Labs3D Printing

Ultimaker 3D Printer - Up and Running

28th May 2012 | Jeremy Massey

Our office recently purchased an Ultimaker 3D Printer online. After several weeks of watching the mail box, the day came when the kit arrived all the way from the Netherlands. That day was a Friday and was followed by a weekend of assembling the kit - a little like IKEA but with more wires.

After unpacking the kit and laying it out on a desk, it was time to take a look at the manual.

While the assembly process is relatively straightforward, the instructions made the process a little more complicated. With some of the descriptions unclear or outdated, and photographs displaying older models or missing completely, there was a little trial and error required along the way.

All unpacked and ready to begin.

Main structure assembled - time for a Coke!

Preparing the motors for installation.

Motors, rails and pulleys are in!

The hot-end assembly. This was quite fiddly!

Hot-end assembly installed.

By Saturday afternoon the motors, rails, pulleys and hot-end had been assembled and the machine was taking shape.

Build platform installed.

Extruder and bowden tube installed.

Electronics going in. It now has a brain!

Wiring complete!

Fan assembly installed - don't want to cook the brain!

The complete machine, with a nice stockpile of PLA filament.

The build platform was assembled and installed by early Sunday afternoon, with the electronics installed later in the day. By dinner time, the machine was complete and the printers arduino brain had undergone a firmware upgrade.

After some initial calibration with CURA, the model slicer and printer management software, it was time to try a first print! But what to print?

This is Pickle, a kitten recently adopted after being found at the train station.

In honour of his recent arrival, and as he didn't complain too much about being locked out of the room while the printer was being assembled (as he was unable to resist chewing the wires) I thought I'd reward his patience with a toy - a small wheel for him to play with.

I designed a very simple spoked wheel in 3ds Max, detached so it could be assembled after printing. The model was sliced in CURA with low settings (I was impatient and wanted it printed quickly) and printed using PrintRun in PLA plastic. After approximately 15 minutes the first printed model was complete.

The digital 3D model.

The resulting printed model.

While the quality of this first print is still relatively low, the printer shows a lot of promise. The Ultimaker now lives in the bowels of Potato's shophouse office, happily beeping away as it builds plastic goodies.

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