Ultimaker manufacturing

Behind the scenes: How Ultimaker 3D printers are manufactured

  • Applications

Our main production facility is based in Zaltbommel, the Netherlands. As an ISO 9001 certified production facility, we place a strong emphasis on quality. We use lean manufacturing methods in order to ensure efficient, high-quality production of every Ultimaker 3D printer that is delivered to our customers. Along the way, we also make use of some 3D printed manufacturing aids to streamline production.

Quality and efficiency across processes

Components that make up Ultimaker 3D printers are delivered to our inbound quality control department, where a sample from each shipment is measured and tested to ensure they reach our standards. Parts are mainly sourced from Europe, but some specifically manufactured parts, such as stepper motors, are sourced from China.

Axle shafts are one example: these are tested for consistency with a dial caliper. If the shaft is ‘out of round’ or bowed, a dial caliper will register it and the part will be rejected. If there are too many rejected parts in a sample, the entire shipment is returned.

Measuring rods
An axle shaft is checked for quality with a dial gauge

After testing, shipments are sorted and stored. When parts are needed on the production floor, a centralized system will generate a picklist. Part pickers use a scanner to log each item as picked, and it is automatically deducted from the main inventory.

Raw components
Raw components are stored in the warehouse until needed

Assembling an Ultimaker 3D printer begins with a set of panels that make up the frame. Each panel is populated with bearings, nuts, and inserts before assembly.

Each step in the manufacturing process is logged on a centralized system, which feeds back data on the ‘first time right’ of each production step. This helps to identify production bottlenecks that can be improved in order to keep efficiency at a maximum.

Populated panels
Panels are populated with hardware before assembly and inspection
Extendable arm on driving tool
An extendable arm on this driving tool ensures that each insert is driven completely perpendicular to the panel

Assembled frames must sit completely level on a flat surface and be free of any cosmetic defects. When approved, they proceed to the main production area, where they are populated with parts such as feeders, print heads, and heated beds. The main production area is completely ESD-safe in order to avoid damage to any internal electronic components.

Components in poka-yoke

One method we use to keep production efficient is poka-yoke – a method that minimizes human error. Each part that makes up a printer is placed in a foam inlay pocket that will only fit a specific part. Through this, workers can identify missing parts through a quick visual inspection. There is also less chance of confusing similar parts; different lengths of axle shaft, for example, will only fit in their designated pocket.

Components in poka-yoke

Foam inlays are stacked in crates in order of assembly, with the top layer first. All the parts in the top layer must be fitted into the printer before the next layer can start, so that assembly is smooth and uninterrupted.

Frames and parts
Frames and parts are transported through the production area on a roller conveyor ready for assembly
Fitting a power supply
A 3D printed brush holder makes applying grease to the Z screw more convenient
Print heads
Ultimaker 3 print heads waiting to be fitted
A sliding block assembly

Around 400 sliding block assemblies are produced daily. These consist of two separate plastic pieces that are clamped together over a sintered bushing, timing belt, and spring, before fitting into the printer to drive the print head. Producing these assemblies was once performed by hand, but with the help of a 3D printed jig fitted to a press, labor is dramatically easier and more productive.

A poka-yoke inlay
Poka-yoke inlays also make keeping track of tools easier: a quick visual inspection will identify any missing tools. We use custom 3D printed manufacturing aids too – this drill holder increases worker convenience

Print core assembly and testing

Print cores are assembled by hand and then put in a press to be sealed. There are designated stations for AA, BB, and CC print cores, with a quality inspection stage at the end.

Print core assembly
Ultimaker print cores
Ultimaker print cores are ready for quality checks

Tested for safety and performance

We take safety very seriously at Ultimaker. All of our printers are compliant with international safety standards and regulations. As the Ultimaker S5 has an integrated power supply, it must be tested for electrical safety through a process known as ‘hipot’ testing. This ensures it is properly electrically isolated and safe to use.

Hipot testing
Hipot testing Ultimaker S5 3D printers
Safety plugs
These yellow safety plugs are 3D printed. They were designed and manufactured in-house by our engineers to streamline the testing process
Inserted safety plug
The safety plug has two functions – it keeps the power switch in the off position, and keeps the electrical socket occupied to indicate the 3D printer has not yet been tested

All printers are XY calibrated for AA-AA and AA-AB print core combinations, so that they can dual-extrude reliably out of the box. Wi-Fi and camera modules are also tested to ensure they reach customers in a fully-functional state.

