Ultimaker is constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve our products. What they’ve recently been working on is extending their range of materials, developing an improved version of Cura, and finding new solutions to enhance the 3D printing experience. Here’s an overview of the new products they’ve launched this June.
Ultimaker PP: For functional prototypes and durable end-use parts
Polypropylene (often abbreviated as “PP”) is one of the most widely used plastics on the planet. It’s a favorite of engineers and manufacturers worldwide, covering a wide range of applications. With its toughness and exceptional fatigue resistance, it is the go-to material for creating functional prototypes and durable end-use parts. Since it has a low density, it can be used to create lightweight parts with a high strength-to-weight ratio. It also has an excellent temperature, electrical, and chemical resistance. It can be used as an electrical insulator and can stand a wide range of bases and acids – including industrial cleaning agents. It’s also semi-flexible, translucent, and has low friction and smooth surfaces, making it suitable for producing everything from electrical components to living hinges. Ultimaker PP is optimized for both the Ultimaker 3 and the Ultimaker 2+ series.
Ultimaker 3: Enhanced 3D printing experience
In order to ensure a seamless 3D printing experience with professional and reliable results, Ultimaker extensively developed and tested new 3D printing profiles for CPE+, PC, and TPU 95A. Profiles for PVA have also been updated, improving the reliability of printing with PLA/PVA and enabling the combination of CPE/PVA.
The Dutch company also introduced a new nozzle size for our print cores. While the already existing 0.4 mm print cores can print in great detail, the new 0.8 mm ones are designed to achieve faster print results – ideal for quick mockups and initial prototypes. The 0.8 mm print cores can print in different quality profiles, depending on your need for faster prints. They are plug and play ready, ensuring a smooth and seamless operation of the Ultimaker 3.
The AA print cores are designed to print with the range of Ultimaker build materials. The BB print cores have a slightly different inner nozzle geometry, allowing them to print with water-soluble PVA support. When PVA is used in combination with another material like PLA, Nylon, or CPE, you can create more complex geometries and intricate structures.
Also released was the Ultimaker 3 Advanced 3D Printing Kit. This kit is specifically designed to ensure consistent and quality results when printing with materials like ABS, PP, CPE+, or PC on the Ultimaker 3 or the Ultimaker 3 Extended. The front enclosure protects the print from air currents and ensures a stable temperature environment within the printer. The adhesion sheets provide a better adhesion surface. Ultimaker recommends using the adhesion sheets when printing with PP, CPE+, or PC material, but it shouldn’t be used when printing with TPU 95A – this material adheres too well to the sheet and it will be hard to remove your model after printing.
The latest firmware update includes a number of great improvements. Among its most significant new features is the ability to restart a print directly from the Ultimaker 3 – without the need to start up Cura – and an improved material change procedure. When changing materials, the Ultimaker 3 automatically flushes out all residue material, ensuring the print core is fully clean when a new material is inserted.
In line with these new developments, Ultimaker also released a new version of Cura – 2.6.1. The most significant new features include the following:
- Local version folders. Cura 2.6.1 has local version folders, which means the new Cura version won’t overwrite the existing configuration and profiles from older Cura versions but creates a new folder instead.
- Better support adhesion. The new Cura version has improved support profiles with better PLA/PVA and Nylon/PVA adhesion. The CPE/PVA combination is also supported in the new Cura.
- Model auto-arrange. It’s now easier to arrange your build plate when placing multiple models or copying a single model. With the model auto-arrange feature, Cura automatically re-arranges your build plate so that none of the models are positioned beyond the boundaries of the build plate, for example.
The new Cura version also supports PP and the new 0.8 mm print cores.