Ultimaker offers the first complete Metal Expansion Kit for professional 3D printing

Source: press release, 15 June 2022

3D printed applications with the new Kit, resulting in strong, non-of-the-shelf parts with complex geometries
3D printed applications with the new Kit, resulting in strong, non-of-the-shelf parts with complex geometries (photo: Ultimaker)

Ultimaker, the global leader in professional 3D printing, announced the extension of its Ultimaker Platform with a Metal Expansion Kit, making metal 3D printing more accessible and affordable. Engineers using the new Kit will be empowered to produce applications capable of high mechanical stress and thermal resistance, an impossible task even with high-performance thermoplastics.

The Ultimaker Metal Expansion Kit is explicitly developed to remove existing process’s bottlenecks and limitations by providing users all the dedicated items, software features and knowledge to maximise process efficiency and further expand Ultimaker printer capabilities beyond thermoplastics. The newly introduced Kit comes with materials that are automatically recognised by the printer through NFC and enables efficiently switching between printing plastics and metal on one machine. The technology is powered by Ultimaker Cura, Ultimaker’s powerful and easy-to-use slicing software, and is compatible with the Ultimaker S5 Platform.

Andrea Gasperini, Product Manager at Ultimaker, comments, “The Ultimaker Metal Expansion Kit is especially suitable for printing non-of-the-shelf parts such as tools, jigs and fixtures, replacement parts, functional prototypes and auxiliary components. The Kit provides access to a complete and validated 3D printing workflow on an open platform that offers competitive quality and lead times normally only accessible with full in-house metal fused filament fabrication (MFFF) solutions at a much higher total cost of ownership. Thanks to the low total cost of ownership and savings up to 90% over small series of not-standard auxiliary components and tools, our early adopters are already realising return-on-investment (ROI) in less than a year.”

The new Kit offers a complete, easy-to-use solution for metal parts preparation on the Ultimaker platform and includes:

  • All required items for metal parts preparation from printing to accessing post-processing services, including materials and a set of dedicated print cores to support both the metal filament (Ultrafuse® 17-4PH) and the Ultrafuse® Support Layer, allowing full design freedom. Especially for this Kit, Ultimaker developed a new Print Core DD 0.4, a highly wear-resistant core to print the abrasive support material. No permanent hardware modifications are needed as print cores and materials can be simply replaced like any other print core or filament.
  • Access to exclusive Ultimaker 3D Printing Academy content – developed together with the team of BASF Forward AM – for users to rely on a centralised and up-to-date knowledge base to teach the full workflow with all kinds of tips and tricks so they can successfully apply Metal FFF on the Ultimaker platform.
  • Access to the BASF Debinding and Sintering Order Management Portal, a network of debinding and sintering services for post-processing of the 3D printed part into a full metal part.

The launch of the Ultimaker Metal Expansion Kit is accompanied by the release of a MFFF dedicated Ultimaker Cura 5.1 version that brings the extensive set of features needed to prepare metal parts on the Ultimaker Platform.

Firat Hizal, Head of Metal Systems at BASF Forward AM, says, “This unique all-in-one bundle by Ultimaker unlocks the Metal 3D printing on open desktop platforms like Ultimaker S5, makes MFFF more accessible and affordable. With all the necessary components and accessories in the kit, it facilitates for users switching between printing plastics and metal parts back-to-back, and helps them throughout the process step by step from A to Z. We are happy to complement this kit with our Ultrafuse® filaments and to offer a simplified post-processing step at a competitive price through our Debinding &Sintering partners located in different regions.”

The Ultimaker Metal Expansion Kit will be available in North America, China, EU and UK in July 2022. Contents of the Kit vary by country; initially the BASF Forward AM Ultrafuse® Support Layer and Ultimaker Print Core DD 0.4 will only be available in EU and UK.