The aging of your Ultimaker is measured in print hours, rather than amount of time owned. The following are suggestions for general maintenance. By no means are you required to change a part when you reach a certain number of print hours. If you are not experiencing problems, you do not need to replace parts. If you are replacing parts, please check out the replacement instructions. If you do not see instructions for the part you need, contact Support to connect with one of our technicians.
Bowden Tube (all models)
Bowden tubes wear faster when you print with abrasive materials. If you experience difficulty feeding material, check the interior of the Bowden tube. Remove it from the printer and run a new piece of filament through it. If it does not move smoothly or if the filament gets caught on the way through, it is time to replace your Bowden tube. If the feeder end of the tube looks broken, torn, or chewed up, contact support@UltimakerNAsupport.com for directions on re-cutting the end; you can cut a couple of millimeters off the end of the bowden tube and prolong its life.
Below, we have pictures of good bowden tubes and bad bowden tubes.
PTFE Coupler/TFM Coupler (Ultimaker 2 series)
A PTFE coupler (UM2Go has a standard lifespan approximately 500 print hours depending on what material you use. A coupler lasts longer when printing PLA than when printing in more abrasive materials such as ABS, CPE/UPET, and some specialty filaments (carbon fiber, stainless steel, etc). The PTFE coupler was the standard coupler for the Ultimaker 2, Ultimaker 2 Extended, and Ultimaker 2Go.
The Ultimaker 2+ and Ultimaker 2+ Extended introduced a TFM coupler. The TFM coupler lasts for between about 750 and 1000 print hours, and is more durable than the PTFE material. If your printer came with a PTFE coupler, you can install the TFM coupler when you replace it, to give you more wear and tear time.
You can check the health of your coupler by removing it from the print head and running a new piece of filament through it. If you feel resistance or if the filament gets caught on the way through, it is time to replace your coupler.
If you can see deformities in the coupler, you should replace it. This includes burning on the bottom of the coupler where it connects with the nozzle.
Below, you can see examples of bad couplers and a good one for comparison.
Belts (all models)
Belts last generally around 3000-4000 print hours before showing wear or affecting prints. The type of material with which you print does not affect belt wear. If your belts are visibly compromised (torn, cut, or shredding), you need to replace your belts. When the belts are starting to wear out, you may start hearing a clicking noise from them during prints, or see black debris gathering on top of the X and Y motors. You can hear creaking belts at the start of this video.
Belts in need of replacing may also leave residue on your hands when touched.