getting new prusa - questions about how it compares to...
 

getting new prusa - questions about how it compares to...  

Page 1 / 2
  RSS
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member

Hey Everyone...I am just about to "pull the trigger" on a brand new pre-built MK3S- I am 95% sure I want to do it...I just wanted to get any thoughts anyone would care to share before I do.   So you have context, I bought my first 3d printer in 2009.  I actually just walked into the MakerBot store in NYC (when it existed).  We wanted to have our own 3d printing space but it proved to be too much work.  At one point I had a MakerBot Replicator (early generation-prints PLA only), a MakerBot Replicator 2x (dual extrusion-prints ABS), a MakerGear M2, and a "Rep-Rap" machine, the Airwolf 3DXL, that I assembled from a kit.  Also assembled a giant GigaBot that had a 1 meter-cubed print volume but that never really worked right.  Anyway, now I simply have one printer that "works ok" but it is temperamental.  I have the latest Makerbot (Replicator +)...when they got bought by Stratasys, I had hopes for MakerBot...(I liked the idea of an extruder that simply is held on-and can be exchanged- magnetically and a flexible bed that you can just bend to remove prints).  However, neither idea works very well.  I've had to order 5 replacement extruders in the last 2 years plus I almost gave up trying to get prints to stick to the bed - I was ready to throw the machine out the window when I read on Reddit that a certain kind of Gaffer's tape would solve the problem.  I do a lot of printing for free for other people (we promote free legal work for people in need) and I have been printing hundreds of objects per month...the Makerbot has done "ok" but the extruder always fails eventually and really can't be fixed.  The bending bed doesn't really work (if you use it that way, it won't bed back and the bed is eventually warped)... so I just leave the bed on the machine and use gaffer's tape.  I have printed maybe 1000 objects with over 90% success, but it only prints PLA and the machine is going out of warranty soon and I will have to pay $250 for each new extruder...that will be like buying a new MK3S each year.

So I'd like to know if the MK3S is likely to "just work?"  I'm going to have the company assemble it and I will of course maintain as necessary but after reading some of the posts on the site, it seems like there could be many problems with the machine.  Loose belts, difficulties with loading filament, problems with bed adhesion, etc.  I don't mind doing some maintenance but I am looking for a relatively easy machine to work with.  I am not interested in having to tinker with the machine all the time.  I have a lot of stuff to print and I just want it to work - I plan to be "nice" to the machine of course, but I want to focus my "maker-energy" on what I am printing, not the machine itself.  I am looking to print on something more durable than PLA.  I am thinking PETG but have never used it.

Is this the right machine for me?    I know I am asking you all to guess - any opinions or thoughts are welcome.  Thanks so much!

Ron

Posted : 27/11/2019 2:58 pm
joan.t
(@joantabb)
Veteran Member Moderator

Hi Ron, 
this is a support forum, so a lot of the people on here are having problems, 
Often they are new users... 
Many of them dissappear after a few posts...   and get too busy just printing...  
A small number of users seem to be unable to get anything working, and they are often unhelpful to themselves by taking an aggressive stance, rather than helping explain what they are actually seeing, as they are the only people who can actually see what's happenning... 
a couple of folk have decided that everything is Prusa's fault, and it is their duty to try and cause trouble with sniping, and ugly messages... 

In the main, most folk get help on here and resolve their initial issues quickly. 

I have 5 prusa's, 4 FDM, (mk2's and mk3's) including multi material unit 1 (MMU1) And Multi Material Unit 2, (MMU2S) plus an SL1 Resin printer...
If they were junk, I would only have one printer, and I wouldn't be a moderator on here!

Any printer will need maintenance,  I have had two heatbed cables fail after loads of use, (the continuous flexing causes metal fatigue, in the cables.) 
I now use 16 AWG flexible silicone insulated wire for the heatbed cable when I build a new printer, and the latest two printers are printing happily from day 1. with no failures. I have printed loads of fund raising merchandise for an unfunded charitable organisation.

