Riding high on its 2015 successes, Ultimaker released the Ultimaker 2+ and 2 Extended+ in early 2016, evoking a level of excitement rarely seen in the increasingly jaded 3D printing community at the prospect of revolutionary upgrades to the wildly popular Ultimaker 2. Described by CEO Jos Burger as “the results of countless collaborations and insightful feedback from the Ultimaker community,” the two printers incorporate improvements like easily removed interchangeable nozzles, a more powerful geared feeder promised to reduce skipping, and a cooling system upgrade for better surface quality in completed builds.
Initial reviews suggested that — although the Ultimaker 2+ would be an excellent choice for first-time buyers — it wasn’t enough of an improvement to warrant purchase by current Ultimaker 2 owners. Apparently, critics were heard loud and clear back in the Netherlands, where the Dutch manufacturer kept its promise of backward compatibility by releasing an Extrusion Upgrade Kit to enable owners of the Ultimaker 2 and Ultimaker 2 Extended to add all the capabilities of the Ultimaker 2+ to their older machines. While this option does nothing for owners of the smaller Ultimaker 2 Go, providing such an easily implemented means for (many, if not most) existing customers to keep up with improvements in their technology is a savvy way of building Ultimaker’s brand loyalty.
The Ultimaker 2+ itself is, in the tradition of its predecessors, a thing of beauty in a market often awash in variously functional ugliness. In addition to its snazzy looks, the 2+ has outstanding reliability, build quality, and materials versatility going for it. Desirable upgrades — like automated calibration and an enclosure better suited to containing noxious ABS fumes, insulating against atmospheric variations, and preventing accidental burns — have yet to be realized in the 2+, but may turn up in the Ultimaker 3 iteration.
Where Ultimaker seems to see its niche is in the education sector, edging its way in alongside countrymen and rivals Leapfrog’s Creatr. There’s plenty of room for Ultimaker to exploit weaknesses like the Creatr’s exasperatingly high failure rate and
ease difficulty of use and play its strong position in the open systems community to its advantage against the much-maligned Replicator line by Makerbot. The window of opportunity is open for the 2+ and its ilk to take the lead in 3D printing for learners. But with upstarts like Poland’s Zortrax M200 and US-based Airwolf 3D’s AXIOMe hot on their trails, Ultimaker can’t afford to rest on its 2-series laurels for long.
Easy setup and operation...we were disappointed to find the omission of a self-leveling build platform...great match for anyone looking for reliability and print quality.
Printing with ABS filament, you will definitely notice the wretched stink of burning plastic, and lack of a hood leaves nothing to contain the odor, which is not acceptable.
Quality is excellent and the noise level is fairly low . . . Large build capacity. One caveat however: this printer uses 2.85mm filament, not the more widely available 1.75mm.