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Original Prusa Mini+ 3D Printer Review

8.8/10

The Prusa Mini+ is Prusa’s first attempt at targeting the budget 3D printer market while maintaining the quality behind the Prusa brand. And it shows that the Mini+ sporting a laundry list of quality of life features that no other 3D printer in its price bracket can match while maintaining the print quality that rivals printers twice its price. However, it is held back by its higher than average price tag, relatively small print volume and lack of upgradability. The Prusa Mini+ is a top contender for newcomers to the 3D printing hobby looking for a budget-friendly and easy-to-use 3D printer.

8.8/10

Manufacturer: Prusa

The Pros
The Cons
Picture of Paul Chow
Paul Chow

Co-Founder & CTO

Amazon.com Disclosure: As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

The original Prusa Mini was released in 2019 and was reviewed as one of the best 3D printers under $350 USD. Users praised it for its overall print quality and outstanding features, some even claimed the printer is comparable to a 3D printer valued at a thousand dollars! The upgraded version, Original Prusa Mini+, now includes the new SuperPINDA z probe, which improves the 3D printer’s reliability. The Original Prusa Mini+ is offered in two purchase options; the DIY kit requiring full assembly for $349 USD and the pre-assembled three-part kit for $399 USD. Prusa Research provides its customers with the option to experience assembling a 3D printer for a cheaper price or to pay a bit extra for the ease of having it pre-assembled. For this Original Prusa Mini+ review, we will examine the $399 USD kit that includes the three pre-assembled components.

Key Features To Look For In A Great 3D Printer

Print quality is one of the first things to evaluate when selecting a 3D printer. The Prusa Mini+ performed well with a variety of models and materials that were tested. Something to watch out for is that the 3D printer has a lightweight frame, so it does not tolerate bumps or movements. If things are shook, it might affect the quality of your print. We also checked out the print speed since it boasted 80mm per second (varies depending on material). The Mini+ delivered and could print at 80 mm per second with 0.02mm layer height AND maintain high quality.

Another thing to look for is the ability to upgrade your machine so that you can extend its lifespan. For the Prusa Mini+, that control board has a tab that must be removed to install custom firmware. However, if you do this, the warranty is voided, so we don’t recommend doing this unless you are absolutely positive you won’t need the warranty. If you’re brave enough to venture into new territory, the industry offers many third-party replacement parts but not as many upgrades.

Lastly, you want to ensure your printer has a high safety score. The Prusa Mini+ is reliable and safe to use when we tested their in-house settings. It has 3 thermistors that reliably monitor temps of the hotend and heated bed. It also has thermal runaway protection that signals the user when it sees malfunctioning. You will be alerted via a message on the screen with a prompt to restart the printer. Needless to say, this printer has you covered for safety.

88

Overall Score

Ranked #14 of 37 Printers

Learn more about our 3D printer review methodology.

How We Researched This Printer

The Prusa Mini+ belongs to the small form factor cartesian family of 3d printers, which specialize in being a fully capable printer despite its small size. These printers are well known for packing additional features that are normally found in larger and more expensive printers despite their low price tag.

The Prusa Mini+ is special as it keeps most of the great features of its larger brother, the Prusa MK3S has, like its automatic bed leveling, removable build surface and dual drive extruder at around half the cost of the MK3S, making this a fantastic value.

With that out of the way, we subjected the Prusa Mini+ to harsh printing environments while printing many different 3d prints. We’ve gone up and down its numerous support groups and forums to get an idea of what its community is like and more. To get an idea of how well the Prusa Mini+ prints, we’ve pitted it against some of its competitors like the Creality Ender 3 V2, Sovol SV01, and its bigger brother, the Prusa MK3S.

The Prusa Mini+ is an extremely enticing machine for newcomers to the hobby, and this is research you do not want to skip! Choosing the right small form factor 3D printer is extremely important as getting the wrong one can leave you with a terrible user experience, poor print quality and more. We were careful in researching small form factor 3d printers so you can be certain on the right 3d printer for you.

Printer Setup

For this review article, we have purchased the pre-assembled three-part kit of the Original Prusa Mini+. The parts contain the top and bottom of the 3D printer and the colour LCD screen module.

