Has PRUSA lost its MOJO?
I have three PRUSA printers and I'm a big fan of of my Mini. My Mk3sMMU, not so much. It's never worked right. At first I gave up on multiple material printing and decided it was just a cool way to have 5 filaments available at anytime. Then it wouldn't even unload and feed and load filaments. I have to hand load filaments. And it seems like the MMU is a red-headed step child for support. I'd love to see some guidance as to what small box of parameters that the MMU will work. Heck, I think PRUSA owes us to make a part for the next printer with an MMU just to show that they can get one to work reliably.
But that is just my micro issue with PRUSA. I want printers that work and are pushing the edge. I feel that this expansion into resin printers, filament, and even the PRUSAverse are distracting from the core. To be frank, in keeping with the idea of hackers, I would have liked to see PRUSA make a useful filastruder or a 1/4 price Filabot than get into filament themselves.
How many other diversions from core printer tech are going on?
It seems roll outs take forever, and a new color of Galaxy PLA doesn't fill the time.
The XL has been teased and promised for how long? I'm stoked about the tool head change, but after the MMU, I'm gun shy on 'new' tech. Plus, I know that even after it is announced, it will be 6 months before I get one and who knows how many tweaks to get it right.
I guess the money isn't in printers anymore and there will always be clones. But it seems that this expansion outside of printers is slowing down the printer development.
I really hope that PRUSA proves me wrong.
Please remember that there has been a global pandemic that has slowed most countries to a virtual stand still, part sourcing is still a major obstacle and holding things back. They explained all this in their blog back in May last year. The XL development was first announced in October 2019 and within 2 months the Pandemic hit, within a couple more months everything changed.
If you read the blogs, the printers have been selling like hotcakes during the pandemic and extra staff had to be taken on to help keep up with demand, but again the pandemic interfered and slowed things right down.
For all we know they may have looked into a filament extruder and found it not profitable or workable. Have you seen the big machines that they use to make Prusament? Printers these days need very accurate, well made, filament to tight tolerances and the idea of making it at home is a bit of a pipe dream I fear.
Will I sympathise with your problems with the MMU, a lot of people have got it to work without problems... have you spoken to Prusa via the chat feature to work on a solution?
To be honest I think 3D printing is moving out of the hobbiest maker arena into the precision engineering field. People demand better quality and for that high quality engineering is needed, not what can be done in the average home workshop. I suspect that unless some wonderful breakthrough occurs then FDM has pretty much reached it's limits and it will mainly be about printing faster and with less problems that take over from finer printing. Resin based printing is growing in popularity but needs advancement in resin toxicity and reductions in cost.
I thought, that the delay is because of some patents for heated chamber to expire this year. And without it a bigger printer will not produce good quality objects. Probably Prusa is still waiting for some other patents to expire after which he could release new printers.
Anyway, he still haven't provided the SW/FW part, that was promised to us that will be soon. And for the OP, if you have reduced employee due to COVID, software is basically the only thing that can be improved. As manual "tweaks" on prototypes cannot be done from homeoffice.
I am sure Prusa have other projects, upgrades and new products in the pipeline.
They seem to have never been a company that rests on its laurels, and simply relies on current revisions of their products.
But I completely agree with 3Delight, it is not surprising that proceedings are being held up, the fact that they released the MK3S+ and Mini+ in November last year clearly indicates they are trying their best to get new and improved products out to market.
Quite frankly I am surprised they even managed that in the current climate, and with all the component shortages.
I doff my hat to Prusa, keep up the good work, I love my MK3 and will be ordering an MMU2S very soon 👍
If there is anything one can blame Prusa for is that they don't make it clear that the MMU can work out of the box but chances are that it doesn't and that it needs some dialing in. Also the interface is somewhat cryptic and one needs to get to know how to approach it correctly.
That said, when you dial it in right and you know what brands of filaments work fine and which are more challenging it works reproducibly like a charm and crates impressive results. Printing in 5 colours and if you dare with soluble support and 4 colours for 300 EUR is something hard to find elsewhere on the market (other than some MMU copies which may or may not work, I have no experience with them). The MMU was the very reason I got a Prusa in the first place and I have not regretted it.
PS: If even single colour print loading/unloading fails, there must be a very basic problem. I would recommend posting here in the relevant thread your detailed observations what exactly happens when it fails and when exactly it fails (feeding or pulling out, which sensor status, strange sounds etc). It could be a lot of things, if the system is not dialed in: filament, FINDA, IR sensor, kinks in the filament due to high friction and grinding in the selector, cloggs in the extruder, which the MK3s just pushes through but the MMU retreats from...
Reading this, I have to wonder who the competition is that is accomplishing so much more in the eyes of the OP. A quick list of things that come to mind that Prusa accomplished in 2020:
- Released the Prusa Mini amid unprecedented Christmas demand.
- Responded to the COVID crises, maintaining reduced but continuous shipment.
- Spearheaded the 3D printed COVID protective shield (everything else I saw at the time was for "masks" which didn't work well). Worked with local government agencies to refine the design and get approval, and switched production capacity to PPE production.
- Took great pains to maintain operations while simultaneously protecting their workforce (unlike many large corporations who essentially said show up or get fired) and community, going so far as to switch production capacity to production of hand sanitizer in a time of extreme shortage.
- Expanded filament production, including switching production to high-volume COVID PPE printing options when most filament manufacturers were letting supplies run dry.
- Continued expansion and enhancement of PrusaPrinters.org, to the point that it is becoming a worthy alternative to Thingiverse. Notice that damned few other manufacturers are even attempting such a thing.
- Ramped up Mini shipments, albeit more slowly than normal. Demand remains very high.
- Released major improvements to PrusaSlicer, including some of the first major feature introductions in years. (Prusa's pace of feature implementation is easily on par with Cura and ideaMaker, and certainly blows away the commercial Simplify 3D product.)
- Developed a large-format printer, managing to keep the details under wraps. Now at the point of shipping engineering samples for testing.
- Firmware updates to the Mini & Mk3 series, including overhaul of the Linear Advance and bed leveling logic, and doing so using in-house developers rather than just taking whatever the Marlin team releases.
While the MMU proved not to be what I envisioned, it is the only low-cost product I'm aware of that allows a user to mix multiple filaments in a single print without requiring a completely different extruder and hotend setup. It's finicky, but it can be made to work. This is very much the state of 3D printing overall. The Mosaic products look great, but cost quite a bit more and seem to have their own headaches. If anything, I think the problem with any of the multi-material products is in describing that they do completely. None of them provide a push-button simple multicolor printer. That's a reasonable complaint, but it hardly shows any signs of "lost mojo" IMO.
I think Prusa has proven themselves to be a gutsy and ambitious company during one of the most challenging periods in recent history. Their priorities may not always be the same as mine, their products may not always be perfect, but I've yet to see them abandon their legacy product users, produce anything but quality (though still emerging tech) products. Jo and his company give a damn about their employees, community, and customers. I think Jo Prusa can sail across the ocean using nothing but his Mojo for flotation.
Could not agree more
Considering the issues and hardships experienced around the world I think Prusa have done a stand up job.
Cannot wait to see what else is in the pipeline!!
"I think Jo Prusa can sail across the ocean using nothing but his Mojo for flotation."
Quote of the day 🤣