One of the reasons that Prusa has so many fans is that it is constantly working to improve and update its products. One especially popular upgrade in the past couple of years was the multi-material upgrade for the Prusa i3 MK2 3D printer. According to a customer survey, more than 73% of respondents would recommend the multi-material upgrade to friends or relatives, but as Prusa founder Josef Prusa says in a blog, the company wanted to improve the feature further and so redesigned the unit completely, making it simpler and more efficient. They also added an automated filament-cutting blade and physical buttons for manual controls.
The new hardware also features a direct drive, a single extruder motor, and print recovery – and it can print with five materials, instead of four.
“What we have here is a one-of-a-kind multi-material printing addon that is fully integrated with the printer, so everything is perfectly synchronized and the whole thing works seamlessly as a single unit,” Prusa says. “It’s just like printing on the standard MK3 – slice the model, export the G-Code, put it on an SD card and you can start printing right away without any hassle.”
The Multi-Material Upgrade 2.0 can be ordered for $299, with shipping anticipated in November.
New firmware 3.4.0 for the Original Prusa i3 MK3 and MK2.5 has also been released. One of the biggest new features for the MK3 is a filament sensor, allowing for auto-loading, stuck filament detection or pausing the print when material runs out.
“Now, the part of the software responsible for analyzing the filament flow has been completely rewritten to improve the precision and reliability of the sensor,” Prusa says. “It means that the sensor can recognize filament runout with greater accuracy and the number of false detections drops significantly. In the past, MK3 and MK2.5 printers shared the same values for the evaluation process, which sometimes led to incorrect results. Firmware 3.4.0 fixes this issue.”
Another improved feature for the MK3 is more reliable power panic/blackout protection. In addition, users can now choose from four beeper options: loud, for failure and user input notifications; once, which is the same as loud but beeps are played only once; silent, which is only error notifications, and mute, which is completely silent, no matter how serious the error is.
“To decrease the load on the printer’s CPU, we have introduced further optimizations for feedrate and acceleration values,” Prusa adds. “Up until now, the feedrate and acc values were compared to hardcoded limits with every movement throughout the entire print. In the new firmware, the checks for G-codes M201 and M203 are performed only at the beginning of the print. If the input values are smaller than hardcoded values, no action is triggered. In case the values from G-code are greater, the firmware replaces them with the default (hardcoded) ones.”
M-84 G-code is also available. The code can write or read a pin on the mainboard, which can be used to trigger a camera’s shutter so that users can create timelapses of their prints.
Several minor tweaks and bug fixes have been made to the new firmware as well, and you can read about it in more detail here.
Prusa will be in attendance at World Maker Faire, which is taking place in New York on September 22nd and 23rd.
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