Every professional artist or any creative person tries to find a reliable tool for his or her work. I have also been trying to find a reliable, high-capacity and easy-to-use brush in the area available for 3D printing. I needed the brush that would expand the potential of my works and projects. This particular model of 3D printer was not my first one.
My first 3D printer was a Russian one, not very reliable, and pretty expensive. So after all those months that I spent trying to return or exchange the machine, I chose the Ultimaker 2. Before I bought it I was able to get acquainted with the quality of Makerbot’s work. However I was not pleased with it. Nor did I like the way the machine was assembled. That’s why after a while, having analyzed a wide range of FDM 3D printers available on the market at that time and after some people and bloggers advised me, I came up with an Ultimaker 2. Thanks to igo3D holding company and Konstantin Zakharov I managed to buy the printer and got it from Russia. In this respect I would like to express my gratitude to them for their support and attention to my art.
The last couple of years I’ve been creating toy-robot prototypes for my customers and busy with similar projects connected with 3D graphics and 3D printing.
Considering the price of the SLA and DLP 3D printers and the expensive expendable materials, I refused to buy them for those reasons. And so I made up my mind to find similar printers showing the maximum printing quality.
The major criteria for buying the Ultimaker2 3D printer were:
- printing accuracy
- the large printing bed
- reasonable price
- high printing quality with a 20-micron plastic
- durability of plastic prototypes
- the ability to use various types of plastic
- user-friendly equipment (that is easy to use, clean and assemble)
- easy mechanic printer construction
- high efficiency and duration of work
- the ability to improve and upgrade with little expenses
- the ability to exchange experience among Ultimaker users
- high printing speed when necessary (up to 150 mm per second)
- handy software, which is suitable for working with draft 3D geometry and projects
- affordable expendable materials for 3D printing (e.g. plastic)
- excellent extruder construction that can serve for a long time.
The main features I faced after I had bought the 3D printer were:
- thorough adjustment of feeding mechanism, which took nearly two days. I spent that time trying to find the proper degree of pressure on the feeder spring. Otherwise at extreme retractions the plastic feed bar got frayed through.
- Insufficient cooling of one of the nozzle sides when printing smaller details because of the position and size of the coolers.
- The printer requires particular attention and extra study of a number of aspects for printing complex and detailed projects so as to get more experienced in 3D printing and to understand the processes better. The slicer and its settings in expert mode also require precise studying and mastering.
I’ve spent a lot of time on the Internet studying the reaction of various kinds of plastic when exposed to various temperatures and used at various speed. Plastics of various companies react in a different way, that’s why it took such a long time.
During the year I found out that in practice that to produce extremely precise prints (of 20 microns) it’s better to use PLA Innofil 3D plastic. If you need to develop rapid prototypes and want to achieve high printing speed of objects, you have to use REC plastic from Russia.
The most ambiguous of the plastics I tested was PLA Colorfabb filament, as it was difficult to print highly detailed objects with it. I had to develop the cooling system for the printer’s board so that it could be used in very warm places to avoid overheating when used for a long time. And apart from that I had to tighten the belts before using. In general having spent almost two months studying and testing the printer, I started using it thoroughly.
Many users point that this printer helps to achieve high precision and accuracy of prints. All of my projects were aimed at printing non-organic forms, hard surface projects in particular, where all the extrusion defects while printing were immediately obvious.
I didn’t modify the 3D printer considerably, I only installed the additional holder of the pipe above the feeder. I also changed the length of the retractor and its speed, fastened all the bolts on the frame. By now the 3D printer has been working for 3000 hours without replacing the nozzle and other details. I would like to point the reliable system of table calibration – it doesn’t require additional frequent calibration and rather quiet work when printing at various speeds.
Having talked to a large number of users I’ve found out that at first many of them face a range of problems working with the printer because of lack of experience and knowledge. They urge to print complicated projects immediately, which leads to problems and breakages and, consequently, disappointments. I managed to avoid this starting with simple tests and making observations. Don’t make haste. Keep in mind that for 3D printing all the conditions matter – from humidity levels in your region to room temperatures.
I should also pay attention to its light weight, reliable firm design of sandwich panels and rather easy but stylish design in combination with simple logical structure of all the printer units.
Its autonomy is its greatest advantage. While printing, there is an ability to control a number of functions without connecting to the computer. They give an opportunity of tweaking 3D printing. As for me, its autonomy is one of the greatest advantages.
Probably one can compare this printer to a good musical instrument. But if you lack ear for music and the desire to study, you will never be able to unfold and see its full potential. Even though the printer is not new to the market, we can definitely say that it has no rivals concerning the price and quality. For many companies it is a bright example to follow. After I have learnt to operate it, it has become the right machine for me that helps me develop numerous projects. It gives me confidence and guarantees high quality of work every day.
About / Bio
Sergey is 3D artist and freelancer. Currently he specializes in 3D toys concept, robots and hi tech, 3D graphics/ Art for games and Graphics for casual games.