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Prusa i3 kits

Posted by AdamCBlank 
Prusa i3 kits
April 11, 2014 05:08PM
Hey everyone,
I'm looking to get into 3D printing this summer after I graduate from Mechanical Engineering, and have decided on the i3 as my starting point. I'm looking at a few kits, and could use some help deciding between them. If anyone has experience with any of these kits, or can comment on any of my concerns, it would be greatly appreciated.
Note that I'm in Toronto, Canada.

First up, the Prusa i3 acrylic kit from 3Dprinterczar

Things I like:
  • Great price ($499 USD and free shipping)
  • Complete kit (includes PSU, glass printing surface, and tools)
  • Great email response time (emailed about some questions, answered within 48 hours)
  • Acrylic frame: I've heard that acrylic is not the best choice for a frame, because it cracks really easily. Is that something I should be worried about, and if so could I replace it with an aluminum frame that I buy somewhere else?
  • PSU is only 15A: My research tells me I need at least 16A. Again, something I could source myself if I have issues, but now my price point is up another $100 or so if I get a frame and PSU.
  • Print volume is only 8"x8"x7.25"

Next up, the i3x kit from diytechshop

Things I like:
  • Reasonable price ($485 + $60 shipping = $545, though I still need a PSU and glass print bed)
  • Aluminum frame w/ Z-stabilizers
  • 9"x9"x7" build volume
  • Reviews say that hot end is poor quality.
  • Overall reviews seem to be a bit more on the negative side

Finally, the Prusa 8" i3v kit from MakerFarm

Things I like:
  • V-slot linear rails (smooth movement at higher speeds)
  • Includes LCD screen and bed levelling kit
  • 50-micron layer height (claimed)
  • I have seen nothing but stellar reviews
  • Cost is really high relative to the others. ($650 + $20 for a 1.75 mm hot end + $70 shipping = $740, still need PSU and glass)
  • Wood frame: How much of an issue is warping going to be?
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 11, 2014 06:28PM
I have a Makerfarm i3 8 inch, not the V unfortunately, I got mine just before he released that version. I haven't had too much trouble with the wood warping, only on the Y bed so far, and the manual bed levelling kit helps compensate for the slight warp.

MakerFarm 8" Prusa i3v
0.4mm E3D v6 for 1.75mm
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 11, 2014 11:33PM
Both the 8" and Acrylic are good printers that produce quality parts, and both Collin and Han provide excellent support. I have a Prusa i3 Acrylic and I haven't cracked anything so far. The packaging was excellent and DHL handled the kit with great care. If that still concerns you why don't you ask Han to see if they can switch the acrylic panel to wood for you? Maybe you can even get a discount for that. On the aesthetic side, I think their new black acrylic panels look much better than clear ones or wood.

I print PLA most of the time on blue painter's tape, so I haven't had any power issues. My hotend goes from 23C to 200C in 20 - 25 seconds with the heat cartridge delivering half of the power.
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 12, 2014 08:53AM
Regarding the PSU. My i3 has never used over 11 amps at 14 volts with both heaters on and printing, with 2 fans going 100%

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2014 06:25PM by Dodgey99.
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 12, 2014 11:25PM
Not to add to your decision, as that is where I am at also. I am debating between the diytechshop i3xl, and I just found makergeeks.com, and sourcing the frame and vitamins for a mendelmax 1.5 or 2.0. One problem with the site is that their printed parts seem expensive.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2014 09:54AM by usarmyaircav.
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 15, 2014 03:24PM
I'm surprised that I haven't had missed steps, but I run at 10A LED PSU. I sometimes 'think' I noticed a hiccup when the heated bed kicks in and out mid print, but I believe that just to be my imagination.

You also don't always need to use glass, there are a few different materials you could use. For another project I am using a stationary granite bed, works well, very well in fact. But that might be harder for the motor to throw around when the bed moves. You could use a few different materials other then defaulting to glass.

Larsen -
Creative Shift Workshop

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2014 03:24PM by f.larsen.
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 15, 2014 04:11PM
I also have a Makerfarm i3 8" from Colin and its a great kit! Again I was right before the rail system so I have the normal rods and bearings.

My only gripes are that the Y platform is very loud when it moves, I cannot find out what is resonating to isolate it.
Other than that its a great kit and the fact that Colin is so fast and eager to reply was a no brainer for me.
Im very happy with my kit.
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 16, 2014 01:09AM
Floyd, I have a 6" Makerfarm Prusa that does exactly the same thing, the Y axis is super loud when it moves but only happens when it's printing and I can't for the life of me figure out what the problem is. What have you tried to fix that?
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 16, 2014 08:42AM
I have the Makerfarm I3 and have also built 20+ of them in workshops I conduct.
++++! on Colin's customer service and support.

Like others I have not had a chance to build the Vslot version yet (will be building 6
of them next month as we put together a 3D printer lab for the local high school).

On warping, I actually broke my wood frame shipping the printer. Nothing a little
gorilla glue could not fix but I have had no problems with warping now for over 6 months.

Stay away from the Magma hot end. It jams way too easily. I just got one of the
new hexagon hot ends to try but have not put it on.

I also notice the noisy Y axis. Don't know what caused it.
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 23, 2014 03:01PM
Hey everyone, thanks for the advice and comments.

With Makerfarm's current Easter Week special on the i3v kit, I decided to pull the trigger. I ordered the i3v with the 0.40mm hexagon hot end for 1.75 mm filament, and a roll of orange PLA. I'm likely going to purchase a can of stain/sealant to help ward off warping and give my frame some colour (Ebony i3, anyone?).

I'm definitely looking forward to the learning experience that comes with building a RepRap, and I can't wait until my first print! I'll be back to the forums/IRC if and when I have any questions (and I most likely will).

Happy RepRapping!
Re: Prusa i3 kits
April 23, 2014 08:31PM
If you paint/seal your MakerFarm i3, do it before assembly, even before you knock the little pegs and blocks out of the holes. This will help keep the holes from getting paint inside, which makes assembly harder.

MakerFarm 8" Prusa i3v
0.4mm E3D v6 for 1.75mm
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