If you decide to get the printer built for you, Please ask them to lubricate the linear bearings before assembly, because I think that is one area where the Prusa instructions are weak... 
I lubed mine from Day one on every printer I have built and I don't have premature wear issues...

I think most people would actually benefit from building their printers rather than buying pre-built, as they will know everything that goes into the printer so if there are any problems, they feel competent to do their own maintenance.

your mileage may vary... 

regards Joan

I try to make safe suggestions,You should understand the context and ensure you are happy that they are safe before attempting to apply my suggestions, what you do, is YOUR responsibility. Location Halifax UK...
Posted : 27/11/2019 9:47 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Famed Member
Posted by: @ron-3

[...] So I'd like to know if the MK3S is likely to "just work?"  I'm going to have the company assemble it and I will of course maintain as necessary but after reading some of the posts on the site, it seems like there could be many problems with the machine.  Loose belts, difficulties with loading filament, problems with bed adhesion, etc.

Most of those aren't concerns with a pre-built Mk3s. I had my first print going within an hour. The things that took me longer to appreciate (the importance of cleaning the PEI, getting the Live-Z setting just right, minor calibration) are things that you are likely already long familiar with or will grasp immediately. If you won't get any enjoyment out of a kit, a pre-built is ideal. I suspect you already have experience with most of the lessons that might be learned from building a kit.

In the last 18 months, I have also found the Mk3 (mine's a pre-S) easy to maintain. I've had extruder clogs, leaky hot ends, heatbreak replacements and a few other "scary" repairs that proved to be straightforward to complete. Prusa support is also excellent, and rapidly sent parts needed (and some not needed) for any failures. My only complaint is with the textured powder-coated sheet. The smooth PEI is amazing.

  I don't mind doing some maintenance but I am looking for a relatively easy machine to work with.  I am not interested in having to tinker with the machine all the time.  I have a lot of stuff to print and I just want it to work - I plan to be "nice" to the machine of course, but I want to focus my "maker-energy" on what I am printing, not the machine itself.  I am looking to print on something more durable than PLA.  I am thinking PETG but have never used it.

You'll find PETG is a little different, but not particularly difficult to deal with on the Prusa. Be aware that it likes to hold onto the PEI print surface, and either wipe the sheet with your greasy mitts or apply a bit of Windex to a clean sheet and it'll come off easily. Be cautious using higher-temp (>250C) PETG variants as they may require the glue stick to release. I've tinkered with nylon (Taulman Bridge) and a few exotics. Plenty of people here are printing polycarbonate and other very interesting materials.

Is this the right machine for me?    I know I am asking you all to guess - any opinions or thoughts are welcome.  Thanks so much!

I think so. What you're after describes my experience with the Prusa i3 Mk3 very closely.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 27/11/2019 10:11 pm
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member

@joantabb

Jeez Louise!  You people are so NICE!  Thanks for all the great info - I think I have the info I need to feel comfortable getting a Prusa.  I really appreciate it.

Ron

Posted : 01/12/2019 6:19 pm
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member

@bobstro

Thanks, Bob...when you wrote that "What you're after describes my experience with the Prusa i3 Mk3 very closely," I became convinced.  This seems like a great community to be a part of...thanks for your help.

Ron

Posted : 01/12/2019 6:21 pm
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member

Hey Bob...since you don't seem to mind answering questions...if I were to try a different material (instead of PLA or ABS), do you have a suggestion?  For color, I just want black, white or some version of clear.  But I was hoping for something that was mechanically strong and wouldn't melt easily.  For example, I printed a phone mount for my e-bike out of PLA and it melted in the NYC summer!  Another example, I printed an adapter so that casters could be used with my favorite chair and the PLA is strong enough (even printed at MAX strength settings.) 

