It’s time for another one of Prusa‘s popular updates on its various hardware and firmware! The company makes sure its customers always know about the latest new products and improvements to its many products. The winter 2019 update is, in founder Josef Prusa’s words, “a pretty massive one,” as the company has continued to grow and reached a milestone 100,000 3D printers shipped.
“We are actually working on a short documentary how we got (literally) from a basement to this level, I am beyond excited to show you parts of the story you never saw and I’m pretty sure you will love it, too,” Prusa wrote.
Prusa conducted a product survey, and the results helped the company shape the updates for its Original Prusa MK3S and MMU2 printers. One helpful piece of constructive criticism the survey provided was that the filament sensor on the MK3S didn’t work well with some filaments, so it now features a reworked extruder with a new sensor.
“The new sensor is using the optical sensor which is triggered by a simple mechanical lever,” Prusa explained. “This sensor doesn’t care about the optical properties of the filament (it can be completely invisible) and cannot die because of mechanical wear.”
Users also wanted easier servicing of the extruder assembly, so now the extruder motor and nozzle are closer to the X-axis for better prints, and you no longer have to take it apart to change the PTFE or nozzle. Additionally, the cumulative updates from the MK3’s whole life cycle are included.
The new MK3S is available from the Prusa e-shop for $749 – the same price as the MK3. You can also purchase an upgrade kit for the MK3 to the MK3S, and for the MK2.5 to the MK2.5S. The company is no longer accepting orders for the Original Prusa i3 MK2S kit and assembled printer, but does have all replacements in stock for long-term support.
The MK3 and MK3S also have new print profiles, which users can get through the Slic3r PE 1.41.3 or newer, found in Prusa’s updated drivers. There’s now a 70μm profile – perfect for printing miniatures – and both the 150μm Optimal and 200μm profiles were split into Quality and Speed versions.
“While the MK3 results in the survey were literally amazing, customer’s feedback to MMU2 wasn’t what we imagined. Although many of you print with five filaments without any hassle, there are users facing several issues with multi-material printing – usually related to reloading the filament and secondly from the filament getting tangled as the MMU2 is unloading filament from the five spools,” Prusa wrote.
“Before I even start about MMU2S, I have to tell you, that every current owner of MMU2 will be getting the upgrade to the MMU2S (self-printed parts for the extruder upgrade) for free no matter where in the world you are.”
While Prusa was redesigning the extruder for the MK3S, the company wanted to also solve the MMU2 reloading problems. So with the new mod, the filament sensor actually detects when the filament pushes Bondtech gears apart and the idler doors open a little. Prusa spent two months testing the MMU2S, printing nearly 480 test blocks to test the frequent switching of five filaments, and over 93% were completed successfully.
“To summarize everything, with MMU2S you will get the new MK3S/MK2.5S extruder parts (with new filament sensor) and the new filament buffer,” Prusa wrote.
Prusa also released new firmware builds with support for MK3 / MK2.5( 3.5.2) and MK3S / MK2.5S (3.5.3), including a new way to control the power of the heatbed so the PSU clicking noise is decreased.
The company has shipped over 10,000 textured sheets, which are notoriously hard to manufacture. So Prusa built its own testing lab to inspect the entire process, and after making some improvements, the sheets are now specially treated to prevent rust even in extreme humidity.
Internal and external beta testing of the company’s Original Prusa SL1 resin 3D printer provided great results, and the system was officially released in September. After fixing some hardware issues, Prusa turned its focus to improving the calibration process, user experience, and automatic supports in Slic3r PE. Additionally, over 100 types of resin have their own profiles in Slic3r PE, and as it’s an open source printer, people can “use pretty much any 405nm resin.”
Speaking of Slic3r PE, the team continues to grow, and Prusa has a goal of developing the best slicer for every 3D printer, and not just its Original Prusas. So far, the company is doing pretty well, as Slic3r PE is free, receives regular new features and bug fixes, and is improved based on user feedback.
