I have been thinking about buying another a 3D printer for a long time. However, I could never justify the £2000+ cost of a good quality printer, especially knowing that there would never be any practical use for it.
The Original Prusa i3 Mk2 3D printer. It’s ridiculously popular and people have been waiting for an update for a long time.
The first Prusa i3 printer was released in 2010 and, led to many clones. You can only buy this printer from Prusa Research.. Don’t look at Amazon (yet?), and certainly not Aliexpress, or Ebay.
Everything was well packaged and made sense. Buying from well-respected brand like Prusa Research, and knowing there would be actual support and warranty,
The Prusa i3 design is completely open-source, both the hardware and software, and the MK2 comes with a bunch of very clever features for both of them.
The design is so popular, so well known. So it’s still the familiar design of the vertical center plate carrying the Z and X axis and threaded rod base that carries that vertical plate and the Y-axis.
This gives the Original Prusa i3 MK2 a sized build volume that’s 250mm wide, 210mm deep and 200 mm tall. It’s printing onto heated bed, so the solution to all problems apparently, and that’s a thick,
custom PCB — or printed circuit board — heater with no aluminum, glass, or anything else required to give it stiffness, since it’s already made from glass-fiber-reinforced resin,
and to get your prints to stick, a thin PEI foil on top.
There are two versions of MK2:.
a kit version that needs to be assembled for. £629.00 tax incl. and a fully assembled and tested printer for £899.
The coolest thing about MK2 is that all the plastic parts are 3D printed, which means that you can print your own printer (if you buy all the electronics for it and already have access working printer already)! If you order a pre-assembled printer,
Prusa prints the parts, assembles and tests them, then ships them out. The kit version comes with all the same parts, tested separately, for you to put together. Warranty and email support with the Prusa i3 is just great, very helpfull.
The printer comes with two documents that will assist you in assembling it; there is also an updated assembly guide online that is available in different languages. Also Silver spool PLA FILAMENT 1Kg, and some tools needed for assembly printer.
It took me around 4-5 hours to assemble the printer and I was ready for my first print.
Warranty and email support with the Prusa i3 MK2S, kit or the pre-built, is the first reason to purchase this machine.
The shipping was smooth and reasonably priced, considering it came all the way from Prague, Czech Republic.
Should you go for a kit or pre-made? I went for the kit because my experience has been that I end up taking these things apart anyway.
Features & Specifications
Build volume like I mention before - 10500 cm3 (25 x 21 x 20 cm or or 9.84 x 8.3 x 8 in) edge to edge printing.
Theres a new and different HeatBed compared to the previous mk1 and other printers.
Why is it special? Everything in this release is tied to it. First, theres the idea of compensating for cold corners. Prusa took thermal cam and iterated over couple of months until they got the best heat distribution. The problem with normal heated beds is the temperature difference.
For example measure the center against the corners of the glass plane that most people print on, you will see roughly 15°C difference. This can play a big role in printing materials tending to warp.
Prusa Reasarch final design uses three power zones where the corners heat couple °C more than the center to form warm air shield at the edges of the print bed. This is a game changer in printing of bigger parts!.
Next to the hotend, we find something I believe should be mandatory for any 3D printer sold today — a bed probe. And not just any probe, but a smaller than usual, inductive, probe dubbed the P.I.N.D.A. probe. Prusa i3 MK2 uses the probe for several tasks.
It does auto mesh bed leveling, which allows the printer to correct for a slight bow or warp in the build platform instead of just a planar misalignment. Specialized 9 calibration points on the bed substrate to get great repeatability. Basically 3D model of the bed tilt and curvature and uses it to compensate in Z axis.
This way, you will always get perfect first layer and the heatbed can be completely bolted to the printer frame. Hassle free.
Second, if you built the Original Prusa i3 MK2 from the kit version, it also uses the embedded calibration spots in the MK2 heated bed to square up your X and Y axes, so even if you built it with the lower frame super poorly aligned to the rest of the machine,
which can be tricky to get perfectly right, your prints will still come out square after you let the printer calibrate itself.
Also an improved fork of Marlin to be usable by real humans. LCD cover has been radically improved too, mainly to easily guide the SD card into the slot.
The most notable new feature is printer self test. The printer is able to diagnose itself after you finish building it and guide you to fix the problems on it’s LCD! We never saw a 3D printer kit which is able to do that.
It has a 0.4mm nozzle (easily changeable) for 1.75 mm filament, or if you’d rather end up with even more precise prints instead, you can buy a finer 0.25mm nozzle.
Average power consumption Prusa MK2 is 70 W (while printing PLA) or 100 W (while printing ABS). It even has a specially optimised firmware for quiet printing that you can enable from its LCD
Print Experience Fuselage of Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI from 3D Lab Print - It was printed on a Original Prusa i3 Mk2S.
When installing the drivers of the Prusa MK2, you also receive a few models and gcodes with the package.
One of the more interestings things given is a few folders with gcodes for printing 3D Lab Print's spitfire model.
These files only work with Prusa's printer. They are ready to print right out of the box and come in an organised way with multiple parts ready to be printed from the same file.
Once that’s done, you have to run a zCalibration script that comes preloaded on the Micro SD Card that comes with the printer.
That script allows you to refine the thickness of the first print layer so the print sticks perfectly unto the bed. Once these three steps are complete, you are ready to print.
(Calibrating these things manually on other 3D printers is a nightmare, often done with several screws in the corners of the bed plate)
So software-wise, Prusa Research are providing a installer for Windows and Mac OSX, and instructions on how to set up the tools if you’re using GNU/Linux,
and their software package includes everything from drivers, a preconfigured slicer, a printer host, a Netfabb installer, a color print tool as well as a firmware updater.
The first experience
If you are new to 3D printing, imagine that you are trying to create an object out of thin air. Not literally, but you get the point you are creating an object.
There are a lot of variables and a lot of moving parts, which means a small flaw can ruin the whole print.
Then, colour print! While the Original Prusa i3 MK2 is a single-color 3D printer,
they’ve included some features to allow you to print in multiple colours by swapping filament mid-print.
You can either do this through the LCD controller on any print (which you could also use simply to drop in a fresh spool of filament if your old one runs out)
or by inserting colour change positions to the ready-to-print GCode file before a print, and at those positions the printer will pause and ask you to swap its filament.
Original Prusa i3 MK2 Multi Material upgrade
There is a number of key advantages:
Perfect alignment of the colors.
Zero additional calibration on top of the regular MK2 calibration.
The build volume doesn’t shrink with each additional extruder (Only small (3x5cm tops) smart tower is generated and can be positioned freely on the build plate.).
No special motherboard is needed apart from their extra multiplexing board.
Very light load on the extruder carriage.
Regular E3D hotend can be used or reused during the upgrade.
There are few disadvantages:
Bowdens aren’t super friendly to the flexible materials but Prusa already have ideas of mixing direct and bowden style drives.
Materials with vastly different print temperatures cannot be printed at the same time.
But this is theoretical as printing ABS and PLA at the same time isn’t a good idea anyways because of vastly different heatbed temperatures.
Small temperature changes can be done during printing the smart tower