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What is in the future for the i3 MK3S printer?  

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Whayt
(@whayt)
New Member
What is in the future for the i3 MK3S printer?

So the i3 MK3S is what, 2 1/2, 3 years old now? Not that that's a long time or anything but I have one big question: What is in the future for the i3 printer? Will the unit start to take cues from the newly released Mini unit and the SL1 such as the color LCD screen, and/or will there be future improvements to the platform?

Posted : 18/03/2020 2:42 am
chiggins1003
(@chiggins1003)
New Member
RE: What is in the future for the i3 MK3S printer?

It would be nice to see some sort of bigger display with more information provided for a quick glance. Personally I dont need a colored touch display. A scroll wheel/knob with a few buttons work for me. But to the topic/subject Its about time for another leap from Prusa.

Posted : 18/03/2020 3:18 am
towlerg
(@towlerg)
Noble Member
RE: What is in the future for the i3 MK3S printer?

Its a quandary isn't it, I can't get a mini till who knows when and at some point the Mk3s will be either upgraded (main board?) or replaced. I'd happily buy a mini if I could get one in less than a month or a Mk3s if I knew what their plans are (and how much the upgrade will cost).

Posted : 18/03/2020 12:51 pm
vintagepc
(@vintagepc)
RE: What is in the future for the i3 MK3S printer?

In all fairness, the 3S is only about a year old. the Mk3 is the older one. Not that there's a huge difference, so the upgrade was fairly cheap.

Nobody knows the upgrade price until we know what the Mk4 entails. But it would be reasonable to assume it's going to be as much of a redesign as the Mk2 to Mk3 line. Obviously not the same parts and whatnot, but probably on the same scale, and likely a similar price range for the result. 

The core kinematics are pretty sound on the Mk3, there's probably not much left to improve on the i3 design shy of stepper upgrades to 0.9 degree motors. If I was to hazard a guess I'd agree we'll probably see a mainboard/stepper driver update, maybe a change to a geared extruder (PR did hint they were working on something extruder design related), and display/interface improvements taking advantage of the new mainboard. 

 

 

Posted : 18/03/2020 1:30 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: What is in the future for the i3 MK3S printer?

A good place to start answering this question IMO is to look at the lessons learned from the Mk3 over the last couple of years:

  • Hotend cooling is an issue, especially for those who want to print in enclosures.
  • Filament feed path is an issue for printing flexible materials.
  • Part cooling is an issue for printing fine miniatures and detailed parts.
  • Swapping new nozzles easily is a consideration for maximum flexibility. (I like what Prusa did with swappable sheets in firmware.)
  • A simplified hotend feed path would reduce maintenance concerns. Things like collet clips and thermal paste might be simplified or made more obvious.
  • Simplified hotend cabling would increase flexibility in swapping hotends and doing basic maintenance. Replacing broken thermistor or heater cartridges is a real pain.
  • Everybody wants fast. Fast in FFF printing implies higher hotend throughput. Finding a balance between volumetric speed and fine part detail is a challenge. Swappable "craftsman" and "production" hotends would be awesome. Keep something like an E3D V6 with 0.25mm nozzle on one assembly, swap it out for another with something like a SuperVolcano and 0.8-1.5mm nozzle for the big jobs.

As for any sort of fancy display, I'd rather the printer itself be made smarter (i.e. 32 bit) with basic wifi and networking capability. Produce an app, web page interface or even a rudimentary tablet for those who want anything fancier. Those who are happy launching and controlling prints via Octoprint or similar can do so without buying expensive bits we don't want, while those wanting a nicer interface can get one (at some cost) with infinite customization possibilities not limited by firmware. Put a 3D printer API on that sucker and let the developers out there go nuts. Let users retask old phones or tablets for interfaces, reducing electronic waste stream.

And that's what I'd do if I were king! 😀 

 

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 : 18/03/2020 2:54 pm
Nikolai and Whayt liked
Whayt
(@whayt)
New Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: What is in the future for the i3 MK3S printer?
Posted by: @bobstro

A good place to start answering this question IMO is to look at the lessons learned from the Mk3 over the last couple of years:

  • Hotend cooling is an issue, especially for those who want to print in enclosures.
  • Filament feed path is an issue for printing flexible materials.
  • Part cooling is an issue for printing fine miniatures and detailed parts.
  • Swapping new nozzles easily is a consideration for maximum flexibility. (I like what Prusa did with swappable sheets in firmware.)
  • A simplified hotend feed path would reduce maintenance concerns. Things like collet clips and thermal paste might be simplified or made more obvious.
  • Simplified hotend cabling would increase flexibility in swapping hotends and doing basic maintenance. Replacing broken thermistor or heater cartridges is a real pain.
  • Everybody wants fast. Fast in FFF printing implies higher hotend throughput. Finding a balance between volumetric speed and fine part detail is a challenge. Swappable "craftsman" and "production" hotends would be awesome. Keep something like an E3D V6 with 0.25mm nozzle on one assembly, swap it out for another with something like a SuperVolcano and 0.8-1.5mm nozzle for the big jobs.

As for any sort of fancy display, I'd rather the printer itself be made smarter (i.e. 32 bit) with basic wifi and networking capability. Produce an app, web page interface or even a rudimentary tablet for those who want anything fancier. Those who are happy launching and controlling prints via Octoprint or similar can do so without buying expensive bits we don't want, while those wanting a nicer interface can get one (at some cost) with infinite customization possibilities not limited by firmware. Put a 3D printer API on that sucker and let the developers out there go nuts. Let users retask old phones or tablets for interfaces, reducing electronic waste stream.

And that's what I'd do if I were king! 😀 

 

I agree with that. Reworking the hotend and part cooling designs would be nice. The could possibly even take cues from the mini as far as it's design if possible but I don't have any experience first hand with it and I also haven't heard about any issues with that component... or any component now that I think of it.

Also like @towlerg (I think thats a proper way to use tags?) said, a new mainboard would also be a nice touch. To go from the Einsy Rambo (which I think is 8 or 16 bit?) to a new 32 bit would be a major upgrade from what I can tell.

Personally I don't mind the classic monochrome LCD with clickwheel design currently, but a interface like the Mini  (or SLA-1 if they wanted to have a little fun with it 😉) would be nice to kinda tie all 3 of the main systems together as far as design... kinda like how Apple's products all have  a similar design and feel (but I hope to God Prusa doesn't go full Apple).

Posted : 19/03/2020 4:13 am
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