Monthly Archives: June 2015

YouMagine Survey Results Part 3

How many things do you 3D print per month?

How many things do you 3D print per month?

We’ve conducted a survey among 500 of our Community Members in order to find out how YouMagine is doing and what tools we have to build in order to help 3D printing. Since we like to share and we want to build tools for the future of Distributed Innovation we made some fun graphics for you. We thought that this was a good idea since this is the largest survey that maps the 3D printing community. The first post about the survey results are here the second is here and you are currently reading the final one.

On average our community members 3D print 21 things per month. This is an indication that the 3D printer is becoming a part of people’s lives. Reliability of the printer is especially important if people want to make things often.

How often do you use your 3D printer?

How often do you use your 3D printer?

34% of our community use their 3D printer every single day. For them the 3D printer is an appliance that they continually use. 11% use there 3D printer rarely. For them their 3D printer is not currently a significant part of their lives. 50% of the community uses their printer at least 4 times a week. These usage numbers are encouraging and mean that fore this group the 3D printer is not a toy but rather a tool that they use continually.

What slicing software do you use to 3D print?

What slicing software do you use to 3D print?

If we look at what slicing software people use then we find that some slicers that were popular only a few years ago have virtually fallen completely out of use. 58% of people use Cura and 23% use Slic3r which means that these two open source slicers account for the vast majority of 3D prints. Its also good to know that Ultimaker’s Cura is so popular. Simplify3D is doing quite well having an implied market share of 10%.

What is your favorite thing to 3D Print?

What is your favorite thing to 3D Print?

If we look at what people like to make then the most popular single category is household items with people preferring to make practical things that solve real world problems such as hooks, housings, repairs and enhancements for daily life. We see a lot of very practical things on YouMagine from enhancements for Ikea furniture, solutions for organizing tools, kitchen paper holders, table cloth clips, hooks, organizers for batteries and cradles for electric toothbrushes. Enhancing your daily existence with 3D printers to organize your life may not be what gets the headlines but it is what a lot of people are actually using 3D printers for. The second most popular item is 3D printer enhancements. We see a lot of things on the site from practical spool holders, to a camera mount for the Robo3D, Ultimaker fan mounts, calibration tools for Kossel’s, bearings,, CoreXY brackets, a turntable for your printer,  Printrbot extruders, to complete 3D printers such as MonkeySh#tFight, the iTopie and the Spatial One. Those most interested in 3D printing are very often interested in improving their own printers and sharing the results.

Which is the best filament supplier for 3D printing?

Which is the best filament supplier for 3D printing?

We asked our community what the best 3D printing materials supplier was. Over 33% of the sample has not found one indicating that while people have been trying out vendors they have not yet found a reliable supplier. 30% of people entered a name of a vendor which was unique. The 3D printing materials market is therefore very fragmented with many vendors in many countries selling filament. The most popular choice was ColorFabb followed by Faberdashery and then Amazon. This shows us that the online retailer is already making an impact on the 3D printing market through its 3D printing offerings.


In general we can conclude that 3D printers are, for some, becoming a daily addition to their lives chiefly through the making of fun gadgets and practical household items. People want more reliable, bigger and faster 3D printers and they want the process of designing things and printing them to be easier. People really like PLA as a build material but have not found a reliable vendor for it. Bed adhesion is still among the most pressing problems for 3D printer users. And at YouMagine we really need to improve our search ! We would like to thank those 500 community members who participated in this survey. We hope to use their information and feedback to further improve our site and guide us to building tools for the future.








Results of the YouMagine 3D printing survey part 2

Previously we told you about the results of our community survey amongst 500 members of our 3D Printing community. This is the largest and most in depth desktop 3D printing survey conducted to date. Today we can share you the second part of this survey.

At YouMagine we want to enable collaborative worldwide innovation in 3D printing and build the tools to let people in a distributed way work together to create, remix and share open source technology. We call this Distributed Innovation and want to build the tools for our community to engage in letting more people make better things.

In order to make sure that we are building the right future we want to understand our community and get feedback on what we need to do better. Through this process of letting our community guide our roadmap and development we can also give people an insight into what is happening in 3D printing. We would like to qualify this information to a certain extent however because we would expect our community to skew towards people who have been involved with 3D printing longer & be more open source minded than a random sample of the 3D printing community.

