Prusa i3

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Prusa i3
Prusa i3 MK2.jpg
Prusa i3 MK2
A Prusa i3 MK2 print farm producing parts for new printers
ClassificationFused deposition modeling 3D printer
InventorJosef Průša

The Prusa i3 series consists of open-source fused deposition modeling 3D printers, manufactured by Czech company Prusa Research under the trademarked name Original Prusa i3. Part of the RepRap project, Prusa i3 printers were named the most used 3D printer in the world.[1] The first Prusa i3 was designed by Josef Průša in 2012, and was released as a commercial kit product in 2015. The latest model (MK3S+, as of November 2020) is available in both kit and factory assembled versions. The Prusa i3's comparable low cost and ease of construction and modification has made it popular in education and with hobbyists and professionals.[2] Since the i3 series is open source, there have been many variants produced by companies and individuals worldwide.


RepRap Mendel[edit]

First conceived in 2009, RepRap Mendel 3D printers were designed to be assembled from 3D printed parts and commonly available off-the-shelf components (referred to as "vitamins," as they cannot be produced by the printer itself).[3][4] These parts include threaded rods, leadscrews, smooth rods and bearings, screws, nuts, stepper motors, control circuit boards, and a "hot end" to melt and place thermoplastic materials.[5] A Cartesian mechanism with a movable flat bed and tool motion on two horizontal and two vertical rods permit placement of material anywhere in a cubic volume; this design has continued throughout development of the i3 series.

Prusa Mendel[edit]

Josef Průša, a core developer of the RepRap project who had previously developed a PCB heated "bed" on which parts are printed, adapted and simplified the RepRap Mendel design, reducing the time to print 3D plastic parts from 20 to 10 hours, and including 3D printed bushings in place of regular bearings.[6][7] Released in September 2010, the printer was dubbed Prusa Mendel by the RepRap community, rather than by Průša himself. According to the RepRap wiki, "Prusa Mendel is the Ford Model T of 3D printers."[8]

Prusa Mendel (Iteration 2)[edit]

Průša streamlined his Mendel design, releasing "Prusa Iteration 2" in November 2011. Parts changes allowed for snap-fit assembly (no glue required); fewer tools were needed to construct and maintain this version. Although not required, fine-pitch manufactured pulleys and LM8UU linear bearings were recommended over printed equivalents for "professional" results.[9][10]

Prusa i3[edit]

In May 2012, Průša released a major redesign, focused on ease of construction and use, and no longer structured around the simplest available common hardware as previous RepRap printers were.[11] The Prusa i3 design replaced the threaded-rod, triangular frame construction with a rigid, single-piece water jet cut aluminium vertical frame to improve printing speed and accuracy. It used a single piece, food safe stainless steel hot end called the Prusa Nozzle which printed with 3 mm filament, and used M5 threaded rods as lead screws instead of M8.[12][13][14][15][16]

Three years later in 2015, Průša released an i3 full kit under the brand name "Original Prusa i3" after having realized that there was a market for 3D printer kits.[1] For about three months the Prusa i3 was delivered set up for a proprietary 3 mm filament diameter (which retrospectively has been dubbed the "mark zero"), before the Mk1 update when it was switched to the more common filament diameter of 1.75 mm.[17]

Prusa i3 MK2 and MK2S[edit]

Průša released the Prusa i3 MK2 in May, 2016. It was the first hobby printer with mesh bed leveling and automatic geometry skew correction for all three axes. Features included a larger build volume, custom stepper motors with integrated lead screws, a non-contact inductance sensor for auto-leveling, and a rewritten version of the Marlin firmware.[18][19][20] Other new features include a polyetherimide print surface, Rambo controller board and an E3D V6 Full hotend.[21][22] The Prusa MK2 became the first RepRap printer to be supported by Windows 10 Plug-and-Play USB ID.[23]

In March 2017, Průša announced on his blog that the revised Prusa i3 MK2S would ship in place of the Prusa i3 MK2.[24] Enhancements cited include U-bolts to hold the LM8UU bearings where cable ties had been used, higher quality bearings and rods, an improved mount for the inductance sensor, improved cable management, and a new electronics cover. An upgrade kit was offered to owners of the MK2 to add these improvements.

Prusa i3 MK3 and MK2.5[edit]

In September 2017, Prusa i3 MK3 was released, marketed as "bloody smart."[25] Upgraded features included a sturdier Y axis, a new extruder with double sided Bondtech drive-gears, quieter fans with RPM monitoring, faster print speeds, an updated bed leveling sensor, a new electronics board named "Einsy", quieter stepper motors with 128 step microstepping drivers and a magnetic heatbed with interchangeable PEI-coated steel sheets.[26] Electrical components were updated to work with the new 24 volt power supply. The printer also offers dedicated sockets to connect Raspberry Pi Zero W running open source OctoPrint software for wireless printing, and offers a custom Octoprint fork for the Prusa i3.

