The Ultimaker S5 is Ultimaker's biggest 3D printer. It's engineered to deliver reliability at scale, with the same assured performance of the smaller Ultimaker 3.
It's a 3D printer of the fused filament fabrication variety, which means it melts and extrudes plastic in layers to build three-dimensional models. In the S5's case, the technology has peaked, reaching what we believe is (for now) the best out there.
Here's everything you need to know about it:
Build volume and size
The Ultimaker S5's build volume is larger than the Ultimaker 3 on all fronts.
It stands at 330 x 240 x 300 mm, versus the 3's 197 x 215 x 200 mm. Which means you get over 50% more build volume on the X axis, 10% more build volume on the Y axis and 40% more build volume on the Z axis. In the real world, this means the S5 is the more capable machine.
Despite that goliath build volume, Ultimaker has done a decent job keeping the 3D printer desk-friendly. The assembled dimensions are 495 x 585 x 780 mm with a weight of 20.6kg - not too large to be transported from room to room, although two pairs of hands are needed to do it safely.
Here's what it looks like on a desk, for scale:
Not too bad, is it?
It can easily fit on a large computer desk, although probably not a narrow one designed for laptops.
Interface and usability
The best thing about Ultimaker 3D printers is they are all easy to use.
The S5 is no different, with a 4.7-inch touchscreen built into the front of the printer. You can control the printer from here, set up a print, and change configurations with presets for different Ultimaker filaments. Once you've uploaded a file for print, you can control the entire print process from here, although most people prefer to use a computer for that.
Cura is the slicing software Ultimaker ships with all their printers, and it is easily one of the best slicing tools out there. It integrates with CAD software seamlessly and lets you prepare prints with a click. It works with SolidWorks, Siemens NX, Autodesk Inventor, and more, with support for TL, OBJ, X3D, 3MF, BMP, GIF, JPG, and PNG file types.
However, for controlling and managing a network of printers, you use Ultimaker Connect. Ultimaker Connect lets you group printers and manages print production. It also has analytics, for tracking prints and forecasting performance.
The bottom line is whether you are using one Ultimaker S5 or managing a network of them, the bundled software is easy to use with a short learning curve.
The Ultimaker S5 prints at the following layer resolutions:
- 0.25 mm nozzle: 150 - 60 micron
- 0.4 mm nozzle: 200 - 20 micron
- 0.6 mm nozzle: 300 - 20 micron
- 0.8 mm nozzle: 600 - 20 micron
It has a dual-geared feeder, which is reinforced for composite materials, such as those based on nylon, or those with a chopped carbon fibre content. The print head is a dual extrusion print head with an auto-nozzle lifting system and a unique Ultimaker innovation - swappable print cores.
Those swappable print cores are one of the biggest draws of the S5. They enable you to switch between different material combinations by quickly swapping cores. There are three types of print core:
- AA - for build material
- BB - for support material
- CC - for abrasive materials
The build speed is up to < 24 mm³/s and the nozzles have a temperature range of 180 - 280 °C with a 2-minute heat up time. The build plate is heated glass, with an operating temperature range of 20 - 140 °C and a 3-5 minute heat up time.
The S5 is also equipped with a high definition camera. This is preinstalled and overlooks the build chamber. It allows you to remotely monitor print progress. You can monitor prints on a desktop computer or smartphone over Wi-Fi.
Specs at a glance:
Material support: Open filament system. Also supports all Ultimaker filaments, including: Tough PLA, PLA, Nylon, ABS, CPE, CPE+, PC, TPU 95A, PP, PVA, and Breakaway.
Layer resolution: Down to 20 micron
Build volume: 330 x 240 x 300 mm (13 x 9.4 x 11.8 inches)
Interface: 4.7-inch (11.9 cm) touch display
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB
Special features: Swappable print cores, in-built camera
The dual extrusion system in the Ultimaker S5 is an all-new extrusion system for the series, offering reliable throughput and performance. It is designed to run continuously, on multiple cycles, to boost manufacturing capability and output. Add to that advanced active levelling, filament flow sensors, and an advanced pre-check process where the printer probes the build plate to create a precisely detailed heightmap of the build surface, and what you have is the ultimate Ultimaker.
The S5 has an open filament system which means you can safely use third party materials, in addition to Ultimaker's own. Although, it should be said Ultimaker does not officially support third-party material usage. The official materials include Ultimaker PLA Tough PLA, ABS, Nylon, CPE, CPE+, PC, PP, TPU 95A, PVA and Breakaway.
You can use these materials in a variety of different combinations thanks to the dual extrusion print head and swappable print cores. The following table shows all possible material combinations:
As you can see, the opportunities are widespread.
Performance and applications
On a personal note, the Ultimaker S5 is one of the most reliable and consistent 3D printers we have ever used across all types of technology, and it is certainly in the top three when it comes to FFF printers.
The reason for this is simple: it is engineered to make the 3D printing process reliable, efficient, and consistent. From its industrial-grade mechatronics to its perfectly torqued screws and carefully chosen damping materials, everything about it is engineered to perfection.
The potential applications are endless. Right now, the Ultimaker S5 is being used in aerospace to accelerate innovation and the manufacture of custom fixings. It is being used in workshops to create clever solutions for everyday problems. It's being used in design studios to make art, and in schools to enhance student learning.
Of course, these are all singular applications. The S5 also excels working in a network, to enable small series production runs and enhance prototyping capability. So-called '3D printer farms' are becoming increasingly common, and the S5 is a popular choice. Big brands using Ultimaker 3D printers include Volkswagen, Zeiss, L'Oreal and Siemens. In-between these, there are thousands of smaller brands and start-ups.
Because Ultimaker 3D printers are relatively inexpensive when compared to the rest of the market in this range, they are widely adoptable. Small businesses who are perhaps interested in moving the fabrication of models and parts in-house can do so without breaking the bank.
Ultimately, there isn't an application an Ultimaker can't excel in. The wide range of materials ensures this.
What's in the box?
The Ultimaker S5 comes with all the below as standard:
- Ultimaker S5 3D Printer
- Glass build plate x 2
- Spool holder with material guide
- Power cable
- Ethernet cable
- USB stick
- Print core AA 0.4
- Print core BB 0.4
- XY calibration sheet - glass build plate
- Calibration card
- 3 x Nozzle cover
- 1 x 750g reel of Tough PLA
- 1 x 750g reel of PVA
- Glue stick
- Hex screwdriver 2 mm