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PrusaSD
(@prusasd)
New Member
Advice for (potential) new customer

Greetings,

I'm very interested in getting a new 3d printer.  I used to own an Ender 3, but after using it for about a year, I found it a little too fiddly.  I don't want to be a "maintenance hobbyist." I want to print things.

 I was seriously considering getting a Mini + since it fits my budget very well, but then I heard about the heat creep issues, and I got concerned.

Looking around on the forums, it seems like there may (possibly) be similar issues with the MKS line.

I don't expect to NEVER have to do maintenance.  That's unrealistic.  But I don't want to spend half (or even a 1/3) of my time doing maintenance.

So. How prevalent are the heat creep issues with the Mini+? If I'm really concerned about maintenance should I expect excellent results if I go with an MKS fully assembled printer?

Thanks in advance.

 

Posted : 07/08/2022 4:52 pm
richnormand
(@richnormand)
Trusted Member
RE: Advice for (potential) new customer

been using my MK3S for over two years.

"Maintenance" has been smearing a bit of grease on the rails every few months, upgrading to a tungsten carbide nozzle, washing the steel bed in soap/water every few months, doing the firmware updates. That is it, and none of that is really maintenance in my books.

Printer is in use about every two days.

REPAIR, RENEW, REUSE, RECYCLE, REBUILD, REDUCE, RECOVER, REPURPOSE, RESTORE

Posted : 07/08/2022 5:35 pm
PrusaSD liked
Tracy
(@tracy)
Trusted Member
RE: Advice for (potential) new customer

I'm in the same boat as you. I have little interest in spending my time tinkering or fixing a printer. I just want to print.

I've had my Mini for almost 3 years and never experienced heat creep. All parts are stock except for the bowden tube and the hotend PTFE tube. Expect to replace the bowden tube once a year (it wears out on the inside causing poor print quality) and the hotend PTFE tube every few months. Both are easy to replace. You'll also need to lube the rails although I'm not convinced it actually does anything since the bearing have covers that wipe the rails clean. I do it anyway.

My MK3S+ is over a year old and recently experienced under extrusion to the point of no extrusion. Cold pulls and replacing the hotend PTFE tube didn't fix it so I'm in the process of replacing the heat break with the standard version made my E3D, not the custom one Prusa provides. From what I've read, Prusa's custom heat break was designed to work with the MMU which I don't intend to buy.

Prusa support has lots of great step by step instructions on how to replace pretty much every part on their printers.

Posted : 07/08/2022 5:50 pm
PrusaSD liked
jsw
 jsw
(@jsw)
Famed Member
RE:

I do not have the Mini, I have the MK3S and like it mainly because of the reliability, the consistency of the prints, and the ease of use.  The Mini has the same basic reputation for such qualities, although with a slightly different design and a smaller build size.

I've had very few failed prints on it over the past 2 1/2 years plus, and with rare exception, such few failed prints were due to human error and not machine error.

The Prusa Mini or MK3 series printer should definitely require less 'futzing around' than the Ender 3 (group, correct me if I am wrong when I say I think the Ender 3 does not have automatic bed leveling compensation) and when the machines are calibrated and dialed in, they require little attention other than cleaning and lubrication.

Now, having said that, the Prusa printers are not to the level of 'You press the button, it does the rest' by any means.  It will require a per-print wipe-off of the build plate, inspection and brush-off of the nozzle area to remove any streamers and 'boogers' which have accumulated, a visual observation of (at least) the start of the first layer to be sure of a successful start of the print, and some babysitting and observation during the print process.

I have only seen one 3d printer which truly approaches the 'You press the button, it does the rest' simplicity, and that is a Uprint SE (which I now understand has been retired) at our local makerspace.  This unit costs well into 5 figures, uses proprietary ($$$) filament and proprietary disposable ($) build surfaces for each print.

I do have one other printer, Ultimaker S5, which is simpler to operate on a print-by-print basis than the Prusa, but this as well requires some TLC and babysitting.  This one retails for the mid four figures, but I was able to pick up a 'gently used' one for much less during the height of the pandemic.

As to the quality of the prints of the Prusa, they approach the overall print quality and in some cases rival that of the forementioned Uprint, and are in most cases indistinguishable from those done on the Ultimaker.

Look through the Awesome Prints Hall Of Fame section for countless examples of excellent prints done on the Prusa machines:

https://forum.prusa3d.com/forum/english-forum-awesome-prints-hall-of-fame/

Posted : 07/08/2022 9:56 pm
PrusaSD liked
richnormand
(@richnormand)
Trusted Member
RE: Advice for (potential) new customer

I should point out, in my last post, lest it be misinterpreted "upgrading to a tungsten carbide nozzle", is because I do lots of carbon fiber electrically conductive prints.

They are abrasive so that is why it is mentioned. Definitively not a maintenance item if you stick to regular filaments, but a good upgrade nonetheless.

REPAIR, RENEW, REUSE, RECYCLE, REBUILD, REDUCE, RECOVER, REPURPOSE, RESTORE

Posted : 07/08/2022 10:31 pm
PrusaSD liked
fuchsr
(@fuchsr)
Famed Member
RE: Advice for (potential) new customer

Look, people don't post on the interwebs tech forums if everything is going great.

I heard about the heat creep issues

I'm not saying it's not real but it seems plenty of people (including myself) have not experienced any heat creep issues. I bought two Bondtech heat breaks for that reason to "upgrade" my Minis but after two years they're still sitting untouched in the drawer. Only changed my PTFE tube once, when I added Bondtech dual drive extruders to my Minis. 