Finally, in terms of Prusament, the company continues to work on increasing its production capacity for the popular filament, and Prusa explained that “our goal is to achieve a non-stop production with fully robotic operators.”
We’ve got business and education news galore in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. First, Voodoo Manufacturing has launched its new Shopify app, and BeAM Machines is partnering with Empa, while Sculpteo is working with a property developer to provide 3D printed apartment models. VSHAPER has signed an agreement with educational publisher Grupa MAC, and the United Arab Emirates is introducing 3D printing into over 200 of its primary schools. The US Navy will be testing the first 3D printed ship component, and Lufthansa Technik has established a new Additive Manufacturing Center. Finally, maker Thomas Sanladerer shared on YouTube about his recent visit to the Prusa headquarters.
Voodoo Manufacturing Launches Shopify App
This spring, high-volume 3D printing factory Voodoo Manufacturing began its full-stack manufacturing and fulfillment service for 3D printing entrepreneurs, which allows users to outsource work like quality control and assembly for their products through its easy shopfront integrations with online marketplaces like Shopify. Now, the company has launched its own Shopify app, which will allow online sellers to create and customize 3D printed products and sell them on their own Shopify stores. Once the app is installed, users can make their first product in less than 5 minutes, which is then automatically added to their store, ready for purchase.
“We wanted to make it ridiculously easy for ecommerce stores to diversify their product offering with 3D printed products. By applying 3D printing to the print-on-demand business model, we are opening up an infinite range of product categories for Shopify merchants,” said Max Friefeld, the Founder and CEO of Voodoo Manufacturing. “The Voodoo app provides a new source of high quality, customizable, on-demand products, that don’t require any 3D design experience.”
Before the official launch this week, Voodoo piloted the service with a group of beta users, including It’s The Island Life by graphic designer and Guam native Lucy Hutcheson. She is already successfully selling six different products made with the help of the new Voodoo app.
BeAM Machines Partnering with Empa
BeAM, recently acquired by AddUp, has signed a research and development agreement with Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. Together, the two will develop novel applications for BeAM’s powder-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) technology, which uses focused thermal energy to fuse materials by melting them while they’re deposited. This makes parts manufacturing much faster. The partnership has come on the heels of Empa’s acquisition of a BeAM DED 3D printer, which is located at its Laboratory for Advanced Materials Processing in Thun and is used to integrate and test out innovative components.
Patrik Hoffmann, who leads the laboratory, said, “We are very excited to collaborate with BeAM’s engineers to push the boundaries of this innovative additive manufacturing technology and to develop a whole new range of applications for Swiss industries and beyond.”
Sculpteo 3D Printing Apartment Models
Together with Sculpteo, French property developer Valoptim is working to improve customer experience by providing clients with miniaturized 3D printed models of their future apartments when they sign their contracts, so they can better visualize and prepare for moving into their new home. These small, exact replicas give new owners an immersive experience, which is a definite value add. In addition, production of the 3D printed models is local, and can be done fast.
“Sculpteo uses the best machines and 3D printing processes on the market today. At first, we had the ambition to test the feasibility of 3D printing in the real estate sector. This innovative process has proven to be extremely interesting: the realistic rendering, with high-end finishes, allowed our clients to discover a miniaturized version of their future apartment enabling them to realistically imagine themselves living in it,” said Edouard Pellerin, CEO of Valoptim. “This innovation contributes to our business dynamic: constantly improving the customer experience.”
VSHAPER and Grupa Mac Sign Agreement
Polish 3D printer manufacturer Verashape has signed an agreement with Grupa MAC, the country’s top educational publisher, in front of Poland’s education curators at the recent Future of Education Congress. Per the agreement, Grupa MAC will use a network of educational consultants to distribute the VSHAPER GO 3D printers to kindergartens and other schools in the country. Grupa MAC recognizes that 3D printers are a good way to quickly present the effects of students’ learning, and the VSHAPER GO is the perfect choice, as it is easy to use and comes with an intuitive interface of SOFTSHAPER software.
