Anatomy of an Ultimaker 2+

Did you lose that little blue thing that was tucked under the lip of the white thing? “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name,” has been attributed to Confucius, and it seems like a reasonable, as well as practical proposition. If you know what things are called and what they do, then you’ll  have a better understanding of how things work and you’ll have a common language for communicating about it with others.

So let’s break down the essential parts of your 3D printer so you know what they are and how to talk about them.

Front view


Print head cable—Includes cables for side and rear fans, with connectors.

Bowden tube—The PTFE (Teflon™) tube that the filament moves through.

Print head—The group of parts of the 3D printer which handles feeding and extruding of the build material.  

Print head detail

Parts of the print head:

Thumbscrews—It’s important to tighten the thumbscrews to the correct tension. If they are too tight or too loose, you can create a distortion in the alignment of the print head.  To set it to exactly the right tension, tighten the thumbscrews until they touch the surface of the print head. Then do another half rotation extra. To finish up, tighten the thumbscrews in a diagonal order to divide the tension equally.

Fan shroud—Make sure the fan shroud is not touching the heater block or the nozzle. This could result in a temperature error or very slow heating – a temperature error can be triggered when heating takes too long. The other thing to watch out for is is a bend in the fan shroud. Make sure there are no big seams in the shroud as this will hamper your printer’s ability to cool.

TFN Teflon coupler—Where the filament meets the hot end.

Build plate clamps—The two build plate clamps at the front secure the glass plate.

Build plate screw—The front left, front right, and center back screws that can be adjusted to help level the build plate.

Build plate—The glass plate is the print surface for prints on your Ultimaker 2+. To install, open up the two build plate clamps at the front of the build plate and gently slide the glass plate onto the build plate. Make sure it snaps into the build plate clamps at the back and close the two build plate clamps at the front to secure it.

Push/Rotate button—To select or control an action. Rotate to select and push to confirm an action. When pushing the button you will hear a “beeping” sound to confirm the action. A blinking button means the Ultimaker 2+ is waiting for user input.

For more information see the Ultimaker  Display and controller page

Display—Shows all the necessary information for setting up and using your 3D printer.

Sliderblock—When you inspect the rods of the gantry, and in particular how they fit in the sliderblocks, there should be no gap between the rod and the sliderblock. If there is a gap, there’s a possibility the rod will work itself loose from the sliderblock. Hold the sliderblock in your hand and apply pressure to push the rod in. You should hear a click. Approximately every 8 weeks, apply a few drops of sewing machine oil on these rods to keep everything smooth. Don’t use WD40, use sewing machine oil.


Back view

Back view

Spool holder— The plastic piece that holds your filament. It attaches to the back of the printer. To install, insert the top part in the hole at the back of the Ultimaker 2+. Push the spool holder down until it snaps into place.

Power socket—Plug one end of the power cable into the power brick and the other end into the wall socket. Next, connect the power supply to the Ultimaker 2+. The flat side of the cable needs to point upwards. After this, you can turn the Ultimaker 2+ on. Be aware that with the Ultimaker 2 Go the orientation of the flat part is reversed and is facing down.

Note: Before connecting the power supply, make sure the power switch on the Ultimaker 2+ is in the “off” position.

USB Socket—Periodically, a new Cura version is released, including a new firmware version. Make sure to install the latest version of Cura and firmware once available in order to stay up to date. The latest version of Cura can always be found at Ultimaker: software. To install the latest firmware on your Ultimaker 2+, you will need to connect your printer to your computer with a USB cable.

Power switch— Before setting up your printer and connecting it to your power supply, make sure the power switch is in the “off” position. Only use the power supply that came with your Ultimaker 2+.

Geared feeder—An improvement to the Ultimaker 2 feeder that developed out of community feedback. This feeder has higher torque and better control of filament feed than the previous model. In order to guide the filament properly through the feeder into the Bowden tube and print head, it is important that the tension on the feeder is set correctly. If the tension is too high, it means that the knurled wheel of the feeder will dig into the filament, through which it flattens or gets stuck. This is called grinding. To prevent grinding of the filament, ensure that the white insert clip at the right side of the feeder is set in the middle. When you use other materials than materials delivered by Ultimaker, you might have to adjust the feeder tension slightly for the best results.

Geared feeder