Just six months after the release of the MK2S upgrade, Prusa Research has announced the new, fully improved, Original Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer. The new features offered by the MK3 are largely to help extend its usability, and encourage 3D printer adoption by casual users.
To this end, the MK3 comes with a range of smart sensors to help pause and recover prints when something goes wrong; an improved, flexible print sheet to help in post-processing; and other additions under the hood that generally make the MK3 Prusa’s smartest 3D printer yet.
Now with added lasers
There are a total of four new sensing systems inside the i3 MK3. First of all, Prusa has installed a filament sensor, detecting when the 3D printer has run out of filament, and setting the print job to pause so it can be recovered after refill.
Coupled with the Prusa optical filament encoder, these sensors also detect filament movement, and can cold pull any filament stuck in the extruder.
In the second sensing instance, Trinamic2130 drivers in the MK3 are capable of detecting layer shifts, and also provide faster, silent operation.
The third smart sensing utility is a recovery system for in case of power outage. Working without batteries, the i3 MK3 monitors mains power supply, and sets the printhead to park when electricity is cut. When power returns, the user can start the print again as if nothing went wrong.
And finally, the cooling fans also come installed with sensors that help in cases of stuck filament, and prevent overheating.
The hard(ware) stuff
Meeting demand for better frame rigidity, the MK3 has a reworked Y axis, that also provides an extra 10mm extra Z height (totaling 210mm.)
A powder coated PEI print sheet, tested on the Prusa farm of over 300 3D printers, has a rougher surface, giving a matte finish to the base of objects.
In the official announcement, co-founder Josef Průša also writes that “As the sheet cools down, parts pop off by themselves and little stubborn ones can be removed by taking it out and simply flexing the sheet.”
Drive gears in the Bondtech extruder also improve material grip, avoiding slips in the filament when fed for extrusion.
Under the hood
The next generation Original Prusa i3 also wouldn’t been complete without new tech updates under the hood. Developed in collaboration with Tennessee 3D printer component manufacturer Ultimachine, the EINSY RAMBo motherboard, says Průša, “is the most advanced 3D printer board out there.”
This addition allows the machine to monitor power outage, hosts the Trinamic for layer shift detection, and makes the MK3 “OctoPrint ready” – adding a Raspberry Pi Zero W to the unit will allow users to monitor 3D printing progress online and control print jobs remotely.
The Original Prusa i3 MK3 is available for pre-order now at $906.29 for a kit, and $1,208.79 assembled (including tax). First shipments of MK3 units is expected in November 2017.
Exhibiting at last weekend’s World Maker Faire in New York, the MK3 received two editor’s choice ribbons for the new features. The Prusa Research team will also be exhibiting in the UK this week at TCT in Birmingham. Be sure to subscribe to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter for updates, and catch us on Twitter and Facebook for exclusive content.
Featured image shows the flexible print sheet of the Original Prusa i3 MK3 with 3D printer inset right. Image via Prusa Printers