Introduction: Autodesk Workshop Guide: Ultimaker S5 3D Printer

About: Gabrielle Patin reporting for duty.

This Instructable is for Workshop Users at the Autodesk Technology Center in San Francisco

This Instructable explains how to use the Ultimaker S5 3D Printer. The Ultimaker is a fused deposition modeling(FDM) printer that extrudes filaments of thermoplastic material to print your model, layer by layer. Requirements for using the Ultimaker printer at Pier 9:

  • Take General Workshop Safety Class
  • Read through all the pages of this Instructable
  • Find Shop Staff to go through Safety Check-off

For additional Information on how to use the Ultimaker S5, please see the support site and choose operation from the right panel options.

Step 1: Safety Checklist

The Ultimaker has many moving parts that could cause injury.

Tip: While the Ultimaker is in operation never reach inside it, or open the visor or the lid.

Scrapers can cause injury if used incorrectly. Always wear cut-resistant gloves when using the scrapers.

Tip: Always scrape away from yourself. Rest the bed in a vertical position, against a sturdy level surface when removing a part. Always use short, ramming motions to remove a part from the print bed. Always keep fingers or other body parts out of the path of the scraper when removing a part from the print bed. Keep the angle between the scraper and the print bed small while you are removing your part.

Step 2: Material Choices

Which material should I use?

PLA is the standard material supported on our Ultimaker. ABS, ASA, Nylon and Polycarbonate are available on the Fortus 450 machines. If you have a special material request, please speak with Shop Staff.

When you select a print material, it is important to consider the characteristics of the object you want to print and the environment in which it will be used. Ideally, you will select your print material based on material characteristics such as:

  • technical properties
  • aesthetic qualities
  • processing ability

The following material descriptions will help you select the right material for your 3D printing application. For further information, refer to the material data sheets for technical data and the material guides for printing instructions.

PLA (polylactic acid)

PLA is a biodegradable polymer that is ideal for prototyping 3D models with pleasing aesthetics. It has good surface quality, is somewhat glossy, and prints details with a high resolution. PLA is a reliable and easy-to-print material that can be printed at low temperatures. It has a low shrinkage factor and does not require the use of a heated build plate. It is the perfect choice for creating concept models, visualization aids, or for use in education. Overall, PLA is not as strong as more technical materials but does have a high tensile strength. It is not recommended for functional and mechanical parts. Items printed with PLA can lose their mechanical properties and may become brittle over time.

PVA (polyvinyl alcohol)

Although PVA is not typically used for printed objects, it is an ideal material to choose if you’re looking for removable support structures. Ultimaker PVA is biodegradable, has a good thermal stability, and is less moisture sensitive than other PVA filaments. After printing in combination with another material, PVA support structures can easily be removed by dissolving in water. This makes PVA a good support material and allows you to print models with large overhangs and complex geometries. Note: PVA is only supported on the Ultimaker 3 and is currently optimized to serve as a support structure for either PLA or Nylon.

TPU 95A (thermoplastic polyurethane)

TPU 95A is a semi-flexible material for use in applications that demand the qualities of rubber and plastic. TPU 95A has a score of 95 on the Shore A Hardness Scale, with an elongation break of up to 580%. TPU 95A is flexible, strong, and can withstand high impacts without deforming or breaking. It is also resistant to many common industrial oils and chemicals and easily resists normal wear and tear. Unlike other (semi-)flexible materials, Ultimaker TPU 95A is easy to use, prints quickly, and does not require a high level of expertise to use effectively. TPU 95A is not recommended for applications that will be exposed to UV light, moisture, or high temperatures for extended periods.

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)

ABS is a well-known material used by professionals for mechanical and technical applications. It has excellent mechanical properties and can be used for objects that require toughness and durability. With a thermal resistance of up to 85 °C, ABS can be used in warm environments. These properties make ABS a good choice for prototyping and fit testing. Ultimaker ABS is specially formulated to minimize warping and ensure consistent interlayer adhesion. This makes it easier to use than standard ABS filaments. Ultimaker ABS has pleasing aesthetics and results in a matte finish when printed. Note: ABS is adversely affected by exposure to UV light, so it is strongly recommended not to use ABS for applications that are exposed to UV light for extended periods.

