Prusa Mini Clone from China  

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bobcousins
(@bobcousins)
Reputable Member
Posted by: @smoking_rubber

If someone needs to save $ then I guess I understand.  I still don't think it's appropriate to discuss it or advertise it on Prusa's website though.  I'm sure there's a site for clonies to gather and discuss their plans to steal money from Prusa.  Personally, I don't buy pirated product simply because I don't think it's right and it's definitely not fair to the creator of the original product.  Using Prusa's website is a slap in the face IMO.

Since the Mini is Open Source, making a clone is neither stealing nor piracy. Your comment is frankly quite ridiculous!

However, I think this thread probably should be in the User Mods section. Modders and cloners often come up with improvements to the original, which is kinda the point of Open Source. There are several neat hotend upgrades which are a definite improvement.

Posted : 11/08/2020 7:09 pm
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

I feel just as guilty so I understand the sentiment.  You may have encouraged me to just order another mini.  

Posted : 11/08/2020 7:11 pm
bobcousins
(@bobcousins)
Reputable Member

The clones have some typical quality issues, and may not be much cheaper anyway, the main advantage is shorter lead time. Support from China is always problematic (unless you are in China ofc), it is probably worth the paying the price difference to get Prusa support.

I got part way through a self sourced Mini variant, but to finish I will need to spend as much as a clone kit. I might end up ordering another Prusa Mini anyway, it will be a lot easier!

Posted : 11/08/2020 7:24 pm
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member
Posted by: @bobcousins

The clones have some typical quality issues, and may not be much cheaper anyway, the main advantage is shorter lead time. Support from China is always problematic (unless you are in China ofc), it is probably worth the paying the price difference to get Prusa support.

I got part way through a self sourced Mini variant, but to finish I will need to spend as much as a clone kit. I might end up ordering another Prusa Mini anyway, it will be a lot easier!

I did make a Mk3S clone on my own.  It works better than two my MK3S printers.  

Posted : 11/08/2020 7:38 pm
smoking_rubber
(@smoking_rubber)
Estimable Member

If your budget requires you to compromise, I understand.  Maybe it's not stealing since it is open-source or open-hardware.  They wouldn't have made it that way if they didn't want clones.  For me, as a designer of plastic injection molded enclosures, I've found my parts being cloned or copied and being sold on someone else's site.  My designs aren't "open-hardware" but I have published the 3d models so that other designers could model their guts inside my enclosure.  I understand if someone wants to build their own tool and mold thousands of their own version of the enclosure, but they shouldn't be allowed to copy mine almost exactly and sell it even as a "clone" of mine. 

They DEFINATELY shouldn't be allowed to use my website or forum to promote or even discuss their product.  That's the one area I do have the power to stop them and I would.

My particular situation isn't exactly apples to apples with Prusa, but that's where I'm coming from and why I voiced an opinion.  I appreciate that Prusa invested their time and money in developing a quality product AND they provide the infrastructure (this forum) to commune with other users.  Maybe cloning a product (and selling it) isn't technically stealing, but it feels just as scummy to me.

This post was modified 2 months ago by smoking_rubber
Posted : 11/08/2020 7:39 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member

Worth pointing out that the cloners are now selling extruder and other designs contributed by members of this community in direct violation of the open source licensing. Expect to see all sorts of parts generously designed, perfected and contributed showing up for sale (for profit), yet pointing to the original designer for support burdens.

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 : 11/08/2020 7:52 pm
smoking_rubber
(@smoking_rubber)
Estimable Member
Posted by: @charles-h13
Posted by: @bobcousins

The clones have some typical quality issues, and may not be much cheaper anyway, the main advantage is shorter lead time. Support from China is always problematic (unless you are in China ofc), it is probably worth the paying the price difference to get Prusa support.

I got part way through a self sourced Mini variant, but to finish I will need to spend as much as a clone kit. I might end up ordering another Prusa Mini anyway, it will be a lot easier!

I did make a Mk3S clone on my own.  It works better than two my MK3S printers.  

To me, that's what the open-hardware concept is about.  Improving their design or building your own is the Maker's way imo.  That's not pirating.  Obviously if you're building your own version you're going to try to improve it so that's likely why yours works better than the stock Prusas.  You're not on here trying to sell thousands of your improved version though.

This post was modified 2 months ago by smoking_rubber
Posted : 11/08/2020 7:56 pm
riokatlp
(@riokatlp)
Eminent Member

I find it anyways quite interesting what quality they might achieve. I‘m also curious about an Zaribo - you can modify your stock Prusa i3 to an Zaribo.

Posted : 11/08/2020 8:46 pm
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

Acknowledged all.  My goal was to initiate discussion.   I did not buy one yet.  I did buy my 7th MK3s.  This one will allow me to take my clone off my print line to test hotends with.  I have several new hotends to test that appear to be improvements on the E3D V6 Design.    

Posted : 11/08/2020 8:48 pm
nikolai.r
(@nikolai-r)
Noble Member

Too expensive for a cheap clone. $240 + $70 for shipping + you have to print all the plastic parts yourself!

