Prusa i3 MK3S Review
Few brands can compete with the impeccable reputation and adoring fanbase of Prusa Research.
Josef Prusa has consistently improved all aspects of the company’s open-source ecosystem, securing lifelong, die-hard fans. Prusa Research’s responsiveness to community feedback is showcased in the Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer’s upgrades.
The new Prusa i3 MK3S has a completely redesigned extruder system while retaining all upgrades that have been made to the model over time.
- Exceptional print quality
- Enthusiastic and helpful community
- Crash detection
- Print pause and restart
- Great fine details in prints
- Easy-to-use Slic3r PE slicing software
- Prusa support responds quickly and is knowledgeable
- Long distance prints less reliable
- Dense support structures in default settings
- Not a significant upgrade from the original
The Original Prusa i3 MK3S is clearly an exceptional machine. Even with its default settings, I found it to be great for high-quality prints while being easy to use. The upgrades only polish—not replace—several features from its predecessor, but why reinvent something that worked well to begin with? The slicer is easy to use. The prints are easy to remove. It is a solid printer that consistently produces great results.
Although I’ve seen a few issues with long distance prints, the prints were impressive the vast majority of the time.
The Prusa MK3S reflects the same overall look and feel of its predecessor; they share the same 250 x 210 x 200mm build volume, a sturdy frame with iconic orange accents, and staple features including power recovery and a magnetic removable print bed.
Prusa Research conducted a survey to identify exactly what users liked and disliked about their last printer before setting out to solve those issues with this revamped model.
The most notable improvement is that Prusa i3 MK3S has an entirely novel extruder assembly. Several users suggested that the extruder was not very accessible, so Prusa Research modified the design, allowing users to change the PTFE tubing nozzle without having to dismantle the entire assembly.
Another minor yet notable change is that the nozzle and extruder nozzle have been moved closer to the X-axis, reducing resonance and improving overall print quality. The new extruder also improves cooling and Y-axis belt tensioning.
UPDATED FILAMENT SENSOR
This printer features a new filament sensor that offers improved compatibility with specific filaments—addressing a known problem of the original.
This optical sensor is triggered by a simple mechanical lever. Integrating older design principles, the new sensor retains high function without disruption by the filament’s optical properties.
NEW Slic3r PRINT PROFILES
Prusa added new print profiles for the MK3 and MK3S. Accessing them is as simple as downloading Slic3r Prusa Edition 1.41.3 or newer.
Users can now access a 70μm profile that offers an option between 50μm and 100μm that is marketed as a great option for miniature 3D printing. Prusa Research has also packaged its 150μm Optimal and 200μm profiles into Quality and Speed modes, respectively: Quality is focused on producing high surface quality, while Speed focuses on print speed, but quality isn’t greatly sacrificed with this setting.
This software is fairly easy to get started with—while it isn’t the one-size-fits-all setup you may find with other printers, you’re essentially working with tailor-made tools to produce the best prints for the Prusa.
Upgrades & Pricing
The fully assembled Prusa i3 MK3S is available for $999, while the DIY kit is only $749. Anyone that happened to order the previous model from January 2019 onward will receive a voucher for a free upgrade.
For owners of the original, an upgrade kit can be purchased for $19.99, allowing for self-printed parts. If you don’t want to print your parts, the full upgrade kit can be purchased for $39.99.
The MK3 model featured many of its own improvements, and all previous upgrades are included in the Prusa i3 MK3S, such as new Gates belts, textile sleeves instead of spiral wraps, a new Einsy case, PEI sheets with anti-rust coating, and improved plastic parts and firmware.
MK52 Magnetic HeatBed
The PEI-coated spring steel bed is a fantastic feature that skyrockets usability. As the sheet cools down, parts can be popped off by slightly bending the sheet inward.
The EINSY RAMBo motherboard allows the Prusa i3 MK3 to resume a print job after power loss. It can monitor power, allowing it to detect blown fuses, and it features super-fast Trinamic drivers capable of correcting layer shifts while printing.
Automatic bed leveling
Bed leveling is the bane of many 3D print makers’ existence. This printer is equipped with auto bed leveling so your prints can be perfect from the get-go.
Overall, this machine was an upgrade, not an overhaul, of its predecessor. As such, a huge jump in print quality isn’t to be expected. Still, the Prusa i3 MK3S did manage to improve on quality in several ways. Several printing tests highlight its ability to produce great design elements like curves, fine details, and excellent color quality with ease. The only significant issue with this printer is that it can struggle with layer shifting in long distance prints.
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From its quality to its ease of use, this is easily one of the best new machines on the market.
While its nearly $1,000 price tag may throw you off, it is certainly worth it. This is a reliable, high-quality machine with a community of fans that offer support and advice alongside the Prusa tech support team.
Also, who doesn’t love open source? If you’d like, you can hack your machine and upgrade it to fit your specific needs.
The Prusa i3 MK3S specs are pretty much the same as its predecessor’s. Here are the MK3 series specs:
- Manufacturer: Prusa Research
- Build Volume: 250 x 210 x 200 mm
- Print Bed: Heated, Removable, PEI Coating
- Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm
- Third-Party Filament: Yes
- Max. Extruder Temperature: 300ºC
- Max. Print Bed Temperature: 120ºC
- Connectivity: SD Card, USB
- Onboard Controls: Yes
- Host/Slicer Software: Prusa Control/Prusa Slic3r
- OS: Mac, Windows, Linux
- Firmware: Marlin
- Open Software/Hardware: Yes (GNU GPLv3)
- Weight: 6.35 kg
Where To Buy
Prusa Research has begun shipping the Original Prusa i3 MK3S, replacing the previous iteration of the MK3 for all customer orders. If you ordered the MK3 from January 28 onward, Prusa is automatically sending a voucher for a free upgrade.
Otherwise, the MK3S upgrade kit is available on the Prusa Research e-shop.
What filament should you buy? We recommend this Zyltech. They're the best value for what you're getting.