Yesterday Prusa announced they start taking preorders for a long requested Prusa large volume 3D printer. Seeing the plans Joseph and his team at Prusa have for the Prusa XL, we immediately placed a preorder.
The printer looks very promising. We don’t just see yet another 3D printer. We see new and fresh ideas which are moving 3D printing as a whole forward. We have come to expect this from Prusa, which has contributed to their success.
Not only do we see CoreXY, a larger print volume, linear rails, a 32 bit platform and LCD display, which would make this printer into a potentially good large volume 3d printer. We see a very open and accessible print area, a toolchanger arrangement, a very innovative new bed leveling system, a dual thermistor setup per printhead, a new take on the extruder and a multi zoned bed heater.
We've always been pleased by the auto bed leveling and nozzle calibration of our Robox 3D printers. We've seen a few attempts to incorporate a similar sensing systems in various printers. The Robox does not rely on bed leveling screws or a mechanical, inductive or optical sensor to probe the distance between the X carriage and the build plate. It relies on the nozzle actually touching the build plate. The Prusa XL will have a similar approach, using the nozzle itself and a strain gauge. The Prusa XL goes a step further: it makes calibration almost completely automatic and makes nozzle clogs detectable by being able to detect deformations in the printhead caused by the pressure build-up. Eliminating Z-axes height adjustments not only between print jobs, but also after build plate and nozzle swaps and failed prints by under extrusions and filament jams.
The new board, based on the 32 bit platform Prusa has placed a lot of development effort into, also looks very promising. With the information currently provided, it will not only be a very strong platform with a lot of processor power and hardware capabilities. It can drive a ton of extruders, thermistors and high power outputs. It also seems to be engineered towards maintainability, repairability and expandability.
We're very enthusiastic about the build plate heater. Or better said heaters. Instead of using a very large single heater. the Prusa XL will have an array of 16 smaller heaters, all with their own thermistors. This reduces the risk of heater production errors. It can reduce bowing of the build plate depending on temperature. It can reduce temperature deviations (hot and cold spots) in the build plate. And it reduces the power consumption of the heated bed, extending component life. But it will be a challenge to manage the heating process and it will most probably mean a slightly longer build plate heating time.
We look forward to receiving our Prusa XL next year.