Geldermalsen, Netherlands - The birthplace of an iconic robot that will forever live in the hearts of makers.
Right next to a family-owned watermill and a well-kept, humble field of sheep, stands a one-floor building. If you enter the building for the first time, you will immediately notice that the hallways and the work areas are decorated with so much color.
It may look like things are haphazardly placed, but it gives off the feeling that it’s personal. You will feel the presence of the engineers who work here everyday in so many things: In the memes plastered on the walls, on the massive Ultibot head right across one of the biggest meeting rooms in the office, on the ideas hastily sketched on the white boards.
This is a comfortable place where people work and have fun.
The further you walk into the R&D work areas, the more you will notice the little 3D printed Ultibots EVERYWHERE. It’s understandable because the Ultibot is a symbolic part of the playful and creative side of Ultimakers.
Keeping it alive is a very strong sentiment that a lot of us share.
During the time that our founders were making RepRaps, Martijn Elserman had decided to create the frames for the first Elserbot. These designs are based on the inputs from the other two founders, Erik and Siert. Later, they have decided to call this as the Ultimaker Protobox. It would be the precursor of what we know now as the Ultimaker Original.
And because it became so popular, they have received a lot of orders for kits that they assemble by hand. From there, Ultimaker was born.
When the first Ultimaker was released back in 2011, Martijn decided that Ultimaker needs a logo.
The Ultibot that we know and love today is based on Martijn’s original sketch. Its body is based on the Ultimaker’s Elserbot.
The Ultibot has been used since the very beginning to identify Ultimaker. It has been decorating the frames of the first Ultimakers all the way back in 2011, until the first releases of the Ultimaker S5’s.
Back in 2015, we used the Ultibot to demonstrate the fast printing time of Ultimaker 2 Extended with Olsson block and 0.8 nozzle.
A year later, the Ultibot was featured again in YouTube to demonstrate the capabilities of the Ultimaker 2+. This time, Thomas Davis created a “skinned” version, showing off the internal parts of the Ultibot.
Where are we now?
Even though Ultimaker has now updated its look, the robot still remains alive in the employees and also in the printers themselves.
Beneath the panels of the Ultimaker printer, you’ll find that all of our electronic boards bear the Ultibot’s insignia.
But why does the bot need saving?
You may have noticed that back in 2019, Ultimaker has announced a rebranding. The most obvious and prominent change was on the frames of the newer versions of Ultimaker S5.
At that time, everybody in the industry has been noticing the shift in our market. 3D printing was not just for hobbyists anymore.
These hobbyists have understood the value of 3D printing and how it could be a great cost and time saving initiative. They brought the Ultimaker printers to their place of work. They used them to prove business cases. They 3D Printed jigs, fixtures and prototypes that also captured the interest of their bosses.
We called these hobbyists the ✨ Champions ✨, whenever we talk about them in our use cases. Because they’re the ones who believed in the promise of 3D Printing! They brought our printers to their professional environments.
In this regard, we also understood that 3D printing is a maturing technology. We see it involving so many different players in the ecosystem.
This new brand, showing the U logo, was introduced and the Ultibot was replaced because Ultimaker wanted to reflect that, that we recognise and are ready for the industrial potential of our printers.
We want to make sure that it still exists where people will be able to see it. We want people to keep the history alive. We want everyone to remember that Ultimaker was created because of perseverance, creativity, imagination and A LOT OF MAKING. The Ultibot carries all of that meaning!