The first five months of 2019 are over and we have already released four big announcements. After MK3S and MMU2S in February, it was the launch of new community website PrusaPrinters.org and two weeks ago, we have released PrusaSlicer 2.0. However, that’s not all! This time, I’d like to talk about other things that have been happening at Prusa Research over the past few months. We have some exciting news and updates, so here’s another massive article! 🙂 The team is still growing (now more than 410 people!) and as everything gets more streamlined, the waiting times are decreasing. On the other hand, the number of shipped orders is increasing – we shipped over 20,000 packages this month alone! The last 500 MK3S upgrades are waiting to be sent and we should ship all remaining MMU2S orders during the next 10 working days. All upgrades to MMU2S that we gave to MMU2 owners for free are already shipped.
Of course, in such an amount, some mistakes can happen, but we do everything to prevent them and our support team tries to solve all the issues as quickly as possible.
Table of contents
- Original Prusa SL1 started shipping!
- PrusaSlicer 2.0 and Drivers 2.2.6
- Firmware 3.7.2 and 3.2.2
- PrusaPrinters and new functions
- Powder-coated sheets
- Basics of 3D printing – free e-book
- MMU2S and IKEA Lack enclosure
Original Prusa SL1 started shipping!
The first batch of SL1 and CW1 units is already shipped and we’re sending more and more every day – right now we’re still working on our backorders (customers who pre-ordered the printer). You can check the shipping table to see when your printer is scheduled to be shipped. As of right now, new orders will be sent out in August 2019 (assembled printers) and September 2019 (kits).
We understand that for many of you, this will be the first time working with an SLA 3D printer – if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or via the Live chat service at our shop (in the lower right corner), since it’s the fastest way how to get answers to your questions. Also, don’t forget you can download the latest handbooks for the SL1 and Curing and Washing machine from the driver download page, and you can check out the Print Quality Troubleshooting guides.
Did someone say that the print platform is too small? What about to print parts separately? 🙂
Our first MSLA 3D printer has turned out to be a proper challenge for the entire team. We had to change various parts of the hardware, add new features, fix various issues… in the end, we had no choice but to keep improving the SL1 until we were finally satisfied with the quality of every part. And every tiny change had to be tested thoroughly because the printer operates with much higher precision than FFF/FDM machines. Fine-tuning all the aspects, and finding reliable suppliers, were two major obstacles – if you’re building a device that is supposed to print objects with the layer height of 0.025 mm reliably (and it should be available as a kit that users can build), everything needs to be robust, solid and made of high-quality parts.
For example, a certain type of linear rails can cause tiny ‘waves’ to appear on the surface of printed objects, something that might be nearly invisible on FFF/FDM prints, but this issue is much more noticeable on an SLA 3D printer. All these things combined resulted in an unfortunate delay – I’m truly sorry! We have decided to bundle two extra 1-liter resins of two different colors to all pre-ordered SL1 printers (applies to all orders created until the end of May) as a little compensation. Speaking of resins: there’s already a nice selection of Prusa resins on our e-shop.
And it’s not only the printing technology that’s different in the SL1. We’ve also implemented a number of features that aren’t available on current Original Prusa i3 3D printers – we have a brand new motherboard called PrusA64 with a built-in Wi-fi network card, support for regular USB connectors (USB flash drives!), beautiful graphical touch display, network printing, over-the-air firmware updates, a real loudspeaker (custom sound set, anyone? 🙂 ) and many other things. You will certainly hear about this board in the future! Thanks to the new hardware, the SL1 is perfect even for new users: there’s an on-screen wizard with illustrations and photos that will help you set up the printer in no time. There’s also a resin level sensor, support for printer status overview in web browsers (on local network), uploading files from PrusaSlicer (also on local network)… as you have probably guessed, this is a small taste of what’s to come in the future and what is going to be our new standard.
PrusaSlicer 2.0 and Drivers 2.2.6
Starting with a fork of Alessandro Ranellucci’s Slic3r has been an important milestone in the development of our Slic3r PE. Over the past three years, we’ve spent roughly 21,440 man hours on the program, made 5769 commits and 61 releases. The application kept growing, improving and expanding by our in-house team of 7 developers and also with a huge help by community… and we finally arrived at the decision to rename the program. Enter PrusaSlicer 2.0 with revamped UI, plenty of new features and support for MSLA 3D printers (including tree supports generation). An extensive article was published two weeks ago, so go right ahead and check out all the things we’ve managed to implement.
Also, just to be sure, I’d like to remind our customers that installing the new Drivers & Apps 2.2.6 won’t delete your Slic3r PE settings! Check the aforementioned article to see how to transfer custom profiles from Slic3r PE into PrusaSlicer.
