The Greatest 3D Printer in the World
I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have to tell me. You’ve seen a million reviews of the Original Prusa i3 MK2S and previous variants and they all say essentially the same thing: the spool holder is the only problem. Well,
they are mostly correct. I’ve had two 3D printers and based on that experience, which is admittedly limited, I have to tell you I believe this printer is riding the pinnacle of 3D printer performance with a very few others. That said,
if you take price into consideration, this printer essentially stands alone.
Really? Is This the BEST Printer?
I believe it is. I went to college in 1991 to study mechanical engineering technology. I wound up switching to computer science, but I made several friends in the mechanical department and by chance some of us have wound up staying in touch. Some of those guys are into 3D printing and aid me in developing my opinions about printers. Without any experience with the actual printer, I labored over selecting my next 3D printer around one major issue: frame style. My friends all encouraged me to consider more strongly, printers that used a complete box style frame due to inevitable flexing and shifting. This made me wonder if selecting a Prusa style printer was the right choice.
In the course of researching printers, I decided I would add a couple of other factors to the list of important considerations based on the veritable flood of data packed into long, boring videos on Youtube. These include:
- Quality of Parts
- Open Standards & Materials
- Support Reviews
These may seem somewhat obvious, but I wanted to take a second to dig into each one.
Quality of Parts
like nylon. The Rambo control board is an extremely well regarded electronic part as well. The machines I considered in competition relative to price did not include premium selected parts even though it was rare to find one that didn’t cost just as much as the Original Prusa.
Open Standards & Materials
I’d much rather have a spool of junk plastic every now and then than be locked into buying something that costs multiple times what normal filament costs. In essence, my ownership couldn’t be tied to a single source. The Prusa machine uses standard 1.75mm filament, available everywhere.
Frankly, we have too much other stuff to deal with as human beings than to be treated poorly, so many vendors simply never made it past some of their terrible reviews in this category with me. That said, I think there is an art to reading bad reviews. Sometimes people are just plain stupid and leave bad reviews as some sort of public attempt at retribution. I tried my best to be blind to those reviews and judge based on meritorious feedback from level headed folks. Prusa was diligent in responding to me, was available to chat almost every time I looked for them, and was consistent in quality with respect to their responses. This seemed to match with their customer feedback in general so it was easy to keep them on the short list through the entire process.
While the machine doesn’t have native wifi capabilities, the Raspberry Pi has dropped so much in price, it almost doesn’t matter at this point. Other machines had deficiencies outside my requirements that kept me from picking them anyway. Things like build plates that were 6″ or less. No thanks!
Maybe paper airplanes? I wasn’t looking for the cheapest printer on the market. I was looking for the biggest bang for my buck. I truly believe I achieved that with this printer. Taking just one piece of data, the Maker Magazine review for 2017 which listed the Original Prusa i3 MK2S as the best printer this year. Their #2 printer, just a single score point behind the i3, and the price is more than double! There were several other systems further down the list that matched or beat the i3 price, but they were way down the list! I am price sensitive, but I’d rather keep dreaming of having a 3D printer than to have one like my first one. It eventually just wound up sitting in a storage box in the closet because I couldn’t make it work reliably enough for it to be useful. I’ve only had my Original Prusa i3 MK2S a week and I’ve already fixed a backpack with replacement strap clips, made charging my Android watch much easier by printing a stand for it, and made several really neat and useful items for organization. That’s not to mention all the obligatory knick knacks I’ve printed! Everything just comes out beautiful!
The long and short of it is, the positive reviews for this printer are real. They’ll keep being produced in print and video form until something even better comes along. Josef Prusa is definitely making strides and I think he’ll continue to do so with this printer. I’d like to close with a thought about why I think this printer is so entirely delightful as well: Josef has a focus on making the user experience perfect. He does this with a kind of confidence we haven’t seen in a product designer since Steve Jobs. There are really excellent options for preparing print jobs for this printer, but Josef has actually produced tools that make it super easy, like Prusa Control. There is truly an endless volume of study relating to 3D printing, and everyone should strive to learn as much as they can as it will certainly help to create ever more fantastic things right at home. That said, Josef is turning out an entire ecosystem (product and software) that allows even the layman like myself to actually produce great objects.
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