My very first Prusa was an MK4. How did it stack up?
The Prusa Research MK4 is the king of bedslingers, the Cadillac of Cartesian printers. It’s not cheap, but it damn near runs itself.
The MK4 produces perfect first layers thanks to a new Loadcell sensor that automatically sets the Z height. It also has a new super grippy Nextruder with a planetary geared drive and an easy to swap nozzle that’s part of a sealed system which includes the heat break and filament guide. A 32 bit board is also part of the Prusa make over, finally giving the firmware some wiggle room.
Things I love about the Prusa MK4
- Best auto bed leveling E V E R
- Takes E3D 3rd party nozzles
- PEI flex plate
- WiFi and USB stick for file transfer
- Super quiet
- Custom slicer with good filament profiles
- Excellent customer service
- Great fan base
- Upgrade options are made available by Prusa Research
Things I hate about the Prusa MK4
- Expensive for a casual user
- 3rd party nozzles need a $30 adapter
- Prusa Connect still needs work
MK4’s new hotend
I love the concept of the new MK4 nozzle. Many people have had catastrophic print fails from not getting the nozzle tight enough — the all-in-one nozzle solves this problem by coming completely sealed to the heatbreak. Prusa was thoughtful enough to not trap you in his new — and more expensive — system. For $30 you can buy a V6 adapter and continue to use “normal” nozzles.
This $30 adapter will save you a bundle in expensive nozzles.
Does Prusa MK4 have WiFi?
Yes, it does!
There’s actually two ways to access the machine remotely — one is Prusa Link, the other Prusa Connect. Prusa Link is very bare bones and lets you connect over your Local Area Network (like your house WiFi). You can drop files to the printer, but not monitor them with a camera.
Prusa Connect is cloud base and is a bit more like OctoPrint or Klipper’s Mainsail. You can hook up a camera, but can’t stream live images. The bonus here is that you can use any old cell phone you might have lying about, as long as you can hook it into power.
So How FAST is the Prusa MK4?
Everyone’s into speed these days, aren’t they? Prusa decided to release the MK4 before it was entirely ready — at launch there were still upgrades to the firmware being worked on. The MK4 firmware is based on superfast Klipper, but as of this post, input shaping is still in testing. Input shaping is the key to unlock speed. Without it, your printer will just shake itself silly. (Input shaping is available right now if you’re brave enough to download an alpha version of the new firmware.)
No, that’s not 3D — that’s Clockspring’s Tentacle Treasure Box in tricolor, on a fast printer without input shaping.
The answer to “how fast is the MK4” right now is…it’s not. Without input shaping the PrusaSlicer “speed” setting is a sedate 70mm/s with 200mm/s for infill. Once input shaping is out of Beta we’ll see the kind of speeds we expect from a Klipper type machine — 170mm/s with 200mm/s infill is what the Alpha input shaper is currently set up for printing.
Should you buy a Prusa MK4?
Short answer: Maybe.
The Prusa MK4 is a hell of a machine. It’s not fast (yet!), but it’s well-made, dead simple to use and backed by Prusa’s legendary service. If you have a problem with your Prusa 3D printer, you’re not left to the wolves of Facebook. You can actually text or email Prusa Support. And you WILL get an answer.
I’m not gonna lie, the MK4 is a hefty chunk of change for a bed slinger, but it is the Gold Standard. You can buy it fully assembled for $1099, or for $799 if you’re willing to put in some elbow grease and assemble it yourself. Mind you, a Prusa assembly is a bit more like building a Voron than an Ender 3, this will take a while.
My Prusa Mini waiting for assembly — the MK4 has a few more parts.
If you have a grand lying around that you don’t need for groceries or the kid’s braces, then yes, get a Prusa. If you have $800 and a weekend to tinker, yes, get a Prusa. If you can write it off for your small business, yes, get a Prusa. If you want a printer that just freakin’ works without modding the heck out of, yes, get a Prusa.
There are other cheaper options out there, and honestly, most of them are inspired by Prusa. Why? Prusa Research is committed to Open Source, so their files are an open book. But that’s a post for another day.