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The best 3D printer under $1000

The best 3D printer under $1000 | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone

/

September 16, 2021

At $999 the Prusa i3 MK3S is not the cheapest, but it is well built, reliable, easy to use, prints well, and consistently delivers.  It might just be the best printer for you to start the journey into the world of 3D printing.  You can either by the assembly kit, build it yourself and save $250, or you can buy it fully assembled.  It really is your choice.  

A few years ago, getting a good 3D printer under $1000 may have been challenging.  But, as technology increases in popularity, competition has a way of forcing the price down. 3D printers are no exception and the Prusa i3 MK3S comes in at $749 for the assemble it yourself kit or $999 for the fully assembled option.  So, it squeaks in just under the $1000 mark but it is worth it.

Now, touting one specific 3D printer without a full review is a little unfair so read on and learn why the Prusa i3 MK3S is considered “the best 3D printer under $1000”.

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Table of contents:

How Prusa got to this point?

The Prusa i3 MK3S is manufactured by Prusa Research and claims a strong community of users committed to providing good feedback.  It’s this feedback that has allowed the Prusa i3 MK3S to continually get better.

The best printers don’t typically roll off the assembly line as the best printer.  Rather, they grow into the best by being reviewed, challenged and then making the adjustments necessary to improve.  The team at Prusa is committed to this process.

For you and I, when we buy something, we just want it to work and the Prusa i3 MK3S just works.

What are the specifications of the Prusa i3 MK3S? 

Build volume – 9.84 x 8.3 x 8.3 inches.
Layer height - .05 to .35 mm
Max travel speed – 200+ mm/s
Max extruder temp - 300 degrees celcius
Max heat bed temp – 12 degrees celcius
Print surface – removable magnetic heat bed and PEI spring steel sheets
Number of materials simultaneously – one
Supported materials – any thermoplastic (including nylon and polycarbonate)
Filament sensor – yes
Power panic – yes
Calibration – automatic 9 points XYZ/skew axes compensation

What changed on the updated Prusa i3 MK3S? 

The original Prusa i3 MK3S was already a highly rated 3D printer, but additional changes have been made to make it even better. Let’s take a look at the improvements.

All the previous enhancements on the Prusa i3 MK3S are fully implement on this updated version.

A new filament sensor has been implemented which uses an optical sensor, triggered by a simple lever.  Previously, the sensor would not work with some filaments.

The extruder has been redone making it easier to change the nozzle and PTFE tube.  Additionally, by moving the extruder assembly closer to the X axis it has resulted in less resonance and improved prints.

Other tweaks such as anti-rust coating, and firmware enhancements have also improved this printer.

Slicer software which continues to be easy to use, simple design, but is still powerfully customizable in its settings. And now it has a couple of new print profiles.  

Ability to recover and resume printing after a power loss, as well as detecting layer shifting.

Auto bed leveling.

A removable magnetic spring steel bed has been added allowing it to be popped off as the sheet cools down and more easily remove the object.

To see a full review of all details you can go to Prusa website:  Click Here  

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Prusa i3 MK3S?

Advantages:

Reliable and dependable print quality.

Firm and Sturdy

Autocalibration

Ability to resume printing after a crash

You can pause and restart the print.

Beautiful bridging and overhangs

Easy to use Slic3rPE slicing software

Disadvantages:

Can’t rely on long distance printing

Default settings with dense support structure

Minus the few changes listed above no major change form original i3 MK3S

What do people say about the Prusa i3 MK3S?

What people say about something is more valuable than any marketing jargon.  These 4 review headlines might give you an idea that people think this machine is pretty great.

Amazing print quality and easy to use!

3D-Printer Heaven

It's a Miracle Machine

Great 3D printer

What else should I know about the Prusa and the i3 MK3S?

Prusa offers 24/7 customer support and also indicates there is a active forum that is regularly updated as a knowledge base. Their goal is to get you 3D printing as fast as possible and are committed to helping you along the way.

Prusa wants you to know that if you choose to assemble the kit yourself, you can do it.  It doesn’t require specialized tools and it’s a great way to learn the ins and outs of printer construction.  Cables come cut to length and essentially just require plugging connectors to the motherboard.  They want you to have fun with the process.

Prusa brags their fastest customer assembled the kit in 4 hours, but other reviews and comments have indicated 8-10 hours might be more realistic.  

Prusa has produced an assembly instructions book and a 3D printing handbook with pictures and drawings to assist you in the assembly and operation.

Prusa sends the printer with settings that are great for a variety of objects so you can focus on printing and not adjusting. Over time as you become comfortable with the printer than you can explore more of the setting options.  

Prusa has developed their printer for upgradability. Things change and they want you to grow and expand without having to always invest in a new printer.

Prusa offers a 5% discount on subsequent orders of selected filaments.  So, take advantage.

Prusa offers multi material machines, so once you master this single material machine, you might upgrade to multi material.

Prusa ships more than 6000 i3 printers per month so you are not alone in your quest to become a 3D printer, and choosing the i3 is a good first step.

We hope you have learned a bit or two about the Prusa i3 MK3S printer and gained some confidence in its capabilities.  But ultimately the choice is yours after diligent research.

About THE AUTHOR

William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

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The best 3D printer under $1000

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