We found that the setup is more complicated than other pre-assembled 3D printers, such as the Creality Ender 3 V2 and the Artillery Sidewinder X1. It requires the user to assemble the nuts and bolts with a higher degree of accuracy and connect various cables, which can create some confusion. Comparatively, the Artillery X1 only requires snapping the top and bottom parts together. It took the team at 3D Gear Lab took about 30 minutes to set up therefore, it is estimated that for those who are not familiar with setting up 3D printers, it could take up to an hour with the number of bolts and wires. Overall, quality control of pre-assembled parts was spot on, with no loose parts or inaccuracy.

Test prints include the calibration cube and test vase to examine z banding (inaccuracies in the z-axis) and layer alignment issues. We used the default settings to print at a normal 0.2mm layer height and found no issues with both test prints; walls and surfaces were smooth with no visible imperfections.

We have also tested with more complicated prints, such as character models with a high degree of detail, and found that the Mini+ had no problems executing complex details.

We also examined the print speed since Prusa advertised reliable 3D printing of speeds up to 80mm per second (depending on the material). The Mini+ did not disappoint and could execute PLA prints at 80 mm per second at a 0.02mm layer height while maintaining the high quality of a lower speed setting.

While some printers have trouble printing flexible TPU at high speed – due to the material’s instability – this was not an issue with the Prusa Mini+. Compared to printers with a recommended print speed of 15mm per second for TPU, the MiniI+ could print at 40mm per second, maintaining the same level of high quality and stability.

With the automatically-levelled satin PEI surface, the 3D printer could provide good adhesion and reliable quality for prints using PLA, TPU, and PETG. (include a picture)

Noise Level
Due to high-speed moving parts, the Mini+ generates quite a lot of noise. During operation, we recorded sound levels of around 50dB from the X and Y motors. However, at lower settings, the motors are substantially quieter at around 40dB, similar to that of a quiet conversation.

The two sets of fans on the Mini+ operate slightly differently. One of them is the hotend fan that cannot be turned off as long as the 3D printer is turned on; however, it barely generates any noticeable noise. The other is the part cooling fan that cools the print and is only on during operation.

Some users did report a high pitch noise coming from the fans, which could indicate a problem with quality control. With that being said, this problem did not occur with the 3D printer model we tested.

Overall, the Original Prusa Mini+ performed well with the various models and materials that were tested. Something to consider is that the 3D printer has a relatively light frame, so it does not tolerate bumps and/or movements. If anything were to shake the 3D printer during operation, it would result in unintended artifacts on the print.

Ease of Use
We found the Original Prusa Mini+ is extremely easy to use due to the high amount of support from the company. Prusa Research not only makes printers but slicer software and filaments that are compatible with all their printers. The default slicer program provided by Prusa is the PrusaSlicer which is another version of the Slic3r.

The printers also have pre-installed presets for various speeds and material types, including 3rd party filaments. This makes exploring new prints extremely accessible as the user can simply drag and drop the file and apply the appropriate presets for 3d printing. Users then load their files onto a USB drive and connect to the printer via a full-size USB port.

Hardware

The Original Prusa Mini+ sits between a small and medium class 3D printer, both in terms of physical size and print volume. The entire 3D printer is measured at 380mm (l) x 330mm (w) x 400 (h), with a build volume of 180mm (l) x 180mm (w) x 180mm (h). Some may consider its build volume relatively small compared to competitors, like the Creality Ender 3, which has a build volume of 220mm (l) x 220mm (w) x 250mm (h). However, The Prusa Mini+ is much lighter than its competitors, weighing in at 2.25kg due to having fewer metal extrusions. The compact size and weight are perfect for those with limited space or who want to put several printers on the same surface.

Hardware Options
The company offers several options in terms of hardware choices. For the same price, customers can choose between a sleek black frame or a more colourful orange and black option. The 3D printer, by default, includes a spring steel sheet with a smooth double-sided PEI (polyetherimide) surface, but for $30 USD extra, customers can add a textured powder-coated spring steel sheet. They also offer a filament sensor for $20 USD for those interested in upgrading the hardware.

Extruder Design
The Original Prusa Mini+ has the extruder connected to the hotend through a bowden tube system, where it feeds filament from one part to another. The tube has a large bend in the middle, which we found somewhat problematic. The bend stresses the solid filament travelling from the extruder to the hotend, which can cause the filament to snap, especially with low-quality PLA that lacks flexibility.

Safety Highlights

The team at Prusa Research guarantees that their 3D printers are reliable and safe to use with their in-house testing of individual parts.

