3D Printer Wars: Ultimaker 3 vs. Creatbot F430
Let’s start this epic battle, by getting the boring stuff out of the way. The 3D printing industry is here to stay and with it comes rivalries and pitted battles among the superpowers looking to carve the biggest share out of the blooming additive manufacturing market.
And Ultimaker as well as Creatbot have proven to be heavyweight contestants in this battle which makes it only fair to compare and contrast what their 3D printers bring to the table.
The specific 3D printers that will be going up against one another is the Ultimaker 3 (UM3) and the Creatbot F430 which were both introduced to the market in 2017. Since then, both machines have been subject to rave reviews and have been well-received by the rather critical 3D printing community.
If you have not heard about any, I think it is worth stating here that the Ultimaker 3 and Creatbot F430 are specified under the ‘prosumer 3D printer category’ and may not be familiar to hobbyists who create more for fun than for commercial reasons.
Now, to the interesting part; how can two obviously superior 3D printing machines be compared? While this is a tough task, it is definitely not impossible to do and to make the comparison process easy to follow, I made use of certain criteria to pit their features against. And these criteria are…
The Criteria to be Used
The criteria used here focuses on everything that would attract a user to consider purchasing a relatively high-end 3D printer for use. Therefore, it covers:
Aesthetics and Design
When spending above $3,000 to purchase a 3D printer, it is only natural that you want something that’s aesthetically pleasing to look at. A functional build is also expected as it adds to the balance and stability of the 3D printer.
These criteria focus on the features that it makes use of while 3D printing while taking into consideration how well they perform.
I guess this is self-explanatory as it simply focuses on the quality of 3D prints produced by the 3D printer when put to use.
Ease of Use
Although these are prosumer 3D printers built for use by experienced individuals, the simplicity of use is something that still attracts pro users.
Repairs and Maintenance
This touches on how difficult or easy it is to maintain the 3D printers and the average cost of repairs.
Here you have it, the set of criterions that will be used throughout this battle to determine which 3D printer comes out on top.
Comparing and Contrasting the Ultimaker 3 and the Creatbot F430
Aesthetics and Design
Getting a new package and unboxing its contents is one of the small joys everyone derives in purchasing new things. So, does the Ultimaker3 and Creatbot F430 bring this joy? Let’s take a look. The Ultimaker comes in a fully-assembled state although you will have to attach the nozzle and spool to it before getting started.
This partial assembling process including the installation of Cura takes approximately 10 – 15 minutes to complete. Once this is done, you will be left with a truly compact and beautiful 3D printer which really catches the eye. The Ultimaker3 is basically an aesthetically pleasing translucent white block with its working parts covered with transparent acrylic panels that allow you view your projects.
Unboxing the Creatbot is also an exhilarating experience. It is basically a fully enclosed 3D printer which needs little assembling before use. Taking a look at its aesthetic features, you will definitely find its box like features and the access acrylic windows on its four sides pleasing to look at it.
These openable windows provide you with access to your 3D prints. Although beauty is determined by our personal perspectives, it is not far-fetched to say that in terms of design, the UM3 slightly surpasses the F430.
With both 3D printers at the top of the pile, there are many standout features to consider. So, I’ll start by comparing:
Print Resolution: both 3D printers are really great when it comes to 3D printing precision and accuracy. The Ultimaker3 prints with a minimum layer resolution of 20um and a maximum of 200um while the Creatbot F430 3D prints with a layer resolution of 40um.
XYZ Accuracy: Taking a look at the resolutions both produce along the XYZ plane, the Ultimaker3 XYZ resolutions are; 12.5, 12.5, 2.5 while that of the Creatbot F430 is; 12.7, 12.7, 1.25. This means that while the Ultimaker3 edges the Creatbot F430 in terms of XY layer resolution, the Creatbot F430 has the upper hand when printing at the Z-axis.
Print Speed: while both 3D printers’ print head travel at a minimum speed of 30 mm/s, the Ulltimaker3’s maximum speed of 300mm/s trumps the Creatbot’s 200mm/s. I think it is also worth noting here that using a max speed of 150mm/s is recommended when 3D printing large/generic objects which mean both 3D printers are good to use.
Extruder Technology: Ultimaker3 and the Creatbot F430 both make use of dual extruders but there’s some difference. While UM3 makes use of Bowden tube, the F430 uses the direct drive style which allows the Creatbot 3D print with more flexible filament types.
Build Volume: the UM3’s with a build volume of 197 x 215 x 200 mm is relatively small compared to that of the Creatbot which is 400 x 300 x 300mm. This highlights the fact that while the Creatbot is good for 3d printing miniatures as well as larger models, the UM3 is great for only relatively small models.
As stated earlier, the UM3 prints at a layer resolution of 20um while the Creatbot prints at 40um. But this is not the only factor to be taken into consideration when print quality is discussed. Other factors include the stability of the 3D printer when at work as well as the XYZ accuracy.
Creatbot F430 is highly stable due to its steel frame and fully enclosed design. This allows you more freedom to 3D print larger materials as well as work with materials that demand high temperatures.
It is also worth noting that the Creatbot produces temperatures of approximately 400 degrees centigrade while UM3 maxes out at 280 thereby limiting its ability to work with a plethora of materials.
Taking all these into consideration, the UM3 and Creatbot F430 are both capable of producing industrial-grade quality prints but the Creatbot brings a little bit more to the table in terms of the build capacity and enhanced stability it offers.
Ease of Use
The Ultimaker3 and Creatbot are both easy to use and pack considerable features that enable you to do so. The UM3 is a very interactive 3D printer which provides you with two distinct ways to control and monitor it; via its LCD monochrome screen and a slicing software--Cura.
In addition to these is a live camera which provides you with feed to monitor the 3D printing process and an NFC scanning system that recognizes the Ultimaker materials you input.
The UM3 auto levelling mechanism is also very excellent and requires no additional assistance from you when put to use. It is also capable of connecting to external sources via Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB. Lastly, it works solely with 3mm filament which could be quite a drag since most filament brands now focus mainly on providing 1.7mm spools.
The Creatbot is an FDM 3D printer just like the UM3 which also packs great features that simplify its use. It is built to have a 4.3-inch touchscreen which alongside the CreatWave software allows you control the 3D printing process.
Although the F430 has no NFC material recognition system, it integrates features which allow you; save data when power is off, automatically turn off the printer when a task has been completed and also pauses the orienting process when it runs out of filament to work with. But in terms of connectivity, the Creatbot has some limitations as it uses only USB.
Now we have analyzed the features that drive the ease of using both 3D printers in place, it is obvious that they both take simplicity seriously. But Creatbot edges this a bit for the following reasons:
Repair and Maintenance
The Ultimaker3 is built with customization in mind and this means just about every mechanical feature of the UM3 can be replaced and upgraded. That being said, it is a well-known fact that some parts of the UM3 such as its magnetic cooling fan sometimes fall off.
The Creatbot F430 is a compact and very durable box which is not easily customizable but what it lacks in customizability, it more than makes up for with its durability. The F430 is a workhorse which does not require regular repairs regardless of how much work you saddle it with.
The Bottom Line
Here we come to the end of today’s 3D printer wars between the Ultimaker3 and the Creatbot F430. And after considering the features of both, it is clear that they are both high-end desktop 3D printers capable of providing users with industrial-grade precision and quality.
Therefore, making a choice should depend on what you intend to accomplish. If in search of a versatile 3D printer that supports more materials and allows you build miniatures as well as larger 3D objects, then the Creatbot F430 is a great option to consider. Below is a chart outlining and highlighting the differences and similarities of the F430 and the Ultimaker3 for easy consumption.