General questions

Do you want to know more about how 3D printing works and the possibilities? Find your answers here.

How does 3D printing work?

Although there are several things to keep in mind while 3D printing, the steps it takes to create a 3D print are pretty easy. Basically, this is the process for 3D printing on an Ultimaker:

  1. Download or design a 3D model
  2. Convert the 3D model to a 3D print file with our software Cura
  3. Start the 3D print on the Ultimaker

What software can I use to create 3D models?

You are free to use any 3D modelling software for creating your 3D models. The only requirement is to be able to save or export the 3D model as a file format that is accepted by our software Cura. The file formats that are supported by Cura are: STL, OBJ, DAE and AMF.

Can I 3D print everything?

With an Ultimaker you can 3D print a lot of things, but as every technique has its limitations, not everything is possible. The Ultimaker uses the 3D printing technique FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication), with which layers of melted plastic are placed on top of each other. With this technique very complex structures or “overhanging” parts could be hard to print.

How long does it take to print something in 3D?

The time it takes to make a 3D print on an Ultimaker depends on the size of the model and the settings that you use for printing. A small object with low quality settings can already be printed in less than 10 minutes. But when you want to print a big object in high quality it could also take several hours. Factors that have a direct influence on the overal printing time are at your disposal. Like speed, resolution and the amount of infill.

Which materials can be used for 3D printing?

Ultimaker supplies PLA and ABS as materials for 3D printing. We usually recommend to use PLA (especially if you’re new into 3D printing), as this is the easiest material to print with due to its technical properties. For printing with a material like ABS a heated bed is recommended, since ABS has the tendency to warp when it cools down fast.

Because of the open filament system on an Ultimaker you are also free to try other materials (e.g. laywood or nylon). You only need to be aware that we can’t fully guarantee the quality of materials not supplied by ourselves. There is however a lot of experience and knowledge available in our community.