The Original Prusa Mini+ has several hardware components that ensure a safe 3D printing process, primarily relating to the heat and temperature of the machine. It is equipped with three thermistors that reliably monitor the temperature of the hotend and heated bed. The 3D printer also has thermal runaway protection that signals the user when it detects malfunctioning in the hotend. The user will receive a message on the screen with a prompt to restart the 3D printer should the protective function detect any issues.

Being a relatively smaller 3D printer, the heated bed of the Mini+ is powered through the 3D printer rather than taking power directly from the outlet. If the bed wire develops breakage, the risk of encountering running voltage is relatively low compared to those that are main powered. There is also support for strain relief on the heated bed’s cables, along with flexible nylon sleeves that wrap around the cords for protection; both minimize damage from regular wear and tear.

Maintenance

With the control board, motors, and sensors installed on the outer frame of the 3D printer, access is made simple. Unlike most printers, the control board of the Mini+ is not hot glued to the 3D printer, so replacement or modification would simply require disconnecting the parts.

Unfortunately, the extruder does not benefit from the ease of access compared to the other parts. We found that filament dust can easily get trapped between the extruder gears, causing an inability to push an adequate amount of filament to the hotend. The only way to clean the dust is to disassemble the extruder, which is a long and tedious process since it contains many little parts. On the other hand, filament dust trappings do not accumulate quickly, so the cleaning process does not have to be done frequently.

One major advantage of Prusa printers is that even though the 3D printer has an affordable price, the company provides full warranty services along with support helplines. If the 3D printer faces a quality control issue, users can get their 3D printer serviced and replaced directly by Prusa if they are not interested in servicing it themselves.

Features & Upgrades

Compared to its competitors, the Original Prusa Mini has many features that are otherwise not included in 3D printers of a similar price point. The Prusa Mini+ includes a removable magnetic build plate, automated bed levelling, 3-to-1 geared extruder, all-metal hotend, trinamic 2209 silent stepper drivers on a custom 32-bit buddy electronics board, and a color LCD screen. There is also an optional filament runout sensor for $20 USD. Though we did not purchase the sensor for this review, it is a useful feature as it pauses the print to add new filament instead of cutting off the print process, which requires a complete restart.

On their website, Prusa Research has mentioned software updates, including remote 3D printing via the internet and power loss recovery. These features have not been implemented as of the writing of this article but will likely be included in future upgrades.

Customizable Build Plate
The Original Prusa Mini+ offers three kinds of build plates at the time of this review. The choices include smooth PEI, textured PEI, and satin PEI. All of them are mounted on flexible spring steel sheets, which makes it easy to remove prints once they are completed. In general, PEI is a great material as it provides effective adhesion to filament when heated.

Smooth PEI is designed for PLA and ABS and gives the bottom of the print a smooth glossy finish. With that said, it is not recommended for PETG and TPU because those two materials stick to the smooth PEI too much, which may lead to ripping when the print is removed from the smooth PEI spring steel sheet.

Textured PEI is suitable for PETG and TPU filament and gives the bottom of the spring a slightly rough texture. In contrast to the smooth PEI, textured PEI is not recommended for PLA since the surface does not have adequate adhesion for heated PLA. The worst case is that a PLA print can detach from the build plate, which would ruin the entire print.

For those who wish to print using a wide variety of materials, the new satin PEI steel sheet is a perfect middle ground for most filament types. It provides effective adhesion to all filaments and a very fine texture on the bottom surface of the print.

On a personal note, the team at 3DGearZone prefers having specialized PEI spring steel sheets suited for different types of filament instead of one that is adequate for general use. However, this option may be more expensive as each build plate costs around $40 USD. For those on a tight budget, we recommend getting the satin PEI since it performs well with most materials.

Automatic Bed Leveling
Manual adjustment of the bed level often leads to unreliable coordinates since it completely depends on the user’s accuracy. The Pusa Mini+ has an automatic levelling feature which avoids running into this issue. The bed leveling process is operated by a probe that records the measurement at various points of the bed to ensure the accuracy of a flat surface and its accuracy. This allows the 3D printer to provide reliable adhesion to the print since it has even contact with the bed surface.

Compared to the original Prusa Mini, the Mini+ upgraded the probe into a superPINDA probe. The original PINDA probe was reviewed for inaccuracies caused by the bed’s temperature. The newly improved superPINDA probe includes a temperature sensor that adjusts for the bed’s temperature, making levelling more accurate.

