Prusa i3 ION

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Release status: working

Prusa i3 ION.PNG
Description 3D printer inspired in the Prusa i3
License GPL
Author ThingiBOX
Based-on Prusa i3
Categories Prusa i3, Prusa i3 Development, Prusa Mendel Development, Prusa Mendel, Mendel Variations, Cartesian-XZ-head
CAD Models none
External Link none



Front image Prusa i3 ION
The ION V6 is a 3D printer inspired in the Prusa i3, but with many changes, improvements and updates. It has been designed by the technical team of ThingiBOX, an online store whose products are related to the world of 3D printing.
The project goal was to design a structure made with methacrylate where all the parts where cut by a CNC Laser Machine, the other goal was to keep all the electronics inside the printer making it look clean and tidy. To facilitate cooling of electronics there are fans working towards the shields.
The maximum print volume is 200x200x150mm on a heated bed MK3 aluminum and above it a borosilicate glass (prepared for the abrupt change between temperatures), so it can be printed with ABS without any problems (if lacquer is applied).
The extruder is a v5 E3D all metal that can heat up to 300 ºC. All kinds of plastic material (ABS, PLA, etc ...) available on the market can be used in this printer. There is the option of choosing the filament diameter that the extruder supports, so we offer it in 3mm or 1.75mm. The nozzle has an orifice of 0.4mm in both cases.
There is also a fan (and its support) for the radiator of the extruder whose function is to prevent the filament clogging the duct.
To drive the filament there is a gearwheel that magnifies the force that the stepper can do and drives a MK8 hobbed bolt.
For the Z axis (the height) is recommended to choose the option that contains the bars Tr8x8 because that improves the print quality significantly.
For the movement of the other two axes GT2 pulleys and synchronous belts are used.
For the electronics; An Arduino MEGA 2560 in conjunction with a 1.4 RAMPS is used, also including 4 A4988 drivers that drive 5 NEMA17 stepper motors. 3 end stop switches are also included in order to home the axes automatically.

To give the necessary power is also provided a power supply that outputs 12V and 30A (360W).
Cables that are outside the base of the printer are confined in a cable chain in order to protect them during axis movement and making it look all tidy.
At the rear of the base there are two connectors, one to connect with the AC power switch and one USB jack is embedded. It also has a space if you want to connect a Raspberry Pi (not included) to control the machine with Ocotprint through internet.
In the options it is also given the possibility of adding a 2004 LCD screen as it is not necessary to print when connected by USB to a PC, but if you want to use it without a computer is recommended to choose the LCD as it incorporates a SD card reader.

Technical Data

Frame White methacrylate 10mm Transparent methacrylate 5mm
Smooth rods 304 Steel, tolerance H9
Threaded rods Thread Tr8x8 or M8 (optional)
Print volume 200x200x150 mm
Extruder E3D v5 (All metal)
Filament diameter 1.75/3 mm (optional)
Filament types All types (PLA, ABS, Nylon, etc...)
Electronics Arduino MEGA 2560 - RAMPS 1.4
Drivers 4 x A4988
Power source 12V/30A
Build platform Aluminum MK3 Heated Bed (12-24V)
Display LCD 2004 with SD card reader (optional)



Axial fans
Unlike the original Prusa i3, our version has an opening for the electronics and the printer’s power supply. Thanks to the housing the electronic components such as control boards, power supply, cables and connectors are stowed in an orderly and safe manner.
Two small axial fans ensure the cooling of the electronics. The power supply features a built-in temperature control that cuts off electrical power in case of overheating.
Heated bed
The maximum printing volume ist 200x200x190mm. The objets are printed on a 3mm thick borosilicate glass which features low thermal expansion. Beneath the glass we place a MK3 heated bed attached to a 3mm aluminium board that provides extra rigidity and at the same time allows to print filaments that present adhesion problems when printing at low temperature, such as ABS.
Depending on humidity conditions and room temperature, the heated bed can reach a temperature of 90ºC.
The extruder is an E3D v5 full metal hotend that allows to print at temperatures as high as 300ºC. It is compatible with almost all available filaments. The nozzle has a 0.4mm diameter, this is a compromise between printing precision and speed.
An additional fan prevents the filament from melting before time and thus clogging the duct. The extruder incorporates standard components and can be completely disassembled; this makes cleaning and spare part replacements easier.
MK8 drive gear wheel
The Prusa i3 ION uses a MK8 drive gear wheel to feed the filament into the extruder. The wheel is fixed on an axis with a gear on one end which increases by factor five the power that is transmitted by the motor. This way we can use a smaller motor in the extruder, reducing the motor’s inertia and increasing printing quality at the same time. This applies specially where the extruder suddenly changes its speed, for instance when printing corners.
Z axis
For the Z axis (which is responsible for lifting the printer head) we recommend the option containing the Tr8x8 threaded bars because they improve considerably the printing results. The traditional metric, non-calibrated bars are significantly less expensive, but they may cause ripples in the printed object which are more visible the taller the object is.
With the Tr8x8 bars we employ machined POM nuts that completely eliminate the backslash, typical in traditional threaded bar configurations. For an even higher precision, our POM nuts are 10mm longer than the usual nuts.
For the movement of the other axis the printer uses GT2 synchronous and belts with manual tensors.
Arduino MEGA 2560
As for the electronics, this printer includes an Arduino MEGA 2560 controller together with a RAMPS 1.4 shield that incorporates 4 A4988 drivers which move 5 NEMA17 stepper motors. Also included are 3 endstop switches with cable for automatic homing.
Although the printer consumes about 200W when the heated bed is running, the included power source can provide up to 360W (30 amp DC at 12V) and features a security system that cuts power off in case of a short circuit.
The external wires of the printer are hold in a cable chain. This way the cables are kept orderly and safe while the axis are moving.
Socket with switch
Two connectors are situated on the back side, one for the AC power supply through a socket with switch and one for USB connections in case you wish to control the printer directly from your PC.
The housing features also an opening and bores for a Raspberry Pi 2 (not included) which allows to connect the printer to the internet and control it via Octoprint.

LCD 2004 screen
Optionally, you can purchase a LCD 2004 screen for monitoring the printer. The screen controller includes a SD card that allows to load designs without the need for a PC.
There is no need to modify the firmware for the display’s setup. With this board you can control the printing speed without having to wait for the hotend to cool down, preheat the printer, modify the firmware’s parameters, or change filament in the middle of the printing process; all this without a PC.

Where to buy

 - Complete Kit in ThingiBOX Now Available!
 - Complete Kit XL in ThingiBOX Now Available!