Ultimaker launches third-generation 3D printer


Netherlands-based 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker has launched its third-generation Ultimaker 3.

The new 3D printer was launched earlier this month, with shipping starting in November. It is priced at £2,795.

The machine is Ultimaker’s first release since the Ultimaker 2 was launched in 2013 and is its first to have dual extrusion capabilities. Ultimaker GB director Paul Croft said it had been in development ever since the Ultimaker 2 went to market. Ultimaker GB is the UK subsidiary of Ultimaker, which has also recently opened a North American office.

Croft said: “Since the Ultimaker 2 came out, working towards a platform that had reliable dual-core extrusion was our main priority.

“Interest has already been really, really good. We launched at 4pm and one of our UK web platforms had had an order by 4.15pm, that is a barometer of where interest is at. 

“A lot of the people at the moment capitalising on this technology are agile developers, so engineers, architects, product developers and small-batch manufacturers. Because the Ultimaker doesn’t have a huge technical threshold however, I can still see it being popular with individual end-users and we have already had a lot of interest as part of the Create Education project from universities.”

Create Education, headed up by Croft, provides information through resources to schools and universities on the benefits of 3D printing.

The Ultimaker can print a wide range of materials, including nylon, PVA and PVC. A further Ultimaker Plus range of materials is due to be brought out in the next six to 12 months.

It prints at a maximum size of 215x215x300mm with single extrusion and 197x215x300mm with dual extrusion.

“From an agility point of view, having multiple build platforms that you can assemble parts from is actually better than having one building block,” added Croft. 

The machine has integrated WiFi capabilities and USB and Ethernet connections. It also has a built-in camera, which is connected to Ultimaker’s open source Cura 3D print-slicing software.

Ultimaker calls itself the “leading open source 3D printer manufacturer”. Croft said that it shares designs and software with other manufacturers and also releases certain files detailing how it manufactures its hardware.

He said: “Sharing with the community that we remain true to and giving people access to using it as a starting point for innovation is really part of our DNA. It’s really a study for open source, moving into the professional sector thanks to the reliability and repeatability of the printer.”

Founded in 2011 in Utrecht, Ultimaker employs more than 250 staff, and has 17 in its Ultimaker GB base in Chorley, Lancashire. 

Elsewhere, in July, Polaroid launched a new 3D printer, the ModelSmart 250S, targeting consumers, designers and schools.

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