Ultimaker 3D printer testing
Each printer is XY calibrated and runs print tests for a minimum of 45 minutes
'Minical' prints
Examples of successful and unsuccessful ‘minical’ prints indicate to workers what to fix if a printer doesn’t pass its print test. To show that it is properly configured, every Ultimaker shipped will contain a minical print, produced by the printer itself

With safety and performance tested and approved, printers are packaged and stored before shipping through our global sales and distribution network.

Ultimaker S5
A finished Ultimaker S5 3D printer

Ready to print your next big idea?

The Ultimaker S5 is ready for serious manufacturing applications. You’ve seen how it’s produced, so why not discover what it can produce for you by clicking the link below.

Learn more about the Ultimaker S5

Read more blogs

  • ultimaker-roi-calculator

    3D printing and ROI: Build your business case

    Bringing 3D printing into your business is cost-efficient, convenient, and transformative. But it's important to understand and calculate your return on investment from the technology.

    Ultimaker Cura 4.4 og image

    Achieve success faster with Ultimaker Cura 4.4

    Intent profiles in Ultimaker Cura simplify 3D printing. Just load your CAD data, choose a profile that matches your print’s intent, and hit print.

    Ultimaker 3D Printing Sentiment Index 2019

    3D Printing Sentiment Index: Which countries lead the way?

    Where is the biggest 3D printing growth potential in 2019? This blog reveals the results and methodology behind Ultimaker's first global 3D Printing Sentiment Index.

  • Ultimaker LEHVOSS Group

    Ultimaker and LEHVOSS Group: Scaling industrial applications for 3D printing

    A partnership between Ultimaker and LEHVOSS Group is the beginning of a new level of 3D printing, lowering the barrier for industrial adoption.


    Discover Intent profiles in Ultimaker Cura 4.4 beta

    Intent profiles in Ultimaker Cura simplify 3D printing preparation, give you results that match your intent, and maximize your print success rate, so you can show the true value of 3D printing in your business.

    6 factors that affect indoor air quality when 3D printing OG

    6 key factors that affect indoor air quality when 3D printing

    Concerned about air quality and 3D printer particle emissions? Check out this blog to learn the 6 factors that affect your indoor air quality when 3D printing.

  • Glass vs carbon fiber composite 3D printing materials

    Glass vs. carbon fiber 3D printing composites

    It's a common question. Which composite material is right for your 3D printing application? Carbon fiber or fiberglass? Check out this in-depth blog!


    Ultimaker Marketplace hits 1 million downloads

    The Ultimaker Marketplace, our digital distribution platform, has just hit a major milestone of 1 million downloads for plugins and print profiles combined. Ultimaker now has the largest compatible material choice in the entire 3D printing market.

    TCT Show OG

    A visual recap of TCT Show 2019

    Big crowds, big announcements, and more – get the full photographic rundown of 2019's TCT Show.

  • og-image

    Ultimaker Cura 4.3: Available now

    We've released a new upgrade of our print preparation software. Join millions of users worldwide and benefit from an advanced slicing engine that offers integration with the Ultimaker Marketplace, and a cloud-connected workflow for ultimate flexibility. Don’t miss out! Update today.

    Introducing Ultimaker S3 the newest addition to our S-line of 3D printers OG

    Ultimaker S3 – the newest addition to our S-line of 3D printers

    Composite-ready, dual extrusion, auto bed leveling, touchscreen. Learn how Ultimaker S3 delivers robust desktop 3D printing so you can start innovating faster.

    Introducing the new Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle OG image

    Meet the Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle

    24/7 automated material handling, air filtration, filament humidity control. Find out how our unique 3D printing solution unlocks more demanding applications.

  • Owens Corning talks 3D printing

    An industrial adoption: Owens Corning talks 3D printing

    Composite materials powerhouse Owens Corning explains why and how 3D printing can transform workflows


    6 things you can try today in Ultimaker Cura 4.3 beta

    From more 3D file formats to an easy selector for Z seam positions, here are six great features of Ultimaker Cura 4.3 beta


    In the driver’s seat: 3D printing and the automotive industry

    Designing and creating a vehicle is hard work – but 3D printing can lighten the load

  • lean-principles-og-image

    5 lean manufacturing principles demonstrated by 3D printing

    Explore the the 5 principles of lean manufacturing and how leading brands have implemented them thanks to Ultimaker 3D printers.


