineering team was 5 people back then.

      As for the new vodeos, yeah thats marketing at work. The company is vastly more employees now and is a now.

      Ontopic, the leds are actually RGBW!

    2. That price seems off. Yes, UM spare parts are expensive, but not THAT expensive. It should be around $50-55 (or $15 if you Ebay it), not $150. I’m assuming you’re talking about the PT100 in the print head and not the one in the bed. If it was the one in the bed perhaps the reseller you’re talking to wanted to sell you the whole bed since usually customers aren’t comfortable swapping out surface mount parts.

      1. Considering you can buy an E3D lite with a PT100 for less that 50$, and that’s a complete hotend, sensor, and entry to a high performance ecosystem of hotend bits, that’s still an unacceptable price. Consider their competition:

        At the same price point the Taz 6 offers a larger print area (11^2 vs. 8.5^2), and while it lacks the out of the box dual extrusion, it is actually open source and has all the brains it really needs.
        At the much lower price point, the Prusa I3 still has a larger print area, is still open source, has up to 4 color support, and given that with the multi-material kit + the preassembled version you’re still saving ~1300$ off the UM3, you could afford to put 4 Bondtech QR extruders on it, while still having nearly 700$ left in your budget. Enough to buy another Prusa i3 kit. So two printers, with more multi-material support, and what is essentially the best in class filament driver, four times over.
        Then let’s look at the Rostock Max v3. Available pre-assembled, designed, and built in America (That matters to some people), with a print area larger than the UM3 extended. while being 900$ cheaper than the UM3, much less the extended. Add in a E3D legends pack and the 713 Maker full-metal replacement for the frame (OK, if you’re buying that, buy the kit and save the 600$ for assembly you’re going to undo, but this is trying to be somewhat apples to apples for machines that arrive and you can print with them, and then adding features) at 500$ total, and you’ve got dual extrusion with independent or common nozzle, and you still have enough to toss in a pair of Bondtech QR extruders and a Duet controller while still saving money.
        Or buy a pair of Printerbot Plus’s for the same price.

        Don’t buy Ultimaker. They price is pretty terrible related to what you get. If you need a printer that works, and you have a largely unconstrained budget, buy two of the most price efficient assembled and tested printer that fits your needs. As a bonus, that way you get twice the throughput.

        1. If you care about USA assembly, Ultimakers for the US are assembled in the USA.

          And price wise, if self-assembly is an option, then Ultimaker is never the proper price range. There are so many companies that serve that market better then us.

      45 euros for a PT100, not cheap, but not the stated $135. Spare parts always have been super pricey from us. And, as it’s just a “basic” PT100, you can do cheaper from other vendors that are not official ultimaker parts.

      You are usually better off with the hotend pack:
      Bit more expensive, but contains the other parts that wear out as well.

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