More Affordable Price
Unlike the Original Prusa i3 MK3S kit, which will set you back $749, the Mini offers a more affordable price point starting at $349, putting it well within reach for most people looking to get into 3D printing, and for those interested in a second (or third!) machine.
However, with the cheaper price also comes some caveats – the machine has a smaller build volume compared to its bigger counterpart and if you’d like it to have a filament sensor and both the smooth PEI and the textured powder-coated steel sheets, you’ll have to pony up an additional $20 and $30 respectively. It also doesn’t heat up quite as much either — its maximum extruder and bed temperature is 20°C lower than the MK3S’ 300°C and 120°C respectively. Though it can print PLA, PETG, ASA, ABS, and Flex, it cannot handle nylon.
Prusa Support + Community
Prusa has an enormous community of passionate fans who share advice and help each other out should you need it, but if that doesn’t do the trick, the company itself also offers customer support in seven languages 24/7 via live chat. Plus, the company offers a quality guarantee and a 60-day return policy.
Ethernet RJ45 port + optional future ESP Wi-Fi upgrade
Though the Wi-Fi upgrade is not yet available, the machine does come with an ethernet port, which helps streamline workflows considerably. It’s a feature that lends itself well to building a Minis print farm.
Unlike the MK3S, which has a direct drive extruder, the Mini has a Bowden system with a 3:1 drive gear ratio. This keeps the extruder light to reduce wobble so it can zip around the print bed. The extruder motor sits snuggly on the Z-axis column while the filament is pushed through a PTFE tube into the hotend and through the nozzle.
Color LCD Screen
This fancy new screen offers more than just color — most notably, you can preview your sliced model before printing. A cool, but not necessarily essential, tool (unless you have a nasty habit of giving your models extremely vague names. If that’s the case, this feature is absolutely for you).
Bigger isn’t always better. The Mini boasts a footprint of 380 x 330 mm, which Prusa claims is snug enough to pack several machines onto a shelf, but still has a print volume of 180 x 180 x 180 mm. However, be aware that the Mini lacks a print resume function in the event of a power failure. If you’re buying them for a print farm this could be an especially irritating feature to have missing.
The Mini sports a custom-made 32-bit “Buddy” motherboard with Trinamic 2209 drivers, unlike the MK3S, which has an Einsy RAMBo 8-bit board with the older Trinamic 2130 drivers. The new setup is supposed to offer almost everything that OctoPrint can, including farm management software, which will become available in the future with a firmware update.
Magnetic Heatbed with Removable Spring Steel Sheets
The removable magnetic PEI-coated spring steel bed — probably one of the best you can find on a printer these days — is a hugely awesome feature that makes the usability of it tippy top. As the sheet cools down, parts can be popped off by simply flexing the sheet inward. You can also purchase an optional upgrade for $30 and get an additional textured powder-coated spring steel sheet too.