Thanks again

Posted : 01/12/2019 6:37 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Famed Member
Posted by: @ron-3

Hey Bob...since you don't seem to mind answering questions...if I were to try a different material (instead of PLA or ABS), do you have a suggestion?  For color, I just want black, white or some version of clear.  But I was hoping for something that was mechanically strong and wouldn't melt easily. 

Happy to. 

PETG is a good choice, but can be stringy and difficult with overhangs. It's good to about 80C temps. Great for big parts. For detail, nGen from Colorfabb prints much like PLA but has the temp resistance of 85C, a bit above PETG. Colorfabb HT is tougher to print with, but rated above 100C. The Colorfabb stuff is definitely more expensive, around $40 for 750g. Push Plastic has a new high-temp PETG, but it's perpetually out of stock.

For example, I printed a phone mount for my e-bike out of PLA and it melted in the NYC summer!  Another example, I printed an adapter so that casters could be used with my favorite chair and the PLA is strong enough (even printed at MAX strength settings.) 

I have not done much with nylon or polycarbonate, but check those out for strength. pC is a good mix of temp resistance and strength.

 

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 01/12/2019 7:11 pm
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member

Hi again Bob...I ordered my new machine over a month ago and it's finally arriving...(I'm in NYC)...your advice helped me decide to go ahead and get the machine (I've had several others printers in the past but this is my first prusa)... I would much rather just be able to print from my PC rather than first save to an sd card and then put that in the printer... In the past, I've used a few different software packages (like pronterface and repetier and simply3d) and others..but it has been years since I used anything other than the stock makerbot software.. can you tell me what you do?   I'm pretty ignorant about the latest and greatest....thanks so much.

 

Ron

Posted : 13/01/2020 9:04 pm
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member

@joantabb

Hi Joan...

Over a month ago, you wrote me quite a long response that did a lot to convince me to get a new prusa...it's finally coming tomorrow...I see that you have quite a few of them...so if you wouldn't mind giving me a little more advice...

I would much rather just be able to print from my PC rather than first save to an sd card and then put that in the printer... Years ago, I tried pronterface, repetier, simplfy3d, and others..but since it has been so long since I used anything other than the makerbot printer software that I am clueless... can you tell me what you do now?   I'm don't really know about the latest and greatest....thanks so much.

Ron

Posted : 13/01/2020 9:17 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Famed Member
Posted by: @ron-3

[...] I would much rather just be able to print from my PC rather than first save to an sd card and then put that in the printer... In the past, I've used a few different software packages (like pronterface and repetier and simply3d) and others..but it has been years since I used anything other than the stock makerbot software.. can you tell me what you do? 

Well, bad news but ultimately good news.

In general, you don't want to print tethered to a desktop computer. Prints are long and complex enough that any sort of delay in sending the printer gcode over the (slow) USB serial link is going to result in layer shifts and poor quality. Things like anti-virus scans and Windows updates play havoc with prints.

The good news is that with a bit of effort, you can configure a Raspberry Pi as a dedicated print server running Octoprint. Chris Riley has an excellent YouTube video that shows the process. It's not overly complicated with the pre-built OctoPi image. The beauty of Octoprint is that, once configured, you can configure PrusaSlicer to send sliced gcode files over to the printer via wifi, giving you a good compromise.

Alternately, some folks swear by the Toshiba FlashAir cards, a wifi-enabled SD card that fits inside your computer. You do have to be sure to format it correctly for the Prusa (FAT32 format). There are instructions here on the forums. I had one, but mine died after a year and it was cheaper to set up a more capable Octoprint/OctoPi setup.

I did have a rotation of 3 SD cards worked out for the 1st few months. It's annoying, but doable. The SD slot can wear out though, so a wireless solution is a good idea.

 

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 13/01/2020 9:50 pm
nikolai.r
(@nikolai-r)
Noble Member

Hi Ron and welcome to the community.

I would recommend you to get a Raspberry Pi (3B+). In combination with the PrusaSlicer, it's very convenient to hit a button for upload from slicer and start the print either from the web interface or any smartphone app. 