As always, we’re looking forward to your feedback regarding our latest release!
Firmware 3.7.1 for MK2.5/3/S and 3.2.2 RC1 for MK2/S/MMU
We also keep updating the firmware of our Original Prusa i3 3D printers. The latest 3.7.1 firmware for MK2.5 / MK3 / MK2.5S and MK3S printers contains a number of fixes:
- Rambo board overheating fix
- Enabled watchdog for MK2.5S & MK2.5
- Octoprint MMU load failed fix
- Bed preheat error fix
- SPI flash error is not blocking the printer anymore
- IR-sensor self-test fail message added
- Menu items text overflowing fix
- Linearity correction not saved to EEPROM fix
One of the fixed issues is the Octoprint MMU2 load error. When printing from Octoprint, the T-command failure blocks execution of following commands. The printer doesn’t respond “OK” to Octoprint until the T-command is finished successfully.
We’ve been listening to your requests for more features to be added into the MK2/S firmware. Currently, the new 3.2.2 RC1 firmware is available on Github and contains the following features and bugfixes:
- Preheat error improved
- Improved temperature regulation
- Remaining time estimation
- Adjustable beeper notifications
- Incomplete file check updated
- G-code fixes (M27, M110, M115)
As you can see, we’ve implemented a number of things from MK2.5/3/S firmware – the most notable addition is the remaining time estimation, which was requested a lot. Information about remaining time is computed in PrusaSlicer during slicing and inserted into G-code file (G-code M73 is used). In this case, the letter ‘R’ is shown next to the time on the display to indicate that it is, in fact, remaining time estimation. For speed factor different than 100 %, time estimation may not be accurate, which is then indicated by a small ‘?’ icon next to the time.
We’ve also implemented adjustable sound notifications, so you can make your MK2/S 3D printer completely mute. Last but not least, the incomplete file check function can prevent corrupted G-codes from being printed.
As for MK2.5/3/S printers, our plan is to release firmware 3.7.2 pretty soon, with some more tweaks and fixes, but the next major release is going to be 3.8.0. We would like to implement the following changes:
- Switchable profiles for print sheets (smooth/textured)
- The info message indicating that a new firmware is available will have a timeout, so it will go away in a few seconds and the print will continue automatically
- We’ll remove the MUTE profile and replace it with a sound profile for visually-impaired users (turning the knob will be accompanied with sounds etc.)
- Safety check for printer types and nozzle diameters (compares of information in G-code with the printer’s hardware)
- Maintenance pause mode (pauses the print, keeps the nozzle temperature, moves the print bed to the back)
- Lower z-axis motor noise in idle mode (with Delta PSU)
- Keep working on fixes of pre-heat errors that occur with some users
PrusaPrinters.org and new functions
Prusaprinters.org is the place where we want to invite all users of Original Prusa printers. We have prepared a unique concept of a community website with the world map of users, messenger, forums, and marketplace, in which you will find not only STL files but also G-Codes for the Original Prusa printers, which you can print instantly and without effort. We’ve heard concerns of some users about downloading G-codes, but don’t worry. We check every uploaded file for potentially harmful commands (crashing nozzle to bed, overheating, etc…) and moreover – you can still use PrusaPrinters as a database of classic STL files.
Anyway, PrusaPrinters has had a great start. We’ve reached over 17.000 members in an incredibly short amount of time and right now we’re focusing on improving the user experience, adding new functions and fine-tuning the existing ones. One of the new functions is the addition of collections. This is pretty straightforward, it basically allows you to categorize your favorite prints into nice tidy folders/collections and share them with other users.
Another important improvement is the redesigned Search function. It worked pretty well out of the box, but we decided to push it even further, so you can now search across users, print files and user print files, all organized into separate categories.
If you haven’t heard about PrusaPrinters before, don’t forget to check out our article and a video, where we explain all the cool features we have. If you haven’t registered yet, I hope you’ll consider it now – after all, it’s the users who keep the community alive. Feel free to share your own models (we even support Thingiverse import for selected users, send an e-mail to [email protected] to learn more), generate user print files and check out what our hub has to offer.
17 different colors available as either PLA or PETG, thousands of spools shipped every month, new material incoming… and from the users’ feedback, it seems Prusament is doing pretty well! On the other hand, I understand that things are not perfect – many of you expressed dissatisfaction with the shipping rates and availability. And we are working hard to do something about it.
