In the summer of 2016, the new Original Prusa i3 MK2 Kit was released, with a multi-material upgrade option and calibrate XYZ function announced just a few months later. Now, the open source RepRap 3D printer company, which employs 155 people and makes 6,000 printers a month, has released its latest product – the Original Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer. Prusa, which was just at the New York Maker Faire and is now setting up at the TCT Show in Birmingham, already has the new printer available to pre-order – the kit costs $749, while the fully assembled i3 MK3 printer is $999; the MK2 will stay at the same price of $599.
While the price may seem a little steep, the MK3 has a lot of new features that more than make up for the additional cost, such as an easy to replace powder-coated PEI spring steel print sheet, power panic (ability to fully recover from loss of power), and skipped layers detection.
“What I am the proudest about is the fact that MK3 is bloody smart,” said founder Josef Průša in a blog post. “I repeatedly said that print quality for FDM is peaking, especially with our MK2 holding the top ranks everywhere for over a year, and now we just need to make the technology more digestible for casual users. To do this we added plethora of sensors which can help the printer either guide the user or prevent failed prints.”
According to Průša, the company wasn’t able to do a full upgrade to the MK3, due to the 12v to 24 switch and the printer’s new frame; however, it’s possible to get to MK2.5 with some additional parts and features, like the tougher, magnetic MK52 Heatbed, filament sensor, new Bondtech extruder that grips the filament from both sides, RPM sensing and Noctua fans, and new P.I.N.D.A 2 upgrade with ambient thermistor.
The MK2 Multi Material from the MK2 and MK2S will be compatible with the MK2.5 and MK3, although the MK3 will have three additional filament sensors that will be sold separately. Speaking of the filament sensors, Prusa uses lasers to detect the presence and movement of filament on the MK3, and it also comes with filament auto loading.
Most single-head printers have a thermistor in the extruder and a second one in the heatbed, but the MK3 comes with a total of four thermistors. One measures the ambient temperature of the electronics, and the other one is embedded into the P.I.N.D.A. 2 probe tip.The MK3 comes with an EINSY RAMBo motherboard, which Prusa developed with UltiMachine, and features Trinamic2130 drivers with layer shift detection for faster, silent printing. The RAMBo board comes with a special accessory header for connecting Raspberry Pi Zero W, so it’s easier than ever to add OctoPrint to your printer.
The MK3 printer also features a brand new Y axis.
“The most wanted feature was an improved frame rigidity,” Průša explained. “We are now introducing the reworked Y axis from aluminium extrusion. It provides the same rigidity as some other printers, while providing the sleek look of our milled Dural frame. The frame is also optimized to add 10mm of Z height totaling at 210mm.”
Prusa will be offering a $100 discount for users who recently purchased and received the MK2S and would like to upgrade it to an MK2.5. If you ordered an MK2S but haven’t received it yet, Prusa will refund you the price difference, or send you the MK3 instead, with an additional payment.
“Please don’t contact our support about that right now (they really have too much on their plate at this moment), we’re going to send an e-mail with vouchers during the next week,” Prusa asked users.
Check out the new Original Prusa i3 MK3 printer in action in the video:
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com, or share your thoughts below.[Images: Prusa]