MakerBot vs Ultimaker: Which 3D Printer Wins for Your Needs

MakerBot vs Ultimaker Which 3D Printer Wins for Your Needs
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Picking a 3D printer isn’t easy, especially when you’re looking at popular ones like MakerBot and Ultimaker. Each brand has good points, whether it’s being easy to use, making high-quality prints, or working with different materials. But how do you decide which one is right for you? 

Maybe you’re just starting out, a teacher needing a printer for class, or someone who needs very detailed prints for work. Finding the best fit is important.

We’ll help you figure it out by comparing MakerBot and Ultimaker, showing you which printer might be the best for what you need to do.

Quick Comparison of MakerBot vs Ultimaker

FeatureMakerBotUltimaker
Price RangeMore affordable, ranging from $47 to $247Higher, ranging from $2,750 to $4,450
Print Size and Layer ThicknessMaximum creation size smaller; supports 100 µm layer thicknessLarger maximum creation size; supports down to 20 µm layer thickness
Ease of UseUser-friendly, ideal for beginnersUser-friendly with a focus on professional use, offers deeper customization
ComponentsSupports creating support structures; does not have a heated build platform or print with PET; uses 1.75mm filamentDoes not automatically create support structures; external memory slot; supports Wi-Fi
Supported MaterialsLimited; notable for full-color printing capabilityBroad range, including ABS plastic; does not print in full color
ConnectivityWi-Fi enabledExternal memory slot; does not support Wi-Fi
FeaturesLacks display and touchscreen; not pre-assembledLacks display and touchscreen; comes pre-assembled

After quickly comparing MakerBot and Ultimaker it’s evident that they cater to different preferences and needs. As we move forward, we’ll dive deeper into these differences to better understand which brand might suit you best.

What is MakerBot?

MakerBot is a company that specializes in 3D printers, known for their accessibility and ease of use, making them popular among educators, hobbyists, and professionals new to 3D printing. Established in 2009, MakerBot has been at the forefront of the desktop 3D printing revolution, offering a range of printers that prioritize user-friendly interfaces, reliability, and quality. 

What is Ultimaker?

Ultimaker is also a leading manufacturer of 3D printers, recognized for their high-quality output, precision, and reliability. Founded in the Netherlands in 2011, Ultimaker caters to a wide range of users, from professionals and educators to makers and hobbyists, by offering printers that support a variety of materials and come with advanced features. 

3D Printer printing process

Source: Canva Pro

MakerBot vs Ultimaker: Price Comparison

MakerBot Replicator models are significantly more affordable, with prices ranging from $47 to $247. On the other hand, Ultimaker models are priced higher, with the primary models costing between $2,750 and $4,450, and accessories or possibly minor components priced at $79 and $75.

This comparison indicates that MakerBot offers budget-friendly options suitable for consumers looking for cost-effective 3D printing solutions, while Ultimaker targets a premium segment of the market, likely offering advanced features and capabilities that justify its higher price points.

View MakerBot’s site now to request a quote.

View Ultimaker’s site to request a quote.

MakerBot vs Ultimaker: Print Sizes and Quality

Ultimaker offers a significantly finer layer thickness capability at 20 microns compared to MakerBot’s 100 microns, indicating that Ultimaker can achieve higher detail and smoother finishes on printed objects. This makes Ultimaker more suitable for applications requiring high precision and intricate details.

The maximum creation size for Ultimaker is also substantially larger (210 x 210 x 205mm) compared to MakerBot’s (19.9 x 25.5 x 15mm), offering more flexibility for larger prints. 

While both brands have similar resolutions on the X and Y axes, MakerBot has a superior Z-axis resolution at 2.5 microns, although Ultimaker’s Z-axis resolution is not provided.

This could imply that MakerBot might have slightly better vertical precision, but without Ultimaker’s Z-axis resolution for comparison, it’s hard to determine its relative performance in this aspect conclusively. 

MakerBot vs Ultimaker: Ease of Use

When comparing ease of use between MakerBot and Ultimaker, both brands offer user-friendly experiences, but they approach it differently. 

MakerBot is well-regarded for its straightforward and accessible interfaces, making it an excellent choice for beginners, educators, and those new to 3D printing. Its printers often feature plug-and-play setup, intuitive software, and comprehensive online resources to help users get started quickly.

Ultimaker, while also user-friendly, leans towards a more professional audience with its powerful, versatile Cura slicing software, which, despite its complexity, is designed with a user-friendly interface that accommodates both beginners and advanced users. Ultimaker’s ecosystem provides detailed tutorials and a supportive community, ensuring users can maximize their printer’s capabilities. 

a close up look of 3D Printer

Source: Canva Pro

MakerBot vs Ultimaker: Components

In the components comparison between MakerBot Replicator and Ultimaker, there are key differences and similarities that impact their functionality and user experience.

The MakerBot Replicator can create support structures automatically during printing, a feature not available in Ultimaker models, which aids in producing complex shapes and printing designs by providing removable support.

Both brands do not feature a heated build platform, which could affect print quality for certain materials by not preventing warping as effectively. The filament diameter compatibility also differs; MakerBot uses the more popular 1.75mm filament, offering easier feeding into the printer and potentially more detailed printing. Ultimaker typically uses a different standard, possibly 2.85mm, which is not directly mentioned here. 

