Week 9: Making Ultimaker Makerbot Makeathon

Despite the title having far too many of the same letters, what we experienced was an amazing building/making experience, making the wooden Ultimaker. Such a team effort was exemplary, and we can all learn from this single experience.

To me, it felt extremely nostalgic, going back to the days of Lego and, less joyously, IKEA. But nonetheless, I must admit that making that 3d printer convinced me to get one for myself in the near future. Looking so closely at the components, you can understand that there is a lot of space for modularity when it comes to this 3d printing kit. We can potentially make this kit as large as possible, with the correct materials and measurements. I was fascinated in the coming days after we completed class as I thought about what more can be done from that kit.

It goes to show how ideas can go off on tangents and become so much larger than what we begin with. What I’m thinking now is, with the development of hybrid materials, integrated circuitry and living materials for 3d printing, how easy would it be to modify the printer-baby we’ve all conceived last week, to assimilate to, say, printers that use more advanced materials and printer heads that can make the amazing things that we see on the news?

Class Summary: Build a Printer Event

For this past week’s class, the main objective was to learn and gain as much hands-on experience from the 3D Printing Expo. To accomplish this objective, students chose to partake in certain sessions of the event. Specifically, these sessions were assembling a 3D printer from the Ultimaker kit, upgrading the Ultimaker 2 to the Ultimaker 2+, and scanning of individuals’ heads to be 3D printed. Students, along with the help of an Ultimaker representative, had to work together in order to complete these tasks. By the end of the event, students gained a variety of skills from the workshop such as team building and critical thinking. Although the 3D printer wasn’t fully assembled from the kit, the Ultimaker 2 from the Illinois MakerLab was fully upgraded to the Ultimaker 2+. As for the scanning session, there wasn’t a completed 3D printed object in the time allotted for the event. The reason as to why these two sessions were left incomplete is simply because they require a lot more time. All in all, students worked really hard during the event and thoroughly enjoyed it. Check out some of the stills from this past week’s event below!PicScreen Shot 2016-04-03 at 6.10.13 PMPic 3Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 10.29.00 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-03 at 6.11.34 PM

Clearly, the students were engrossed in completing their tasks. Here are some quotes from students in regards to the event!

“It seemed like a mission impossible for us due to lack of experience on assembling, but we never lacked teamwork between each stage.” -Ran Jin

Week 9 Reflection-building a 3D printer

“Prior to this experience, I did not really understand how 3D printers worked and how all the components fit together. After taking one apart, and putting it back together successfully, I have a much better understanding of how these components fit together.” -Reid Dahlstrom

Week #9 – Ultimaker 2 Upgrade!

Check out all of the other students’ responses to this event by clicking here. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about the Ultimaker, check out a few of the links listed below:

  • https://ultimaker.com/
  • https://www.youtube.com/user/Ultimaker3D
  • https://twitter.com/Ultimaker

Week 9 – Build a Printer Event

As you all know, this week we all took part in the Build A Printer Event in the Bif Atrium. Going into it, I didn’t really have any expectations for the event. I wasn’t excited nor was I really dreading it, I was kinda just “meh” about the whole thing. I’ve put some things together in the past, ranging from simple IKEA furniture to a whole Dark Matter experiment at Fermilab, but a lot of those endeavors were solo operations, I have never built something with a group of people, let alone a class of 30. But honestly, I really enjoyed the event.I worked on putting together the extruder with a couple people for a majority of the event, and once we had finished that we moved on to helping with the Z-stage. There was one point where two of us were hammering away at pieces on the floor to try and make as little noise as possible so that we didn’t distract people studying in the atrium. It must have been a funny sight.

We got hung up at a certain point, as we couldn’t find a little wooden piece that we needed. There were supposed to be 4 of these tiny wooden spacers and we could only find 3. So in the spirit of #digitalmaking, we decided to run upstairs to the makerlab and 3D print our piece! I quickly modeled the piece in Fusion 360 from measurements of the other 3 blocks, and we did a quick 3 minute print of the piece! Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in the build that I neglected to take pictures, but the piece came out great and should work perfectly in place of the missing piece.

The build ran a little long, so a couple of us stayed after to finish up individual sections before packing away the rest of the pieces to be put together later. All in all, it was a great event, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, not to mention got a sweet maker t-shirt out of it. I would definitely say that in addition to the build process, I learned a lot about how the extruder mechanism and FDM printing as a whole work. I Hope someday that I am lucky enough to be able to afford one of these kits for myself, I would love to have 3D printing continue as a hobby after I graduate this may.

Week 9 – Build a 3D Printer

This past class session was held in the BIF Atrium for us to show other students what we’ve learned in BADM 395 – DMS so far, as well as answer any questions they might have about 3D printing. Our stations included

  1. A group of people building an Ultimaker 3D printer
  2. A small group upgrading one of the current printers we have in the lab
  3. A scanning station for people to print out 3D molds of themselves

I started off with the first group, but there were so many of us that it was hard to not be in the way if you weren’t already playing an essential role. I did the most that I could do to help find bits and pieces, but after the first hour passed I needed to set up the scanning. Since I had misplaced my laptop charger, I had to use my roommate’s laptop for the scanning. To do this I had to download the Sense Software to be used with our lab’s Sense scanner. People would sit in a spinning chair and I would hold the scanner steadily, grabbing the image frame between their chest and the top of their head. Before the person being scanned started turning in the chair, I would start aiming the scanner at the back of their head. This is because once the person makes a full rotation, the image sort-of “combines” itself after the rotation is complete. And it’s better for the image to come together on the back of the head so that the face doesn’t get distorted. Once the scan was complete, I would clean up the image then download it to Cura and prepare it for printing.

