Is thethe smaller, cheaper Prusa you've been waiting for? Or are you better off spending your money elsewhere? Read on as we review its specs.
Czech-based Prusa Research is trying its hand again at cracking into another 3D printing arena, after already developing the beloved Original Prusa i3 MK3S, his own filament line called Prusament, a slicing software called PrusaSlicer and an SLA printer to boot.
This time, Josef Průša released a mini version of the MK3S, the aptly named Original Prusa Mini, a 180 x 180 x 180 mm nugget, which sells for $349 and which could be suitable for a print farm, an entry-level printer or an affordable second printer.
At its price point, Prusa is competing directly against Chinese manufacturers with cheap printers like the Tevo Tarantula Pro and the perennial favorite Creality Ender 3 Pro, but does his more expensive machine have what it takes to topple the competition? Is it a worthy entry printer to the world of Prusa? Read on for our take of this mini-but-mighty printer’s specs.
Unlike the Original Prusa i3 MK3S kit, which will set you back $749, the Mini offers a more affordable price point starting at $349, putting it well within reach for most people looking to get into 3D printing, and for those interested in a second (or third!) machine.
However, with the cheaper price also comes some caveats – the machine has a smaller build volume compared to its bigger counterpart and if you’d like it to have a filament sensor and both the smooth PEI and the textured powder-coated steel sheets, you’ll have to pony up an additional $20 and $30 respectively. It also doesn’t heat up quite as much either — its maximum extruder and bed temperature is 20°C lower than the MK3S’ 300°C and 120°C respectively. Though it can print PLA, PETG, ASA, ABS, and Flex, it cannot handle nylon.
Prusa has an enormous community of passionate fans who share advice and help each other out should you need it, but if that doesn’t do the trick, the company itself also offers customer support in seven languages 24/7 via live chat. Plus, the company offers a quality guarantee and a 60-day return policy.
Though the Wi-Fi upgrade is not yet available, the machine does come with an ethernet port, which helps streamline workflows considerably. It’s a feature that lends itself well to building a Minis print farm.
Unlike the MK3S, which has a direct drive extruder, the Mini has a Bowden system with a 3:1 drive gear ratio. This keeps the extruder light to reduce wobble so it can zip around the print bed. The extruder motor sits snuggly on the Z-axis column while the filament is pushed through a PTFE tube into the hotend and through the nozzle.
This fancy new screen offers more than just color — most notably, you can preview your sliced model before printing. A cool, but not necessarily essential, tool (unless you have a nasty habit of giving your models extremely vague names. If that’s the case, this feature is absolutely for you).
Bigger isn’t always better. The Mini boasts a footprint of 380 x 330 mm, which Prusa claims is snug enough to pack several machines onto a shelf, but still has a print volume of 180 x 180 x 180 mm. However, be aware that the Mini lacks a print resume function in the event of a power failure. If you’re buying them for a print farm this could be an especially irritating feature to have missing.
The Mini sports a custom-made 32-bit “Buddy” motherboard with Trinamic 2209 drivers, unlike the MK3S, which has an Einsy RAMBo 8-bit board with the older Trinamic 2130 drivers. The new setup is supposed to offer almost everything that OctoPrint can, including farm management software, which will become available in the future with a firmware update.
The removable magnetic PEI-coated spring steel bed — probably one of the best you can find on a printer these days — is a hugely awesome feature that makes the usability of it tippy top. As the sheet cools down, parts can be popped off by simply flexing the sheet inward. You can also purchase an optional upgrade for $30 and get an additional textured powder-coated spring steel sheet too.
Here are the cold, hard specs for the Original Prusa Mini 3D printer:
The Original Prusa Mini is set to begin shipping out at the end of November 2019. You can purchase it via the following retailer:
License: The text of "2019 Original Prusa Mini 3D Printer: Review the Specs" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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