Still Waiting for UltiMaker’s New 3D Printer

By on February 19th, 2024 in news, printer

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The S7 3D printer [Source: UltiMaker]

UltiMaker released a new 3D printer about a year ago, the S7. But where’s the successor device?

The S7 built on the prior S5 model, which was their flagship device.

While there are great deal of similarities between the two models, there are a few interesting differences on the S7.

The S7 has the same build volume as the S5, the same 2.85mm filament requirement, and the same thermal characteristics. It also integrates perfectly into the now very broad UltiMaker materials ecosystem, which now boasts an incredible 280 supported materials.

What’s different? It seems that it comes down to these features:

The traditional UltiMaker glass build plate was replaced with the de facto industry standard spring steel magnetic build plate. This is a PEI coated surface that should be far easier for printing.

An air filtration system is directly integrated into the S7. This includes an EPA filter, and can pull air at a rate up to 50 cubic meters per hour. This filtration system might permit use of the S7 in some office environments.

The print head was slightly redesigned, and UltiMaker said that the new design is better able to detect flooding. This occurs when there is an accumulation of material in the print head, which can damage components. This makes the machine a bit more reliable and at the same time reduces repair expenses.

Finally, the S7 can use WiFi 5Ghz, whereas the S5 could only use WiFi 2.4. This should help speed up big print file transfers to the device over wireless networks.

And that’s all the changes that we saw when it came out a year ago, and they certainly weren’t particularly dramatic. It’s an improved S5, but that machine itself is over five years old.

The S7 is certainly a capable 3D printer, but I am a bit concerned that buyers may be comparing the system to other new entrants on the market that offer more advanced calibration systems and far higher speed printing. Many competitors with these advanced features have emerged over the past year.

High speed 3D printing has been a revelation this past year, with many companies adapting their equipment to the new reality of faster 3D printing. This requires firmware changes, motion system adjustments and often the inclusion of an accelerometer on the toolhead.

I am surprised that UltiMaker has still not taken any of these steps with a successor to the S7. Several other 3D printer manufacturers were similarly surprised by the rapid emergence of high speed competition, and they reacted by quickly issuing new equipment with intermediate speeds. They followed up with fully high speed models, but it seems that after a year, UltiMaker has not.

I’m not quite sure of UltiMaker’s strategy here. While their materials ecosystem is perhaps the best in the industry, they must produce a high speed machine to keep up with growing competition.

My suspicion is that they know this, and must still working on a higher speed machine in their secret labs. The higher speed machine is obviously not ready yet, and we’re still waiting.

The remainder of the year should be quite interesting for UltiMaker.

Via UltiMaker

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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