I thought the event was really fun but if we were to do it again I would suggest that we make the set-up for the event a little bit more open. I had believed the event was meant for other students to learn about 3D printing but our set-up made the event seemed private and closed off (especially with the separators). I had a few friends mention to me after the event that it seemed pretty cool and they wanted to come say hi, but they didn’t want to interrupt us. I also know we were supposed to build 2 printers but only 1 had arrived, that was why it seemed a bit crowded when working at that station. There was also a lot of frustration for people since the instructions didn’t exactly match the parts we had needed. Not much we could’ve done about that, but I admired how people tried to work around those obstacles at that station.

I did speak to some students who had come up to my booth about 3D printing and the class itself, overall people were very interested in taking the course next year and the possibilities 3D printing offered in general. I enjoyed explaining to them about scanning and how the process worked.

Week 9 Reflection

During this past week, we had the unique opportunity to partake in the 3D Printing Expo. Going in, I was both excited and nervous. The thought of building something in the BIF atrium where everyone could see us was quite nerve-racking. However, it seemed really cool simultaneously. For the event, there were 3Different (see what I did there?) sections: assembling a 3D printer, upgrading an Ultimaker, and scanning. Check them out below!

Pic 3PicPic 2

I thought it would be really cool to assemble a 3D printer, so that’s what I chose to do! Before our group began assembling the 3D printer, the Ultimaker representative told us, “It’s kind of like assembling something from Ikea.” This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Our group had great difficulty assembling the printer in the beginning. A lot of the problems stemmed from the fact that the instructions were outdated. Also, there comes a point where there are simply too many people working on something that requires only a few individuals. I recognized this and used it as an opportunity to explore the other sections.

All in all, I learned quite a bit from the 3D Printing Expo. It taught me to be cooperative, diligent, and optimistic. Although I already knew of the importance of teamwork, it was reemphasized through this activity. Also, through assembling the Ultimaker, I learned a lot more about the functionality of the 3D printer. Lastly, going forward, it would be awesome to assemble more 3D printers and learn how to upgrade them as well.

Week 9 Reflection-building a 3D printer

I was so surprised that we actually were allowed to build a real 3D printer/upgrade Ultimaker 2 to become an Ultimaker 2+ in the first class of the spring break. I was excited when I saw the announcement on the Facebook page. It would be a good time to know the technical details behind a 3D printer. While knowing how to use the 3D printer is the primary goal for 3D printer beginners, understanding how the printers work is interesting and beneficial to us as well because we are able to make improvements during the process of assembling. We started to organize the event around 2 pm in the BIF atrium. The representative from Ultimaker provided us several small packages of kit for building 3D printer and a Ultimaker 2 printer that was ready for upgrading. He encouraged the people who were willing to assemble a 3D printer separate into two groups (Frame & Extrusion head to start the task at the time. He also mentioned that the process was just like equipping Ikea furniture. As the matter of fact, assembling a 3D printer were much frustrated than building furniture even if people have previous experience on assembling.

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I chose to work at the Extrusion station with other five classmates. We firstly opened the Ultimaker assembly manual to check every piece of materials required to build the extrusion head housing. The manual was outdated so that everyone felt confused to find the correct kit since the numbers on the packages did not match with the numbers on the instruction. The process was slow and inefficient at the beginning. Discovering the issue, we found the last version on the website and decided to move forward as well as follow the steps on the new guide. The collaboration accelerated the speed of assembling the extrusion head housing. Each two people worked on a small part of the current stage, then we combined the pieces together. The most difficult thing among the whole process was getting all of the screws in because different piece required certain lengths/types of screws. We had to measure those screws carefully before putting staffs together. The time to complete extrusion head housing should be 60-90 minutes on the manual; however, the actual time we used on this stage was almost 3 hours with the help of professionals. This  would be the most challenging task in this class so far. In addition, I worked with two people on completing Z-stage (print platform) in the second half of the class. Again, there was lots of screw work, but the tools provided by the Utimaker were not helpful.


In sum, I enjoyed the whole process of assembling the 3D printer. It seemed like a mission impossible for us due of lack of experience on assembling, but we never lacked teamwork between each stage. This practical experience was kind of memorable and valuable for myself since I spent most of the time on learning management, marketing, business strategy, etc. Participating the assembling work allowed me to understand the completed functions of the 3D printer and how those small pieces actually worked together on the machine. I highly recommend people to participate this interesting activity!


Week 9: Building a 3D printer (or upgrading one)!

This week we had the 3D Printing Expo in the BIF atrium where we built a 3D printer, upgraded an Ultimaker 2 to become an Ultimaker 2+ (or 2x, depending on how you place the sticker on the printer), and did scans of students’ head and torso + printed them!


Together with Toheeb, Pri and Reid, we worked on upgrading the Ultimaker, which was a ton of fun! While the process itself was not hard, trying to figure out the instructions as well as secure proper tools to work with was a bit of a challenge. The wiring was a little tricky too, but thankfully, the board itself was labelled clearly so we worked it out in the end.


Being able to work on the printer was a fun experience, and it gave me a better understanding of how the printer works and what to look out for.If I were to purchase a 3D printer in the future, I definitely would look forward to making changes and upgrades to personalize it to suit my needs.


Now that I know how to upgrade an Ultimaker, I definitely look forward to working on the rest of the printer in the lab when the upgrade kits come!