The Ultimaker Original is the entry-level model of Ultimaker. It comes in kit form with a fantastic online Wiki build guide. The build yourself model is a great way to understand how a Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D Printer works. If you are building an Ultimaker Original yourself, as part of a group or as a kit building completion the value of learning outcomes is high. Furthermore the Ultimaker Original is renowned for being not only reliable but the fastest and most accurate FFF/FDM 3D Printer on the desktop market.
So you’ve built your Ultimaker Original but how do you get the best print quality from the machine? And what do you do if something goes wrong? In this handy blog post we will cover how the machine works, best practices and basic troubleshooting.
Your First Print:
We recommend you to use supplied software, but feel free to use different types of programs if you feel like you are up to it, or just simply disagree. Playful experimenting and innovating is what made Ultimaking what it is today.
Firstly you need a 3D Digital Image (STL) for the Ultimaker to manufacture. We recommend you try the robot that comes with Cura (more shortly) as a first print but you could also try something from our open-source community at YouMagine.com, a CAD design of your own or 3D Scanned image.
Slicing is the process of turning your 3D digital image into a code that tells the Ultimaker how to print a real world 3D model. For this we recommend using ‘Cura’ voted ‘best consumer software’ at the 3D Printshow Global Awards.
Download the latest version of Cura. Open Cura
Go to Expert > Install default Marlin Firmware. Use the default STL
Go to Tools > Switch to Quickprint.
Choose High Quality Print, and PLA.
If asked, enter the diameter of your filament.
Notice: The filament should be approximately 2.85mm, but it may vary 0.7mm.
Notice: If you do not have digital calipers, enter a number between 2.85-2.90mm.
Notice: You do not have to tick ‘Print Support Structure’.
- Save the file on your SD-card.
- Insert the SD-card into the slot on the LEFT of the Ulticontroller.
- On the display v1.0, it should say, ‘Card inserted’.
- Rotate the navigation wheel.
- Select ‘Print’ or ‘Card menu’.
- Select the file you want to print.
You will see the temperature start to go up on the Ulticontroller. Your first print has begun.
On your first print you may realise you have made a mistake with the build. Here we will assess the general issues in calibrating your Ultimaker Original.
There are two aspects to consider when calibrating the bed. Firstly, distance from the nozzle. This can be adjusted in two ways; the z-axis stop switch on the back panel (for larger adjustments) and the 4 hex screws holding the plate (to make finer adjustments). Once you are sure that all 4 corners can touch the build plate the second aspect, levelling the bed, begins. Use a piece of paper between the nozzle and the buildplate and when there is resistance when pulling the paper out you are about right.
Prints not sticking to the bed can be a frustrating problem. Spending 10 minutes calibrating the bed will save you hours on a failed print. The more you use the machine the better you will understand how to calibrate it.
If your print comes out slanted then the culprit is a slipping pulley. The pulley’s have to be extremely tight and the short belts to the motor’s have to be extremely tight also. If you have this problem, check the tightness of the short belts first. If they look okay check the grub screws in the 4 pulleys’ that connect both short belts. Then check the 8 pulleys on the x and y-axis. Just one loose belt or grub screw is enough to affect the precise fabrication process.
Material not extruding:
Material not extruding (especially on the first print) is usually due to the filament not being inserted far enough or the feed mechanism clip is not positioned correctly. Check this by undoing the clip and pushing the material into the Bowden tube until the material stars to flow out of the nozzle. When you are happy the material is far enough in then clip it into place exactly as show in the diagram:
As you can see here the small plastic clip holds large plastic clip in place. The nut and bolt should be at the very bottom of the grooves.
N.B. If the nozzle is hot and there is no filament coming out when pushing as hard as you can you have a blocked nozzle. Usually this indicates that a piece of filament has cooled in the nozzle and is difficult to break down. Insert a thin piece of filament wire (alternatively a paper clip or needle) directly up into the nozzle and try to loosen the blockage.
In The Classroom
This is a professional development resource to allow you to learn some of the more common potential technical issues you may encounter with the Ultimaker 2, with tips for how to solve these problems in order to more effectively support 3D Printing in the classroom. This is not a general classroom resource, however it may be useful at the stage when students are working independently to print their own designs.