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Review: The Original Prusa Mini – Compact Design and Amazing Performance

Original Prusa Mini

Dylan Miller @io3dprint

Easy to Setup
Easy to Use
Print Quality
Value For Money
Features

Summary

Prusa have done all they can to pack the features of their best selling 3D printers into a smaller and cheaper package. The Mini may be small but it’s reliable, built to last and delivers excellent print quality just like it’s bigger siblings. It is also one of the more affordable 3D printers out there and looking at some of its features, it’s genuinely worth the money! Prusa has done it again!

4.3

Prusa has produced some incredible 3D printers in recent years. From the higher end MK3S to the old reliable MK2, the company has built a great fan base. But with the new Prusa Mini, they are looking to spread their appeal to an even wider audience, people with a lower budget and less desk space for whom the larger models are just overkill.  

Featuring the usual Prusa sturdy construction, a compact design, an entry-level price, and an array of incredible features, the Prusa Mini is a great choice for creators worldwide.

In this review, I’ll be highlighting some of the notable features that set the Mini apart from other Prusa models, and other 3D printers in the market. We will also have a few pros and cons for you, and more information that will enable you to decide if this is the right 3D printer for you.

Specifications

  • Build Volume: 180 mm x 180 mm x 180 mm
  • Layer Height: 0.05 – 0.35 mm
  • Extruder Type: Bowden with 3.1 gearing
  • Filament diameter: 1.75 mm
  • Control: 2.8 Inch 65k color LCD screen with push button/rotary encoder control
  • Printer Speed: 200 mm/second
  • Maximum Hotend temperature: 280 Degrees Celsius
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4 mm
  • Supported Filament: PLA, PETG, ABS, ASA, Flex, and others
  • Connectivity: USB Drive and Ethernet LAN network
  • Automatic bed leveling: Yes
  • Power Supply: 160 Watts external adapter from Mean Well
  • Printer weight: 11 KGs when packed
  • Printer Dimensions: 380 mm x 380 mm x 330 mm without the spool holder

Features

The Original Prusa Mini is loaded with multiple features that make printing easier and more reliable, many of which have been carried across from the higher-end models. Here are some of the most notable features:

  • The Prusa Mini offers a simple 3-piece assembly process that should be easy and fast to complete. The printer also comes with ready to print settings.
  • You will also get a detailed manual inside the box to guide you in every single step. Prusa is well known for its clear and concise manuals.
  • The Prusa Mini features a relatively large build volume for the footprint of the printer, fully equipped with sensorless homing and automatic mesh bed leveling.
  • The unit offers a wide variety of connectivity options, including Ethernet and USB drive. 
  • The Prusa Mini, just like other Prusa models, is well constructed. Its sturdy build is complemented by a compact design that takes very little countertop space.
  • Control is via a 2.8 inch interactive 65 K color screen LCD display with a rotary encoder for easy control and operation.
  • The Prusa mini runs on a state of the art Mean Well or Delta power supply system that delivers up to 160 Watts in voltage.
  • Each 3D printer is rigorously tested in the lab before shipping to ensure it functions correctly.
  • There is a magnetic hotbed, featuring removable spring steel sheets that make it easier for you to remove a printed object once it’s done.
  • One button printing is also included for an excellent user experience. You just need to insert the USB drive containing the sliced model and hit one button. The printer will start printing right away.
  • The Prusa mini is compatible with several filaments, including ABS, PETG, PLA, and others. This makes it incredibly versatile for a wide range of creators.

Pros

  • Compact design that takes little space but is robust and sturdy
  • Assisted automatic bed leveling is included for easy setup and operation 
  • Compatibility with different filament types and removable nozzles
  • A high printing speed of up to 200 mm per second

Cons

  • Filament sensor and Wi-Fi are optional extras
  • Print resume feature that guards against power interruptions during printing is not included
  • Multi-Material MMU2S not compatible
  • Button rather than touchscreen operation

Unboxing and Box Contents

The Prusa Mini ships in a sturdy brown box to keep it safe while in transit. You will also notice that the box has compartments inside, separated by cardboard and foam. These compartments hold various accessories and parts. In the top compartment, the manufacturer includes some Haribo gummy bears for you to chew on while you’re reading the manual!

