Clone prusa i3 or Original Prusa i3…

  • I have a 'clone' Prusa i3 with the RAMPS 1.4 board sold by Nor-Cal-Rep-rap from about 4yrs ago.
    My quandary is this…
    I want to get the 4 color multi feed option from Prusa. i'm not 100% sure it will fit, but it should. Should I upgrade my clone prusa with the Duetwifi and hope the 4 color multi kit fits or buy an Original Prusa i3, plus the 4 color multi kit, then possibly upgrade it to Duetwifi?

  • I'm sure the second option will give you a much better machine, I've heard a lot of good things about the mk2, which is surprising as I heard a lot of grumbles and criticism of the original/clones (I had one at one point it was an okay starting place so for the mk2 to get all this praise there must be something worthy about it).

    But let's say you go with option 1 if it works you're better off financially, if it's not quite up to the job or it doesn't fit sell it and buy the mk2, keeping the duetwifi and multimaterial upgrade.

  • That's an interesting point of view, and I don't doubt you are probably correct.personally I've never purchased a printer as a whole engineered kit from any company. Only purchased the trick laser frame and built upward from there. That being said, due to all the hype over the mk2s, I have to admit, I too am tempted to pull the trigger to see what do the hoopla is all about.

    Brings me to my question, then, if not to purchase a company engineered kit, then which type of printer would you suggest in the DIY department you're insisting on above. All I've ever used is a delta, and in very tempted to expand on my holdings to try a different kinematic arrangement. Which do you all prefer if I'm to try something new? I have to say, seeing what deckingman produces makes me want to copy his creation, but I'm very open to suggestion…I just dont know the drawbacks and strengths of such systems as corexy, corexz, etc. Which is the best overall?

    Thanks for informing me. Itching to purchase a new toy and obviously I'm interested in getting the best a within reason budget (sub, let's say, $3000 is my upper limit currently, but I think that's much more than necessary...please do correct be if I'm mistaken) can buy me.

    That's all. Thanks for listening. ?

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    The counter point with Prusa and the print farm is he can very quickly roll out changes to the design, no retooling.

  • I'm personally not that convinced an open frame machine made from printed parts will be that great compared to an all metal machine of any of the three main kinematic schemes. I'm quite keen to see a mk2 and make my own mind up, so if anyone Bristol based has one and doesn't mind showing it to me let me know.

    Corexy is quite satisfying they're fast, solid and the bed moving in z is a challenge to build well but works beautifully once it has been. If you get the belt geometry really precise then they print really well and that is a little less effort than getting a delta really precise.

    If you want easyish to build and no issues with complex linked kinematics that deltas (and corexy) have then a cartesian machine with alu frame, linear rails and a solid bed, and you can print geometrically "perfect" objects right at the edges.

  • Another upside to printing your own parts is you get a lot of hours of testing of your product, across dozens or hundreds of units. That sort of data is really helpful for iterating and improving.

  • I am just reading over the responses contained herein and I had a follow up question to add to this general line of questioning: I know I mentioned a limit of a few thousand dollars (if necessary), but I begin to wonder whether there are options available that can feasibly sum up to nearly that much. As I look online a bit I'm noticing really cheap price for deltas all built up and clone u3's fully equipped and I'm pretty surprised to see very few of these fully outfitted rigs breaking the $1000 mark, which makes me wonder the following two things:

    a. Am I simply not looking in the correct places online where I might find printers whivh warrant a price tag of more than a few hundred bucks? I continually find myself in some sub- domain whose parent usually leads to Amazon or eBay selsellers. The only place I've found printers which even come close to the prices I've guess-timated might be a good budget are through matterhackers and FormLabs websites.

    Which leads me to my next question which is :

    b. Does overall cost necessarily equate ultimately to quality attainable by a bundle of parts? Taking stepper motors, for instance, it appears to me that no matter how I try, a stepper motor seems to be a stepper motor and is in the range of $15 to MAX $40 (but that's branded and seems to be the same stuff once you peel off the labels. Are there other motors available that run in the hundred dollars range, such as closed loop systems like encoder based equipment, or are there even controller boards that can make proper use out of such equipmen….OR us there even a reason to overcomplicate a 3d printer surg such advanced stuff and just be satisfied with a$12 per axis stepper and call it a day?

