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buckeyestargazer
(@buckeyestargazer)
Estimable Member
Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

I currently have two MK3s+ printers and am in need of two more printers for a small print farm.  After reading some of the initial issues with the Mini, I would like to know if those have been resolved, or if I should stick to the proven MK3S+?  

Also, do the same basic maintenance principles apply to the Mini as the MK3s?  Is everything basically the same, just a little smaller package?  

 

Posted : 02/05/2021 2:16 pm
mark
 mark
(@mark-3)
Estimable Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

They are quite different. The Mini has a Bowden extruder and it's issues are different than the direct drive extruder on the MK3s+. That being said, my Mini has been running well for a year with many 16 hour days with dozens of rolls of filament run through it and very few failed prints. The hot end PTFE tube wore out after a year and I am rebuilding the hot end.  That is one known issue.

If you know the MK3s+ and it's idiosyncrasies, the Mini will be different and require a learning curve. If you make money with your print farm, that may be a consideration. You will spend time learning how to get the best out of it.

Regards,

Mark

Posted : 02/05/2021 2:42 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm
Posted by: @buckeyestargazer

I currently have two MK3s+ printers and am in need of two more printers for a small print farm.  After reading some of the initial issues with the Mini, I would like to know if those have been resolved, or if I should stick to the proven MK3S+?  

Also, do the same basic maintenance principles apply to the Mini as the MK3s?  Is everything basically the same, just a little smaller package?  

 

I have 4 Minis and only one has been upgraded to the Mini+.  I have no issues with any of the four.  The Mini that I have installed with a V6 hotend trend to be a little stringy with PETG but I increased the retraction to 4.2mm and it prints perfectly.  

What concerns do you have?

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 02/05/2021 2:56 pm
fuchsr
(@fuchsr)
Noble Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

Love my Minis but I recommend investing into the upgrade to a Bondtech dual drive extruder. Seems like many issues can be traced to the extruder, and I haven't had any issues at all after upgrading to the Trianglelabs  clone of the Bondtech extruder. 

Having said that, there are two issues that--had I appreciated them more--would probably had me buy more Mk3Ss instead of Minis. 

First, there's the bed size. Depends on what your main kind of prints are, but there are times when I'm truly missing the larger print volume of the Mk3S. 

Second, if you add Minis to a collection of Mk3S, you'll need a second set of spares as the hotends are totally different. Not a dealbreaker but again there are times when I wish I only had to worry about one set of spares. 

 But all in all, the print quality is amazing, and I for one haven't seen any difference in reliability compared to their bigger siblings. 

Posted : 02/05/2021 3:24 pm
Steve
(@steve-3)
Estimable Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

Personally, I would keep all the machines the same. Then you only need to slice the objects one time and can send them to any machine. The MK3S+ is rock solid.

Posted : 02/05/2021 3:51 pm
buckeyestargazer
(@buckeyestargazer)
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

Thanks everyone, this is the kind of feedback I was hoping for.  I have no worries about the performance of the Mini, but I needed to know if the two were similar enough that I could use backup parts for both etc.  The long and short of this is I do not want to have to learn another machine or need to have spare parts on hand for two different machines, so I think I'll stick with the MK3S+.  Again, thanks for the replies.

Posted : 02/05/2021 6:57 pm
fuchsr liked
MKEMike
(@mkemike)
Eminent Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

As long as most of your prints can fit on a 180x180 bed, I'd go for 2 Mini's and use the cost savings for spare parts and a MMU2 for one of your MK3s.  That would give you the most versatility.  What are you printing most of the time?

 

Posted : 02/05/2021 10:06 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

I have 4 minis and 8 MK3S.  The Minis are better for 90% of what I print.  

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 02/05/2021 10:39 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm
Posted by: @fuchsr

Love my Minis but I recommend investing into the upgrade to a Bondtech dual drive extruder. Seems like many issues can be traced to the extruder, and I haven't had any issues at all after upgrading to the Trianglelabs  clone of the Bondtech extruder. 

I would strongly recommend against this upgrade early in your experience with the mini.  Get good at it stock and then upgrade things.  I have one with a Bondtech and three stock.  I see no true benefit in the Bondtech unless you are having problems.  

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 02/05/2021 10:44 pm
buckeyestargazer
(@buckeyestargazer)
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm
Posted by: @cwbullet

I have 4 minis and 8 MK3S.  The Minis are better for 90% of what I print.  

In what way are they "better"?  

The positives (for me) for the mini are 1. less cost 2. less assembly required 3. will print much of what I need it to print.  
The positives for the MK3s are 1. I'm already familiar with it 2. I have spare parts 3. slicing might be easier with just one kind of printer.  

Maybe I should just get one of each and see how I like the mini.  Then if I need to expand again I'll have experience with both and can make a more informed decision.  

