What size filament should I use in my Ultimaker?
The Ultimaker family of printers uses 2.85mm filament, which is commonly called 3mm filament to differentiate it from the 1.75mm filament used by some other machines. Originally all "3mm" filament was 2.85mm, but as more companies have begun making it, many of them were unaware that what was called 3mm traditionally had specs of 2.85mm, +/- .05mm. When purchasing filament, please check the specifications to ensure what you're viewing is actually 2.85mm.
Can I Use 1.75mm filament in my Ultimaker printer?
Ultimaker printers are not compatible with 1.75mm filament. Because the nozzle assembly parts are designed for a flow of 2.85mm filament, the thinner filament will melt and pool to fill the available space but not get pushed out the nozzle. While there are third party kits available for modifying some models of Ultimaker printers to take 1.75mm, these are considered use at your own risk.
Why Do Different Colors of the Same Materials Melt Differently?
Even though filaments of the same type have the same chemical base, the different dyes used can affect the melting point. For example: Let's say you generally use a print temperature of 220 C. However, you've just changed to a new color. This color is runnier at 220 C and gives a lesser print quality. The dye in that new color is affecting how easily it melts. For that particular color, you would want to print at a lower temperature.
Why Aren't Different Brands of the Same Kind of Material All the Same Quality?
Imagine that the filament is a medicine. When you go to buy a medicine, there are different brand names and different generics but they all have the same active ingredients. It's the binders and fillers that are different. It's the same with filament. You have the same base compound [active ingredients] but what the company adds will be different [binders and fillers].
I Heard Filament Will Eat Up My Nozzle and That I Need a Steel Tip. Is This True?
The nozzles on the Ultimaker printers are made of brass, because brass is an excellent heat conductor. Printing in certain specialty filaments (such as stainless steel or carbon fiber) wears away the softer brass. It erodes the inside of the nozzle and widens the opening in the tip. A steel nozzle or Ruby nozzle will not wear away as easily. If you are printing in the standard supported Ultimaker plastics, you do not need a hardened nozzle.
Can I use filament that's 3mm wide, or do I have to use 2.85mm filament?
You can print with 3mm filament, but you may need to make some modifications, and there are no guarantees about print quality. Any issues arising from use of non-Ultimaker parts or modification of existing parts is not covered under the warranty. True 3mm filament is probably struggling to get through is the Bowden tube and Teflon coupler. The interior of the Bowden tube should have a 1/8 inch opening, which is around 3.1mm. Since both the tube and the filament may also have a little variation, it will probably be a little too tight a fit. You may also be experiencing a tight fit in the Teflon coupler as well for the same reason. You will also need to go into the Materials settings on your machine or in Cura and adjust the filament diameter in the menu, so that the printer can calculate the correct amount of plastic to push through.
Where can I find the Safety Data Sheet and/or Technical Data Sheet for Ultimaker filaments?
The safety and technical data sheets for Ultimaker filaments are available below as PDFs. Each filament has different chemical and physical properties, so be sure to choose the correct sheet for the filament you are using. The Safety Data Sheets (SDS) identify the safety procedures for normal handling and use of the materials. The Technical Data Sheets (TDS) identify temperature ranges and strength of the different filaments for different applications.