Prusa Mini 3D Printer Intro
Prusa Mini 3D Printer, is it really the best in its price class? I finally decided to jump on buying a Prusa Mini in quest for a printer that “just works”. With an already long waiting list and then hit COVID it took about four months for this printer to arrive. Was it worth the wait? I’ll dive into the experience and walk you through how this machine performs.
Un-Boxing the Prusa Mini
The Prusa Mini arrived in a well-packaged box protected by a plastic layer. All the parts are protected by environmentally friendly foam and cardboard cutouts.
As I started organizing all the parts on my desk I thought for sure I was missing all the fasteners needed for the assembly. But I was wrong, there are really only a few screws needed for the entire build!
Everything was clearly marked and individually packed. The Assembly manual has to be one of the cleanest and easiest guides I have ever used. Everything is step-by-step with color codes steps making it super easy to understand.
3D Printer Assembly
Assembling the Prusa Mini 3D Printer was really quick and easy. It ships pre-assembled in two main sections.
The assembly consists of adding some padded cushions to dampen vibration on the surface the printer sits on and connecting the two main assemblies.
The Prusa Mini Manual clearly shows how to wire up the Z-Axis components and after fastening 4 screws assembly is done!
Bonus the Prusa Mini also comes with some hardware extras, a nozzle needle and lubricant for 3D Printer maintenance.
First Run of the Prusa Mini 3D Printer
On first boot the experience was awesome! This Prusa Mini runs a self-diagnostic checkup and then greets you with a walkthrough to adjust the bed to nozzle height.
This is one of my favorite features!!! The 3D printer runs a test print and you can dynamically adjust the nozzle height during the print. Finally, no more sliding paper between nozzle and bed hoping for perfect filament “squish”.
I wish all 3D Printers had this bed leveling feature and I am so happy I don’t need to mess with bed adjustment knobs anymore. What a time saver!
I have been an avid Simplify3D user for a long time and really only used Cura on occasion when new cool features would come out. I heard about PrusaSlicer but never tried it until now.
Actually, it was really easy to use. I found settings were very easy to find and that it actually slices faster than S3D. Plus, the gyroid infill setting looks super cool and makes prints really strong.
The UI is very straightforward and easy to navigate. Using some of the advanced features like adding support enforcers is quick to learn. I also noticed that it auto-repairs some models that have bad mesh areas which is nice.
Since using PrusaSlicer with the Prusa Mini 3D Printer I have not really found I needed to switch back over to S3D. Another thing to note is that using another slicer loses the cool feature of plugging in the USB and seeing a preview of the most recently saved model on the printing screen ready to start the print!
Out of the box the Prusa Mini made a decent calibration cube: 19.94 x 19.92 x 20.06mm and i’ll take those numbers any day for zero tweaking!
Check out our Calibration Posts to get your 3D Printer Calibration dialed in
Simplify3D and the Prusa Mini
There is no official Prusa Mini 3D Printer profile in the configuration assistant yet. I reached out to support on if this was on their roadmap. They quickly replied and sent an FFF profile for the Prusa Mini that I am working with them to dial it in. I’ll post an update here once it’s final.
Prusa Mini Hardware
The Prusa Mini 3D Printer sports some serious hardware. Even the 3d printed parts have a nice textured surface that make it look high-end.
The hotend looks like an E3D Block with some really nice heat exchanger which I am guessing E3D had a hand in designing as well. This hotend assembly is so light and compact. It’s a really well-thought-out and smart design. Yes… It’s a Bowden setup but it works really well. There will be the occasion jam but it’s an easy fix.
It would have been really cool to get this with a silicone block sock but I am guessing it’s only a matter of time before we see these available. If I see a good one I’ll update it here.
There are two options for the build plate and they are both 7″ x 7″ x 7″ (180 x 180 x 180 mm). These are removable magnetic spring steel sheets with PEI that make removing parts effortless. I went for the smooth build plate but I am for sure going to get a textured one because it makes such a nice finish on the plate side of the print.
The Prusa Buddy Control Board is like the Tesla of mainboards. Prusa keeps improving the firmware and adding more features. This is an exciting feature that has been very planned and designed.
The Buddy Board features onboard TMC2209-LA stepper drivers. These are the magic on how the Prusa Mini has sensorless homing! I was really surprised when I saw no limit switches and thought that was just super cool. These drivers also have a stall guard feature and can store some data in OTP memory.
The LCD is a vertical color display that comes pre-assembled in a 3D Printed housing. The rotary button is really easy to use and has good feedback during operation. A simple convenience is that it is adjustable to most angles making it really easy to see no matter where you have the Prusa Mini setup.
Need a Quick Charge?
Try the EBL Charger with Batteries Included as seen in this blog post
Prusa Mini First Issue
So I had my first filament jam… When I tried to unload the filament it would move about 50 mm and then stop while the extruder gear just kept spinning.
Sometimes the retraction is too great causing the filament to cool down and then make a hard blob of filament. This stops the filament from being pushed down into the hotend and also from unloading.
Luckily this was a super easy fix! Just loosen the bowden coupler and snip off the blob. Then run the purge function on the LCD until you see your filament extrude again. Job done!
There is a Micro USB port on the right side of the Prusa Mini 3D Printer. This is where we connect our Raspberry Pi for running OctoPrint. If you have ever used OctoPrint before setup is a breeze and I am excited to see any new plugins that come out!
New to using OctoPrint? Check out our Install OctoPrint Beginner Guide for your 3D Printer to get started in remote controlling your 3D printer.
There is word of a PrusaConnect in the works that’ll work like OctroPrint with the LAN connection on the Prusa Mini or the optional Wifi Adapter.
For now you can run this locally if you have some coding experience. Here is the Repo to follow for updates: https://github.com/prusa3d/Prusa-Connect-Local
It’ll be a game changer if this becomes a feature of PrusaSlicer. It’ll make it that much easier and without the need for additional parts or maintenance. The good news is if you can’t live without OctoPrint the Micro USB port is you’re friend.
Prusa Mini 3D Printer Review Summary
I straight up love this printer. Having worked with various 3D Printers in the $100-$400 range the Prusa Mini 3D Printer is hands down the best I have worked with.
It came in a pretty box with some candy, was quick to assemble, the manual is really nice and the machine is just a joy to use.
If you are looking to buy a printer in the $400 price range in my opinion this 3D printer is worth the wait time and money!
I almost forgot another mega bonus is this the Prusa Mini is open source!
This means you can clone, improve and contribute to this amazing machine.
Prusa keeps releasing firmware updates and I am really excited to see what new improvements and features will come.
This 3D Printer is great for beginners, hobbyists and even for part production! I recommend this printer for all users.
Hopefully, after reading this I have answered some of your questions about this 3D Printer that other videos and blogs haven’t. Feel free to comment below and leave some feedback.