    Ultimaker Cloud: Achieve more together using Teams

    With Ultimaker Cloud's latest feature, Teams, you can connect and collaborate with colleagues and control multiple groups of Ultimaker 3D printers.

    3d printing for molds

    A perfect fit: 3D printing for molds and casting

    How is additive manufacturing changing the creation of molds and casts? From silicone molds to investment casting metal, check out this blog for inspiration.

  • An Ultimaker printer prints a L’Oréal prototype

    Transformative beauty: L’Oréal prepares for the future with 3D printing

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.


    Ultimaker Cura 4.2: First choice for 3D printing professionals worldwide

    Today, the latest version of our powerful, easy-to-use 3D print preparation software is available for download. In this release, we’ve focused on usability improvements that simplify 3D printing workflows, whatever your 3D printing application.


    'Beyond the basement': 3D printing in the age of Industry 4.0

    The rise of 3D printing means the technology is more accessible than ever, paving the way for creation, iteration, and innovation

  • Het Noordgebouw

    Onward and upward: New city, new office, new look

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.

    Ultimaker manufacturing

    Behind the scenes: How Ultimaker 3D printers are manufactured

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.

    Upgrade your Cura experience with and Ultimaker 3D printer

    Upgrade your Ultimaker Cura experience – with an Ultimaker 3D printer

    If you use Ultimaker Cura, but don't send your print to an Ultimaker 3D printer, then you’re missing out on a ton of functionality...

  • Ultimaker Marketplace

    Accelerate 3D printing productivity with the Ultimaker Marketplace

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.

    Firmware 5.2

    Activate Ultimaker Cloud with firmware 5.2

    Enjoy all the benefits of Ultimaker Cloud by updating your Ultimaker 3D printers to firmware 5.2. Cloud connectivity and new performance optimizations give you the most powerful 3D printing experience available.

    Ultimaker Cura 4.0

    Simplify 3D printing with Ultimaker Cura 4.0

    Download Ultimaker Cura 4.0 today and enjoy a brand-new user interface designed to simplify 3D print preparation – whether you’re a beginner or an expert. This release adds integration with Ultimaker Cloud, offering you advanced cloud-based tools to support

  • Ultimaker wins prestigious iF Design Award

    Ultimaker wins prestigious iF Design Award

    Ultimaker has been awarded a prestigious iF Design Award for the user interface of our Ultimaker S5 3D printer.

    Ultimaker Cloud

    Introducing Ultimaker Cloud – the next generation 3D printing workflow

    If it’s happening in Ultimaker’s world, you can find out about it here. 3D printing stories about inspiring moments, original 3D printed projects and much much more.

    Application focus: Jigs and fixtures

    Application focus: Jigs and fixtures

    3D Printed jigs and fixtures enable businesses to work faster, save money and add flexibility.

  • Ultimaker S5

    Ultimaker S5: A round-up of reviews

    We took a look at how reviewers have been finding the latest addition to our range of desktop 3D printers - the Ultimaker S5

    Ford production jigs printed on the Ultimaker S5

    The state of 3D printing: Making sense of local digital manufacturing today

    If you want to increase efficiency, reduce production time and costs, or optimize product time-to-market, now is a perfect time to get started with 3D printing. This powerful technology has quickly become an essential industry tool, with its effectiveness

    Ultimaker S5 in an automotive manufacturing setting

    Ultimaker S5 applications: Freeing up time for innovation

    Earlier this year, Ultimaker revealed a new desktop 3D printer, specifically for the professional environment – the Ultimaker S5. In this latest blog looking at how customers are using it, we explore how the printer’s ease-of-use helps engineers and design

  • Ultimaker 3D printers in 2018

    3D printing in 2018: Our year in review

    We take a look back at our highlights and developments in 3D printing in 2018, including examples from leading innovators.

    Ultimaker S5 applications: Scaling up small batches

    Ultimaker S5 applications: Scaling up small batches

    we explore some of the ways they are using the Ultimaker S5 to develop better quality products and bring them to market faster

    Getting familiar with glass fiber – Owens Corning AMA

    Getting familiar with glass fiber – Owens Corning AMA

    To create the perfect 3D print, it’s vital to have access to the right material, but it’s also critical to use the right slicing settings. Preconfigured print profiles in Ultimaker Cura make...