We ordered the semi-assembled version of the Prusa XL. When pre-ordering, we were disappointed that there was no kit version, but very happy when the printer arrived. We very much like building at least one printer ourselves; we’re not only tinkerers but by building the printer from it’s components, you get a real good grasp on how the printer functions, how to troubleshoot it and how to repair or improve it. We really feared that ‘semi-assembled’ meant unbox the printer, attach the upper part, plugin a few cables, mount the spool holder and done. As this is the case with for instance the Creality Ender 3 V2 Neo. Luckily when the Prusa XL arrived and we opened the box we were greeted with many components, bags and bags with fasteners and quite a few sub assemblies.
The instructions are clear but not done as well as we’re used to with previous printers from Prusa Research. It is very clear that Prusa was struggling with sourcing parts which they announced as the reason for the delays. The assembly manual contains multiple version A, B or C of a step or group of steps. Which version of the steps you need to follow depends on the variant of display, Wifi or pre versus self assembled nozzle seal. By checking the parts against the photographs in the assembly manual, it’s quickly clear which steps to follow and which not. Except in our case for the xLCD panel. The ribbon cable connector locking tab and red wire did not match any of the photographs in the instructions. Luckily it’s not the first time we deal with this type of connector. We ended up with the red marked wire at the end of the xLCD display as shown in the instruction and mirrored at the xBuddy mainboard end. We’re sure that with later shipped printers and assembly manual updates, Prusa will sort this out.
We only hit one real issue. We managed to strip out one of the profile inserts. It was while tightening the second rear extrusion. The threads in the profile insert stripped out before getting anything close to the torque as indicated by the 3D printed torque indicator that is supplied with the printer. The threads of the screw itself was perfectly fine. Luckily Prusa always include spare fasteners. We only needed to unscrew the rear base extrusion cover to slide out the stripped profile insert and slide in a spare. Upon examining the profile inserts we noticed that the fit of the threads is very loose. We’re uncertain if this is a quality control issue or intended for alignment purposes.
While routing the xLCD cable the 3D printed corner cover snapped off as we had to press in the cover multiple times to get the length of the xLCD cable correct at both ends. The cover still functions with one tab missing. And printing a replacement cover is a breeze as the Prusa XL is fully open source.
The rest of the build went very smooth. We ended up not installing parts for the WiFi connection, as we wire all our equipment. The VLAN of our 3D printer farm is, by choice, not even available on WiFi. If the Prusa XL would not have come with an ethernet port, we probably just used the USB stick or modded the printer with an ethernet port.
The calibration process is much longer than with previous Prusa printer models. Like with previous printers, Prusa put a lot of effort into not only do a real good job of how the printer gets calibrated accuracy wise. As per usual a lot of effort has been taken to make the calibration wizard clear to follow with a minimal of manual adjustment steps; most of the process is fully automated, eliminating human error. The only fiddly calibration that you really have to tweak yourself is the spring tension of the nozzle seals. The whole calibration takes up quite a bit of time. During most of the calibration you can do something else, or enjoy the printer probing the bed and probing the calibration pin.
With the Nextruder, Prusa eliminated the need for the first layer calibration which in our opinion is a mayor improvement. That takes full use of the possibilities of the strain gauge present in the extruder body. Not only is the heated bed probed and mapped, but it’s also used to align the toolhead offsets. With our other printers that have multiple nozzles you need to print a calibration print, determine the best X and Y offset and enter these values into the printer. With the Prusa XL you’re asked to insert the tool offset calibration pin into the middle of the heated bed. The printer does the rest; probing the pin repeatedly from all sides for all tool heads.
As a first single material print, we printed the first layer test print on the supplied USB memory stick. After homing the carriage and probing the heated bed, the printer printed a test pattern grid of only a couple of layers thick. After the printer finished and we peeled off the test print, we were amazed at how consistent the first layer was. We’ve seldom seen such a consistent first layer. And that considering the extremely large area and that no tweaking is required.
For a real first print we printed the dual material Prusa keychain test print present on the USB stick. The printer came with a spool of Prusament PLA Galaxy Black, which we augmented with a spool of Prusament PLA Galaxy Silver. The print quality is very good, however we noticed some minor stringing between the letters of the Prusa logo.
We’ve uploaded a full length video on our YouTube channel of this test print.
We’re very exited on using this printer and moving it to our 3D printer farm. At the time of writing this article, an alpha version of the firmware that supports input shaping has been released, alongside a 12 minute benchy gcode file for the Prusa XL. We’re exited to test this out, but have not found the time yet to do so because of a severe flu breakout.
Previous: Original Prusa XL – Arrival
Next: Original Prusa XL – Input shaping