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Getting started with 3D printing on the Ultimakers

3D printing with the Ultimaker is fast, cheap, and a fun experience based on FDM technology. However, it is easy to make mistakes due to hardware or software setup. The following article is supposed to give you as a user, the necessary background for getting started with rapid prototyping and 3D printng with the Ultimakers.

The workflow in any prototyping using 3D printers is:

  1. Retrieving/creating a 3D model: You can fetch files from creator spaces such as Thingiverse or model them your self, using a CAD tool such as Fusion360 or SolidWorks.
  2. Generate paths for the 3D printer: The tool for generating paths in The Ultimaker has their own slicer namely Cura.
  3. Setting up the hardware: Make sure that the build plate is clean, the machine is calibrated, and when you start your print please make sure the first layer turns out as expected.


The official guideline from the manufacturer can be found here. Note that we have our own additional guidelines to increase the life expectancy of the printers.


Please use the following setup:

Quality: Normal (0.15) Innfill: Density (<=20%) Material: Printing temp (210), Build plate (60). Diameter (2.85), Flow (100), Enable retraction(true) Speed: Print speed(50), Travel speed(120), Print acc.(3000), Travel acc.(4000) Build plate adhesion: Brim(true)


As a rule of thumb, we recommend using the latest version of Cura.


From 2017, we have only bought filament from Ultimaker which is due to quality. The main printing material we use in the labs is PLA with 2.85 mm dimension. Additionaly, our Ultimaker 3s can print in PVA. The material needs to be set up correctly in the printers UI.

Dual Extrusion

Ultimaker 3 is the only printer in the Ultimaker family with the possibility to print two materials at the same time. Depending on the materials make sure you use the correct nozzle for the material e.g. AA.4 for PLA 2.85mm and BB.4 for PVA 2.85mm. You can use any combination of the materials, although using PLA on extruder 1 and PVA on extruder 2 is the default in our printers. Make sure Cura is set up accordingly to how the printer is setup before generating gcode. Our standard nozzle temperature for PVA is 215°C. Make sure to add a Prime tower, to increase quality. More on recommendations on PVA can be found here. Moreover, information on setting up Cura for dual extrusion can be found here.

Setting up the hardware

The standard nozzle size is .4 mm.

Before pressing start

Make sure the build plate is clean. Use lukewarm flowing water to get rid of leftover materials, glue, or dirt. Please use the HC toilet and not the sink in the kitchen. After starting the print, make sure that the first layer turns out as expected. Most errors arise during this stage of the print job.

When print is finished

When the print is finished clean the plate again. If the object is stuck, you may use a scraping tool. However, make sure you don't harm the glass plate. Hence use scraping tools with care.

Our Ultimakers

We have got six Ultimakers in total in our labs.

The Ultimakers of Robin
Generation Number of printers Location
Ultimaker 3 Extended ('rungne'(labnett: and 'torre'(labnett: 2 4112
Ultimaker 3 1 RITMO
Ultimaker 2+ 2 4321
Ultimaker 2 Go 1 4113


If a print goes wrong, do the accordingly:

  1. Check setup in Cura and on UM.
  2. Rewash the bed level.
  3. Calibrate bed level. Even though UM3 has automatic bed leveling, we find it better and just as quick to do it manually. Here you can find guidelines for manual leveling.

If this does not help, please notify the engineer.


Clogging of the nozzle typically occurs when the workpiece has tilted due to overhang, wrong settings in Cura, or wrong filament type. A solution to clogged nozzle is using the Atomic Method

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