Ultimaker: the new standard for DIY 3D printers?

Large, quick, high-quality prints. What’s not to like?

Ultimaker kits only started shipping in May 2011, but it has already gained a loyal following. Most recently, a dozen or so local hobbyists brought their Ultimakers to the 3D Printing Event during Dutch Design Week just to show them off (images below).

And who can blame them? The Ultimaker has a large build area and produces high quality prints remarkably fast. If that’s not enough, it’s open source (due to the fact that it’s an offshoot of the RepRap family). The only downside seems to be the fact that it’s somewhat more expensive than its most similar competitor, the Makerbot Thing-O-Matic, at 1200 euros (~$1625 right now) compared to $1299.

Ultimaker – the new 3d printer on the block

Seeing stars with the Elserbot prototype in action

Many of us have been quite impressed with the potential and indeed the reality of the game changing 3d printers from Reprap and Makerbot. Well, hold on to your stepping motors – there’s a new kid in town.

A bunch of clever Dutch guys are sharing their progress with the Ultimaker Elserbot, giving us a glimpse of the next generation of affordable 3d printers.

So what makes the Elserbot so special? There are a few things, but two more notable features are the impressive build envelope and the stability of the extruder head during printing.

Continue through for a video of the latest prototype in action.


Casting molds from 3D prints

Lost wax plastic castingJeshua Lacock of 3DTOPO is currently building his own laser cutter. As with many DIY projects, some parts you can only build yourself out of scrap. Finding some some aluminium lying around and a DIY furnace he set about documenting a combination of making assembly parts with 3D printing and an ancient, but still very commonly used manufacturing process called lost wax or investment casting. Lacock, however has coined the term Lost PLA casting, owing to the type of plastic filament he 3D printed on his Ultimaker. (more…)

A new hi-res desktop 3D printer announced today.

Formlabs announced today the release of the Form 1, their “prosumer” desktop printer that uses stereolithograpy to produce highly detailed models.

“The Form 1 marries high-end stereolithography (SL) technology and a seamless user experience at a price affordable to the professional designer, engineer and maker.”

A common complaint of current desktop printers like Makerbot, Ultimaker, and RepRap that use FDM extrusion technology, is that the print quality is too low. The Form 1 tackles this head on and the high quality results speak for themselves. Another printer in the “at home” printing market is great news for consumers too. The Form 1 promises to be “An end-to-end package. Printer, software, and post-processing kit that just works. Right out of the box.”

The price is affordable though the regular retail price has not been announced. At $2499 it is comparable to the price of the Replicator 2.

They have a kickstarter campaign to manage pre-sales and generate funds to ramp up production. The machines are selling fast! They have reached their goal of 100K in 2.5 hours.

Formlabs is a Boston-based start-up founded by a trio of MIT grads with impressive backers like Eric Schmidt and Mitch Kapor. They’ve also enlisted Dragon Innovation, a manufacturing consultancy, to assist with the production of the printers and hopefully avoid the kinds of hurdles we’ve seen other successful kickstarter campaigns face.

Nice work guys. I’m excited to see the results!

More on Formlabs and Wired

Transforming a shipping container into a huge 3D printer

The mobile 3D printer that can print a small room.

The Kamermaker, “room maker” in Dutch, is a project by DUS architects in collaboration with Ultimaker, Fablab Protospace, and Open Coop. It’s a scaled-up Ultimaker built inside of a converted shipping container standing on its end.

The shipping container was thoroughly remodeled by DUS into a beautiful, mirrored architectural pavilion. The printer has a build volume of 2 meters square and 3.5 meters high, so this particular pavilion has the capacity to print smaller pavilions.

Continue past the jump for more photos and videos.

3D printed mounting boards and boxes

Designing boards and enclosures for your DIY electronics projects with free software
Rob Miles has posted a great introduction to using FreeCAD to make mounting boards and boxes for his DIY electronics projects. In this case he is using Gadgeteer hardware modules but the process could be adapted to any kind of board.

3D printing boxes for gadgets

Finish off your electronic designs with some 3D printed flair

Building fully functional electronic devices yourself is a satisfying process. That magic moment when your experimentation combines software, hardware and mechanical know-how all together to become a finished product.

Add a 3D printer to the mix, and you are really in for a treat.

Rob Miles knows his way around Gadgeteer, the Microsoft .NET hardware enabler that turns a developer’s dreams into reality. Although he was already off to a great start, it all changed when Rob set himself up with an Ultimaker 3D printer. Designing and printing his own enclosures has given him a whole new perspective on DIY development and hardware hacking.  (more…)

Review of 3D Printing Event at Dutch Design Week

Showing off technology and 3D printing at home.

A new addition to Dutch Design Week this year was the first annual 3D Printing Event. This blogger happens to be located in the Netherlands, so of course I went to the event so I can tell all of you about it. (more…)

More spooky 3D printables for Halloween

The best time of year to be a maker

Ghost fridge magnets printed by botbuilderdotnet

We’ve already covered some scary stuff this month, with posts about Personal Factory Projects for Halloween, the 123D Halloween Challenge, and the Crania Anatomica Filigre KickStarter project.

But with my favourite horror film festival about to start I’m in the mood to wring a little more out of the subject by having a look at some recent ghoulish additions to Thingiverse:

Halloween fridge magnets

Magnets by daviddotshaw

These designs by David Shaw (aka daviddotshaw) have a recessed hole in the back to hold a 10mm magnet, and are small enough to print a few of them at once.

Download from Thingiverse: Ghost, Bat, Pumpkin


The world of at-home 3D printing comes together for the 3D Printing Event on Oct 25

part of Dutch Design Week

image above features Breathable Roots planter design by Kostika Spaho

Desktop manufacturing is rapidly gaining in popularity as hacker spaces, maker clubs, schools, homes, and even creative class companies buy increasingly affordable personal fabrication machines — most notably, consumer 3D printers.

The 3D Printing Event, held on Tuesday, October 25 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, will gather several of the top names from the academic and business world of personal 3D printing to discuss and present on the central theme of 3D printing at home.

The day’s seminar will include talks from Ultimaker co-founder Erik de Bruijn, Origo co-founder Joris Peels, Marcelo Coelho of the MIT Media Labs exploration of Digital Gastronomy, Jeffrey Lipton of Cornell’s Fab@Home project, as well as representatives from Solidworks, Philips Design, Z Corporation and more.

In edition to the seminar, there will also be an exhibition and awards program for a 3D printing design competition.

The exhibition is free, but registration is required. Seminar tickets are €95, €25 for students. Register here.

The 3D Printing Event is part of Dutch Design Week, one of the world’s preeminent showcases of contemporary craft and design, and organized by market intelligence firm Jakajima.

Ponoko is an official mediapartner of the 3D Printing Event.