Often linked posts:
Going small with MMU2
Real Multi Material
My prints on Instagram...
Posted : 13/01/2020 10:09 pm
joan.t
(@joantabb)
Veteran Member Moderator

Glad to hear you have ordered a Prusa. 

I have used Pronterface,  with some success (but you have to turn off updates, screen savers,  and everything else that is likely to kick off an activity during the print, to give printing priority... ) because if the computer link restarts the print will fail. 

I tried RaspberryPi, but I din't get on with it, so I use SD card...    Bobstro or Mikolai, are probably better placed to comment.    I note from other's posts that the Pizero is probably not a good option especially if you want a camera linked to the Pi

regards Joan

I try to make safe suggestions,You should understand the context and ensure you are happy that they are safe before attempting to apply my suggestions, what you do, is YOUR responsibility. Location Halifax UK...
Posted : 14/01/2020 11:05 am
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member

@bobstro

Thanks for the reply, Bobstro... So, I will definitely just use the SD card for the immediate future, but I am still wondering something.  I bought the Prusa because I like the idea of the RepRap, the helpful community, the increased capability (especially all the different materials), the great price, etc.  But I have (and I plan to keep) my Makerbot Replicator+ (just to use as a backup if the Prusa is down).  And while it seems that the Prusa is better in nearly every way, it seems that this particular issue (having to use an SD card) has been handled more elegantly by Makerbot and I am wondering if this might be something that should be suggested to improve the Prusa or if there is something I'm not understanding.

In case your not familiar, here's how it works with Makerbot: you just place your stl in the desktop software, change the settings if the standard settings aren't appropriate, and select print.  If I send a big print that will take 5 hours, the desktop software takes just a few minutes to slice and then send the data to the printer.  Once that happens, I could turn the computer off or the computer could crash etc.  In this example, for the 5 hours that the printer would be working, it doesn't need to be connected to any computer or network.  I am guessing this is just because it has enough on board memory?  Maybe there is the equivalent of a big SD card built in?

Of course, the inconvenience of having to use an SD card are far outweighed by all the benefits of getting a Prusa; I'm quite sure I'll be happy I got one.  But this issue (that both you and Joantabb) have spoken of, the computer having to be on and not interrupted seems to have been worked out at Makerbot...is the idea that the Octoprint/OctoPi setup is just another way of doing basically the same thing?  I would be interested in your thoughts (even if you are just speculating). 

Thanks, Ron

 

 

 

 

Posted : 14/01/2020 2:44 pm
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member

@joantabb

Thanks Joan, in case you are interested, I sent a reply to bobstro about this - while I'm not really a fan of makerbot, this might be one thing they do well.

Posted : 14/01/2020 2:47 pm
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member
Posted by: @nikolai-r

Hi Ron and welcome to the community.

I would recommend you to get a Raspberry Pi (3B+). In combination with the PrusaSlicer, it's very convenient to hit a button for upload from slicer and start the print either from the web interface or any smartphone app. 

thanks so much nikolai...any tips on where to pick that up?   Does it come pre-configured?  At bobstro's suggestion, I'm going to go watch Chris Riley's youtube video..maybe that will answer my questions...thanks again...

 

Posted : 14/01/2020 2:55 pm
crawlerin
(@crawlerin)
Reputable Member

Raspberry Pi is an ARM-based microcomputer that's been on the market since 2012. It is go-to computer for many hobbyists, but you can see those being used with industrial controllers too. They are cheap, small, open and very well documented. They have big community and healthy ecosystem of various add-ons. It usually runs variant of Linux OS, it boots from SD card. Most popular uses include media player for your TV with Kodi, retro gaming console with RetroPi, surveillance with MotionEye, running home automation, digital TV back-end, programming education, proof of concept for bigger projects, Minecraft server... really if you need small Linux computer for something - anything, you can use it. Replacement is easy too, if it breaks (do they? I still run my model B from 2012 as a VPN server...), just plop new one in and swap SD card.

