You might remember in October Ultimaker announced a new composites-ready print core for the S5 at the TCT Show. The print core enables you to print with Owens Corning XSTRAND and DSM Novamid materials. Ultimaker has since announced an update to Cura software and it’s a biggie, offering a marketplace where you can access material printing profiles for numerous high profile third parties including BASF, Clariant, DSM and DuPont.
The latest version of Ultimaker’s free print preparation software, Cura 3.6 is available for download now and grants you limitless access to a marketplace filled with print profiles, which you install to work with a wide range of third party materials.
Supported brands include Arkema, colorFabb, ElogioAM, Eastman, Henkel, igus, Matterhackers, Polymaker, BASF, Clariant, DSM and DuPont. These are the biggest names in the business. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise Ultimaker has partnered with these brands either – the company announced their ‘Material Alliance Program’ back in April which will see the company collaborate with third party material manufacturer’s to offer greater choice.
These materials include Clariant PA/66, a flame retardant thermoplastic using Exolit and PA6/66 which uses fibreglass. DSM’s Novamid ID1030 CF10 also features, a special version of PA/66 which uses carbon fibre. With it, you can 3D print tough, stiff parts, although you’ll need an Ultimaker S5 and the new print core CC Red 0.6 for that.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Paul Heiden, Senior Vice President Product Management at Ultimaker on the announcement. “Since the start of our Material Alliance Program this spring, more than 60 companies showed interest in enabling new and existing materials to fit on Ultimaker 3D printers. Professionals that are looking for composite, flame retardant, ESD or transparent materials can now choose the right print profiles from an evolving marketplace of materials and benefit from a complete solution where hardware, software and materials are fully aligned. This integration is what enables reliable print results and this is what will help to unlock new 3D print applications.”
By introducing a marketplace to Cura, Ultimaker has created a high quality, warranty-backed third party material ecosystem that goes way beyond its own filament offerings which are already some of the best around.
In the announcement of their Material Alliance Program, Jos Burger, CEO of Ultimaker said: “High quality 3D prints are the result of an optimized alignment of hardware, software and materials. The strategic alliances formed with these global material companies opens up the use of the most sophisticated engineering plastics on Ultimaker printers, allowing the customers of the companies and Ultimaker to fully embed 3D printing in their existing workflows. With these alliances, more 3D printing users are getting access to sophisticated materials for all kinds of use cases in different segments and industries.”
Ultimaker has also announced increased support for third-party printers, thus recognising the growing number of Cura users who don’t own an Ultimaker. You can now specify the number of cooling fans in your printer and which to use in Cura, and there are now M117 commands to the GCODE generator. This is useful if your printer has a display. Numerous bug patches have also made their way into Cura 3.6 to create a more stable software.