It would be really great to see some good alternatives. But so far the things I've purchased through Aliexpress like i3 heated bed and extruder clone have all visible and measurable quality issues. Yes, you can bring this things to work somehow but it's more like trying to make your hammer look like a hammer instead of using it for it's purpose.

Often linked posts:
Going small with MMU2
Real Multi Material
My prints on Instagram...
Posted : 11/08/2020 9:02 pm
towlerg
(@towlerg)
Honorable Member

Is it realy that cheap? Delivered from Spain to Ireland with 2.8 LCD and MW (lets assume that means Meanwell) its E242 + you've got to print all the parts + it really is a kit not just 2 sub assemblies. a real Mini is E379 with all the great support and quality Prusa are famous for. I see the wait is down to 8 weeks, think I'm tempted although I swore to myself I wait for Mini2.

Posted : 11/08/2020 9:08 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member

The comments are a mixed bag, even for the usual AliExpress "perfect!" reviews. Sounds like most of the "you get what you pay for" comments from users who try any other clone. If you're prepared to spend some time with, perhaps worth it but not as much saving as building an i3 clone versus original. Kind of an odd choice to clone a cheap printer.

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 : 11/08/2020 9:41 pm
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

@bobstro

The other thing that kind of bothers me is the price.  I can buy  an mini for $349 + 60 shipping or so.  I have it ready to go.  This printer is $244 + $70 and you have to print the parts.  Given it comes with a filament sensor but no filament.  I guess you are paying to have shipped sooner?   

Posted : 11/08/2020 9:54 pm
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

Odd response on the MW power - MW means megawatts, 1 MW=1,000 kilowatts = 1,000,000 watts.  

Posted : 11/08/2020 9:56 pm
smoking_rubber
(@smoking_rubber)
Estimable Member

It comes down to what's your time worth?  Anyone know how long it takes to assemble one of these?  How are the assembly instructions?  Then how much time do you want to spend chasing gremlins and throwing prints in the trash?  I'm sure you'll eventually get to the part where you have a reliable printer, but how much time are you willing to trade for $100?

Posted : 11/08/2020 10:34 pm
Karl Herbert
(@karl-herbert)
Famed Member

The Chinese also produce high quality goods, such as the Leadshine amplifiers in my CNC milling machine. But the higher quality parts are not much cheaper than here in Europe and therefore I buy these here incl. support.
I would advise against buying a cheap Mini Clone, and would rather save money and wait a bit longer. I am also not sure if the firmware runs 100% with the clones and as we know, changes to the Mini FW are hardware related. How this works with the clones, I don't know and I don't want to test.
But this is only my opinion.

Statt zu klagen, dass wir nicht alles haben, was wir wollen, sollten wir lieber dankbar sein, dass wir nicht alles bekommen, was wir verdienen....
Posted : 11/08/2020 11:22 pm
jakub.d liked
riokatlp
(@riokatlp)
Eminent Member

Decided against it - too expensive for a China clone. Nevertheless I find it still interesting how that machine would perform against the original. 

I guess I just save my money and wait for a Prusa XL Core XY 😛

Posted : 12/08/2020 8:43 am
benji
(@benji)
Estimable Member

@karl-herbert

FYI, the clones can and do run original Prusa Mini firmware. Some early versions do not have their MAC address set from the factory and require flashing an additional .hex file. However, I heard that might not be the case anymore.

Prusa Mini Silicone Bed Leveling Mod: https://bbbenji.github.io/PMSBLM/...
Posted : 12/08/2020 9:06 am
crawlerin
(@crawlerin)
Honorable Member

I have some of those clones bookmarked, and I'd order it out of curiosity only to see how they work and to toy with them, definitely not for the price benefit. It's not the cheapest even if it is supposed to be cheaper clone - if dispatched from Spain warehouse there's EU price with taxes, postage is killing it, with Meanwell power supply, it accumulates to around 7200 Czech Crowns. Basic MINI is 10k CZK. In case some components are not up to snuff and you want to replace those with original or better cloned parts - judging from experience people posted on Facebook groups - people were not happy or felt unsafe with board and replaced it with original Buddy board that's 2700 CZK  - we are at 10k CZK just without support. Extruder gears may not be of the highest quality compared to original and in some cases people received v6 clone hotend instead of MINI hotend (which may not be a negative just requires finding mod to fit it).

It could be a fun project and possibly good testing platform for various mods and stuff if you want to keep original MINI intact at least until warranty expires. ATM I would not buy it because it's cheaper, at least not where I live.

Posted : 13/08/2020 1:10 pm
charles.h13
(@charles-h13)
Famed Member

@crawlerin

MW May Indeed be a Meanwell,  but the manufacturer gave a different answer.  He or she said it was Megawatt.  That alone made me hesitant.  

I have found the same concerns in my review.  

This post was modified 2 months ago by charles.h13
Posted : 13/08/2020 1:35 pm
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