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So a while ago, I got myself an Ultimaker

And while I do not want to degrade the usefullness by calling it a toy, I would like to say


Best. Toy. Ever.

It uses a printing technique called FFF, which I guess is just another term for FDM, which builds an object by depositing plastic one layer at a time.

It is sold as a kit, and it took me two evenings (and part of a night) to build. Ever since then I have been happily making little things with it.

You do have to realize that it is quite the DIY project; for the Ultimaker kit you do not need to do any soldering, but don’t expect perfect prints straightaway; 3d-printing itself has a learning curve, and you’ll be tweaking and playing around with your machine to improve it as well.

I’d estimate that I spend about half the time fixing, calibrating, and improving the machine itself, and half the time actually printing other things. I love it, but before you go out and get one for yourself, you do have to realize this.

But that is one of the great things about these 3d-printers; you can print improvements for your printer as well. Or even entire new printers (without the electronics, obviously).

For instance, I’ve printed

  • several forms of belt tensioners
  • a tube holder for the hot-end
  • a handle to carry the Ultimaker around
  • a new fan duct for the hot-end

But also a lot of non-ultimaker things;

  • the infamous geared heart
  • a nice little decorative dragon
  • a dock for my phone
  • presents for people :)

The ultimaker is pretty actively worked on, both by Ultimaking inc. itself, and by its community; for instance, recently a lot of work has been put into improving the filament feed mechanism, and currently people are looking at better ways to build the hot-end.

For things to print, Thingiverse is a great resource. I regularly check it to see what to print next.