One of the most popular desktop 3D printers is the Prusa i3, but now it may become even more popular with its latest iteration.
The Prusa i3, produced in a fully open source manner, has been both built from kits by thousands, as well as purchased as fully assembled units. The Prusa i3 model typically ends up on top of 3D Hubs’ survey of popular 3D printers, besting many notable machines such as Ultimaker and MakerBot.
The fundamental structure of the i3 MK2 are similar to its predecessor, but there are some significant improvements. Here’s some of the highlights:
- Somewhat larger build volume, increasing from 250 x 210 x 200mm from 200 x 200 x 200
- The MK2 design includes a real E3d V6 hotend for reliability and speed. Prusa believes this could increase print speeds by as much as 40%
- The new hot end heats up to 300C, meaning high-temp materials like nylon are now easy to print
- Easily changeable 0.4mm nozzle to permit use of different diameter filament
- Layer size as small as 0.05mm
But the big changes involve the print surface. As before, it’s still heated, but now in a very different manner.
The MK2 includes something they call “cold corners compensation”. Evidently their research showed the bed surface temperatures varied significantly, with too much heat in the center and too little on the corners. Here you can see an infrared image of their previous bed compared to the new one.
This change will permit much easier printing of large items in warp-prone plastics like ABS.
Wait, there’s more: The MK2 also includes an automatic calibration mechanism to ensure the bed is perfectly level. Here we see the sensor checking the bed.
This will dramatically reduce setup time and push print reliability a bit higher.
Oh, and there’s even more improvements to the print surface: the new bed is coated with PEI, a special, indestructable plastic that provide automatic stickiness to common 3D print materials like PLA and ABS. I can tell you this alone is an incredible feature that makes 3D printing so much easier. You’ll never need to use any external adhesive of any kind on this print surface.
As in the past, the MK2 is sold as a kit by Prusa Research. You can pre-order the machine for only USD$699, but remember, you must build it yourself. Oh, you have a previous version Prusa i3? No problem - just order the upgrade kit for a mere USD$199.
This is an excellent upgrade to an already excellent machine. But there’s actually several more improvements I’ve not mentioned; for full details check out Prusa’s post at the link below.