Published on December 27th, 2016 | by Geetika Bhasin
Ultimaker 2 Extended Review
After the release of high-end line of printers Ultimaker 2, it’s time to welcome Ultimaker 2 Extended in the kitty of finest 3d printers. This printer has got the largest build area that allows this machine to print taller objects. Among the different printers tested, this machine uses the highest resolution of fused filament fabrication. The operation of this machine is as simple as that of former versions of Ultimaker series. It operates with a monochrome LCD and a dial.
Along with the plenty of good features that this machine possesses, there are some drawbacks that have to be taken into account. This machine might suffer extrusion issues and the printing might be interrupted. Also, you can need to know that this machine might also suffer some troubleshoot problem.
Talking something about the brand, Ultimaker 2 Extended has been launched by a high-end Dutch brand Ultimaker. It was commenced by three Dutch entrepreneurs. You can find its products available online as well as in the conventional stores.
The Design of Ultimaker 2 Extended
Like I said before, this printer is larger than many other 3d printers available in the market. The dimensions of this machine are 19.2 x 14.1 x 13.5 inches. This machine is 4 inches taller than its former version.
The weight of this machine is 26 pounds. It can although easily fit on a desk but we recommend you to provide it a bench that can bear its weight and provide you freedom of using it. The front of this machine is open and it has translucent white sides where the logo of Ultimaker is carved.
Talking about the interiors of this machine, they are simply amazing. There are strings of LEDs that run down the front edges. It has the build area of 11.7 x 10.8 x 9.8 inches. By far, it is the most commendable machine that has really made a difference in the 3d printing market.
Most of the 3d printers use 1.75mm plastic filament but this machine uses 3mm thicker filament. Thanks to its extrusion system, the feature of thickness have been designed in this machine. The printing can be done with polylactic acid and also acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.
Pros of Ultimaker 2 Extended
Other than its amazing design and good looks, this machine has got the largest printing area. It gives you the freedom to 3d print larger objects. It has also got fine print quality in high resolution.
Cons of Ultimaker 2 Extended
On the downside, the extrusion problem is definitely something that will concern many buyers. Also, printing with USB cable can also be problematic.
How To Setup This Machine?
Well, setting up the machine is pretty simple. You need to snap the filament spool holder in the back of the printer. The glass plate that works as the printing bed has to be fastened to the build platform that has also got clips. After doing the above-mentioned steps, you can now turn on the power of the printer and let it get started.
It’s time for you to run the “First Run Wizard Instructions” on the display screen of the printer, which is controlled by a dial. Firstly, you will be able to level the build plate and move the extruder in three different positions. Then you will turn the dials and also the screws of the machine have to be tightened until the extruder is 1 mm from the plate at every position. The movement of the extruder is flexible. It can be placed accordingly so that the sheet of paper fits comfortably along with the slight resistance between the build plate and the extruder.
Then, the filament spool has to be positioned where it is meant to be, i.e. in its holder. Now you have to push the filament from its free ends inside the filament feeder. Make sure that it is grabbed between the gear and the wheel. After the right placement of the filament, it shoots through a tube to the extruder and then it is heated until the plastic reforms in its melted form and drip out of the nozzle. After that, you can select the test 3D object files from the memory card and hit the press button for the printer to 3d print the test object.
The print bed of the Ultimaker 2 Extended is heated which keeps the corners of the objects from curling up during the print process, especially with the ABS plastic. During the first setting up of the printer, it is addressed to apply the glue from the glue stick to the glass at the center of the build platform. Because of this, you will never see the material of printing sticking to the print bed and it will be super easy to remove the objects.
How To Print With The Extrusion Issues?
Let me make it easy for you to understand the concept as I am here going to use an example of the experiment that we conducted. We selected Ultimaker robot as our first experiment. The printing happened smoothly however, there were few times when it missed a layer or two. It created a horizontal band that was encircling the object and was partially filled with the plastic.
In the second experiment, just a drop of plastic came out of the nozzle and then it stopped. It was difficult to coax it to resume extrusion with the help of the Move Material options. These are all available in maintenance menu on the printer’s display.
You can also try loosening or tightening the tension in the gear mechanism which is there to pull the filament into the extruder. However, it was of no use. In either case, if the tension is more than the gear might grind the filament without pulling it through. At the same time in the reverse case, if the tension is too little, the gear won’t be able to drip the filament well.
So, getting back to the maintenance menu, I extracted the filament. If some hard filament has clogged inside the extruder, it is suggested to heat it and remove the filament tube. After that, you have to insert the length of filament to the top of the extruder and apply pressure so that the melted filament comes out of the tube through its nozzle. After reloading the filament, you should try printing again. We are sure that second time when the print happens, it will be very smooth. Take this from our personal experience, you might at times come across some road bumps along the way with this printer but with a little work, you can get amazing objects created from this machine. The problems of extruder and troubleshooting, however, are common with other models of Ultimaker as well.
The Resolution and Print Quality of Ultimaker 2 Extended
Before we move further with this step, you first need to know what resolution in 3D printers is. Resolution is the thickness of each layer of plastic of the 3d printed objects. With the Ultimaker 2 Extended, you get the maximum resolution of 20 microns. Most of the 3d printers offer the resolution of 100 microns with each micron being 0.01 mm. Speaking of the default resolution of Ultimaker 2 Extended, it is 100 microns. But considering the design of the object required, it can be lowered down to 20 microns. However, if you ask the brand itself, they recommend 60 microns as the high resolution setting to offer a perfect balance between print quality and printing time.
The printing quality has definitely been improved in Ultimaker 2 Extended. In the former version, the fine details of the prints were usually lost. We once printed a frog in Ultimaker 2 and the front legs were partially detached from the frog’s body. What we recommend is for you to stick to the normal settings since no big changes were experienced in high resolution.
Printing With SD Cards
In Ultimaker 2 Extended, you can find an SD card slot that comes with a 4 GB card and few of the test files are already installed in it. Also, with the Ultimaker series, you will get a free downloadable version of open source software called Cura. This will help in an easy modification of files and quick downloading in the SD card. This software is convenient in its usage and allow you to resize and move the objects, change resolution, and other settings and load multiple objects for printing purposes.
So, here we conclude Ultimaker 2 Extended review by saying that this printer might seem a little troubling but it has got one of the finest print qualities. The resolution is amazing and it is also compatible with different kinds of filaments. This one gets the job done quickly. As I discussed earlier in the review that the extruder and filaments could cause some trouble, other than that, this printer is worth your attention.
If it is about a better machine and editor’s choice, Ultimaker 2 is better than this version. That will be a better machine for hobbyists and professionals. This machine is good for the beginners.