For the DrVax YouTube channel, I have reviewed seven printers so far this year. The Ultimate 2 at $549 fits right in the middle of the price range for these printers between my Monoprice Select Mini V2 on the low end and my Prusa i3 Mk3 on the high end.
When I first opened the box and set up for my initial print, my impressions of this printer were mixed. I was unimpressed with the masking tape on top of the glass print surface, and I found it difficult to feed the filament through the filament detector in the back left corner. However, after printing a range of sample prints from the cat on the MicroSD card, to the AutoDesk/Kickstarter 3d Printer Quality test, I was amazed at the quality of the printed models.
The quality was, in my opinion, as good or better than my Prusa, which sells for almost double the price when purchased fully assembled.
Here are the strengths I found in this printer that I believe contribute to the high quality of the prints. The Ultimate 2 is a direct extruder machine, fully enclosed, with a full box geometry where the print bed only moves up and down on the Z-axis vs. many low-cost 3d printers where the print bed moves back and forth on the Y-axis. By limiting the movement of the print bed, you reduce the likelihood that a print comes loose from the bed and decrease the potential for Y-Axis ringing (poor print quality).
More importantly, the full enclosed Ultimate 2 maintains a more consistent print environment temperature. This full enclosure only works so well because of the excellent fans on the hot end. Hot end fans are an area where 3d printer manufacturers often cut costs, and it is clear that was not the case with this 3d printer. These fans are impressive.
The limitations of this printer include a relatively small print volume at 150x200x150 and a relatively low maximum hot end temperature at 250c. Most printers below $1,000, except for the Prusa, have this limitation.
My conclusion is that this is an outstanding printer and maybe the printer with the best print quality available fully assembled for less than $1000. I have found myself personally switching to using this printer for all of my day to day printing when the print volume and max temperature are not an issue.
I have a full review of the printer with sample prints on the DrVax YouTube channel. You can find the review here:
Irv Shapiro (DrVax)