CPE (co-polyester)

CPE is a popular material for mechanical applications. It has the same strength as ABS but also has high tensile strength, dimensional stability, and chemical resistance. This means that CPE can be used in combination with most industrial oils and chemicals without adverse effects. CPE is odorless and emits few UFPs (ultrafine particles) and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) during printing. This makes it a safer choice than many other materials. Note: CPE should not be used for parts exposed to high temperatures as it may deform at temperatures above 70 °C. CPE+ (co-polyester) CPE+ is stronger than CPE, which makes it suitable for applications where the strength of the object is key. CPE+ is primarily used for functional prototyping and modeling. It has greater thermal resistance than CPE, and therefore parts printed in CPE+ can be used at temperatures up to 100 °C without deforming. Note: Printing in CPE+ is more challenging than CPE because of the high temperature required to print.

PC (polycarbonate)

PC can be used for various engineering applications. It’s one of the toughest print materials, making it a perfect choice for printing strong objects. PC has a high mechanical strength, good UV stability, and high thermal resistance. It retains its form at temperatures up to 110 °C. In addition, PC has a good dimensional stability, is chemical resistant, and has flame-retardant characteristics. These properties make it suitable for lighting, molds, engineering parts, tools, functional prototyping, and short-run manufacturing. Note: Printing in PC can be challenging due to the high temperature required to print.

Nylon (polyamide)

Nylon is a well-known material used for printing tools, functional prototypes, and end-use parts. It combines strength, impact resistance, and flexibility. Nylon 3D prints are both strong and slightly flexible. Ultimaker Nylon is very durable due to its abrasion resistance and corrosion resistance to alkalis and organic chemicals. Unlike standard nylon filaments, Ultimaker Nylon is considerably easy to use - it features reduced humidity absorption for easy and reliable printing.

PP (polypropylene)

As the second most used polymer worldwide, PP offers many possibilities for both prototypes and end-use parts. Ultimaker PP is durable with a high toughness and fatigue resistance. This means that PP retains its shape after torsion, bending, or flexing. It has very low friction, allowing parts that are in contact with each other to move smoothly over each other. PP is also semi-flexible. While it’s not as flexible as TPU 95A, it can still be a good option if you’re looking for a material with slight flexibility. Besides this, it has good chemical resistance and high electrical resistance, so it is ideal as an electrical insulator. Another key advantage of PP is that it has a low density, making it perfect for the creation of lightweight parts. Furthermore, it has good translucent properties.

Step 3: Printing With PLA

PLA (polylactic acid) is one of the most widely used 3D printing materials and also the recommended material for beginners. It prints fast, is safe, and can be used for a broad range of models and applications. The following is everything you need to know about printing with Ultimaker PLA.

On the Ultimaker S5 and Ultimaker 3, PLA can also be printed in combination with PVA, Breakaway or another color of PLA. This overview shows the materials PLA is compatible with.


Ultimaker PLA prints at moderate temperatures, mostly around 200-210 °C, depending on the selected nozzle size and print profile. Profiles for the 0.25 mm nozzles use a slightly lower temperature though, and the 0.8 mm profiles require a higher temperature.

  • For the build plate, a temperature of 60 °C is used for heated build plates, but it is also possible to print PLA on a cold build plate using the blue tape.
  • Note: The correct temperatures are automatically used based on the printer, nozzle size, and profile you select in Ultimaker Cura.


PLA usually adheres well to the heated glass plate, but for the best results, it is advised to apply a thin layer of glue (included in the accessory box of your 3D printer).

The PLA profiles in Ultimaker Cura use a brim as build plate adhesion type, to provide optimal adhesion on the first layer.

A brim is made of extra lines printed around the perimeter of the initial layer of your 3D print to ensure a successful adhesion to the build plate. Once the 3D print has finished, do not remove it while the build plate is still warm. This can result in deformation of the base of your print.

Step 4: 3D Model

You will need an .STL or .OBJ to print with CURA.

Your model will need to be watertight, meaning it has no holes, inverted normals or other errors. You can check for errors in Autodesk's Netfabb or Meshmixer.

Step 5: Software: Ultimaker Cura

To print on the Ultimaker you will need to open Cura on the Desktop Computer located next to the printer.


