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Original Prusa MINI 3D Printer In-Depth Review

8.4Expert Score
Original Prusa MINI

Affordability
9
Quality
8
Speed
6
Capability
8
Practicality
8
User Expectations
8
PROS
  • Affordable
  • Open Source
  • Huge Online Community
  • Exceptional print results
  • Colour LCD screen
  • Compact
  • Easy to Setup
  • Automatic bed leveling
CONS
  • Limited build space
  • Optional filament sensor upgrade
  • No power recovery

Prusa Research, the Czech-based company never ceases to impress users. Time again, it has given individuals the best 3D printers to help them build astonishing models without any hassle.

We have already witnessed the successful releases before. Either it was Original Prusa i3 MK3S, its proprietary filament line, Prusament or its own slicing software, PrusaSlicer, the company has amazed us every time.

This time, it has tried once again to surprise its users with an outstanding 3D printer, known as Original Prusa Mini.

Josef Prusa’s Mini is a smaller version of the MK3S. An even more affordable 3D printer that is no less in terms of providing high-quality print results when compared to its counterparts and even with those holding a higher price tag.

The 3D Printer has already created a buzz after its release at the end of 2019. And, the claims by the company does reveal that the printer would certainly be among the user’s favorites like the others from the Prusa series.

Original Prusa MINI (1)

Features

The 3D printer is a compact version of the prior release by the company, the Original Prusa MK3S and promises for providing best in class experience to its users.

Among the features that it flaunts, here are a few of the major ones that have acquired most of the attention from the 3D printing community.

Affordable: It is important to note that the 3D printers are getting cheaper and the features they embody, are growing.

Hence, to keep itself inside the competition, Prusa has come up with this affordable machine that sits back to another affordable Original Prusa i3 MK3S kit in terms of price.

The starting price is $349 which makes it accessible to an even larger number of audiences. With that price point, users may have to compromise with a few of the perks that were available with the predecessor. It offers a smaller build volume.

Magnetic Build Plate: The Mini tries to flaunt the best of its features and keeps the user interested by offering irresistible deals.

One such feature is the removable magnetic build plate with PEI-coated spring steel sheets. The option can be considered as the best among the ones available with the 3D printers currently. It is very helpful in providing easy removal of completed models.

As soon as the sheet cools down, the printed parts pop out only by flexing the sheet inward. There are additional optional purchases are available as well. Pay an extra $30 to buy an upgraded textured powder-coated spring steel sheet. Isn’t that plenty to offer?

Ethernet RJ45 port: The 3D printer is not equipped with WiFi connectivity, however, it provides an ethernet port for its users.

This port is helpful in streamlining the workflows substantially. Hence, a powerful feature added to the machine is anyone who likes to build a Minis print farm.

Color LCD Screen: You would be happy to see the new colorful LCD screen that adds more than the looks to the printer.

Using this screen, users can preview the model after slicing before it is sent for printing. This cool feature may not add a lot of value to a few users, but few would definitely fall for this bait.

Compact size: Many users believe in spending their money on bigger machines. However, there are those users who like the compact ones.

This machine is for those users who prefer a smaller footprint over a huge one. It is compact and can snug easily on your desk without acquiring much space. Hence, a manageable machine that is easily transportable.

Bowden System: This is an upgrade that we were looking forward to. The MK3S has a direct drive extruder. However, in the Mini, the company has included a Bowden system along with the 3:1 drive gear ratio.

The arrangement is helpful in keeping the extruder lightweight. Hence, lessening the problem of wobbling. The design is impressive and the extruder motor finds a place on the Z-axis column in the Mini. The filament is loaded using a PTFE tube and reaches the hotel.

Automatic Bed Leveling: The printer keeps the job easier for the users. It once again has come up with its automatic mesh bed leveling feature making the installation and setup easier for beginners.

32-Bit Controller: The Mini is equipped with a custom-made 32-bit motherboard. It uses the Trinamic 2209 drivers.

This addition, as per the manufacturer’s claim would offer almost every perk that is available with OctoPrint. It would also make farm management software available through a firmware update in the coming future.

The various features the machine embodies have given the 3D printer a completely unique signature of itself. With an aim to reach more audiences, the company has come up with a precise yet most useful feature-packed device.

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Specifications

Prusa Research release of Mini has made those happiest who were waiting for a smaller machine with the goodness of the latest technology.

With a space requirement of 380 x 330 mm, the 3D printer provides a build volume of 180 x 180 x 180 mm. The 3D printer silently is getting into the mainstream by offering amazing precision and accuracy to its users.

It provides a layer height of 0.05 to 0.35 mm. The noteworthy machine comes with a non-removable build plate but a removable PEI spring steel sheet that does the job conveniently.

The extruder can reach a maximum temperature of 280 degrees Celsius offering compatibility for a wider range of filament types. The build plate also is heated and can attain a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius.