    Sorry for all the questions I've posed above, I'm simply confused with his cheaply things seem to be available for and need to determine what an appropriate budget for an AMAZING end product ought to be,and really what I ought to be shopping for a when it comes down to it. I continually find myself comparing everything to both deckingman 's setup as well as mhackney 's setup (which I don't even know what he uses to output such gnarly pieces of's astonishing) and I suppose I was wish I could find out how much they each spend when all's said and done, for their respective rigs. If I could output things nearly in the level that they are able to, my obsession with this all would be easy to set aside as the quest would be complete, it you know what I'm saying. Those two have got their shit together, boy, I tell ya. (Apologies in advance to all the amazing printers which I left out in my awe-inspired rant -- I know you guys exist but these are the two names such came to mind when I thought about it on the spot -- so sorry I didn't mention all the greats that do definitely exist but I ignorantly left out...?. The point I'm trying to make its that I would consider it ridiculous to spend more than they've spent unless I could output at a higher level than they are able to. Is this a sensible statement or is there that much of a human touch to it that you can't compare it in this way?

  • Background - I've owned a Solidoodle 2, Solidoodle 3, Printrbot Play, Rostock Max, Kossel Mini, Monoprice Maker Select, E3D BigBox, and Fusion3 F400. So a range from $400 to $4000, from 2013 to 2017.

    Skills/time or money, you need one of the two to have a reliable and high quality 3D printer.

    Some folks prefer to invest their time and effort and save money, some folks prefer out of the box hassle free quality printing (Prusa Mk2, Ultimaker, Lulzbot, Fusion3).

    You will have people saying "those $1000, $2000, $4000 printers aren't worth it! I can build one with $300 and some chewing gum and paper clips!". And they might be right - but it might take hours and hours of assembly, tuning, and tweaking.

    So it comes down to what your time is worth to you, and what your natural abilities are. I can say that I wish I'd purchased a high end printer sooner - the time I've saved not having to build it, tune it, or repair it has more than exceeded the difference in cost.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • You should really take a look at the 3030 Haribo. I used the basic frame design and from there did my own thing, and now I have a really good printer that I learnt so much from. I've become really confident with CAD design among other skills, but it did take a decent amount of time.

    If you have the spare time, even an hour or less per day, I would highly recommend building a 3030 Haribo or at least using the design as a starting point. The MK2 stock frame is garbage anyways and the wait time is ridiculous.

  • @jrlederer:

    …......................................... I continually find myself comparing everything to both deckingman 's setup as well as mhackney 's setup (which I don't even know what he uses to output such gnarly pieces of's astonishing) and I suppose I was wish I could find out how much they each spend when all's said and done, for their respective rigs...................

    Man I am truly flattered. I had no idea that anyone thought that highly of my printer.

    As for cost, I've always thought that it would be too scary to add it all up. It's been, and still is, an evolutionary process, so there are some things that got tried and ditched. I can make a stab at what it would cost me to build another though, so here goes…...

    Framing - Open Build V slot (33 assorted pieces cut to length) = £370
    I didn't use many brackets - it's mostly built by tapping the ends of the extrusion, drilling clearance holes in the sides and using Button head screws which makes a very strong frame and saves a fortune on brackets but even so I probably spent around £200 on various nuts, bolt, washers, and other fixings.
    Wheels for linear guides (38 off including the new extruder gantry) and idler pulleys (8 off) at around £5 inc VAT and delivery = £230
    Stepper motors 6 off at £9 = £54
    Aluminium for bed plus silicone heater plus glass plus insulation = £140
    Cable and connectors £50
    Electronics - Duet plus Duex 5 plus daughter board plus IR probe inc VAT and delivery = £300
    Diamond hot end excluding extruders £120
    3 off E3D Titan extruders say £60 inc VAT and delivery = £180
    PT100s and thermistors =£60
    Fans £80
    PSU £30
    Plastic filament (use say E3D edge) = £100
    Sundries like belts, heat shrink etc,= £50

    Which give a frightening total of £1,964 (don't tell my wife).


    Edit - which at today's exchange rate is about USD 2,500 (for a build area of 355mm x 340mm x 760 mm and 3 colours)

  • As elmoret says, a lot depends on whether you want to just print parts and get up and running quickly, or whether you have time to spare and want to save money by building a kit. But it's not all about saving money. If you build it from a kit or a published design, you'll have a far better understanding of how it all works and therefore how to tune it and fix it when it goes wrong (as it inevitably will at some point). That knowledge will also allow you to go on and modify/improve it. Plus you'll pick up some skills along the way, which is never a bad thing.

  • Back to my original post…

    I don't see much difference in my current clone Prusa i3 compared to the Prusa Original MK2 that he's selling now, except that I dont have any bed leveling options except for mechanically turning the bed bolts.

    Not sure what else the MK2 or MK2s has that would make it a significant need to purchase. The only reason is prusa wont support the MultiMaterial unit on anything other than the selling original i3.

