The second-generation Ultimaker 3D printer also looks less like you built it yourself than its predecessor.

Ultimaker has launched the £1,600 Ultimaker 2 3D printer, which it claims offers better prints than the first version. It also ships with software that the company claims processes 3D files for output much faster than the competition.

As well as featuring a design that looks more professional than its predecessor, the Ultimaker 2 has been fashioned in such a way that it produces more accurate models, its creators claim. The specs for this are the same – with both the Ultimaker and Ultimaker being able to print down to 0.02mm level – but the company says that better components in the extrusion system allow for greater accuracy.

The Cura software – which turns 3D models designed in other applications into a print-ready form – is up to 60 times faster than competitive applications, says Ultimaker. The company has also set up an online community called YouMagine (really? Ed), which allows designs to be shared and collaboratively worked on.

The Ultimaker 2 supports both ABS and PLA materials, and has a possible printiing area that's slightly larger than its predecessor (22.5 x 22.5 x 20.5cm, versus the first-gen printer's  21 x 21 x 20.5cm). Ultimaker cites the low-level of noise produced by the 3D printer as one of selling-points, producing only 49dB (which it calls 'three times a whisper').

The Ultimaker 2 costs €1,895 (around £1,600).