We asked Alexey Butakov to make us some nice illustrations to show off some of the graphs.

What do we need to improve about YouMagine?

What do we need to improve about YouMagine?

Probably the most important thing for our development is the above graphic. We need to improve search and navigation. We’re working hard on this and have adapted our roadmap to the findings. We also received a lot of individual feedback about bugs and issues that need addressing, we found this super helpful also. We’ve identified different types of users whereby we’re generally seeing that one group wants more interaction and collaboration whilst the other seeks quick access to many designs. We’re making lots of quick steps forward on improving our overal design and user experience.

What needs to be improved in order to make 3D printing better for you?

What needs to be improved in order to make 3D printing better for you?

The main thing that needs to be improved is the reliability of the 3D printers. If we drill down into these numbers we can also see that certain issues such as bed adhesion and dialing in new materials is also an issue for people. Reliability not only encompasses machines and in order to improve the overal experience  improvements in software, electronics, materials & machines will have to be coordinated. People also want larger build volumes and faster 3D printers. Cost is not an issue for many.

One thing affecting many is warping and bed adhesion. Here we see that it is still critical to get your first layer right. Rather than be a solved issue for many we can see people looking at many different strategies to make materials adhere to beds. The best strategy is also very material dependent and depends on if you have a heated bed or not. Over the past few years a lot of new types of materials have become available for desktop 3D printers. These have exacerbated this problem especially since the best bed adhesion solution differs per material. Personally I’ve taken to washing down my glass heated build plate with a dishwashing soap with a high alcohol content. This degreases it and makes for excellent adhesion. As a YouMagine team we are leaning towards using only soap but some still use glue or tape.

There is a wide distribution of bed adhesion solutions for 3D printers

There is a wide distribution of bed adhesion solutions for 3D printers

We’re seeing that even though there are a number of products out there to solve the issues. Most people still use glue or blue painter’s tape. Hairspray is also quite a popular solution. There is still scope to as an industry make better beds or come up with better solutions to this issue. Bed adhesion issues and warping are still the leading cause of failed prints. It would make a lot of people really happy if someone solved this issue.

I hope you enjoyed these results, thank you so much to all who participated. The third and final installment of our survey results can be found here.



3D print is game changer in Mechatronics Competition

Students from Fontys University of applied Science in Eindhoven and Ultimaker Education have joined forces in the international Mechatronics Competition: CCM Trophee 2015. The name of the team is ‘Rembrandts’ and together we’ve achieved very good results!

Several universities from three different countries had gathered to compete in the CCM Trophee 2015 competition in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The CCM trophee is organized every year by the Centre for Concepts in Mechatronics.

Contest regulations
All participants had to build a robot that is able to walk up the stairs, while carrying beer.  The glasses must be held in a pre described tray.  The fastest robot that spills less than 20% of the beer wins.

3D printing  brought new opportunities

3D printing brought new opportunities to the table during the design and build phase of this robot.  Also, the students of Fontys were able to save time & money in preparing some the robot parts. This unique robot has many 3D printed parts, e.g.:

  • caterpillar pulley drivetrain
  • motor cable protector&built-in encoder mount
  • triangle impact mounts on the arms
  • end-switch blocks for the arms
  • extrusion guidance and plug&play electronics
  • custom scissor lift with iGus Spindle
  • servo & gyro controlled stabilizer
  • pumptube arch – beer suction system

The result: first prize
All contributing partners are proud to announce that team Rembrandts has won the first prize!

Interested in next years tournament 2016? Please contact Ronald Scheer, Program Manager Education at Ultimaker. Or visit Centre for Concepts in Mechatronics.

Students were able to write history for their school
In recent years, students from Fontys University of applied sciences have entered this contest multiple times, but none of these teams were able to win the first prize. This year is the first year that the grand prize went to Fontys!

Thanks to all partners
This robot had not been able without the great help of:

  • AAE
  • Adruu
  • CCM
  • KMWE
  • MTA
  • STHO
  • and all the team members!

