2nd Extended+ time’s the charm
The Ultimaker 2 Extended+ is not a new printer (as you might have deduced from the name). It’s an upgraded version of the Ultimaker 2. The Extended+ sports a new Bowden hot end that flawlessly extrudes without a hint of clogging and features swappable nozzles to jump between sizes ranging from .25mm up to .8mm. So if you don’t care as much about print quality and are looking to speed things up, throw on a larger nozzle and increase layer height. I was also very surprised by the peppy heater block. No more coffee runs while waiting to reach temperature for a filament change. With these upgrades and a substantial build volume, the Extended+ is a serious contender!
My biggest complaint with the machine is that there seems to be a bit of a cooling issue. Someone like myself that is always nitpicking quality will find drooping in the overhangs and bridging to be a bit disappointing.
Keep it simple stupid! It was only a few short years ago that the Ultimaker 2 was released, and oh, how impressed I was by the sleek design and the elegant scroll wheel. But standards change, and though I do like the simplicity of the machine and don’t see a need to add on unnecessary features for the sake of glitz, I fear that this cutting edge interface is becoming dated. During testing I found myself looking around the room with a bit of envy. As a neighboring tester was gracefully flipping through his touch screen menu, I clumsily navigated my machine’s archaic menu with a primitive scroll wheel. This year we didn’t see a ton of completely new ideas on the FDM printers but it seems like a lot of the past innovations are becoming more commonplace. Please don’t fall too far behind Ultimaker!
Slow and steady wins the race
There was a lot of discussion amongst us testers this year as to whether it was “fair” to compare the Ultimaker against other printers. There was a general feeling of apples to oranges. Because we test all printers with the manufacturer’s’ default settings, the Ultimaker’s default setting of .1 mm layer height is pretty much the fine setting on any other printer. The complaint I heard several times was “Well yah, the quality is great but it takes so long to print”. As a consumer you have to decide where you fit in along the sliding scale of print quality vs. print speed. Personally as a sculptor, I tend to go for the highest quality even if it is at the cost of speed. But the great thing is that now with the replaceable nozzle you can customize the machine to your own needs.
The Ultimaker 2+ is a sturdy machine with reliable quality results. If you are looking for an amazing user experience then maybe look at a printer with more bells and whistles. And if you are frustrated with your older Ultimaker 2 think about buying the upgrades, you will be pleasantly surprised.