Ultimaker Filament Review: Fantastic Quality For A High Price
Ultimaker is a premier 3D printer manufacturer and producer of 3D printer filament. Operating out of the Netherlands and founded by a pair of Dutch engineering students, Ultimaker is devoted to bringing 3D printing into the mainstream and creating a localized manufacturing revolution.
Like ColorFabb and other high end Dutch filament producers, Ultimaker brings high standards to all of their filaments. But with higher quality comes a higher price tag.
Ultimaker is a super idealistic Dutch company. Ultimaker came into existence after several engineers were drawn together by a mutual concern that our environment and world is being polluted by plastics.
The founders of Ultimaker believe that 3D printing will help reduce plastic waste by making recycling plastic materials at a local level very easy. Ultimaker also believes that local manufacturing is the future of most product manufacturing.
They might be right. Local manufacturing is more efficient and higher quality than mass production, so it’s a win-win for the consumer.
But will local 3D printing become the manufacturing method of choice for consumer goods? That remains to be seen.
If this prediction does pan out, then Ultimaker will be well-poised to take advantage of the demand for high grade plastic filaments.
In the meantime, Ultimaker produces one of the best 3D printers on the market today: the Ultimaker 2 and the Ultimaker 3.
Together, these printers are perfect for anyone with a serious interest in 3D printing, especially professionals looking for in house rapid prototyping.
The Filament: Price, Quality, and Color Range
Ultimaker strives to be the premier high-end filament producer in Europe. As such, their price point is very high. Their price point is well above almost every other filament brand out there.
The problem is that Ultimaker filaments don’t live up to the quality and color palette of other high-end Filament producers, like ColorFabb.
In fact, ColorFabb filaments tend to be priced at around the same price or just a little cheaper, and yet offer similar quality and a larger range of filament colors.
Ultimaker filaments are some of the most expensive and high-end filaments available. For the same price, you would expect the quality to be otherworldly. But Ultimaker filament are similar in quality to cheaper options, like ColorFabb.
However, Ultimaker usually offers good deals on Ultimate performance filament, as well as contests to win free spools of their other filament.
You can also check out third-party vendors cheaper Ultimaker filaments. Depending on the vendor, discount prices for Ultimaker filaments can be as much as 20% off.
Ultimaker color range is OK, at around a dozen colors, but it could be better. Ultimaker covers all of the major colors that 3D printer enthusiasts often look for, as well as a few standard specialty colors.
For instance, Ultimaker produces metallic filaments for both PLA and ABS. There are also a few different colors for translucent filaments, CPE filament, TPU and flexible filament.
But Ultimaker is trying to compete with other high-end filament producers with dozens of color offerings, such as ColorFabb and Faberdashery. So Ultimaker should definitely consider creating more colors of filament in order to keep up.
Strength And Surface Finish
Ultimaker prints smoothly and easily. The Ultimaker PLA and ABS are decently strong and the texture is smooth.
The strength of ultimaker prints has been verifies over and over again by its fanbase. If you have any questions, please refer to the data sheets and studies on the Ultimaker community page.
You might have fine tune your printer settings before printing and sometimes even 2 degrees can dramatically change the results of the printed part. And only on rare occasions will colors not translate well into the prints.
Quality and Materials
Ultimaker sells a few different kinds of filament, including PLA, ABS, TPU, flexible PLA, and TPE filament. But Ultimaker PLA is by far the most popular of all of these types.
Ultimaker ABS and Flexible PLA is also very nice.
The transparent PLA is good quality as well but can sometimes be more of a matte finish depending on the amount of in-fill you use. Ultimaker also offers polycarbonate filament but the price of this filament is very high.
Ultimaker makes fantastic quality PLA. The tolerance is really good, and they’re almost never any problems with the diameter. Ovality and shape are also top-notch.
Ultimaker PLA doesn’t have as strong an odor as other PLA. In fact, while cheaper PLAs tend to have a somewhat musky odor, Ultimaker PLAs tend to be nearly odorless.
Another great thing about this PLA is that you can print it straight onto clean glass. As long as you keep the printer bed clean, glass is all you need to print on.
Also, unlike cheaper filaments, you can use Ultimaker PLA for prints that demand precision and detail resolution. It’s strong enough that support materials sometimes have to be removed from the PLA with a knife.
In fact, this PLA is almost too strong, and a few printer beds have even been scratched while removing it. That’s something to keep in mind if you decide to print directly onto clean glass, as mentioned above.
Website, Packaging, and Spool Design
The Ultimaker website is one of the best 3D printer websites around. It’s super easy to use and navigate. And it contains all of the information you could ever want about products and services. One of the great things about Autumn Acres filament listings is that they provide data sheets about each type of material that sell. That really helps you get a sense of how good Ultimaker plastics are.
Packaging And Spool Design
Ultimaker packaging is pretty standard. The spools come in a cardboard box and each spool is shrink-wrapped with a desiccant included.
You can find information about the filament from labels on the box and on the spool itself.
The spool is also similarly standard in design. It is well labelled with basic information about the color and type of filament.
The spool also has a regular to .2 inch center hole diameter. Lastly, the spools are wound well, not too tightly. You can let prints go overnight and unattended for long periods of time without having to worry about tangles or tightness issues.
Background: More Information About Ultimaker
Now that we have told you about Ultimaker’s products, let’s go a little deeper into the background of the company.
Ultimaker printers are the top-of-the-line industry standard 3D printers from a European producer. Unlike reprap, Ultimaker produces 3D printers that are designed to be extremely high quality and not necessarily focused on replication.
While Ultimaker has close ties to the reprap community, it represents a step away from an open source ethos and a step toward commercialization of 3D printers and materials.
Ultimaker filaments are similarly high-quality. Unfortunately they are also way overpriced. Similar filaments from high-end filament producers such as ColorFabb and Faberdashery are priced much lower than Ultimaker filaments.
And strangely, Ultimaker often ships other filament brands like Matterhackers with its own printers. That indicates that not even Ultimaker stands by its own filaments.
Who Owns Ultimaker?
Martijn Elserman, Erik de Bruijn, and Siert Wijnia founded Ultimaker in May of 2011. The company arose out of several sessions at the Protospace FabLab facility in Utrecht.
There, the organizers learned to build reprap printers but were frustrated by the design of Darwin printers. They decided to create their own printers, and the rest is history.
Where is Ultimaker 3D Filament From? Where Can I Buy Ultimaker?
Ultimaker is a Dutch company headquartered in Geldermalsen, Netherlands. You can buy Ultimaker products on their website Ultimaker.com or on amazon.com.
Their products are also available on a number of different platforms including eBay.
The main point of concern for Ultimaker filaments is the price to quality ratio. Ultimaker filaments are much more expensive than other filaments of similar quality, such as ColorFabb and Faberdashery. This is a huge turnoff to consumers.
Why is the price so high? Because they are trying to market themselves to small businesses that expect premium quality for rapid prototyping. But unfortunately it is preventing Ultimaker from being one of the most popular filament brands in the consumer space.
That being said, the quality of the filament is worth the price. Ultimaker filaments have good tolerance and very even diameters.
The packaging and spool is also standard and there are no complaints about winding or tightness. Ultimaker PLA filaments are very strong compared to other fellows. And Ultimaker flexible filaments are also very good quality and well worth trying out.
The bottom line is that Ultimaker filaments are very easy to print with and very high quality. While you will save money by finding a cheaper alternative such as eSUN or Hatchbox for most of your printing needs, every once in awhile a high-end filament such as Ultimaker will be useful and fun to have around.
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