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Numbers Aren’t Everything

Prusa i3 MK3S Build Volume: How Big is it Actually?

Picture of Hironori Kondo
by Hironori Kondo
Oct 3, 2019
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Build volume isn't always about numbers. Read on to learn the true Prusa i3 MK3S build volume, and see how it compares to the competition.

Prusa i3 MK3S Build Volume The Numbers

The Prusa i3 MK3S build volume, filled.
The Prusa i3 MK3S build volume, filled. (Source: Prusa Research)

The Prusa i3 MK3S is our top-rated 3D printer of fall 2019. For a full breakdown of why we love it, you can refer to our thorough review: 2019 Original Prusa i3 MK3S Review: Simply the Best. Otherwise, just know that it is an incredibly popular machine, and for good reason.

So, how good is it for printing big? According to the official product page, the MK3S has a build volume of 11,025 cm³ (250 x 210 x 210 mm or 9.84 x 8.3 x 8.3 in).

But that’s not very helpful unless you already know the dimensions of what you plan on printing. So, what kind of things can you expect to print?

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Prusa i3 MK3S Build Volume What Can You Print?

Raspberry Pi case parts on an MK3S print bed.
Raspberry Pi case parts on an MK3S print bed. (Source: All3DP)

It might be difficult to gain an intuition for what this build volume means for you and what you can print.

The MK3S’ build volume can fit the average human head. Something like a large helmet would likely be a hair too large and would have to be split up into smaller pieces.

A similar comparison would be a regulation size 5 football, which is roughly a centimeter wider than the MK3S’ maximum print width. And for most of us, that’s all we’ll ever need.

For perspective, you can also consider the image above: On the build plate depicted are several pieces of a Raspberry Pi case. The Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer roughly the same size as a credit card. You can fit five of them on the build plate with plenty of room to spare.

Of course, everyone has different uses cases and thus different demands for print volume. If you know that you’ll need to churn out even bigger prints, consider a large-format 3D printer, such as one from our listicle: 2019 Best Large-Format 3D Printers

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Prusa i3 MK3S Build Volume How Does it Compare?

The similarly-sized, also top-rated Ender 3 Pro.
The similarly-sized, also top-rated Ender 3 Pro. (Source: All3DP)

At its price point, how appealing is the Prusa i3 MK3S’ build volume?

Short answer: It’s average.

Long answer: The MK3S is comparable to many other 3D printers that made it onto our 2019 Best 3D Printers (Fall Update). The popular and more affordable Creality Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro machines have build volumes quite similar to the MK3S’, with a 220 x 220 x 250 mm build volume.

If you need something even bigger, you’ve got the budget Creality CR-10S, packing 300 x 300 x 400 mm of printing goodness.

On the smaller end, you’ll find the Tiertime UP Mini 2 ES, which has a tighter print volume of 120 x 120 x 120 mm.

As you can see, the Prusa i3 MK3S really is in a comfortable, but not spacious, category. If build volume is a priority, there might be better printers for the job. However, note that the MK3S is fairly unmatched in reliability.

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Prusa i3 MK3S Build Volume What about Multi-Extrusion?

Multi-color prints printed with the Multi-Material Upgrade.
Multi-color prints printed with the Multi-Material Upgrade. (Source: Prusa Research)

A common concern with multi-material 3D printing, or multi-extrusion, is that print volume is sacrificed. This is due to the addition of extra nozzles, which reduces the area covered by all nozzles, but also because when multi-material 3D printing, the machine has to build a wipe tower to keep the nozzle(s) clean.

You won’t lose build volume if you upgrade to the official Prusa Multi-Material Upgrade 2S (MMU2S) from the first point. This upgrade’s unique multi-extruder, single-nozzle design that doesn’t add any nozzles to the print head. The beauty of this design is that it uses the same hot end for each material, rather than having a dedicated hot end and nozzle for each.

However, the machine will print wipe towers and depending on how large they are based on the print, this will eat up some build space.

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Prusa i3 MK3S Build Volume Where to Buy

The Prusa i3 MK3S and the awards it's won from us
The Prusa i3 MK3S and the awards it's won from us (Source: All3DP)

Does the Prusa i3 MK3S meet your 3D printing demands? If so, you can get it yourself from the sources below.

Happy printing!

(Lead image source: Thomas Sanladerer / YouTube)

Original Prusa i3 MK3S Learn more
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License: The text of "Prusa i3 MK3S Build Volume: How Big is it Actually?" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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