For several months, we’ve been working hard to bring you the next major firmware release. And today’s the day: firmware 6.0.0 is out now! What does it bring? Honestly, a lot. You can, of course, chew through the complete release notes spread across the alpha, RC1, RC2 and RC3 releases, or you can dig in right here and get the “slightly” more user-friendly version, prepared for your convenience.

Before we start: this firmware is available for the MINI, MK3.5, MK3.9 and MK4. For the XL, we released the 6.0.0 as a Release Candidate 3 – feature-complete but there might be a tiny bug here and there. We need a few more days to wrap it up for the XL, but it won’t take long.

Some features are shared across all devices, some are device-specific, so we’ll take extra care to describe everything in detail.

And one more thing: the MK4 celebrates its first birthday and we prepared a special promo with cool gifts. You can get the MK4 with an awesome iFixit Mako Driver Set and a limited edition smooth print sheet. 😉

Vastly Improved Cancel Object (All printers)

Cancel Object is a useful function for situations where you’re printing a large number of objects at the same time and one of the printed models comes loose. Instead of stopping the print (or hoping that it will somehow work out), you can simply tell the printer to skip the object that’s causing issues.

For the latest implementation of Cancel Object, you should be running the 6.0.0 firmware and slice the object using PrusaSlicer 2.7.4 or newer. When you go to Prusa Connect and open the print job detail, you can access an interactive print bed layout with all the objects. Simply click any object you want to skip and the printer will avoid it automatically. This is especially useful when you’re monitoring the printer remotely via a webcam. An object came loose? Two clicks and the situation is solved – you don’t even have to be anywhere near the printer.

Touchscreen enabled (MK3.5, MK3.9, MK4, XL)

Devices with touchscreens are pretty common these days, so we’re considering this just a neat little update. A touch panel has been secretly a part of the MK4’s and XL’s display from the very beginning, however, we didn’t advertise it anywhere and we waited until we were sure it was ready for release.

Don’t expect an extremely smooth smartphone-like experience, but I’m happy to say that the current implementation is really good and it makes accessing many features faster than before. We ran an intensive in-house survey and tested its performance and functionality over several months. You can enable or disable this feature in the User Interface menu in Settings.

Even with the touch support enabled, you can still control the printer with the physical knob, so you have the best of both worlds. Some features are accessible faster with the Knob, others with a touchscreen. Simple gestures are also supported (swipe the screen to return to the previous menu or scroll through a list).

Phase Stepping (XL) – Make your XL super quiet!

Huge news for the owners of the Original Prusa XL: Phase Stepping is now implemented in the firmware and it will make your machine much quieter during operation. We’ll publish a detailed developer diary including a short video demonstrating phase stepping in action and explaining how exactly it works.

Phase Stepping Calibration result screen

So just briefly: the XL now features a new Phase Stepping calibration (available via Calibrations & Tests submenu) during which the system measures the response of individual stepper motors to input signal. By utilizing the accelerometer inside the XL’s Nextruder, we can measure the characteristics of individual motors with great precision. Why is that important? No matter how good motors we pick, there will always be tiny differences between them. With Phase Stepping, we can customize the signal for each individual motor (thanks to Trinamic 2130 drivers) and reduce vibrations – and thus, noise. Another welcome benefit is that Phase Stepping can also suppress small artifacts on the prints.

Print comparison before and after Phase Stepping

The alpha firmware with Phase Stepping has been out since February 27th and we released several release candidates in the meantime – currently, the latest build is the RC3. Ever since the initial alpha stage, this new feature had an amazing reception among XL users.

Now, the obvious question is: is it possible to bring this feature to other printers? And the answer is a bit tricky. Bringing Phase Stepping to the MK3.5 or MK4 wouldn’t have as big of a benefit as on the XL. However, we have something else for you to make your printer even quieter (as if our printers weren’t quiet enough already ☺️).

Stealth Mode (MK3.5, MK3.9, MK4, MINI, XL)

Stealth Mode is back! It’s something that’s been well known on the MK3 and now we’re bringing it to our 32-bit printers. The option is available in the printer’s menu and once it’s enabled, the firmware sets a limit to acceleration, feedrate, and jerk. Setting a cap on these parameters will make the printer even more quiet, however, at a small cost of increasing the overall printing time – but not by a huge margin. An overnight print that would take 8 hours to finish in normal mode, will finish in about 8 hours and 50 minutes with Stealth Mode activated. However, this largely depends on the shape of the model, the number of objects on the bed and the distances between them.

Stuck Filament Detection (MK3.9, MK4, XL)

When we introduced the Nextruder and its Loadcell sensor, we briefly mentioned that it’s an incredibly capable device. Now, thanks to this sensor, we can implement a new feature: stuck filament detection.

By measuring the tension inside the extruder, the printer can pause the print and notify you in case the conditions suggest that the filament is stuck inside the Nextruder. Please keep in mind that the system detects only what happens inside the Nextruder, so, for example, if you have a tangled spool, it’s not possible to detect it as the tension is outside the Nextruder. Nevertheless, it’s a great and useful addition to avoid various print failures.

