Is Prusa Research’s MMU3 now shipping and is it better than the MMU2S?

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Prusa Research has just announced that they are finally shipping their long-awaited MMU3 unit. This hardware attachment is designed for certain Prusa 3D printers and allows for filament swapping during the printing process, enabling the use of up to five different colors without requiring any human intervention.

The MMU3 is the latest version of the Multi-Material Unit, which first emerged a few years ago but was quickly replaced by the MMU2S. The MMU2S, however, had many issues and was quite difficult to work with, often requiring precise calibration and luck to achieve good results. Many users, including myself, had given up on using it altogether.

With the release of the MMU3, I am intrigued to see what improvements have been made to make it a more user-friendly device. According to Prusa Research, the operational concept of the MMU3 remains the same as the MMU2S, using a rotational mechanism to slide the filament path in front of different filaments. This decision was made to keep the upgrade process easy and cheap for existing MMU2S owners.

One interesting tidbit is that Prusa Research mentioned there are around 50,000 MMU2S units out there, many of which can potentially be upgraded to the MMU3. This shows the company’s commitment to offering upgrade paths whenever possible.

One significant change with the MMU3 is in the firmware. The firmware has been redesigned to properly communicate with the 3D printer, ensuring that clear and intelligible messages appear on the printer’s screen. This is a big improvement from the MMU2S, which relied on blinking light patterns that were often difficult to decipher. The MMU3 also allows real-time information from the filament sensor to be displayed on the screen, making it easier to identify and address any potential issues.

Additionally, the printer’s improved awareness of the MMU3 means that it can now attempt to resolve error situations on its own, reducing the need for operator intervention. This is a significant step forward, as it minimizes downtime and frustration for users.

While Prusa Research has not specifically mentioned compatibility with certain printer models, they have assured users that they will provide instructions on how to adapt the MMU3 for printers such as the Original Prusa i3 MK2.5, MK2.5S, MK3, and MK3S. This gives hope to those, like myself, who thought their MMU2S was effectively useless.

Overall, the release of the MMU3 seems promising. The improvements in software and firmware should make multi-material 3D printing a more accessible and enjoyable experience for users. I am excited to see if these changes will make a significant difference and bring back the joy of using my Prusa printer.

Prusa Research has recently released the new Prusa MMU3, and it seems to have addressed many of the issues that plagued its predecessor, the MMU2S. The MMU3 is equipped with advanced features that aim to reload filament more efficiently and handle potential failures. If the filament reload fails, the unit is capable of identifying the precise location of the failure and taking appropriate action, such as using a small blade to cut off the deformed filament tip that is often the root cause of the problem. It is only when these self-repair attempts prove unsuccessful that the user is notified of the situation on the screen.

One of the upgrades that caught my attention is the automatic cutting feature. I remember installing a blade on my MMU2S, but it was never used. I always found myself manually cutting off the bulbous ends of retracted filaments to ensure smooth printing. With the MMU3, this tedious task is now automated, marking a significant step forward in streamlining the printing process.

Apart from software enhancements, there are also notable physical improvements in the MMU3, many of which were inspired by modifications suggested by the community. These changes have been thoroughly experimented with by experienced operators and have now been incorporated by Prusa Research. One area that has received considerable attention is the buffer device. In the MMU2S, filaments were retracted and had to be stored somewhere. Unfortunately, the previously implemented buffer device was ineffective and resulted in tangling issues. However, with the MMU3, an entirely new buffer design has been introduced that promises to alleviate this problem.

In addition to the buffer improvements, another significant physical change is the inclusion of slightly larger PTFE tubes. These tubes have always been a source of frustration for MMU2S users as the retracted filaments would often become jammed in the thin tubes due to the increased diameter from the material blob at the end. With the larger PTFE tubes on the MMU3, such jams are expected to be minimized, reducing the need for manual intervention during printing.

The Prusa MMU3 is now available for purchase at a price of US$299. For those who have experienced difficulties with the MMU2S and are hesitant to invest in the new model, Prusa Research offers a solution. The new MMU3 firmware can be used on existing MMU2S units, allowing operators to test out the new features and potentially be convinced to upgrade to the MMU3.

Overall, the Prusa MMU3 appears to be a significant improvement over its predecessor, addressing many of the pain points that users experienced with the MMU2S. The automatic filament cutting, improved buffer device, and larger PTFE tubes all contribute to a more seamless and hassle-free printing experience. Whether you’re a current MMU2S user looking to upgrade or someone who has been hesitant to try multi-material printing, the MMU3 is definitely worth considering.

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