Both brands utilize a nozzle size of 0.4 mm, balancing detail and print speed, although only Ultimaker’s print speed is specified here as 300 mm/s, indicating a potential focus on efficiency. Both have a single extruder head, limiting them to one material or color per print unless manual changes are made.

These components indicate MakerBot might be more suited for intricate designs needing support structures, whereas Ultimaker could potentially offer faster print speeds for efficient production.

MakerBot vs Ultimaker: Supported Materials

In terms of supported materials, both MakerBot Replicator and Ultimaker offer the capability to print in PLA, which is known for its quick cooling, setting times, and environmental friendliness. 

However, there are some differences in the range of materials they support. MakerBot Replicator has the unique feature of being able to print in full color, allowing for more creative and vibrant prints.

On the other hand, Ultimaker stands out for its ability to print in ABS plastic, which is significantly stronger than regular plastic, making it suitable for more durable and heat-resistant creations. 

Neither printer supports printing with PET, HIPS, PVA, paper, or wood directly, which are specific types of materials with distinct properties, such as solubility or the ability to be easily painted and glued.

Both brands focus on a more traditional set of materials commonly used in 3D printing, with each offering unique capabilities to cater to different printing needs and preferences.

MakerBot vs Ultimaker: Connectivity

MakerBot Replicator and Ultimaker display a mixed set of features that cater to different user preferences and needs. Neither the MakerBot Replicator nor the Ultimaker supports remote smartphone control, which would allow you to operate their printers via a smartphone app.

However, Ultimaker compensates for this by including an external memory slot, such as an SD or micro SD card slot, enabling you to easily expand the printer’s storage or transfer data. This feature is absent in the MakerBot Replicator.

Both printers have a single USB port, connecting various devices, such as storage drives or computers, directly to the printer. The MakerBot Replicator distinguishes itself with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, supporting Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n), facilitating wireless printing, and access to online resources without needing a physical connection.

The specifics regarding RJ45 ports for LAN connections are not provided for either printer, which could be a consideration for users requiring stable network connections for their printing tasks. 

MakerBot vs Ultimaker: Features

When considering the features of the MakerBot Replicator and Ultimaker, it’s worth noting that neither printer comes with an electronic display or touch screen. This means you won’t have the convenience of directly interacting with the printer via touch inputs or easily seeing the printer’s status on a built-in screen.

The absence of these features implies that you may need to rely more on external controls or software to operate and adjust the printer’s settings. Details such as screen size, bed leveling, audible noise levels, and operating power consumption aren’t provided, leaving some questions about the user experience, how much noise you can expect during operation, and the energy efficiency of these devices.

However, an important distinction is that Ultimaker comes pre-assembled, which offers you the advantage of not assembling the printer yourself. This can be a significant benefit if you’re looking for a printer that’s ready to use right out of the box, suggesting that Ultimaker may be catering more towards users who value convenience and a quicker setup process.

3D Printer with Object

Source: Canva Pro

Final Words About MakerBot vs Ultimaker

Choosing between MakerBot vs Ultimaker depends on what you need. If you’re looking for something affordable and easy to use, MakerBot is a great choice, especially for beginners or for use in schools. But, if you need high-quality prints and more options for materials, Ultimaker is better, especially for professional work.

So, there’s no one “best” printer for everyone. MakerBot is good for getting started and keeping costs down, while Ultimaker is great for detailed, high-quality projects. Your choice should match what you want to do with your 3D printer.

For more insights and detailed comparisons like this, be sure to check out our range of printing services articles on our website. Whether you’re just getting started or looking to deepen your expertise, we’ve got the resources to guide you through the exciting world of 3D printing and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can both MakerBot and Ultimaker printers be used for professional applications?

Yes, both brands have models suitable for professional applications, though your specific needs might make one brand more suitable than the other. Ultimaker is often preferred for its high-quality prints and material versatility, while MakerBot is valued for its ease of use and support network.

What is the level of customer support provided by MakerBot and Ultimaker?

Both companies offer substantial support through online resources, community forums, and customer service lines. Ultimaker’s global presence and large user community can provide extensive support, especially for complex issues. MakerBot also offers excellent customer service and has a wide array of learning resources.

Are there any unique features that set MakerBot and Ultimaker apart from each other?

MakerBot printers often feature intuitive interfaces and cloud-based software, making them accessible to beginners. Ultimaker stands out with its open-source software, a wider range of compatible materials, and the ability to produce highly detailed prints.

Which has better software support, MakerBot or Ultimaker?

Both brands provide robust software solutions. MakerBot’s software is known for its ease of use, making it accessible for beginners. Ultimaker’s Cura is open-source, highly customizable, and supports more advanced features, which might be preferred by experienced users.

Are MakerBot and Ultimaker 3D printers suitable for educational purposes?

Both brands offer models suitable for education. MakerBot has a reputation for being particularly user-friendly, making it a good choice for schools and beginners. Ultimaker’s printers are also used in educational settings, especially where higher print quality or a broader range of materials is needed.

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