Ultimaker S5 is the largest and the most user-friendly thermoplastic printing device in the offer of Dutch manufacturer. The 3D printer has been equipped with a large working area of ​​33 x 24 x 30 cm, front door, a large touch panel for communication and a whole lot of other new features.

The technical specifications:
  • technology: FFF (FDM)
  • build area: 330 x 240 x 300 mm
  • number of printheads: 2
  • printhead diameters: 0.25 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.8 mm
  • printhead temperature: 180 – 280°C
  • automatic calibration of printheads
  • system of interchangeable printheads (print-cores)
  • filament diameter: 2.85 mm
  • layer resolution for heads:
    • 0.25 mm: 150 – 60 microns
    • 0.4 mm: 200 – 20 microns
    • 0.8 mm: 600 – 20 microns
  • XYZ accuracy: 6.9, 6.9, 2.5 microns
  • bed: heated – glass or aluminum
  • bed temperatures: 20 – 140°C
  • compatible with filaments: PLA, Tough PLA, Nylon, ABS, CPE, CPE +, PC, TPU 95A, PP, PVA, Breakaway
  • automatic recognition of (original) filaments by NFC
  • communication: Wi-Fi, LAN, USB
  • 4.7 inch (11.9 cm) LCD color touch panel
  • integrated video camera.

THE UNBOXING

Ultimaker S5 arrives in a really big box, with external dimensions over 60 cm on each axis.

There are four clamps on the sides of the box that must be opened and taken out before the top cover can be removed.

The 3D printer is quite well secured in transport – all around it is covered with gray sponges, and the guides are fastened with plastic straps.

Inside is a large box with accessories.

Unfortunately, anyone who has had contact with devices from other manufacturers will be disappointed – Ultimaker does not provide us with any tools – we will not provide a spatula, pliers, tweezers, or even an allen key…

All we can count on is a fairly original screwdriver, a tube of office glue to lubricate the work table (I do not recommend it) and grease. Some cables (power and Ethernet), pendrive, arm for filaments, print heads (AA and BB) and a set of silicone covers for the heads.

We also get accessories for positioning the work table, QuickStart etc.

If this is another 3D printer in our possession, we will not pay any attention to the above deficiencies. However, often having contact with companies and institutions buying the first 3D printer that we train in their use, in the case of Ultimaker we prepare in advance a list of 3D printer’s toolbox.

Fortunately, Ultimaker is not so stingy and together with the 3D printer we get two filament spools – in our case it was black ToughPLA and supporting PVA (it is just worth its weight in gold, because it costs a multiple of what local manufacturers have got used to) and filament distributors).

THE SET-UP & THE FIRST LAUNCH

When we extract the 3D printer from sponges and foams, we proceed to assemble individual components. We start with the glass that lands on the work table. Ultimaker has prepared an alternative table for S5 in the form of an aluminum plate for specialized engineering materials, but for now we will focus on this more popular variant.

Then attach the arm to the back of the 3D printer with filaments, which connect to a dedicated socket. There is an NFC reader in the arm, which are equipped with the original Ultimaker filaments. After installing the spool, the 3D printer will immediately recognize what it is dealing with and configure itself in the right way. In the case of replacements, we will simply have to select the filament from the selection list.

The next stage is the installation of tubes leading the filament from extruders to the head. Unlike most desktop 3D printers, Ultimaker has its extruders located on the housing, not directly above the head. The tube must therefore be routed from the extruder to the head. They are numbered and it is good not to be mistaken here – otherwise we will inject the wrong filament what you need for the wrong head…

The last thing is installation of heads – or what Ultimaker prefers to call them – printcores. We get three copies in the set – two with the AA designation, intended for printing from building materials and one BB, designed exclusively for PVA support material. And when I write “exclusively” I mean only because the CURA control software will not allow us to release a printout with building material on the BB head, and if we decided to cheat the device in this way for various reasons, we risk damaging the printcore itself in the long run.

To set up a printcore, just open the protective flap, press the button and slide it into the slot. In a similar way, we can also put / replace silicone inserts protecting printcore heads.

When we have it all behind us, i.e.

  • the glass (or aluminum sheet) is mounted on the work table,
  • the arms for filaments are connected
  • so are filament tubes
  • both printcores are installed

we can connect the 3D printer to the power supply and turn it on using the switch on the back. Ultimaker S5 has a “real computer” in it, so it will take a while before everything turns on and loads.

If this is our first launch, we go through the next stages of the start-up:

  • language selection
  • installation / confirmation of the glass on the table (this can be changed to a metal sheet)
  • loading PVA material (we must have BB printcore installed)
  • loading PLA material (we must have AA printcore installed)
  • WiFi configuration (can be omitted).

To install the material, we must first extract it from the packaging, and then put it on the back of the shoulder. All this is shown on the display.

We first install PVA, which is closer to the housing. To do this, click the next menu items, the 3D printer recognizes our filament, which we insert into the hole in the extruder and start its loading. Remember: PVA always goes to extruder nr 2 – never the other way around. When the filament emerges from the head, we confirm it on the touch screen. Then the filament is loaded.

We repeat the same thing a moment later with PLA (or other material). Important: when installing the building filament, it is worth inserting it through the hole in the extruder arm – then we minimize the risk of braiding.

The last step is the WiFi configuration. This is done in the following steps:

  • 3D printer creates a hotspot and a temporary WiFi network
  • we connect to it with a computer – a page in the browser opens that leads us through the subsequent stages of configuration
  • we choose the country
  • we call the 3D printer (I called it “Karl Sanders” – in honor of the vocalist and guitarist of the NILE death metal band)
  • we connect it to our network.

THE FIRST 3D PRINT

We open the CURA program (if we do not have it, we download it from here). After installation and first opening, select the Ultimaker S5 3D printer from the list. Clicking on the gray bar in the upper right corner of the program will open a menu from which we can connect to the 3D printer. Either enter its name or IP address (we will display it in the menu on a 3D printer).

The 3D printer will ask us if we confirm the connection with CURA on our computer – we do it. Our devices are now paired. We can then go to the MONITOR tab and check if the camera works? Then we go 3D printing…

For the start I decided to 3D print the character of Luci – small, black devil from the Netflix series “Disappointed”. The file was dowloaded from MyMiniFactory. It seemed so difficult to me that it was perfect for the first print on such an outstanding and expensive 3D printer.

In CURA, we need to make sure that the selected filaments are definitely the same as those on the 3D printer (otherwise the program will ask us before sending it to 3D printing, are we aware of what we are trying to do – e.g. print a model from ABS with a PLA 3D printer installed ?). If everything is correct – we set the basic print parameters: filling, support (I chose it printed from PVA) or layer height.

This is how print simulation came out…

And this is how it was printed…

Paweł Ślusarczyk
CEO of 3D Printing Center. Has over 15 years' experience in buisiness, gained in IT, advertising and polygraphy. Part of 3D printing industry since 2013.

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