You can buy one in pretty much any good e-shop that carries electronics and computers. Get a good power supply with it - 3 and 4 want quite some juice, I recommend their original AC/DC adapter but any modern cell-phone charger that provides more than 3A is good. Also one SD card for OS. Pi comes bare-bones without case or anything, but there are myriads of mounts and cases you can buy or even better print.

OctoPrint and OctoPi grows here: https://octoprint.org/download/ Download, burn to SD card and boot your Pi.

Posted : 14/01/2020 4:04 pm
zoltan
(@zoltan)
Member Moderator

Have a look at this

https://blog.prusaprinters.org/2019-recap-plans-for-2020-and-original-prusa-mini-update/

When you compare the number of posted issues (many of them are between the chair and the printer 😎 ) and compare it to the magic 60 000 sold pieces of MK3S you will come to the figures of faulty printers in less than promiles.

Sometimes is difficult to follow the improvements and upgrades as so many of them.

 

even an old man can learn new things 🙂
Standard I3 mk3s, FW 3.8.1, no closed box, sketchup , fusion 360, PrusaSlicer, Windows 10...
Posted : 14/01/2020 4:05 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Famed Member
Posted by: @ron-3

[...] In case your not familiar, here's how it works with Makerbot: you just place your stl in the desktop software, change the settings if the standard settings aren't appropriate, and select print.  If I send a big print that will take 5 hours, the desktop software takes just a few minutes to slice and then send the data to the printer.  Once that happens, I could turn the computer off or the computer could crash etc.  In this example, for the 5 hours that the printer would be working, it doesn't need to be connected to any computer or network.  I am guessing this is just because it has enough on board memory?  Maybe there is the equivalent of a big SD card built in?

Wireless printing is a fairly common feature, but not one that the Mk3 supports out of the box. Adding a Raspberry Pi running OctoPi (a customized image of Linux running Octoprint for the Raspberry Pi) adds very similar functionality, but with a few caveats:

  • The Raspberry Pi is a separate device (computer) dedicated to the 3D printer (mostly). It is connected via USB. When you wirelessly send your file, it is saved on the Raspberry Pi's storage (usually a microSD card) separate from the computer's SD card.
  • Octoprint can save files to the printer's internal SD card, but it is very slow since all communications occur over the slow USB serial interface.
  • The Raspberry Pi is still a tethered computer, but if you don't load it up with other software, it is dedicated to printing so far less prone to suffer timeouts and interruptions that can disrupt your print. Once the file is sent from your slicing software, you can turn off your desktop computer but the Raspberry Pi remains powered on (usually full time). There is a chance the Raspberry Pi gets busy or can't keep up and you get layer shifts on your prints. I find this mostly a problem with very long (>24 hour) prints, but it is frustrating. I still do the manual SD card for the largest prints just out of caution.
  • If you use a Toshiba FlashAir (FA) card, you can "save" to the FA card wirelessly, but you can't initiate the print remotely. You still have to trundle over to the computer to launch a print. I suppose you could use a FA card in the printer along with Octoprint, but I haven't tried this. Unfortunately, Octoprint only displays the old truncated "8+3" filename format on SD card files for some very good technical reasons, so it wouldn't be a great combination.

 

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 14/01/2020 10:48 pm
Robert-mm200
(@robert-rmm200)
Noble Member

Bob covers all the important points - but I feel he understates just how slow OctoPrint to SD card is.

You will have a far better data rate walking downstairs to the printer, getting the SD card, carrying it back to your computer,

writing the files, and carrying the SD card back to the printer. I call it "sneaker net".

Posted : 14/01/2020 10:55 pm
ron-3
(@ron-3)
Active Member

thanks for all your help, everyone... I have a buddy who is retired military intelligence and he says that "sneaker net" was one of the hardest things to combat from a security perspective!

Posted : 14/01/2020 11:10 pm
Page 1 / 2
Share:

Please Login or Register