Ultimaker II - first impressions

So I have my Ultimaker II for a day now and these are my impressions so far.


It is super reliable IF before every print I freshly level the bed, then extrude some filament into thin air using the maintenance->expert->move filament function.
For that the extruder usually needs a bit of manual push on the filament.
Maybe it retracted AFTER cooling down too much, maybe it wants to start moving to early, I don't know. It certainly starts up with a bit of grinding every time.

As for reliable, my first prints where 16 and 15 hours. while I slept and while I was away at work.
Haven't done that since the RepMan 3.0 days.

You do hear a little bit of skipping all the time but it does seem to work fine nonetheless.


is easy enough to use, maybe a bit too easy.
I cannot set the name of the gcode file when using the "export" button (I probably can using the menu).
I cannot see what the 3 default settings are to just modify one or two parameters (such as infill).

Build times are very accurate and everything works very well so far.
The Ultimaker II does display a "time left", something I've never seen before as it requires out of band information from the slicer or a complete simulation of the entire g-code including acceleration and time to change temperatures. However for a 6 hour print it did jump from 6 to 15 hours and then to 5.

Cura does seem to have an issue in deciding how to support curved surfaces on a 20% infill grid.
It likes to start and stop flat areas right in the are between infill grids.
This does work out 2 or 3 layers later.

Also beware that a "Fast low quality print" will not be water tight in any way.

What next?

Next I'll prepare a specially shaped plastic bag to protect the filament mounted on the back from dust to prevent blocked nozzles.
I couldn't get +-0.05mm filament at the moment, so I ordered some +-0.1mm and will switch in a few weeks.
I also ordered a custom made stage box to transport the Ultimaker, just like I dd with my TravelCNC.


Ultimaker II

Shortly after my Kinect II (Skanect doesn't support it yet),
I received my Ultimaker II.
It's not a perfect tool but still the most reliable 3D printer I have ever seen!

Both my Makibox 3D printers (one heavily upgraded, one in stock conditon) are still for sale.
They work.
It's just that what I need is a reliable workshop tool and a $300 3D printer just doesn't reach that level.

Same as for my TravelCNC I ordered a custom made flightcase for it.
But this time I'll have a pneumatic rivet gun instead of doing this manually. ;)
I'll also custom make some plastic sheets to protect the mounted filament from any dust.
My suspicion is that my frequent filament stalls did have something to do with the slightly dusty environment. I vacuumed the filament spool regularly but there would always be some dust on it.


TravelingCNC gets a new spindle

I tried to replace the fried component in the spindle control but only managed to destroy that board completely.
Since Carving-CNC didn't answer and I could not find out the technical details to get a compatible board,
I went the easy way.
I'm replacing the 230W spindle with a 300W one that is supplied with 48W instead of require a heavy transformer spool.
Since I already have a heavy 48V supply for the steppers that should reduce the weight considerably.
For the time being I'll keep a separate supply for the spindle until I'm sure electrical noise is not an issue.


TravelCNC broken

While installing homing switches on my TravelCNC,
I replaced the broken component in the spindle driver that only allowed to run at full speed anymore.
Result is...the spindle controller is now fully broken.

So currently I'm looking at getting a new 600W spindle+controller from China or to invest a lot and get a spindle with automatic tool changer, controller box and silent, portable 8 bar compressor.
That would be a huge and great upgrade but I'm reluctant to shell out that kind of money right after ordering an Ultimaker 2 for 2000eur. :/