First of all, we managed to push down the prices for DHL shipping, e.g. shipping a 3 kg package to the USA is just 12 USD now – that’s two spools of Prusament! 🙂 And it’s not some kind of super-slow shipping, it’s DHL Express with 2-3 days delivery to the US.
Three new colors (Gentleman’s Grey, Army Green and Galaxy Purple) joined the lineup
Another thing is Amazon, of course. We’ve already sent a couple of batches to Amazon US and they were always sold out in the blink of an eye. So we’re starting to send new batches more frequently with the intention to have all of our colors in stock. Our current 6 filament manufacturing lines are not enough anymore, so we have to double the numbers – and we’re on it! The first of these additional lines will be ready in two months. Honestly, our building’s floors are starting to be way too tight for us right now!
Last, but not least: we’re going to introduce a new material very soon and it’s going to be ASA, also known under an easy-to-remember name: acrylonitrile styren acrylate. In layman’s terms: it’s a better version of ABS. ASA has the same toughness as ABS, but it’s much more UV-stable and also easier to print with. So if you need something durable and solid for outdoors, ASA is a great choice. You can also expect more colors for PLA and PETG. We keep testing new colors every day and so far we’ve tested more than 200 different shades – our goal is to select only the most interesting and unusual ones (like the Mystic Green and Brown). Looks like you will be able to choose from 50 Shades of Prusa(ment) one day 😉
And now for everyone’s favorite topic! Are you expecting information about production issues and shipping delays? Not this time. Everything seems to be on the right track, our current batch of powder coated sheets survived for more than 48 hours on our e-shop and the situation is finally looking stable. There are almost 18.000 powder-coated sheets in the wild now. We will also start selling MK3S/MK2.5S 3D printers with powder-coated sheets again in the upcoming weeks. By the way, you need to log into your account to see the powder-coated sheets in the e-shop because sales are limited to printer owners only.
Unfortunately, as some of you might have noticed, we had to increase the price a little bit – this is due to the fact that the development and production proved to be much more challenging than we originally thought, plus there’s a huge amount of scrapped sheets. We’ve tested a number of manufacturing technologies and there’s simply no way how to produce only perfect sheets and no scraps – at least for now. This is also because we’re running extensive testing on every batch of delivered products – the sheets are tested with various materials (15 prints on the same spot with each material – PLA, PETG, ABS, CPE, and FLEX) to make sure that the surface can withstand a lot.
We’ve tackled many issues in the production quality and I’m glad we went with the original plan – to keep pushing the manufacturing until we get it right. Thank you for putting your trust in us!
Also, a little reminder to everyone who already received their powder-coated sheet: don’t forget to adjust your Live Z value before you start printing since the powder-coated sheet has a different thickness compared to the smooth sheet. In general, the nozzle should go lower when using a powder-coated sheet, but don’t overdo it! Various problems can happen if you push the nozzle too low. Also, keep in mind that you should clean the powder-coated sheet only with isopropyl alcohol, never use acetone! We’re preparing a separate article about powder coated sheet usage and maintenance, which will be published in a couple of days. Advantages of different print surfaces are described in the latest 3D printing handbooks.
Basics of 3D printing book
Many years ago, I wrote a book about the basics of 3D printing – it was available to Czech customers through our website as a free gift to everyone who signed up for our newsletter. So many things have changed over the years, so an update was definitely required. And that’s what we did!
Basics of 3D printing is a 60+ page book that covers pretty much everything you need to know about this industry: how it all began, which 3D printer models are available, which filaments to buy, how to slice, print and post-process various objects… people often ask me how to start with 3D printing. Well, getting a 3D printer is the obvious step – but before you even choose a 3D printer, it’s good to stop for a second and think about things like what it’s purpose will be, what do you want to print, or whether you really need a huge print bed right from the start (hint: you probably don’t). So the book is a really good place to start. So far, it’s available in Czech and English as a free gift for everyone who signs up to our newsletter – so head over to this page and sign up!
Multi-Material Upgrade 2S and IKEA Lack enclosure
And finally, the MMU2S – as mentioned at the beginning: The last 500 MK3S upgrades are waiting to be sent and we should ship all remaining MMU2S orders (out of more than 10.000!) during the next 10 working days. All upgrades to MMU2S that we gave to MMU2 owners for free are already shipped. We have also released an updated firmware for the MMU2S which fixes a vast majority of issues that were reported after the launch. Plus, we’ll be sending out an e-mail survey regarding MMU2/S feedback. I hope your multi-material printing goes smoothly now!
We also received a lot of questions about an updated IKEA Lack table enclosure. Here’s a little teaser – our intention is to reuse as many parts from the original Lack enclosure as possible, so you don’t have to buy new acrylic panels, etc.