“Classes with students are a perfect environment for the use of 3D Printing. Creating a pyramid model for history lessons, the structure of a flower or a human body for biology lessons are just a few examples, and their list is limited only by the imagination of students and teachers,” said Patryk Tomczyk, a member of the Grupa MAC Management Board. “We are happy that thanks to our cooperation with VERASHAPE, 3D Printers have a chance to reach schools through our network of educational consultants.”
3D Printing to be Introduced in UAE Primary Schools
Speaking of 3D printing in education, the Ministry of Education (MoE) for the UAE has announced that in early 2019, a country-wide introduction of 3D printing into over 200 primary schools will commence. As part of this new technology roll out, Dubai education consultancy company Ibtikar is partnering with Makers Empire, an Australian education technology company, to deliver a program that implements 3D printing and design. Makers Empire will supply 3D software, curriculum, teacher resources, training, and support to Ibtikar, which will in turn train MoE teachers to deliver the program.
“Through this rollout of 3D technology, our students will learn to reframe needs as actionable statements and to create solutions to real-world problems,” said HE Eng. Abdul Rahman of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education. “In doing so, our students will develop an important growth mindset, the skills they need to make their world better and the essential ability to persist when encountering setbacks.”
US Navy Approves Test of First 3D Printed Shipboard Part
The US military has long explored the use of 3D printing to lower costs and increase the availability of spare parts. Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest military shipbuilder in the US, has also been piloting new technologies, like 3D printing, as part of its digital transformation. In collaboration with the US Navy, the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division has worked to speed the adoption of 3D printed metal components for nuclear-powered warships. This has led to an exciting announcement by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA): a metal drain strainer orifice (DSO) prototype has officially been approved as the first 3D printed metal part to be installed on a US Navy ship. The assembly is a component for the steam system, which allows for drainage and removal of water from a steam line while in use. The 3D printed DSO prototype will be installed on the USS Harry S. Truman in 2019 for evaluation and tests. After one year, the assembly will be removed for inspection and analysis.
“This install marks a significant advancement in the Navy’s ability to make parts on demand and combine NAVSEA’s strategic goal of on-time delivery of ships and submarines while maintaining a culture of affordability. By targeting CVN 75 [USS Harry S. Truman], this allows us to get test results faster, so-if successful-we can identify additional uses of additive manufacturing for the fleet,” said Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, NAVSEA Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Ship Design, Integration, and Naval Engineering.
Lufthansa Technik Opens New Additive Manufacturing Center
Lufthansa Technik, a leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for civil aircraft, has established a new Additive Manufacturing Center. The goal of the new AM Center is to bundle and expand the company’s experience and competence with the technology, which can be used to make individual parts more quickly and with more design freedom. As the world of aircraft is always aware of weight, making more lightweight parts is an excellent benefit of 3D printing.
“The new AM Center will serve as a collaborative hub where the experience and skills that Lufthansa Technik has gained in additive manufacturing can be bundled and further expanded,” said Dr. Aenne Koester, the head of the new AM Center. “The aim is to increase the degree of maturity of the technologies and to develop products that are suitable for production.”
Tom’s 3D Visits Prusa Headquarters
Maker Thomas Sanladerer, who runs his own YouTube channel, recently had the chance to tour the Prusa Research headquarters in Prague. Not only did he get the opportunity to see how the company makes its popular MK3 and and MK2.5, but Sanladerer was also able to see early models of the company’s recently announced SL1 resin 3D printer, as well as the Prusament filament production line.
“I always find factory tours like this super interesting because it’s the only chance you really get of seeing behind the scenes of what might really just be a website, or you know, a marketing video or whatever,” Sanladerer said in his video.
Sanladerer took the tour of the Prusa factory right after Maker Faire Prague, which the company itself organized and sponsored. To see behind the scenes of Prusa for yourself, check out the rest of the video below:
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