MMU3 Firmware Auto-Update (MK3.5, MK3.9, MK4)

Firmware 6.0.0 lays down a foundation for automatic MMU3 firmware updates. Currently, there are two flashing procedures if you have a printer with the MMU3. You need to flash the printer firmware from the USB drive and you need to connect the MMU3 to your PC via a microUSB cable to flash the MMU firmware.

We’re finishing work on a new MMU3 bootloader which will allow you to flash the MMU3 firmware via the printer. The process will be automatic because the printer firmware will also contain the MMU3 firmware. So anytime you flash your printer with a newer firmware, the MMU will be automatically updated as well. Keep a look out for the upcoming MMU3 update.

Updates for the MINI+

The Original Prusa MINI+ received a useful little update – Bed Level Correction (also applies to the MK3.5). This feature is an addition to Mesh Bed Leveling and it allows experienced users to further compensate for any imperfections on the heatbed in case MBL is not precise enough. You can change the values in four directions around the plate (front, back, left, right) which changes Mesh Bed Leveling values through linear interpolation.

We have also redesigned the MINI’s menu to unite the interface across all printers with the Buddy firmware. This release brings a revised Control menu where all tests have been moved into the Calibrations & Tests submenu.

Additional changes and updates

  • Cold Pull Wizard will walk you through the cold pull procedure to clean the printer’s nozzle (MK3.9/MK4 only)
  • Updated Time Zone Settings
  • MCU Temperature displayed in the Sensor info menu
  • XL Enclosure support – the enclosure for the XL is on the way and we will bring you more information soon!
  • Various bugfixes

Improvements by the Prusa community

Once again, thanks to the active members of the community, we have improved the firmware with two new pull requests (#3766, and #3779). Kudos to the user @bkerler!

So that’s it for the 6.0.0 firmware. Stay tuned for the upcoming dev diary covering Phase Stepping!

Also, if you don’t know it yet – you can also flash the firmware directly from Prusa Connect. Which brings me to…

Prusa Connect

With new firmware and PrusaSlicer 2.7.4 out, our remote printer management software Prusa Connect received a bunch of cool new features, too! And if you want to learn more about Prusa Connect, we have recently published a massive article describing its features.

First of all, there is the new Cancel Object screen which allows you to simply click an object on the print bed and stop the machine from printing it – this was already described above.

The Prusa Connect team has added support for “Attention states” – essentially a much tighter communication between the printer and Connect. When a printer shows a status message on the screen, you have the same message displayed in Connect including active buttons which can be controlled remotely. Messages may also contain links to help pages related to the Attention state.

Another addition is Delayed start. You can add a print file to the queue and schedule a delayed start. Not only can you set the date and time for the print to start, but you can also choose when the print should finish and Connect will automatically start the print to match the desired time of completion. Of course, it has a safety mechanism – the printer needs to be manually switched into the “Ready” state to ensure that there is no print on the print bed.

Also, we’re making it easier to register multiple printers into the system (e.g., in a classroom or in a hackerspace) by adding a team token. You can download a special .ini file from the team detail page – instead of confirming every single printer via QR or a generated code, you can use a USB drive with the .ini file to quickly add all the machines.

We’re further improving the overall UX and UI – we’re currently adjusting the right-click context menus and adding various tweaks and fixes.

PrusaSlicer 2.7.4

Now, onto our open-source slicing software! We have released two smaller updates recently – 2.7.3 and 2.7.4.

With the MMU3 out of the door for all supported printers (MK3S+, MK3.5, MK3.9 and MK4), we also released an updated version of PrusaSlicer focused on improving multi-material printing.

The 3D printing community developed a process nicknamed “skinnydip” for improved filament tip shaping – this is essential for correct loading and unloading during multi-material printing. It works like this: the filament is pushed back into the melt zone after it was unloaded to melt off the thin string (a “wisp”) at the end of the filament which may cause issues during loading and unloading. However, our in-house testing revealed that this feature alone isn’t sufficient. It can be improved when it is preceded by a rapid ramming sequence.

We call the entire process “Stamping” and you can find two parameters in Filament Settings that control it (filament_stamping_distance and filament_stamping_loading_speed). We would like to highlight community projects that helped us develop the Stamping procedure and saved our developers and testers a considerable amount of time! These are the Skinny Dip post-processing script by Erik Bjorgan and Dribbling by Antimix. While we ended up with a different approach to tackling the issue, we would like to thank both authors for all the effort invested into the project and for making it open-source! (Related to #2385, #2452, #2729, mentioning @domesticatedviking and @antimix).

If you’re planning to use the MMU3, we strongly recommend updating to the newest PrusaSlicer.

There are, of course, more new features, such as:

  • Spiral vase mode improvements (thanks to @andrewboktor)
  • Purging volumes improvements
  • Ability to import Bambulab 3MF files
  • Improved Cancel Object support (already described above)
  • Various bugfixes

Stay tuned for more news

We are working on more things, of course, and we will share all the information when the time is right! 🙂 In the meantime, the event season is starting, so you can meet us at various shows and events across the globe. Check out the event schedule to see where we’re planning to go. We’re currently in Australia (and it’s awesome!) and we plan to visit many other countries this year.

Happy printing!