Ultimaker upgrades software
3-D printer maker Ultimaker has launched version 3.4.1 of its Cura software, which is compatible with all its printers and offers new plug-ins for CAD software and other enhancements. The company also recently announced that users of HP scanners can print their scans with Ultimaker 3-D printers.
Ultimaker’s printers can be used to make custom parts and prototypes. Among other applications, they have been used to manufacture microfluidic devices, soft silicone actuators for robots, and casts and prototypes for tooling.
The company’s portfolio includes the Ultimaker Original and Ultimaker Original+, which each have build volumes of about 8.2 inches by 8.2 inches by 8 inches, and the portable Ultimaker 2 Go, with a build volume of about 4.7 inches by 4.7 inches by 4.5 inches. The newest of the fused-deposition-modeling printers, the Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended, have build volumes of about 8.4 inches by 8.4 inches by 7.8 inches.
The printers can use a wide variety of materials, including nylon, ABS, chlorinated PE, PP and PC.
The new version of Cura provides simple plug-ins for some of the most popular 3-D CAD software, including AutoDesk Inventor 2018, Blender, FreeCAD, and OpenSCAD.
Cura 3.4.1 also has a specialized algorithm that ensures that internal support structures are only generated where they are needed. This saves material and shortens printing times.
Additionally, users can now save settings, material data and plug-ins in the cloud. This allows the user to access data from different locations across multiple machines.
Ultimaker also has expanded the number of third-party 3-D printers that Cura 3.4.1 is compatible with, including Felix Tec4, Deltacomb and Rigid3D Mucit printers.
Cura 3.4.1 is available to Ultimaker printer users for free download.
SOFTWARE COMPATIBLE WITH HP SCANNERS
Users of HP scanners now can print their scans with Ultimaker 3-D printers.
Cura software, which also can be used with design and simulation software packages from Siemens, Plano, Texas, and Solidworks, Waltham, Mass., has been integrated with software for HP’s Sprout desktop computer and 3D Structured Light Scanner Pro S3 scanner.
The HP products can be used to take 360-degree pictures of objects.
The integration with HP is important because the company is much larger than SolidWorks, another company that provides scanning software. HP gives Cura users another important partner in 3-D printing, said John Kawola, president of Ultimaker North America.
“We’re in the process of working with many digital companies,” Kawola said. “The more capability we can build into Cura, the more valuable we make it. We want to make the front end [for 3-D printing] as seamless as possible.”
Kawola sees 3-D printing gaining traction, going from primarily making prototypes and small runs of products, to large, full-scale production.
“The 3-D manufacturing of end-use parts is just starting,” Kawola said. “Only a small fraction of companies are using it that way today — it is moving more into the mainstream.”
Phillip Britt, correspondent
Palo Alto, Calif., 650-857-1501,
Cambridge, Mass., 617-714-4748,