Posted : 02/05/2021 10:50 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

@buckeyestargazer

I probably should have been more specific.  The seem to print just a touch faster.  The quality is similar.  

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 02/05/2021 11:04 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

Has anyone built a large print farm based on Minis?  

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 07/05/2021 3:05 pm
Matt
 Matt
(@matt-2)
Trusted Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm

I have a MK3S and MINI, both upgraded fully to plusses (I know, not recommended, but the MK3S was a bit unreliable in several ways that the plus upgrade helped to fix, and I do of course like to tinker).

There are many commonalities like general maintenance. Keep rods lubricated, keep build plates clean, check your wiring periodically, do the occasional cold pull. The main differences are how to deal with jams, because the Bowden system is more sensitive to obstructions; a first layer that is just a little bit too close to the build plate, or the tiniest of gaps between an inadequately-compressed PTFE tube and its brass nut in the hotend can make semi-molten filament start backing up the line and cause the dreaded extruder clickies.

I find the MK3S+ is more of a workhorse than the MINI+, with more consistent bed adhesion for larger objects that have acutely-angled base profiles on the build plate, without having to resort to adding large brims. The MINI+ on the other hand excels at smaller objects. The ease of access to the hotend nozzle, coupled with the super-light Bowden assembly minimising resonance despite the cantilever design, makes it my go-to machine when I want to swap out to finer detail jobs like miniature model printing.

This post was modified 7 months ago by Matt
Posted : 07/05/2021 6:23 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm
Posted by: @matt-2

I have a MK3S and MINI, both upgraded fully to plusses (I know, not recommended, but the MK3S was a bit unreliable in several ways that the plus upgrade helped to fix, and I do of course like to tinker).

There are many commonalities like general maintenance. Keep rods lubricated, keep build plates clean, check your wiring periodically, do the occasional cold pull. The main differences are how to deal with jams, because the Bowden system is more sensitive to obstructions; a first layer that is just a little bit too close to the build plate, or the tiniest of gaps between an inadequately-compressed PTFE tube and its brass nut in the hotend can make semi-molten filament start backing up the line and cause the dreaded extruder clickies.

I find the MK3S+ is more of a workhorse than the MINI+, with more consistent bed adhesion for larger objects that have acutely-angled base profiles on the build plate, without having to resort to adding large brims. The MINI+ on the other hand excels at smaller objects. The ease of access to the hotend nozzle, coupled with the super-light Bowden assembly minimising resonance despite the cantilever design, makes it my go-to machine when I want to swap out to finer detail jobs like miniature model printing.

I have not seen this inconsistency nor have I had a need to upgrade to the plus.  I did upgrade one but that was because the Pinda had to be replaced.  My minis print as well as my MK3S.  

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 07/05/2021 6:29 pm
Matt
 Matt
(@matt-2)
Trusted Member
RE: Prusa Mini vs MK3S+ for small print farm
Posted by: @cwbullet

I have not seen this inconsistency nor have I had a need to upgrade to the plus.  I did upgrade one but that was because the Pinda had to be replaced.  My minis print as well as my MK3S.  

I think it was specific to my MK3, in that whenever I tried to print PLA with lots of retractions or very fine layer height, the extruder would jam about 5 minutes into the print, with a huge glob of plastic stuck in the extruder gears. I reasoned that the slow filament feed rate coupled with low glass temperature of the filament allowed the heat from the extruder motor to start melting the filament before it got pushed into the hotend, with predictably disastrous results. The new MK3S+ extruder has extra ventilation holes that have allowed me to redirect air from my add-on extruder cooler fan shroud into the chamber directly, which combined with the airflow over the outer motor housing has solved my issues so far. Additionally, a lack of experience combined with an eagerness to get *all* the printing done when I first got my Mk3S resulted in some fine scoring on the diagonal of my upper X axis rod and a few failed prints due to lost X steps. I now have a rigorous lubrication regimen, but still I needed to pull it apart to realign the bearings with some smooth regions. It wasn't much more effort to just swap out the old revisions of all the plastic parts and replace with the new.

As a side note, I've spotted the new 3.10.0 firmware has an "experimental" option to alter extruder motor operation in a way that decreases temperatures by up to 10 degrees C, but has only been tested to work on official Prusa motors.

The MINI on the other hand, that was purely for educational purposes. Replacing all the parts on the MINI with MINI+ components basically meant stripping the thing down entirely (except the hotend, no way I'm touching that now I've got the PTFE compressed nicely 🙂), so I've effectively built the kit and now know a lot more about how it's put together. I very, very, VERY deliberately did not attempt this until I had a weekend spare and the MINI+ kit assembly instructions were up on the knowledge base. I also would never attempt this again without getting a good supply of M3nS nuts because fishing those out of old plastic parts is an absolute nightmare.

Posted : 07/05/2021 7:59 pm
BrettG liked
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