    If i were to sell my clone i3, i would guess $500-800 is reasonable since a) its already assembled, b) its calibrated and working, c) i've added and augmented parts to make it better along the way. (added LCD screen, printed case for LCD, e3d-v6 hotend, added endstops, etc. Which you can all get on a new i3 in kit form.

  • You know your local market, but I'd say you might be overestimating its value given that i3 kits can be had from China for $200 but sure find the right buyer who can see the value of a tuned machine and its a different ball game.

  • @StevenL:

    Back to my original post…

    Sorry for aiding and abetting the hijack of your post.

    So back to your original post, another alternative might be to add mixing hot end such as a diamond, to your existing printer. Personally I'm not at all keen on any of the designs that retract one filament and feed another in. Happy to explain why but I don't want to go off topic again.

  • Thanks to all for your valuable input. I appreciate it. As far as kinematic go, what is the preferred design for those who have experience and would be in the market to build something new. I personally have only been into delta configuration since the beginning, with the exception of a Form 1+ SLA, but that's not a fair comparison, but am really interested in the pros and cons of alternatives such as the corexy/yz vs. Cartesian vs. My delta printers, in particular, which has the most ability to be fastest and most accurate in the long run?

  • For multiple filament printing, three options exist.
    One is the single head, retract and replace; Prusa's MMU 4 color feeder, Promethius (i have it but not assembled).
    Another is single carriage, multiple hot end; like I had on my BigBox Dual.
    Lastly, is IDEX; Independent Extruders; X1 and X2; optional for BigBox owners.

    Each have their own set of issues and complexities. The biggest issue is alignment of the dual head, and not having the other head ram into the top layers of the current print.

    This is my main reason for even considering the Prusa MMU option.

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    There is a 4th option: use a mixing hot end such as the Diamond.

  • @jrlederer:

    … particular, which has the most ability to be fastest and most accurate in the long run?

    IMO, people in general seem to have a fixation about speed (or come to that a fixation that accuracy and speed are inversely proportional). I have seen many many designs or plans for people who want to build the ultimate "supercar" of the FFD printer world or on the other hand, the ultimate indestructible "offroader" that will for some reason that I have yet to fathom, be more accurate. The problem is that it all comes down to melting filament and squirting the result out of a nozzle. The speed that we can print at is ultimately determined by how fast we can melt the filament. What's the point of building a machine capable or printing at (say) 600mm/sec when we can only melt filament at the equivalent rate of (say) 150mm/sec)? Back to the vehicle analogy, why build a car capable of accelerating from 0-60 in under 4 seconds with a top speed of 200 plus mph when all we can use it for is driving in a 30mph speed limit in heavy traffic. On the hand, people build heavy duty machines and proudly call them "tanks". Fine but why do want a tank to do the school run? - you'll never wear out a Fiat 500 on that journey so it would be perfectly adequate.

    I know nothing about Deltas but from what I've read, they seem more difficult to set up than Cartesians/CoreXY. I'd have thought that keeping the moving mass low would be more important with a Delta than it is with a Cartesian. If you want big in terms or XY, then it'll be easier to build a Cartesian/CoreXY than a big Delta. In theory, CoreXY have an advantage over "conventional" Cartesians in that both XY motors are fixed so the moving mass can be reduced and both motors share the load (other than for 45 degree infill). In practice, I'm not convinced that the extra complexity is worth it. Come to that, I'm beginning to think that the 3D community has become a bit too obsessed with saving mass. For sure it will enable faster acceleration but can the extruded filament keep abreast of that acceleration? One side effect of high mass that I have discovered is that you don't get "ringing". Mass tends to damp out vibration so it's not all bad.

    Just the ramblings of an old man….........

  • With you on that Ian. Speed is a gimmick, sure if I could produce on my delta or corexy a part in 1/10 of the time that was just as good I'd be interested, but whilst I could print a bit faster its the laying down of accurate filament which suffers as the speed increases. Nothing you do to make the moving mass very light is going to change the fundamental properties of the plastic, and the fact you have to melt it fast enough (can hit the limit here fairly easily), and control its deposition accurately at high speed.

    A new approach is needed, such as purpose designed high speed filament and multiple nozzle deposition - oh wait I just remembered its polyjet technology isnt it?

  • Thanks again guys for very valuable insight. Haha Simon, speaking of polyjet, would you happen to have a few spare hundred thousand dollars I can borrow to outfit myself with the HP tech you mentioned d above? 🙂

    Thanks again guys.

    P.s. -> hey Ian, would you mind if I essentially copied your machine?



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