3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker has expanded its platform with the launch of its Metal Extension Kit in an effort to make metal 3D printing more accessible and affordable.
Compatible with the Ultimaker S5, the kit is designed to remove bottlenecks and limitations from metal 3D printing processes by providing users with the necessary components, software features and knowledge to maximize process efficiency.
“The Ultimaker Metal Extension Kit is particularly suitable for printing non-off-the-shelf parts such as tools, jigs and fixtures, spare parts, working prototypes and ancillary components,” said Andrea Gasperini , product manager at Ultimaker.
Ultimaker’s 3D printing portfolio
Ultimaker was founded in 2011 and has since built a portfolio of open material FFF 3D printers. and has invested heavily in its software portfolio, including its Academy, Digital Factory and Cura offerings. The former aims to help users improve their skills, and those with multiple systems streamline print management in addition to data collection and part scanning, while the latter is modeling software designed for simplified cutting.
In April, the company launched a beta version of its Cura slicing software, Cura 5.0, which featured an improved engine allowing users to deploy variable line width when slicing. The latest version is packed with features designed to allow users to print with greater accuracy, and potentially even meet new applications.
Last month, the company announced a merger with Stratasys subsidiary MakerBot to form a new desktop 3D printing company, which it hopes will allow them to accelerate innovation in the tech industry. desktop 3D printing and advancing the adoption of additive manufacturing.
The Metal Extension Kit
Today Ultimaker released its Metal Extension Kit, designed to extend the capability of the company’s machines beyond thermoplastics and enable engineers to produce applications capable of high mechanical stress and thermal resistance. Essentially, the kit provides a complete, easy-to-use option for users wishing to prepare and print metal parts on their Ultimaker platform.
Containing materials that are automatically recognized by the printer via NFC, the kit allows users to efficiently switch between printing plastics and metals on one machine. The kit is powered by the company’s Cura software and offers a set of dedicated print cores to support both the metal filament – Ultrafuse 17-4PH – and the Ultrafuse support layer to allow complete design freedom. .
Specifically for this kit, Ultimaker has developed a new Print Core DD 0.4, a very wear-resistant core for printing the abrasive backing material. No permanent hardware modifications are required for the S5, as the print cores and kit materials can be simply replaced.
“The kit provides access to a complete, validated 3D printing workflow on an open platform that delivers competitive quality and turnaround times normally only accessible with complete in-house Metal Fused Filament Manufacturing (MFFF) solutions at a much higher total cost of ownership,” says Gasperini.
“Thanks to the low total cost of ownership and savings of up to 90% compared to small runs of non-standard auxiliary components and tools, our first users are already realizing a return on investment (ROI) in less than a year. “
The Metal Expansion Kit also allows users to access content from Ultimaker’s 3D Printing Academy, developed in conjunction with BASF’s Forward AM. The Academy provides users with a centralized and up-to-date knowledge base where they can learn the full metal 3D printing workflow on Ultimaker’s platforms. Additionally, users will be able to access BASF’s Debinding and Sintering Order Management Portal, a network of debinding and sintering services for the post-processing of metal parts.
The Metal Expansion Kit will be available in North America, China, EU and UK in July 2022, with the Ultrafuse Support Layer and DD 0.4 Print Core initially only available in the EU and the UK.
Along with the launch of the kit, Ultimaker is releasing a dedicated Ultimaker Cura 5.1 version for the MFFF to provide all the features users need to prepare their metal parts on the Ultimaker platform.
“This unique all-in-one package from Ultimaker unlocks metal 3D printing on open desktop platforms like Ultimaker S5, makes MFFF more accessible and affordable,” said Firat Hizal, Metal Systems Manager at BASF Forward AM. “With all the necessary components and accessories in the kit, it makes it easy for users to switch between printing plastic parts and metal parts and walks them through the process step by step from A to Z.
“We are pleased to complement this kit with our Ultrafuse filaments and offer a simplified post-processing step at a competitive price through our debinding and sintering partners located in different regions.”
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Featured image shows from left to right: Miguel Calvo (CTO Ultimaker), Tobias Rödlmeier (Business Development Manager – Metal Ecosystem at BASF Forward AM), Andrea Gasperini (Product Manager Ultimaker) presenting the components of the Ultimaker Metal expansion kit, co-developed by Ultimaker and BASF Forward UN M. Photo via Ultimaker.