There is also a flash disk that contains some important printer firmware, a 3D printing handbook, and a simple user manual. The manual for the Prusa Mini is just a few pages. It’s not nearly as detailed as you’d imagine, but this is because it’s very easy to put together this printer. Keep your eyes open for some stickers in there too, a spool holder, and rolls of filament.

The second compartment in the box contains the most important printer accessories.  This includes the Z-axis, the Y-axis, and the extruder. The great thing about the Prusa mini is that these three parts are already assembled, so setup is just a case of bolting these three parts together. There is also a power supply system in there, well packaged inside its box.

Prusa also gives you all of the fasteners and tools that you will need to set the 3D printer up. Once you have completely unpacked it, do not throw away the box as it’s much easier to transport the printer in its original box if you need to move to a new home.

Setup

Setting up the Original Prusa Mini should not take more than 20 minutes. This is because you don’t need to do a lot to get the unit up and running. First of all, the Z-axis, the X-axis, and the extruder are all assembled. You just need to bolt them together and attach the LCD control screen and power supply. Besides, the manual that ships with this product is very simple to follow. The Prusa mini prides itself as perhaps the only 3D printer in the market that offers a 3-step setup.

The Prusa Mini offers automatic bed leveling, something that would be ideal for beginners or those of you who don’t want to spend hours setting up a 3D printer. You also get one-click printing. All these factors make the unit so easy to set up and use even for a beginner.

Software

The Prusa Mini is loaded with proprietary slicing software from the manufacturer. It is not compatible with other third-party or open-source slicers. The USB drive that ships with this product also has some important firmware that you will need to install before using the printer. Prusa also allows users to download firmware, drivers, and other essential software updates through its website.

In Use

The original Mini delivers outstanding print quality compared to many other printers in its category. Its all-metal construction does well to enhance printer stability, something that promotes better print quality. The only downside with this unit is the fact that it does not have an enclosed printing chamber. This means that there is a risk the objects on the bed may be affected by environmental factors such as room temperature, so printing materials such as ABS may be trickier.

Nonetheless, even with these drawbacks, the Prusa Mini still delivers very commendable print quality. The unit also offers incredible usability. Its color screen display gives you easy access to all the printer controls and is laid out in a very logical fashion. Although it uses the now old-fashioned feeling rotary encoder rather than a touchscreen, it feels good to use because of the logical menus system and not at all clunky.

It also comes with one button printing. You don’t have to go through complicated settings to get your 3D printer working if you don’t want to.

Customer Support

Prusa offers 24/7 customer support to all its clients. The company even has a live chat support feature on its website that lets you get assistance instantly. Users can also get in touch with support via email and get a response within 24 hours.

Besides, Prusa has an incredible community.  So many loyal users will put out hacks and ideas on how to use various Prusa models. It is more likely that you will find some assistance through forums and social media for your Prusa mini without necessarily contacting support.

All the Original Prusa 3D printers are fully open-source, which encourages people to come up with their own improvements and add-ons.

As Prusa says on their own website, buying the printer is really only the first step in a very rewarding hobby.

Conclusion

The Prusa Mini is probably one of the best 3D printers you can get for its price. The unit features a sturdy metal construction that makes it a reliable and accurate 3D printer, and a unique 3 step assembly that makes assembly and setup easy and quick even for beginners.

We also loved that there are a large 2.8-inch interactive LCD-display and a removable bed. Prusa has also done well to make the Original Mini as easy to use as possible. You get one-button printing and a comprehensive 3D printing handbook in the box. This ensures that anyone can extract full value from the Mini as soon as it arrives.

Despite this, there have been some complaints about the build volume, but at this price, there has to be a compromise, and I think the print volume is a fair one and is still very usable for the majority of cases. The Mini also does not ship with an inbuilt filament sensor, but you can upgrade it by purchasing additional accessories.

Other than that, this is a very solid 3D printer. It is built to last and deliver excellent print quality. It is also one of the more affordable 3D printers out there and looking at some of its features, it’s genuinely worth the money! Prusa has done it again!

Dylan

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