Ease-of-use features included a filament detector, allowing the printer to load filament when it is inserted, and to pause printing if the filament is jammed or runs out; error-correcting stepper motor drivers which can correct skipped steps automatically, preventing layer shifts; and recovery from power outages. The ambient temperature sensor both confirms suitable environment temperature and detects overheated electrical connections on the main board.

Existing MK2 and MK2S users were offered a $199 partial upgrade named MK2.5, limited to features which are cheaper to upgrade.[27] After negative feedback from the community, Prusa made available a more expensive $500 MK2S to MK3 full upgrade.[25][28]

Prusa i3 MK3S and MK3S+[edit]

In February 2019, Prusa i3 MK3S was released, along with the Multi Material Upgrade 2S (MMU2S), which allows selecting any of 5 different materials for printing together automatically.[29] MK3S changes include a simplified mechanical filament sensor, improved print cooling, and easier access to service the extruder.[30]

Prusa made a running change starting November, 2020 to the Prusa i3 MK3S+.[31] This model has a revised bed leveling sensor and minor parts changes.


  • In 2012, Josef Průša received honors from the governor of the Vysočina Region in the Czech Republic for his accomplishments in technology.[32]
  • In February 2014 he was featured on the cover of Czech Forbes magazine as one of the 30 under 30 list.[33]
  • The MK2 and MK2S printers both won Best Overall 3D Printer awards from Make: Magazine.[34]
  • Deloitte placed Prusa Research at the top of the 2018 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 as the fastest growing company in Central Europe.[35][36]
  • The 3D Hubs Q3 2018 Trends report noted that the Prusa i3 MK2, MK2S and MK3 had been used to manufacture nearly 35% of all prints ordered through their fee-for-service business.[37]
  • The MK3 was named FFF 3D printer of the year for 2019 by 3D Printing Industry.[38]
  • Průša was again featured on the cover of the Czech edition of Forbes in 2019 for his leadership at the now billion-koruna company.[39]
  • All3DP named the MK3 Best 3D Printer of 2018, and the MK3S Best 3D Printer of 2020.[40][41]

Components and materials[edit]

Josef Průša inside an early Prusa i3 MK2 print farm producing 3D printed parts at Prusa Research in Prague, Czech Republic.

All Prusa i3 models use 3D printing filament as feedstock to make parts.

Like other RepRap printers the Prusa i3 is capable of creating many of its own parts (originally printed in ABS plastic, Prusa Research now uses PETG instead).[42] Prusa Research maintains a "print farm" of over 500 3D printers to manufacture plastic parts for Original Prusa branded products.[43]

Like most FDM 3D printers,[44][45] the Prusa i3 uses a nozzle with standard M6-threads.[citation needed]


With all aspects of the design freely available under open source and open hardware terms, companies and individuals around the world have produced Prusa i3 copies, variants, and upgrades in assembled and kit form, with thousands offered for sale as early as 2015.[46][47][48] Rather than compete directly with these, Prusa Research's strategy is to pursue continual refinement of its designs.[49]


i3 variants are made with many different types of frames. These include single sheet frames cut from steel or acrylic (laser cut or CNC milled), box frames from plywood or medium-density fibreboard, and Lego.[50][51][52][53] Many printer enthusiasts, as well as manufacturers of "clone" printers, assemble frames from inexpensive aluminum extrusion.[54][55]


