The Ultimaker 2+ and the Ultimaker 2 before it, have long been favoured by a large proportion of our school customers with good reasons. They are easy to set-up, use and maintain. The printers are robust and extremely reliable withstanding the rigours of classroom use with ease. Being open-source, the printers also support a wide range of filament materials from different brands allowing for maximum flexibility and filament cost savings.
Earlier this month, Ultimaker launched the successor of the Ultimaker 2+, the Ultimaker 2+ Connect. This combines the reliability, ease of use and familiarity of the Ultimaker 2+ with a number of upgrades that bring the printer more in line with its professional S-line range of printers whilst keeping the cost lower than the S-Line range.
In this blog, we will take you through what is new and what the benefits of these new features are for schools. You can also download the comparison sheet that shows the similarities and differences between the Ultimaker 2+ and the 2+ Connect models.
Although fundamentally the Ultimaker 2+ Connect is based on the same hardware and architecture as the Ultimaker 2+, there have been upgrades to some of the components. These include a more ergonomic feeder lever to make manual changing of materials easier and quieter with trinamic stepper drivers.
The addition of a new, stiffer build plate to reduce vibrations and more robust sliding blocks, further increases both the reliability and durability of the printer. Finally, an improved manual levelling process allows you to level the build plate faster by going through the process in fewer steps.
The LCD display and dial in the 2+ has been upgraded to a new 2.4” colour touch-screen interface. This makes it more intuitive and simpler to access print files, start and stop prints, change materials and access the various settings.
On-screen guidance is provided through a series of wizards on the touchscreen to guide users step-by-step through the different processes. The touchscreen will also support various languages to provide a good user experience for anyone.
For offline printing, the SD card slot has been replaced with a USB slot. USB’s are less expensive, less prone to being lost and school computers usually have access to a USB slot where many don’t have SD card slots. This makes the process of transferring files from a computer to the printer much easier.
As it’s name suggests, the Ultimaker 2+ Connect now has remote connectivity, enabling users to send print jobs via Wi-Fi or by Ethernet cable. This makes it simpler to print, monitor and manage prints directly from the Ultimaker Cura Version 4.8 Software over the school network.
The Ultimaker 2+ Connect can also be set-up to operate through the Ultimaker Digital Factory. This is Ultimakers cloud-based remote 3D printer management software. Ultimaker Digital Factory allows you to connect multiple compatible printers, remotely start and queue your print jobs, monitor and control them as you go and update the firmware to all connected printers remotely.
One of the major upgrades of the Ultimaker 2+ Connect is the addition of its own dedicated Air Manager. This is an optional extra but has significant benefits for schools. The Air Manager is designed to simply and effectively increase user safety.
The Air Manager includes a single-speed fan to efficiently pull air through a large EPA filter. This removes up to 95% of ultrafine particles (UFPs) and shields users from hot and moving components, giving you the reassurance and flexibility to install multiple printers in a single location without the worry of this impacting on the air quality and safety.
The Air Manager also fully covers the Ultimaker 2+ Connect’s build chamber with a front enclosure that is easy to attach and remove. This provides a more stable printing environment and prevents students from touching hot and moving components.