Ultimaker has always had a philosophy of developing 3D printing technology with members of its community. The latest project that is a true demonstration of this philosophy is the Olsson block. It was designed and developed by Anders Olsson. He is a research at Uppsala University in Sweden.
How Olsson Got the Idea
The heating block is one of the most important aspects of a 3D printer. However, it is prone to damage since it has to rise to a very high temperature. Anders Olsson works with neutrons, which means they use boron a lot. However, designing the boron carbide into small pieces is quite difficult. This is because of how hard the material is.
Anders Olsson had an idea to make pellets of boron carbide and incorporate it into a 3D printer. He managed to do so successfully and created a filament of boron and plastic. When he began extruding his material, the nozzles were worn out in a few hours due to how tough boron is. However, replacing a nozzle would mean he had to replace the entire heating block. He exactly came up with a solution. Olsson threaded his nozzle so that it became replaceable.
Ultimaker liked Olsson’s design and they made him an offer he could not resist. The company now includes the Olson block free with every purchase of the Ultimaker2 Extended and Ultimaker2. The design allows users to change the hot end nozzles at will. This means that one can change their nozzles between a print and the next.
The Olsson block comes with fours nozzles of 0.25, 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8mm sizes. These allow users to make detailed print and within a period that they desire. For faster prints, the company recommends the use of the 0.8mm nozzle. For fine, detailed prints, the company recommends the 0.25mm nozzle. However, this also means that a print will take longer to process. Other items included are a socket and a screwdriver.
Ultimaker: innovators in an innovative industry
The company is one of the truly successful open source 3D printing companies. Unlike other companies, they include the advice of everyone, including amateurs in their design. This is unlike other companies that claim to be open source but ignore amateur input. This reception to input has been getting a lot of attention by the industry with reviews of this 3d printer giving strong support to the companies responsiveness in developing a better product.
It is proof that 3D printing requires the support of everyone to succeed. Anders Olsson is not a professional of the 3D printing industry. He is just someone who stumbled on a good idea and decided to implement it. The Ultimaker Company will only grow from strength to strength if they keep up with this good community-based model. It is also a challenge for others who are not as inclusive as they claim.
As of now, the Olsson block has increased the usability of Ultimaker 3D printers. However, in future, someone could discover something else that is revolutionary. The 3D printing industry is still in its infancy. It requires the input of as many people as possible; everyone who has a passion for 3D