Extruder and Hotend
Having a 3-to-1 drive gear ratio extruder means there is three times the pushing force (torque) feeding filament into the hotend, compared to a single gear extruder. This allows for a quicker 3D printing process, especially with TPU, which can be printed up to 40mm per second.

Compared to the Mini+ with an all-metal hotend, most inexpensive 3D printers only have hotends lined with PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). PTFE hotends limit the printing temperature to around 245-250°C since the plastic rapidly degrades and releases toxic fumes if heated to a higher temperature. Due to the incapability to print at higher temperatures, printers with a PTFE hotend limit them from working with more exotic materials such as polycarbonate and nylon.

With the Mini+’s all metal hotend, it would not be an issue to print at high temperatures surpassing 250 degrees celsius, as the metal lining can be heated up to 280°C.

Online Features
The Mini+ has built-in ethernet connections that let users view its print status online by searching the IP address of the 3D printer on any web browser. The information displayed includes the ongoing print file, time remaining, and 3D printer temperature. Prusa has announced they will add a new feature that allows users to start and stop 3D printing on the site; however, this has not been implemented yet.

Software Upgrades
The first thing to note about software upgrades is that the control board features a tab that must be broken if users want to install a custom firmware update. Breaking this tab would void its warranty, so we do not recommend doing so unless you are sure the warranty won’t be used.

Physical upgrades for the Mini+ are unnecessary since the 3D printer base is already well built and includes many useful features. Prusa itself is also not very upgrade-friendly as it lacks first-party mods due to warranty issues. But for those interested, the industry offers many third-party replacement parts. Benefitting from its popularity, several companies offer parts compatible with the Original Prusa Mini+, including Matterhackers, Bondtech, Spool3D, and Digitmakers (add hyperlink). For example, the extruder can be upgraded to ones produced by Bondtech, which reduces under-extrusion reported on the original Mini+ extruder.

Community Support

As one of the largest Western 3D printer manufacturers, products from Prusa benefit from some of the best community support platforms. Users looking to solve their issues can do quick searches on Facebook groups, Reddit, Youtube videos, and Prusa branded forums. Some examples include:

Final Verdict

A belt 3d printer should not be a user’s first 3d printer. Or even their second. Belt printers are currently firmly in the nice-to-have niche due belt printers being new and unsupported and with many 3d models being unsuitable for the 45o printhead of a belt printer. Coupled with the fact that our unit does not work without replacing nearly every TronXY supplied component, we cannot recommend the iFactory Factory One to anyone. It feels like iFactory has rushed the development and manufacturing of its printer to beat Creality to the market. Users looking to use a conveyor belt printer for continuous prints or large objects should look at the Creality CR-30 Printmill or build themselves a Nak3D Designs White Knight printer.

iFactory has teased an updated version of the Factory One known as the Factory One+, which addresses several quality control issues alongside a dual zone heated bed and direct drive extruder. However, we advise that users wait until it has been released and any teething issues resolved before considering purchasing it.

Technical Specifications

  • Build volume: 220 (l) x 220 (w) x 250mm (h)
  • 3D printer size: 470mm (l) x 470mm (w) x 620mm (h)
  • Weight: 7.8kg
  • Enclosed print area: No
  • Display: Color LCD with a click wheel
  • Drive type: FDM Bowden (PTFE lined)
  • Filament capability: PLA/PETG/ABS/TPU
  • Connectivity: MicroSD card, USB type B
  • Drivers: TMC 2200 silent stepper driver
  • Build Surface: ceramic coated glass
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • Bed Leveling: Manual
  • Maximum heated bed temperature: 100 °C
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Maximum hotend temperature: 250 °C
  • Maximum movement speed: 150mm per second
  • Maximum XY accuracy: 0.1mm
  • Minimum Z height: 0.1mm
  • Number of extruders: 1
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Supported materials: PLA, PETG and TPU
  • 3rd party filament support: Yes
  • Operating System: Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Supported Slicers: Cura, PrusaSlicer, Slic3r, Ideamaker, Simplify3d, Creality 
  • Supported File Types: STL, OBJ, M3F

Disclaimer
3DGearZone.com is a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We don’t guarantee, however, that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services. 3DGearZone.com is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. 

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Sources
1. Prusa3D.com, “Prusa Research a.s.” Accessed July 26, 2022.

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