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  1. #1

    Question Prusa i3 MK3S or something else?

    Good morning,


    I have a question about my recent purchase. Let me start by saying this will be my first 3d printer but I have built (designed and constructed) two CNC milling machines with ball screws and servo drives, so I am familiar with some of the terms, and at least familiar with milling machine motion controls.


    I was leaning towards a Prusa Mini but the lead time is September so I opted for the Prusa i3. The lead time was advertised 3-4 weeks, unfortunately, I am sitting at 38 days with no order update.


    I am a bit concerned that I may be paying a premium for outdated control hardware and/or software, 8 bit vs 32 bit, and a touch screen. So my question to the group is this:
    Given my budget of $800 to $1,000 (I'd rather spend less), what would you suggest I do? Wait on the Prusa or cancel the order and move on to a printer that is cheaper, available, and possibly more advanced?


    What will I print:


    I'm not exactly sure so I would like a direct feed extruder and a machine capable of printing a wide variety of materials. I do sell a few items for O scale trains at my shop, but those are all CNC milled at the moment. I may be able to replace one part that I currently make from fiberglass with a printed part. I am sure to print items for my HO scale railroad, however, I understand the limits of detail with such small items.


    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
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    well, the electronics doesn't make that much difference.
    And while it can be a real PITA to sort firmware - better boards and stepper drivers are cheap and easily available.
    The mechanics and engineering make more difference, so better to start with a sound mechanical base.

    As you are engineering savvy - have a look at the hictop
    https://www.hic3dprinter.com/product...-dual-extruder

    Some nice parts including linear rails for the extruder carriage.
    Also full Independant Dual Extruders.
    Which means you can use 2 different materials at the same time. Useful for using soluble support material.
    Takes a lot of the hassle out of prints that need supports.
    take off the bed throw into sink of warm water - dissolve supports, drain :-)

    Plus useful things like 2 prints at once, mirror printing.
    Also a much larger build volume than the prusa.

    It does have the prusa critical i3 engineering: direct drive extruders, dual bed support rails and dual z axis motors.

    Reviews I've seen indicate that it's pretty good out of the box - but should you want to do upgrades. It's a really solid platform for those as well.

    In the under $1000 market at the moment, I honestly don't think you can do much better.

    Detail printing in fdm is largely down to the nozzle size.
    switch the standard 0.4mm for a 0.2 or 0.25 and you can get almost resin like detail in your prints.
    A big printer will do this just as well as a small printer.
    Switch up to a 0.6 or 0.8mm nozzles and knock out big stuff really quickly (well it's all relative - 3d printing is never 'fast' :-)

  3. #3
    Thank you for the reply!

    Prusa must have heard me typing, I received a shipping notification an hour ago! LOL
    I imagine this won't be my last printer and I will look up the hictop.

    I had never even thought about dissolvable supports! Great idea! I am used to thinking about
    part construction from the perspective of subtracting materials instead of adding material.

    Thank you again!

  4. #4
    I was in a similar situation as you (also have a lot of CNC experiance). Came close to buying the Prusa, but in the end I decided to buy a CR-10S and I am rebuilding it with higher-end parts, like a direct drive Micro Swiss DDE, and EasyABL, dampers, higher end nozzels etc. This way it will end up being better than the Prusa, and I won't have to wait for it, plus the best part is I get to learn more about the machine and how everything works together. Plus of course it will cost me less. I am really happy with my decision because I have never seen any 3D printer that I didn't want to upgrade in some way, even the Prusa.

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