Low maintenance, high quality, ultimaker 3?

  • I'm looking for a high quality FDM printer that is fairly low maintenance, is this an oxymoron? I got my start around 2 years ago with the E3D BigBox which I assembled myself and learned a lot during the process. The ongoing lesson I have learned the last 2 years is I usually spend more time tuning the printer than printing 🙂

    Now that I have a good grounding in this I am looking to step up to another high quality home printer but hopefully one that mainly "just works" and I'm not fiddling with calibration every other print and is preassembled.

    Based on the research I have done so far Ultimaker 3 looks like it ticks all of my boxes but I thought before such a big purchase I would try to gather some more feedback. I am also considering the Form 2 but I have no experience with that type of printing and it is more expensive and probably overkill for my home use, though I do envy the precision on small parts.

    I print PLA/ABS only, and use it for building models, toys, and small robotics/engineering projects.

  • We got at the school an airwolf and a Makerbot Replicator + and I got a pulse. They all got something in common. Occasionally prints fail, Extruders, hotends get jammed and need to be disassembled, cleaned, parts replaced etc. All of them get used a lot as its a school setting and all of them produce nice prints most of the time but all of them need TLC if you want to call it that. Kinda reminds me of copy machines when they came out half a century or so ago. Guess the better question is as to which one is cheapest and easiest to fix and keep running in the long term

  • The Pulse is interesting, I was considering that as well since the pricepoint is very appealing.

  • I got mine last september. There is/was a learning curve. We put so far a little over 40kg of filament through that thing there were some problems mainly due to miscommunications as to the capabilities. Like from the literature at that time it was not clear that the temp max for the nozzle is about 280/285 for the E3D V6. True there are E3Ds that go to 400 but not this one. So that cost some thermistors. There was a wireing problem with the bed (the wire was not tied down properly in the electronics case so the movement of the bed back and forth caused arcing in the connector which damaged the connector.) But that all was fixed by MH (and I hope current models dont have that problem) there are some things I'd like to improve like the connection of the PTFE to the BodenTech extruder. The change I posted is right now in the 2nd kg of printing. The hotend/fan shroud could be better and some other things. But all in all we are currently putting 4-6kg of filament a week through that thing (with a .8 nozzle) printing mostly big frame parts. We (FRC team 1989) are trying to 3d print a whole 32x28x52 inch robot (not in one piece) including gear boxes, frame wheel mounts etc. We have developed planetary gear systems, rack and pinions, regular gears and are printing in Nylon (mostly Taulman as they partially sponsor us) HIPS (For frame parts and gear prototypes as its only $12/kg at Hobby King and way better than ABS) and PETG. Occasionally some PLA (working of getting the manufacturing process down to have it come at least semi annealerd from the printer and the finish anneal it with keeping the dimentional distortions within specs) . So all in all its working most of the time. And yes you will have to bed level once in a while especially when you change the bed temp quite a bit, The garolite bed we have holds on to anything so far (next test is going to be some flexibles and polypropylene and we got a roll of POM/Delrin donated). Well we learned how to take that thing apart if necessary and keep it running. So if you have any questions ask and just so you know I do not work for MH and don't get a cent if you buy here or not. I am just an Old Dude with a Pulse.

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