The Ultimaker 2 in my lab space is the perfect tool for a variety of skill levels. It works well, has plenty of premium features, and with the open software and hardware development community around this printer, offers options for future growth. Add-ons, such as a syringe based extrusion head, allow for adaptations that I haven’t seen from other printers. Students who want to know how the printer works can also tinker with, repair, or even build this printer (you must purchase the lasercut, ready-to-assemble, kit in order to build it yourself).
It is also fairly reliable. There have been some problems with the older Ultimaker at the middle school but they seem easy enough to resolve and, if you are willing, you can read up in the forums to solve most issues. The big bonus for our school was that the open-source hardware and software means that it will work with Windows and OS X environments. We use PLA filament but I have experienced one of these printers using ABS – the odor was noxious. There also appears to be growing popularity in filament production towards 1.75mm filaments and the Ultimaker 2 uses 3mm. Despite these challenges I love this printer and would choose another over most competitors in the current market.