Subscribe to Make Magazine Today!

SIP06-ULTIMAKER2_A--3924

Ultimaker / ultimaker.com / Sign up to be notified when available in the Maker Shed.

Price as tested $2,565
Print volume 8.9″×8.9″×8.1″
Heated bed? Yes
Print materials PLA or ABS
OS supported Linux, Mac, Windows
Print untethered? Yes
Open-source hardware? Yes
Open-source software? Yes
Printer control software Cura
Slicing software CuraEngine

Ultimaker has revamped an already excellent machine to create one of the best consumer 3D printers we’ve seen. The Ultimaker 2 has a bigger print volume and lots of hardware upgrades, and thanks to the company’s open-source Cura software, it’s easy to use. This is a top-quality machine for people who just want to hit “Print,” and it’s also wide open to those who enjoy tinkering with their printer to get the most out of it.

Ultimaker was founded in May 2011 by hardcore early RepRap adopter and all-around desktop 3D printing guru Erik de Bruijn, designer Martijn Elserman, and ProtoSpace FabLab manager Siert Wijnia. Ultimaker sells kits and assembled printers, as well as add-ons and filament. In addition, they recently launched YouMagine.com, a 3D file-sharing website that features their new UltiShaper 3D modeling tool.

Looking Good!

The Ultimaker 2 is one of the best-looking printers on the market, with a frame constructed of sleek aluminum-polymer panels and frosted acrylic. LED strips illuminate the inside, and ambient mood lighting diffuses through the sidewalls when printing at night; it’s quite beautiful. Simple parts and sheet-metal covers give off a clean look.

Tons of Upgrades

The new heated glass print bed supports ABS printing and is larger than before. You can print PLA directly on it without tape or other surface treatment, and after the bed cools, the printed part pops right off. (This should be standard on high-end printers.)

The redesigned extruder is now direct drive, providing quicker and quieter retraction. The hot-end is constructed of metal with a Teflon insulator; it heats up fast (220°C in 1 minute) and uses a more accurate PT-100 temperature sensor instead of a thermocouple. Dual fans cool parts more uniformly (this helped to create one of the best pairs of MAKE robot “armpits” seen during our testing).

The new electronics digitally control the motor current via firmware, rather than by a physical potentiometer. Less current is used, so the motors produce less noise.

Ultimaker’s handy onboard control interface is now built into the printer and has been redesigned to be cleaner and more user-friendly, with a graphical OLED screen and a larger dial-button combo. New scripts guide the user through bed leveling and filament changing. Print settings can be adjusted on-the-fly during a print.

And the software’s improved. Cura has been upgraded to slice faster than the competition, and Ultimaker has developed UltiGCode, a “flavor” of G-code that allows retraction and material settings to be changed in the printer settings (instead of in the slicer) without having to reslice.

SIP06-Ultimaker2-robots

How’s It Print?

The Ultimaker 2 is even more accurate than the original. The Secret Heart Box printed very well: The hinges articulated perfectly and the outside finish looks great. Small features on the MAKE robot’s back logo were sharp and crisp, among the best we printed. We did experience some ringing when printing small parts on the default High Quality setting, which set the speed too high. However, Ultimaker constantly improves their software, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this issue is addressed by the time you read this review.

Keeping It Open Source

Ultimaker 2 will remain open source. From de Bruijn: “As soon as we start shipping, we will release the first major part of the system: the completely redesigned electronics (under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike) … We plan to have released everything in at most 6 months.”

Conclusion

Ultimaker has delivered a bleeding-edge machine to the consumer market. The Ultimaker 2 is solid and beautiful. Its heated bed works wonderfully, and not having to apply extreme force to remove large prints is a huge advantage. Although it has a bit of catching up to do in print quality, its hardware and software upgrades make it a real contender for the prosumer crown.

Primo features

  • Heated glass print bed
  • Accurate and fast
  • SD card printing
  • Built-in printer interface with a user-friendly UI
  • Best-in-class software

Who’s It For?

  • Everyone

Pro Tips

  • Ultimaker print settings are on the speedy side. When printing small parts like the MAKE robot, reduce the print speed to 20mm/s but keep the infill at 50mm/s to get a super smooth finish on the outer surface.
  • Stick with one type of plastic if possible. ABS residue could jam in the nozzle when printing in PLA, due to the higher melting point of ABS.

Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014This review first appeared in MAKE’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014, page 66. Check out the full issue for more!

 


  • Arthur Nunez

    I recently purchased a Ultimaker 2 and have had nothing but problems
    with it. Every third print or so comes out with horrible quality or does
    not finish at all. I have emailed the support email several times with
    no response and no support. I am getting extremely frustrated at their
    lack or support and their complete disregard for my issues. I spent a
    lot of money on the printer and its as though Ultimaker is no longer
    interested in me as a customer. I am seriously considering returning the
    printer and moving on to a company that will treat me well, even after
    the purchase is complete.

  • Florian L.

    Hey Arthur, your issue sounds familiar. We’ve had similar problems at our FabLab. According to iGo3D, where we bought it, this might be due to faulty stepper drivers overheating and shutting down for safety reasons.
    A replacement board should fix that, unfortunately the UM2 drivers are hard to replace SMD-components.

    • Ultimaker Support

      Hi Florian, Did you end up finding a solution for your problem? If not I can imagine our community on the forums or our very own technical support team might be able to help you out. Thank you! – Sander.

      • Florian L.

        Hey Sander,

        a solution has not yet been found, the german distributor wasn’t really helpful in finding one as they moved their headquarters to another city and their “flagship store” right now is degraded to a mere showroom for printers, so they basically are in total chaos mode right now. We will try to send it to their hq in the next week to have them repair it. If that fails, we’ll contact you guys directly. cheers, Florian

        • Ultimaker Support

          Hi Florian, thank you for your response. I would recommend to get in touch with them before sending the printer, so they know what to expect. (to prevent it from getting lost).
          Feel free to keep us up to date, but I would suggest to do this through our regular communication channels, i.e. our support team. Lets stay in touch and find a solution, thank you! – Sander.

  • http://minene3d.es nacho

    The ultimaker 2 support is very bad. I comment my experience with support if it can help.. After many problems with the printer and after asking several things for 2 weeks (the first 10 days they did not answer). They had to send parts under warranty, but they told do not have, and told me that will take a long time to receive them. They tell you better buy anywhere, even if you insist that no, come into contact with other sites, and told they will send you after paying. No matter what you say, they decide for you that you must pay without any other solution.

  • Ultimaker Support

    Hi Nacho, Thank you for your post. I am sorry to hear you feel like you did not get the help you deserved. It basically comes down to that we did not have the part on stock when you requested it. If we did, we would have send it to you the same day. In the meantime you went out your ways and got one from our German reseller. We offered to come to a solution with our reseller, but it seemed like you could not wait any longer. We would be happy to come to a solution if you reach out to our support team, because in the end taking care of our users is our goal. Thank you for your time, have a great day. – Sander.