Aidan Leitch’s Silicone 3D printing process

Aidan's Syringe Extruder Top View

Aidan’s Syringe Extruder Top View

A few months ago we held a Contest whereby we challenged our community to develop a new 3D printing technology using an Ultimaker Original. 13 year old Aidan Leitch was one of the winners and attempted to make a Silicone 3D printing process.

You can download the files here on YouMagine.

Aidan made a Syringe extruder that uses a peristaltic pump to extrude a two part silicone into a basin to cure. The resulting shapes he’s been able to create are closer to blob than Michelangelo but this is a very promising idea. There are many two component materials such as polyurethane & epoxy adhesives. If we could make it possible to print materials such as these reliably it would be a big step forward.
I asked Aidan about his project and he said that,
“One of the biggest issues was making a good syringe extruder. There were some designs already out there but none that truly fit what I was doing. The part that took me longest was making changes in Cura. “
What more work will you do to improve the project?
“To improve, I’d need to make a better syringe extruder (possibly a direct one, as opposed to using the filament to push the syringe) and also a better system for delivering the other part of the silicone mix. The peristaltic pump I used was really slow.
The basin fixed to the build plate

The basin fixed to the build plate

What results do you have right now?
As of right now, I have successfully had the printer add one part of the silicone into the basin of the other part and have them cure. To make it work better, I’d to make the previously mentioned changes (better syringe extruder and better delivery system) along with further tuning of the software. Many of the parts for the paste extruder are fully 3D printable and attach directly to the printhead. Besides this, there are the electronics/pump, the basin, and some changes in the software.
What did you learn?
I’ve learned quite a bit from this project! Here’s some examples:
-How to read and write basic Gcode
-How to accommodate in software for physical issues (like friction in the syringe)
-Uncured silicone is messy stuff
Because it is all deliciously open source you can download and build on Aidan’s project here.

YouMagine updates, scrum & agile.

We’ve learned a lot about what our community needs and would like to see changed at YouMagine. We have gotten direct feedback from you and reached out to you in our YouMagine 3D Printing community survey. Based on that we’ve expanded our team and already done some significant changes to the design of the home page. We’re going to be doing a lot more and I’d like to give you an update on the most recent changes.


We’ve adopted Scrum which is a process whereby you continually improve websites or applications. This lets us plan Sprints, two week development periods, whereby we can home in on your needs and build what you wish for us to build. We didn’t adopt scrum because it was hip but rather because it lets us act more directly based on your feedback and ideas. We’ve also switched to doing continuos deployments which means that we release bugfixes and updates several times each day. We also wrote a lot of unit tests that should trigger if we break something important. We do test before releasing and we have a continuous integration server where we deploy to first.


We also internally do demos where we show the team and people like Joris our Community Manager and Ronald who does our educational outreach what the development team has built. They can then give feedback and be your voice in the demo. We’ve found that this method eases issues that arrive when there is a disconnect between expectations and reality.

First Demo

I’m going to share with you our first demo.


We fixed a bug whereby the dropdown menu in the “I’ve created this design” view. It now shows designs you’ve created. So you can now add your design as a solution to a challenge. You cannot just add any design, which used to be possible. This means that the drop down will be smaller and load a lot faster.

We’ve created a dashboard so we can monitor and visualize our own development work and the site.

We added an updated Notice and Takedown policy to the footer of the site.

We’ve altered the main navigation and improved its performance & design for mobile devices.


We’ve been trying to improve our search significantly based on your suggestions that it needs to be improved. At the same time, we realize search is a core function that should never break. We found a solution to enable fast development without breaking searchIf there is a bug or issue with the search it automatically runs a Google query (with YouMagine as a site filter), this means that we have the time to fix our search without you really waiting for it to be fixed.

A lot of people like our messaging system but we had a bug whereby you were not able to search for users, we fixed this.

We’ve added a functionality whereby you get an email notification as soon as someone adds your model to their collection. You can turn this off in your profile if you find it annoying.

We’ve also added an automatic email should you get a new follower. Both these suggestions are in response for people requesting greater interaction on the site.

An email also is generated if someone prints your design and uploads a contribution to it in the site.

We’ve deployed Mixpanel in order to better analyze what you are doing on the site and what could be broken or needs to be improved.

Your photograph is now visible on the link to your profile and we made the message notifications much more obvious.