  1. Open file
  2. Adjustment tools
  3. Non-printable areas
  4. 3D model
  5. View mode
  6. Printer, material, print core and build plate configuration
  7. Print Setup (recommended mode)
  8. Model information
  9. Print job information (print time and material usage)
  10. Print over network, or save to file or USB stick

Prepare a File

To slice a model in Ultimaker Cura:

  1. Load the model(s) by clicking the Open File folder icon.
  2. In the sidebar (right side of the screen), check if the materials, print cores and build plate are correct.
  3. Use the Adjustment Tools to position, scale and rotate the model as desired.
  4. Select your desired settings (layer height/print speed, infill, support and build plate adhesion) under Print Setup.
    1. Make sure you have the correct Tip and materials selected.
  5. To view the result of the selected settings, change the view mode from Solid view to Layer view.
  6. In the bottom-right corner, select Print over network, Save to file or Save to USB depending on the printing method. Read more here about sending prints to the Ultimaker.

✔ Tip: Check the print heads before printing for any plastic that is dripping off the hot ends because it can some times throw off the auto height calibration.

✔ Tip: When printing with support, you have the option to select the extruder that you want to use to print the support structure. This allows you to print your model with PVA support, Breakaway support or build material support on your Ultimaker S5.

✔ Tip: If you create a dual-color print you have to assign material colors to the models and merge the models before finishing your slice. For more instructions on how to use Ultimaker Cura, take a look at the Ultimaker Cura manual.

Step 6: Printing

Print Failures

Step 7: Removing Your Print

Once your 3D print is finished it must be removed from the build plate.

⚠Caution: When using a brim, be aware of the danger of cutting yourself when removing the print from the build plate.

⚠Caution: Take the build plate out of the printer to avoid damaging the build plate clamps. Always wear the Cut Resistant gloves when removing a part from the tray or support from the part.

  • Wait for cool down
  • If you printed directly onto the build plate, simply allow the build plate and the print to cool down after printing. The material will contract as it cools, allowing you to easily remove the print from the build plate.
  • Use a spatula If your print is still adhered to the build plate after cooling, you can use a spatula to remove the print. Place the spatula under the print, and keep it parallel to the build plate, and apply a small amount of force to remove the print.
  • A spatula can also be used to carefully remove remaining parts of the print from the build plate, such as the brim or support structures.

Use water

If you printed on the build plate with glue and if neither of the above methods work, remove your print using water.

  • Remove the build plate with print from the printer. Be careful not to burn your fingers if the build plate is still warm.
  • Run cool tap water on the back side of the plate to cool it quickly. The print material will contract more than with normal cool down.
  • Once cool, the print will pop off.
  • Alternatively, you can run lukewarm water over the print side of the plate to dissolve the glue. Once the glue is dissolved, it is easier to remove the print.
  • If PVA was used, place the build plate and print in water to dissolve the PVA. This makes print removal easier.

Step 8: Post Process

If you did not use a support structure, you may still need to use a deburring tool to remove the brim around the base of the part.

Remove Breakaway support

Prints using Ultimaker Breakaway as support material will require post-processing to remove the support structures. This can be achieved by breaking the support structures from the build material.

⚠Caution: It is advised to wear protective gloves when the support structure contains sharp corners or when working with bigger models.

1. Tear the inner support structure

Start by removing the walls of the support structure with a gripping plier. This allows you to quickly tear away the majority of the inner support structure.

2. Pull the Breakaway support from the build material

After removing most of the support structure, the remaining part(s) can be pulled from the build material. Use cutting pliers to grip the Breakaway support in a corner and try to carefully get underneath it, then bend it upwards. Repeat this for several corners, so that you can loosen the support from the model around the corners. After this, pull the Breakaway support from the model.

3. Peel the last traces from the model

Sometimes a final layer of the support material remains after pulling the Breakaway support from the build material. If this happens, use cutting pliers to peel it off from a loose edge. Any leftover traces on the model can be removed with tweezers.

Dissolve PVA support

PVA support structures can be removed by dissolving the PVA in water. This takes several hours and leaves no trace afterwards.

1. Submerge the print in water

By putting a print with PVA in water the PVA will slowly dissolve.

2. Rinse with water

After PVA supports are totally dissolved, rinse the print with water to remove any excess PVA.

3. Let the print dry

Let the print dry completely and apply additional post-processing to the build material if desired.