The 3D printer does not have a filament sensor inclusion which can be upgraded through additional cost.

Moreover, the WIFI connectivity may soon surface in the future through an upgrade. The promising 3D printer, Mini by Prusa has turned a lot of heads towards its prospects that lie in its design and results.

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Price

Do you think paying $349 is too much for a machine so capable? It is not. Most of all, the 3D printer is from the most reliable selection of companies that have been able to amuse users with their exceptional developments.

The goal for reaching more of home users is well reflected with the price point. However, ensuring there is no compromise with the quality of the prints.

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First Impression

Original Prusa MINI impressions (1)

The 3D printer is packed in a box with necessary safety measures taken into consideration. The starter pack comes in a kit version.

Hence, you may have to tackle a few parts here and there when taking the machine out of the box. The manual is detailed and the assembly isn’t too tiresome. Those who have worked with a DIY kit before would certainly vouch for that.

The printer carries the company’s color trademark with it. The orange and black body with a sturdy frame, makes this printer look stunning.

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Setup

The setup is easy. The three-piece assembly comes in a securely packaged box. By assembling the few parts together and connecting the LCD screen to the printer, one would be able to start the printing process in less than an hour.

The setup and installation time would mostly depend on how experienced you are with managing the DIY kits.

However, for the beginners as well, the company packages the detailed manual which has everything that one needs to complete the assembly.

Apart from the initial calibration, the printing can be started sooner because of the automated bed leveling feature included with the 3D printer.

It won’t take anywhere more than 30 minutes if you follow the instructions precisely.

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Printing Type/Cost

It is an FDM 3D printer with a lot of great features. Being an FDM machine, the operation cost is also cheap along with the cost of the 3D printer.

This means that you can build 3D models at a comparatively cheapest rate when compared to the operational cost of printers based on other 3D Printing processes.

Moreover, you can work with the cheapest of all filaments, PLA to make the cost even more feasible. The results would vary though depending on the choice of the material you use.

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Print Quality

Without any doubt, the print quality is commendable. For a printer at this price range, offering an accuracy that matches those of the expensive counterparts isn’t usual. The layer height from 0.05mm to 0.35mm is achievable. Moreover, print finishes are amazing.

One can realize complex designs by printing with Mini from Prusa. You must try it to know the worth of the machine.

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Software

The MINI is compatible with the company’s slicing software known as PrusaSlicer. The slicer is highly intuitive and very impressive. It is easy to use and comes packed with the goodness of advanced features as well as the user-friendly interface.

The tool has everything you need to master the 3D print job. From simple accessibility to be able to explore through the pre-existing profiles for supported filaments, the application offers great aid to beginners as well as experts.

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Customer Service

As we all know, Prusa has a huge list of supporters who constantly team up to make the ecosystem even better. And, the community keeps growing.

The enormous community consists of passionate fans. And, these individuals contribute together for upgrades and help one another in time of need.

However, that does not mean that the company sits idle when it comes to providing after-sale assistance. The company also offers a vigilant customer support team that is available in seven different languages and they have a 24/7 live chat option.

You also get the company’s reliable guarantee with a 60-day return policy in place.

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Parameters that Influence the Buying Decision

Users are always eager to buy their first 3D printers and often miss looking through the amazing built and design of the machine.

Sometimes, they buy a machine that is amazing but not compatible with their needs. Hence, it is very important to carry a thorough review before you spend on a 3D printer.

Here is what you must look for when deciding to buy Prusa Mini 3D Printer.

3D Printer cost: If you are looking for an affordable option, you can go for this machine. The cheap amount of $349 won’t make a huge dent in your wallet. On the other hand, it would help you explore a new technology that in no time has become mainstream.

3D Print quality: Print quality is certainly the most important factor that every user should assess. In the case of this printer, you can rest assured of getting a fine print quality. However, if you are looking to use it for advanced applications for aerospace or similar niches, you may have to look for some other printer.

3D Print speed: The print speed is decent. You will be able to complete the tasks sooner. With lightweight extruder design, the speed has been worked on by the manufacturer. So, you can depend on it for expected results.

3D Printer capability: The printer is highly capable of creating detailed designs. Even the complex geometries are easily printed with the use of perfect settings.

3D Printer Practicality: The printer can be value for money for those looking to buy a printer for learning aims as well as for home use. Also, the printer is a nice option for professionals and those wanting to start a small 3D printing farm.

3D Printer User expectations: The printer is already in talks because of its unique offering and makes up for the users’ expectations.

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Verdict

The 3D printer has hit the market by promoting itself as the printer for beginners with an affordable price tag. Hence, there are few features that you may find missing when compared to its predecessor, the MK3S.

Such as the filament sensor, the smooth PEI as well as the textured powder-coated steel sheets. However, these can be included by paying during the purchase.

Keeping these minor changes apart, the printer offers great value for money with its amazing print results and reliability.

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