The Original Prusa Mini Review – Buy Or Not?
The Original Prusa Mini is a smart and compact 3D printer made for everyone, from rookie to expert.
It was created with the users in mind, so it has several modern useful features and a lower price compared to the usual Prusa line, while keeping its high standard of quality and reliability.
The main unique feature is its small size, coming in at 380mm x 380mm x 330mm, with a build volume of 180mm x 180mm x 180mm.
It’s designed and manufactured in Prague, has the trustworthy Prusa name behind it, compact so it can fit in many places, and has basically all the sought for features of the Prusa MK3S.
The Prusa Mini costs around $349 from Prusa3D ($399 with the extras).
Many times, people just want a printer that works with a high success rate and doesn’t require all kinds of tinkering and upgrading. If you exclusively make small prints, it’s a perfect option for you.
The original Prusa line can get quite pricey for a lot of people, which is why they opt-in to buy Chinese copies and run into many issues. This 3D printer should put people at a good level, at an affordable price, while still maintaining a high quality product.
Even though it’s called the Prusa Mini, it still has a more than capable build volume. When it comes to building a farm of Prusa printers (Prusa Mk3), you’d still be able to print all the parts on the Prusa Mini without issue.
It’s a great choice for people who already have a printer and have been wanting to get that secondary, back-up or support printer on the side.
UPDATE: The Original Prusa Mini is back with normal lead times and no longer delayed by supply issues.
You can find shipping information on the Prusa Shipping Information page which is regularly updated.
Features of the Prusa Mini
This printer comes with many sought-for features such as:
- Magnetic heated for easy print removal
- Responsive color LCD screen with object preview
- Automatic mesh bed levelling system to ensure accurate first layers
- Custom 32-bit buddy board
- Efficient geared extruder
- Sensorless Homing
- One-click printing for easy use
- Quick setup time with 3-piece assembly
- USB Drive for printing and firmware upgrades
- Support several printing materials
- Fast preheating
LCD Color Screen
One of the main features that people love about this printer is its responsive color LCD screen. It has the ability to preview your sliced model before printing. It’s not essential, but it’s a nice visual to have before seeing your print come to life.
The 32-Bit Controller (TMC2209 drivers)
The 32-bit controller gives the Prusa Mini a lot of extra control that you don’t get with most 3D printers. It allows you to do many things which you would need OctoPrint to do such as multiple printer management, sending files to the printer wirelessly, or downloading firmware update.
The difference between the 32-bit board and the 8-bit board they have on the MK3S is the ability to process G Code quickly and support higher step rates, while doing more preprocessing. It usually means much less extrusion issues and less buffering.
You also have a built-in Ethernet for network connectivity (with an optional Wi-Fi upgrade).
The Magnetic Heatbed
This is a very popular feature, which comes with removable flexible spring steel sheets. When the sheet cools down, parts can easily be removed by slightly flexing the sheet inwards, making them pop off the surface. (textured or smooth top sheet),
One Click Printing
You have the choice to insert a USB drive with your desired file. This will then open up a nice menu with the preview of your print. All you have to do is confirm your selection, click your control wheel, and watch your printer work.
Most Prusa printers have direct drive extruders, but the Mini on the other hand has a Bowden system and a drive gear ratio of 3:1. The extruder motor is placed on the Z-axis column to decrease the weight of the extruder. It simply pushes your 1.75mm filament though a PTFE tube into the hotend then through your nozzle.
Safety is always of importance when it comes to 3D printing, which the Prusa is aware of. That’s why it comes with many safety features such as 3 thermistors, fan RPM monitoring, certified high-quality PSU and self-diagnostics.
All the parts used in the Prusa Mini were tested in-house and are very reliable and safe to use. It comes with a high-quality power supply for a safe and reliable connection.
The PrusaSlicer is a unique slicer which gives fine-tuned print profile. To use the object preview feature, you’ll need to have the PrusaSlicer 2.1.1 or higher which can be found at the Prusa3D drivers page.
Benefits of the Prusa Mini
Very fast preheating, being only 1 minute for PLA and 3 minutes for ASA.
Even though this printer is of small size, it definitely packs a punch when it comes to print quality!
The Prusa Mini can many print materials such as PLA, ABS, Flex material, ASA, PETG, though it can’t print Nylon.
This printer is especially great for beginners, kids, as well as seasoned 3D printer hobbyists who want to purchase a few Prusa Mini’s to crank out several prints fast. Price-wise, you can purchase two Prusa Mini’s for the price of one Prusa i3 MK3S, meaning you get more production at an even lower price.
It does a good job reducing the weight of the moving parts, allowing the printer to move around the bed more efficiently.
Prusa are very confident with their product, so much so that you get an international warranty giving you a 60-day money-back guarantee
Downsides of the Prusa Mini
It doesn’t have a print resume function if something like a power failure occurs. This isn’t as much of an issue because you will usually be doing smaller prints, but it can still be a huge problem if something goes wrong.
The additional filament sensor feature and the textured PEI sheet does come at a price so keep that in mind if you want to keep costs to a minimum.
Also, the consumable parts like the PEI sheets aren’t covered by your standard warranty, as the parts are designed to degenerate over time, unless the failure occurs due to workmanship or material defects.
Your warranty also doesn’t cover cosmetic damage such as scratches, cracks, dents and so on, which isn’t usually a massive issue but something to keep in mind. If your sheets arrive defective, this would be covered under your warranty.
Specifications of the Prusa Mini
- Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
- Max. Extruder temperature: 280ºC
- Max. Print bed temperature: 100ºC
- Connectivity: USB, Ethernet, optional Wi-Fi upgrade
- Layer Height: 0.05 – 0.35 mm
- Max. Travel speed: 200+ mm/s
- Mainboard: 32-bit Buddy electronics with STM32 and Trinamic 2209 silent stepper drivers with 256 micro stepping
- Extruder: Bowden system
- Materials: PLA, PETG, ASA, ABS, Flex
- Filament Sensor: Optional upgrade
- Print Resume Function: No
- Calibration: Auto
- Slicer Software: Prusa Slic3r
- Fast Preheat: PLA 1 min / ASA 3 min
- Sensor-Less Homing for X and Y axes
- 2.8″ graphic 65k color screen with G-Code preview
- Its power supply is 160W, with an external adapter, less than the Prusa I3 MK3S which is 240W.
When we weigh up the price, performance, reliability and overall product, it is highly recommended for most people to purchase because it does things so well.
It’s compact size, in many cases, comes as a bonus allowing you to fit it in tighter spaces and still print most objects that you need to. It used to be the standard for 3D printers to have a build volume similar to the Prusa Mini, but has increased over time, so it’s not as small as people think.
The Prusa community is a great one which will offer you support, guidance and advice on how to get the most out of your machine.
It’s ease of assembly is a great feature of the Prusa Mini, and only requires a 3-piece assembly, which once attached can be calibrated and start printing soon after.
One of the bigger elements of what Prusa does is its open-source nature, meaning that there will be plenty of things that you can do with your printer. It has excellent feedback and is quick to solve issues that can arise.
Some people are worried about how sturdy the Prusa Mini will be. For the arm of the printer, they went for a sliding block which along with it’s reduced span and Bowden design, should make it just fine.
Its X-axis is somewhat unsupported, but it still works surprisingly well, similar to the Tronxy C1.
The Prusa Mini could overtake people’s choice of going for an Ender 3 because it needs very little tinkering, and you gain access to Prusa’s support, which is great for beginners.
On the other hand, it’s always good for beginners to get a solid understanding of the process, mechanics and tuning of a 3D printer, which the Ender 3 V2 (Amazon) is great for.