The Ultimaker is one of the newest players in the personal 3D printer market. They officially started selling in May 2011. In just the first months, close to a hundred Ultimakers were sold to makers and tinkerers across the world, which is quite the accomplishment.
The company behind the Ultimaker is Ultimaking Ltd. Founded by three Dutch entrepreneurs Martijn Elserman, Erik de Bruijn and Siert Wijnia. They are committed to making 3D printing better, faster and simpler. The founders, each owners of their own RepRap 3D printers and participants in the RepRap project, were giving workshops to build your own RepRap. Because the build of a single RepRap model was taking too long and the amount of knowledge necessary to improve the quality of the prints was too high, they decided to develop their own model, the Ultimaker.
Because the RepRap project is open source, they wanted to make the Ultimaker open source too. Both so that they could give back, and so that many smart people can get involved and add improvements to the machine.
The Ultimaker comes as a kit which you have to put together yourself. They say: “If you have serious trouble putting together IKEA furniture, a DIY 3D printer isn’t for you!”. They have redesigned the Ultimaker’s parts many times to make everything much easier to assemble. Now the Ultimaker should be one of the easiest DIY machines to build in the market.
The machine can lay down material with a precision better than 0.1mm, which makes it the printer with the highest quality in its range. However, the minimum size of a feature is limited by the nozzle size and settings that you choose. With practical settings, the features are almost always bigger than 0.5 mm, so thinner walls are not really possible. The resolution in the vertical direction is lower, because it uses a static layer height. The Ultimaker can print layers of 20 micrometers (which is less than 0.0008 inches). You can keep this in mind when deciding in which orientation you want to print your part.
If you are interested in buying the Ultimaker or if you want to know more about this amazing machine, you can visit their website here.