We have been waiting for months for the new Prusa MK3 printer and now we have finally seen it, so we want to shorten the time for others waiting and bring this review of the new 3D printer, its assembly, calibration, 3D printing and comparison with the previous MK2s model. What's new compared to the previous version? At the end of the review, we will summarize what we like / dislike and give the overall rating.
Ordering and delivery:
We ordered the last day in October 2017 and the printer arrived 3 months later, ie at the end of January 2018.
However, it must be taken into account that it was a pre-order, and therefore it took a little longer. New orders should arrive in about 1-2 months depending on the date of order.
So far, all orders are with a smooth double-sided PEI surface, rough should be available sometime in late February.
Packaging and individual workshops
We personally are passionate do-it-yourselfers, so we ordered a kit.
The parts are nicely and neatly packed, we had no problem finding anything. The manual is in English, but there is also a manual in Czech on the Internet, there is also a printer's manual (it is in Czech).
Traditionally, the package also includes Haribo teddy bears for a reward.
We especially appreciate the clear packaging of each section of the kit and a very strong notice in the instructions, what to watch out for and what not to underestimate.
Assemble the printer
Compared to the previous version (MK2s), the MK3 has a solid frame, which is very strong, so you don't have to overdo the exact assembly of right angles.
The parts fit together well and there was no major problem during assembly. However, some printed parts had a smaller tolerance and did not always fit immediately for the first time, so it was necessary to adjust or grind them a bit (however, this is expected and it is not a problem to print others in better quality).
The only part of the printer where we sweated a little was the extruder, where you need to remember to insert all the nuts, otherwise it will come out at the end and you will not be able to tighten the end screws. We recommend not rushing and rather proceed very carefully. If you make a small mistake, you do not have to go through the calibration and the print will not be good.
The overall assembly (including the connection of the electronics) took about 10 h and we were not in a hurry.
As with the previous version, the calibration is completely automatic. The printer first checks the fans, proper wiring, axis mobility, pad / hotend, and then proceeds to the next calibration.
In the next part, it tests the individual calibration points (here it is necessary to check with paper whether the nozzle does not touch the pad), first the main 4 points and then all 9 calibration points.
Once the calibration is complete, you can set up the first layer to print using the prepared gcode on the SD card. If the printer does not pass the calibration, the problem will appear on the display and you will find a solution in the manual.
In our case, the calibration went through first, but the printing was lousy, so we had to repeat the calibration again. Subsequently, the calibration did not pass because the calibration point was not found. The reason was belts that were not tight enough. Then the calibration went through and we could continue printing.
First, we tested several models from the included SD card. Here we already had the experience that these models are usually set up very well and the print should have looked perfect (if the printer is properly assembled and set up). Unfortunately, the first few prints failed and often shifted layers appeared. We tried to use another filament, with which the print looked much better.
We also tried printing various models modified via Slic3r (I recommend using Slic3r prusa MK3) and the resulting print looked very good. We rate the quality as comparable to the MK2s printer.
We tested the speed of the printer and it can be seen that with the right settings, the printer can print faster than MK2s. We printed two identical parts on both printers and the MK3 was about 2 hours faster.
The print quality is not always perfect and in some filaments, unfortunately, shifted layers reappeared, but this also happens with MK2s and it is necessary to test the models and change the settings. At Prusa Research, they come up with updates on a regular basis, and of course you need to keep in mind that the printer is still under development and not all errors will appear during production and subsequent testing.
Průša writes about individual mistakes on his blog .
More prints on Prusa MK3
What does the MK3 offer in addition to the previous model?
- The already mentioned rigid frame and greater stability when printing
- Removable magnetic pad that saves you a lot of time and hassle with peeling objects from the pad
- Noctua silent fans (the printer is really much quieter and almost inaudible in stealth mode)
- Filament sensor so you can heat the nozzle and then just slide the filament into the feeder. The printer will also alert you if filament runs out on the spool.
- Energy loss detection. If the power fails, the printer stops printing and resumes printing when the power is turned on
- The endstop switch is missing and the printer can recognize the end of the axis itself
- Possibility to connect Raspberry Pi Zero W
- The price of the assembled printer is less than CZK 27,000 including VAT.
- The price of the kit is less than 20,000 CZK with VAT.
- It is not the cheapest printer in the RepRap category, but it can boldly compete with much more expensive semi-professional printers, such as Ultimaker 2 (approx. CZK 40,000 - 50,000).
Even though we only have a printer for a while and we will definitely test it very carefully, we have already taken the liberty of writing an evaluation of the first impressions based on our own experience with this printer.
What we like
- The rigid frame certainly benefited the printer and saved us a lot of time during assembly and subsequent calibration
- The removable pad is really great, practical and looks very good and elegant
- Quiet mode is very nice for someone who only has an MK3 printer (but not so important to us, compared to other MK2s printers)
- Faster print speed with the correct settings (however, care must be taken with the resulting print quality)
What we don't like so much anymore
- Offset layers for some prints
- Incompatibility between Slic3r MK2s and MK3 (you have to set everything separately)
- Annoying sound in normal mode with faster pad movement
- Non-delivery of the rough pad according to the original order
Overall, however, we rate the MK3 as a very good printer and a proud successor to the previous very successful MK2s. The printer still has some flies that need to be fine-tuned, but we hope it comes with a software update or a possible upgrade. If the company Prusa works on the update and improves some minor shortcomings, then we can talk about the best printer in the category of RepRap printers for do-it-yourselfers and enthusiasts of modern technologies.