For the Mk3S I'm not even aware of any significant number of posts related to heat creep issues. Again, the two I have are rock solid—and just like @jsw the only issues I can think of were caused by human error. Okay, there's the occasional cooling artifact but I wouldn't consider those as printer specific, and they're very rare. 

Otherwise I'm with @richnormad. Maintenance needs for Minis and Mk3S are minimal and in no universe close to 1/3 of your time, not even close to 10%. 

Posted : 07/08/2022 11:01 pm
PrusaSD liked
PrusaSD
(@prusasd)
New Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Advice for (potential) new customer

Thanks for all the comments, guys.

I'm definitely going to get a Prusa.  I just have to decide on the MK3S or the mini.  I'm currently leaning toward the Mk3S, because, well, I CAN afford it, especially if I just save my pennies for a few weeks, so why not? Plus the bed is larger, it supports multiple spools and I think it's probably a better overall design. And getting a fully assembled 3d printer just takes "yet another hassle" out of the equation.  I know that Prusa has great customer service, and I'd rather not worry about breaking something during the build process. Ha! I just talked myself into getting the MK3S.  Too funny.

@JSW: Re: The Ender 3 does not have auto bed leveling.  I'm used to cleaning the bed, wiping away "boogers," (LoL!) and other sort of routine stuff for 3d printers.  Not that bed leveling should be routine, but it was for the Ender!

Thanks again.

Posted : 08/08/2022 1:41 am
RandyM9
(@randym9)
Reputable Member
RE: Advice for (potential) new customer

Building the MK3S+ kit isn’t terribly difficult if you have reasonably good mechanical skills, experience with common hand tools, the ability to follow written instructions, and some patience. Doing so will not only save you about $250 USD over a factory built printer, it will also provide you with a deeper understanding of the components and inner workings of the printer, simplifying downstream preventative maintenance and troubleshooting.

Check out the online assembly manual, including the comments (which is a brilliant use of the interactive manual) and see for yourself if this is a viable option for you. It’s not for everyone; some folks just don’t have the skill set or the mind set (or the patience) to take on the kit. But it can be built in a day, two if you really take your time and go slow.

I really enjoyed building my kit but I’m a person who likes to know how things work and I have a good base of mechanical and electrical knowledge to draw from. Some folks report that the kit was a real struggle and they would never do it again. 

Anyway, it’s worth a look. Here’s a link to the assembly manual:

https://help.prusa3d.com/category/original-prusa-i3-mk3s-kit-assembly_1128

Good luck whatever you decide.

Posted : 10/08/2022 6:01 am
PrusaSD liked
Diem
 Diem
(@diem)
Famed Member

Prusa have sold hundreds of thousands of printers, they must be approaching the half-million mark.  Probably half of them were kits.

Those with issues are likely to look for help on line and this forum (and others like it) are found by a significant portion of them ... but count the numbers. We see the same issues over and over, yes, but at any one time there are no more than a dozen or so - not so bad if you make the calculations.

The odds are you'll be fine.

Cheerio,

Posted : 10/08/2022 12:54 pm
PrusaSD liked
fuchsr
(@fuchsr)
Famed Member
RE: Advice for (potential) new customer

I've built one Mk3S, bought my other printers assembled. Good learning experience as Randy pointed out, and great fun if you're a tinkerer, but I value my time higher than the extra cost of buying an assembled printer to do it more than once. Either way--assembled or kit--you'll be fine. 

Posted : 10/08/2022 1:38 pm
PrusaSD liked
PrusaSD
(@prusasd)
New Member
Topic starter answered:
RE:

Yeah, I'm convinced. I've known since I bought my last printer that Prusa has an incredible reputation. And yet you hear things on the "Interwebs" and so I thought I would ask.

At this stage of my life, I think I've learned all I want to learn about the inner workings (from a hardware perspective) of a 3d printer.  But I know I have a lot to learn about the proper use of the software to make the hardware do what I want it to. Heck, back in the day,  as I'm sure everyone on this forum probably did, I assembled my own PC from various vendors and I did learn a lot.  But now I just buy a good PC from a reputable company. But I don't begrudge the tinkering.  It's all part of the hobby...it's just not my part. 🙂

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by PrusaSD
Posted : 11/08/2022 3:48 am
AnnieR
(@annier)
Estimable Member
RE: Advice for (potential) new customer

Solid machine. Good prints most always. Very little mucking around to get things right. 

Posted : 12/08/2022 12:15 am
tausciam
(@tausciam)
New Member
RE: Advice for (potential) new customer

I started with the Ender 3 too. I upgraded a lot of stuff and it died after over 3 years. The motherboard went out and I didn't know if something shorted it or if it was it. So, I just replaced the printer. I bought an Ender 3 S1 Pro and it had issues right out of the box...showing the bed as extremely warped when it wasn't. Even tech support recommended I return it. The second one lasted about two weeks. After that, I bought a MK3S+

I've been printing on it for about 3 weeks now....printing something daily. I'm about to finish my second roll of filament. I ran calibration after I built it from the kit and haven't needed to do anything to it since. About once a week, I've been wiping the bed with 99% alcohol. Stupid me actually placed his hand down on the pei sheet. I had to wash it with soap and water after that. I haven't had a single print fail...whether from adhesion issues or anything else. I'm printing 36 hour prints and 15 hour prints like they're nothing. The supports in prusa slicer are SO much better, right out of the box, than Cura....not even close. Not only that, but you don't have to tweak the settings. It's already set for your printer.

Is it worth it to me? ABSOLUTELY. 

Posted : 12/08/2022 1:35 am
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