UPDATE (May 20): Prusa started shipping the MK2 today, with current lead time being two weeks. An upgrade kit is available at $199 for owners of older Original Prusa i3 models.
Josef Prusa’s company Prusa Printers has announced the release of a new 3D printer kit, the Original Prusa i3 MK2. The device includes many upgrades over the Original Prusa i3, including a new print bed with more uniform heat distribution, hassle-free PEI print surface, auto-leveling, and a 31% larger print volume.
The name Prusa has become nearly synonymous with the open source RepRap printer project. Designed by Josef Prusa, the Prusa i3 is the most-used 3D printer in the world, with many different companies manufacturing their own version of it. Nearly a year ago, Josef started selling his own version of the Prusa i3 kit, called the Original Prusa i3, under the Prusa Printers company brand.
The new heated print bed features much more uniform temperature distribution. In most heated print beds, temperature can vary by 15°C from one spot on the print bed to another. This can cause parts to warp, especially larger prints that are spread across a large area on the print bed. The new print bed, named the MK42 after the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, utilizes three power zones to form a warm air shield at the edges of the print bed, creating a uniform heat distribution across the entire bed.
Hassle-free PEI Print Surface
The Original Prusa i3 had a glass print bed. Glass is good for maintaining its flatness, but not always great at heating or allowing parts to adhere but also be easily removed after printing. The new MK2 uses an Ultem polyetherimide (PEI) film that is extremely durable and eliminates the hassle of using materials like binder clips, glue and ABS juice.
Additionally, the new surface allows for true edge-to-edge printing, resulting in a 31% increase in print size. The maximum build envelope of the new MK2 is 250 x 210 x 200 mm (9.8 x 8.3 x 7.9 inches).
Full mesh bed auto-leveling
Leveling of the print bed has always been a hassle in the 3D printing world, but one that is vital for good print quality. Several 3D printer models have introduced automated bed leveling technology. The Original Prusa i3 MK2 now includes this capability as well. The auto-leveling feature uses a probe that checks nine calibration points on the bed substrate to provide a repeatable process that compensates for not only the tilt of the bed but also any slight curvatures.
Prusa i3 MK2 other improvements
The Original Prusa i3 MK2 includes several other enhancements as well. The Z axis motor is now manufactured with integrated trapezoidal lead screws, which reduces the amount of wobble and improves print quality. Frame stability has been improved along with other construction improvements. The hot end has been upgraded to allow for faster printing and higher temperatures that support more exotic filament materials. The firmware has also been upgraded and includes a new printer self-test feature to diagnose itself after assembly.
The Original Prusa i3 MK2 is now available for pre-order from PrusaPrinters.org for $699. An exact shipping date has not been published but Prusa promises it will be “very soon”. Users of the Original Prusa i3 can buy an upgrade to the MK2 without having to purchase an entire new printer.
More details at PrusaPrinters.org.