Beyond the standard Prusa i3 filament extruders, others have created aftermarket extruders and enthusiast tool heads, including a MIG welder and a laser cutter.[56][57][58] Průša offered a collection of functional cooking tools and programs under the name "MK3 Master Chef Upgrade" as an April Fools' Day gag in 2018.[59]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "What's up with Original Prusa i3? – Prusa Printers". Prusa Printers. March 2, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  2. ^ Ertischek, David (February 3, 2016). "Prusa I3 is a DIY 3D printer you can actually afford". Boy Genius Report. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  3. ^ "Mendel - RepRap". Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  4. ^ "Distributing 3DP Parts — and Vitamins — With Passion". 3D Printing Industry. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  5. ^ "Hot End Design Theory - RepRap". Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  6. ^ "PCB heated print bed by josefprusa". Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  7. ^ "first commit · josefprusa/PrusaMendel@6ed4480". GitHub. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  8. ^ User "Scwimbush"; User "Prusajr" (April 12, 2011). "Prusa Mendel - RepRap". Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  9. ^ "Hobbyist Weekend – With Prusa Mendel 3D Printer". 3D Printing Industry. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  10. ^ Průša, Joseph (November 11, 2011). "RepRap: Blog: Prusa Iteration 2". Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  11. ^ "initial commit · josefprusa/Prusa3@d3618a6". GitHub. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  12. ^ "Open Source 3D printing: an Interview with Josef Prusa". Open Electronics. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  13. ^ By. "Interview With A Printer". Hackaday. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  14. ^ "Prusa Nozzle: All metal food safe RepRap hot-end". Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  15. ^ By. "Fail Of The Week: My 3D Printer Upgrade". Hackaday. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  16. ^ Research, Josef Prusa / Prusa. "Prusa Nozzle". Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  17. ^ "About Josef Prusa and Prusa Research". Prusa3D - 3D Printers from Josef Průša. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  18. ^ Gerrit Coetzee (June 15, 2016). "Prusa Shows Us the New i3 MK2 3D Printer and Where the Community is Headed". Hackaday. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  19. ^ "Josef Prusa unveils $699 Original Prusa i3 MK2 3D printer". Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  20. ^ "The first printer to correct its geometry in all axes - Prusa Printers". August 11, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  21. ^ "The All New Original Prusa i3 MK2 Kit Has a Ton of New Features". May 18, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  22. ^ "Interview with Josef Prusa, CEO and Founder of Prusa Research". 3D Printing Industry. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  23. ^ "Microsoft adds network 3D printing support with Windows 10 IoT Core app for Raspberry Pi 3". Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  24. ^ "Original Prusa I3 MK2S Release". Official Prusa 3D printers community. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  25. ^ a b "Original Prusa i3 MK3 is out! And it's bloody smart!". Prusa Printers. September 22, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  26. ^ "New Original Prusa i3 MK3: Review the Facts Here! | All3DP". All3DP. September 25, 2017. Retrieved October 24, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  27. ^ "Upgrade Your Prusa i3 MK2 with the "MK2S" Kit". All3DP. March 27, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  28. ^ "Prusa Research Offers MK3 Upgrade Kit for Older MK2/S Models". All3DP. October 19, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  29. ^ "Original Prusa i3 MK3S and MMU2S release, SL1 and powder-coated sheets update". Prusa Printers. February 12, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  30. ^ May 2019, Ali Jennings 31. "Original Prusa i3 MK3S review". TechRadar. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  31. ^ Průša, Josef (November 24, 2020). "November 2020 Update: Original Prusa i3 MK3S+ and MINI+ now shipping, MINI+ kit in the works, new steel sheet available". Prusa Printers. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  32. ^ "Jihlavské listy | Aktuality | Noviny Kraje Vysočina". Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  33. ^ "Forbes Česko". Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  34. ^ "Prusa i3 MK2S". Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  35. ^ "Deloitte Technology Fast 50 | Deloitte Central Europe". Deloitte Macedonia. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  36. ^ "Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA: Two Czech companies in Top 5". Deloitte Czech Republic. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  37. ^ "3D Printing Trends Q3 2018" (PDF). 3D Hubs. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  38. ^ "2019 3D Printing Industry Awards winners announced". 3D Printing Industry. June 11, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  39. ^ "3D punk". Forbes (in Czech). Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  40. ^ "Original Prusa i3 MK3 Review: Best 3D Printer of 2018". All3DP. May 5, 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  41. ^ "Original Prusa i3 MK3S Review: Best 3D Printer 2020". All3DP. June 18, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  42. ^ "Original Prusa i3 Mk3 after 2 months". Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  43. ^ "UPDATED April 2nd - From Design to Mass 3D printing of Medical Shields in Three Days". Prusa Printers. March 18, 2020. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  44. ^ BILBYCNC : 3D printing nozzle fact sheet - BilbyCNCNozzleFactSheet.pdf
  45. ^ 3D Printer Nozzle Guide: What to Know & Which to Buy | All3DP
  46. ^ By. "[Prusa] interviews a whole bunch of RepRappers". Hackaday. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  47. ^ "cheap chinese 3d printers ebay". Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  48. ^ says, Gordon D. Lucas (March 17, 2015). "RepRap Prusa i3 as a 3D Printer benchmark". Prusa Printers. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  49. ^ [1]
  50. ^ "Portugal's Reprapalgarve Team Shows Us How to Make a Steel Framed Color 3D Printer for Around $600". June 6, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  51. ^ "RepRap iTopie Emerges as Improvement on Prusa i3". December 18, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  52. ^ By. "Lego Printer Prints Lego". Hackaday. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  53. ^ "Build your very own Prusa l3 LEGO 3D printer using (almost) nothing but LEGO bricks". Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  54. ^ "Creality CR-10 S5 Review". Maker Hacks. September 18, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  55. ^ "Prusa Bear (Full) Upgrade – Is It Worth it?". All3DP. November 24, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  56. ^ "Dutch students build DIY metal 3D printer using Prusa i3 printer and a MIG welder". Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  57. ^ "Students Combine Prusa i3 Printer with a MIG Welder to Create an Affordable Metal 3D Printer". November 17, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  58. ^ "DIY 3D Printing: Laser cutting with Prusa Mendel i2". Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  59. ^ "New upgrade for the Original Prusa i3 MK3 is here to change your life". Prusa Printers. April 1, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2021.

External links[edit]