A lot of the press that Ultimaker has gotten has been about the crazy speeds these machines can print at. That press is pretty well-deserved, IMO, because they can indeed move very, very fast. Scary fast.
That kind of press is usually accompanied by several questions in the comments, wondering about the quality of prints. Can something that moves at such speeds actually produce high-quality prints or is Ultimaker just about speed?
The answer is yes, an Ultimaker can absolutely produce prints of amazing quality.
A few weeks or so ago, I posted in the Ultimaker google group about this and asked for pictures of really nice prints folks have done on their Ultimaker. This blog post, which is a bit later than I wanted (life and such sometimes gets in the way of play.. annoying..), is some of my favorites. As you look at these pictures, keep in mind that Ultimaker just started shipping a few months ago – these are pictures of what the early, rev 1 machines are doing…
I’ve tried to hotlink all the pictures to their sources and include links to the people who originally did them. If you spot something wrong/missing or are the person who printed it and have something to correct/add, please post in the comments and I’ll happily update things.. .
Bucking the tradition of working up to it, I have to start with the most impressive print I’ve seen, done by Paul “Screal” Candler. Paul’s one of the masters at configuring netfabb, a software package that slices and now acts as host software, and he laughs (probably laughs insanely) at other FMD high-resolution prints.
That’s not a typo, either: 0.02mm. 20 microns. 0.000787 inches. Holy crap, Paul!!
This was done using the 1/2 layer feature of netfabb, which is similar to the new Skin module in skeinforge 42+. It causes the infill of the object to be done as normal but prints two perimeters, each at 1/2 the normal layer height. For those of you thinking that Skin is somehow cheating, the infill is still at a big, fat 0.04mm… which is still frickin’ amazing and still definitely ‘holy crap, Paul!’
And a couple more from Paul.. One’s the “spinnyJiggyVase” again at 0.02mm, in a nicely artsy pose:
And, ’tis the season for scary, the DevilHead, at 0.04mm perimeter height:
Yoda seems to be the new calibration cube with the Ultimaker crowd.. Here’s another one, this time from Bill Culverhouse. I don’t have details on the print but it looks pretty cool with the lighting (though he needs to shave his ears). Looking at it closely, I’d guess this is down around 0.075mm or so layer height: (edit: it’s 0.08mm layer height)
I almost didn’t include this one from Joel “Misguided” Chia because I wasn’t sure what I was looking at.. :) It’s a copy of the “Faerie Bottle or Bud Vase” – after you take a look at this picture, go look at the Thing then look at the picture again.. It’s really pretty cool. Next time include a reference object, Joel!
Here’s another from Paul Candler, a spiral bevel gear. I’m not sure if this is a 0.02mm or a 0.04mm perimeter but, either way, check out the quality of the infill on top – nice!
Bradley, who I got to meet at MakerFaire NYC a few weeks ago, sent these pictures of the Pink Panther Woman (the other Ultimaker calibration cube) along. Not sure on the print details are here but he says it’s his first print with netfabb…
Back to Yoda! This time from Hrvoje Čop. He says this was printed at 60% scale which, if you look closely at the detail here and think about the misery of tiny prints (if you have a 3D printer, that is.. if not, know that tiny prints are notoriously painful), is pretty darn good:
Florian “flouSH” Horsch is another wizard with netfabb – cohort of Screal.. Here’s his print of Jordan Millers High Resolution Stanford Bunny, printed with 0.08mm infill and 0.04mm perimeter, fresh off (er.. actually still on) the printer with just a little cleanup to do: (netfabb doesn’t have Comb, which is one of my favorite Skeinforge things). Check out the bottom of the ears – overhang central, there..
And what looks like another copy of a spiral bevel gear. Not sure of the settings on this one but probably similar to the bunney above. Again, beautiful infill on this. Florian’s got a whole album of stuff, too much for me to copy here, that you should check out, too..
Here’s more from Bradley. I wish this was a higher resolution picture but for those people that think the Bowden setup kills the Ultimakers usability, I think Bradley might disagree. This one’s via netfabb with 0.06mm perimeters:
He’s also got a copy of “Elvis, the Printable(?) Skull“. Er.. I’m not going ANYWHERE near why this is named Elvis.. Again at 0.06mm on the perimeter:
And another from Hrvoje Čop. Don’t have print details here but it looks pretty cool..
From Jordan Miller, not a print but a picture of a print. He stole a copy of Yoda off the Ultimaker table at MakerFaire:NYC and put it under a microscope. I’ll just quote Jordan here:
… You can see with the scale bar… we have 162 pixels = 1 mm. The average layer height in that pic is around 12 pixels, or 0.074 mm (That is 74 microns). And that orangey low res looking thing on the left? That’s not a print… that’s my finger. …
See all those blobs? And the way the layers don’t really line up nicely? Neither do I. Check out the Hive76 article he wrote about this, too.
Bernhard Kubicek‘s been doing tons of work on firmware improvements. I think he’s the one that got us all off the stock “5D” firmware and onto Sprinter and lately he (and others!) have been kicking ass getting Marlin all happy.
Here’s Bernhards copy of the OK Hand, done at 0.09mm layer height. This was done during his Marlin testing – you can see some X or Y skips futher down the finger but the detail toward the fingertips is pretty impressive:
I almost passed over this one of the nautilus from Bernhard but then realized that’s an M3 bolt sitting next to the object, which sorta puts it into a different perspective (and I’m sure that’s why he included it..) He notes that the ripples are caused by acceleration so I’m guessing this was early in his Marlin testing – I think those issues have been fixed..
Last, Taylor Alexander got ahold of a Stratasys demo object. I’m going to end this post.. this post that seems to have taken a year to write (and probably read.. sorry!) with his picture of this and a couple prints that Ultimakers have done of this, since the STL showed up on Thingiverse..
The Stratasys print, which Taylor measured at around 0.25mm layers, is pretty damn nice. In particular, the infill is very impressive..
Screal, of course, jumped on this STL, though he toned things down to only 0.04mm on the perimeter.. Take a really close look at the top of this print – if he’d done this in white, I have no doubt it’d be hard to tell from the commercially-made version:
And one more from Bradley, at 0.06mm perimeter:
Wow.. Epically long post (for me, anyway) but now, the next time you hear somebody say “sure Ultimaker’s psychotically fast but what’s the print quality like?” you know exactly what to say…