Prusa i3 mods

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[Closed] MUST mods for -- Prusa i3 MK3S printer  

RE: MUST mods for -- Prusa i3 MK3S printer

Posted by: fischer_brett_

What type of store bought lubricant is the best... from Home Depot, Ace, True Value, Lowes, Etc.

I'd like to second that request, and go further - does anyone know of a good, somewhat comprehensive guide to 3d printer (or Prusa-specific) lubrication?  I have spent a fair amount of time googling it over the past few weeks, and there is a lot of contradictory info out on the interwebs (no surprise).  Even the Prusa support documentation is somewhat fractured and inconsistent about what they recommend for lubrication-related maintenance.  

Bearings - recommended lubrication (or at least a few examples, if there isn't a consensus on "best"), maybe instructions on how to do it - I've seen some examples about having to completely degrease them first and then pack them solid in grease, while other examples show just using a brush or applicator to smear some grease along the bearings, etc.  

Smooth rods - oils vs grease, lithium vs synthetic vs organic, ways to apply, frequency, etc. There are contradictory recommendations all over the place.  Even the Prusa documentation contradicts itself on this depending on which document or video you refer to.  The two most common suggestions ended up being either a machine oil or a synthetic PTFE-based grease (like some, but not all, superlube products).

Z axis screws - should these be lubed at all?  Prusa documentation seems to be mostly silent about this; the only reference I could find was some pictures in the smooth rod lubrication instructions with a big red X over the z-axis screw rods, apparently saying that you should not lubricate them the same way as the smooth rods.  But nothing says what you should do to lube them, if anything.  Other sources contradict each other, with some saying not to lube them at all, and others saying that it is mandatory and the most important part to lubricate.  

I've now got tubes/bottles/cans of lithium grease, super lube, machine oil, and two other types I can't recall off hand (I'm not at home), because I kept finding new instructions that "sounded" valid that gave very different information than the sources I had found the week before.  When I finally bit the bullet and did my first semi-comprehensive maintenance last week, I ended up using superlube grease (gel from a tube) on the smooth rods, and some lithium grease (spray from a can) on the bondtech gears.  I ended up not doing anything for the z-axis screws since I couldn't find anything that really impressed me as a consensus opinion, nor did I do anything for the inside of the bearings since I wasn't prepared to take the whole thing apart to get at them.  I'm hoping the grease on the smooth rods will provide some lube for the bearings as a byproduct.  

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    Welcome to the new and improved list of awesome mods to improve functionality and sometimes even print quality of your Original Prusa MK3/s and some are even awesome for your MK2.5/s so make sure to check out the compatibility before printing parts and dismantling your printer.

    Disclaimer: Mods aren’t always about producing amazing prints. Some in fact can hinder your print quality by making the printer not work as intended. The majority of upgrades for the Prusa MK3/s are quality of life improvements. Better X axis tensioning, which is poor on the stock machine or Y axis tensioning which is completely non existent. Those that CAN benefit print quality will be marked as such just know that fixing something may uncover new issues that you didn’t know you had previously.

    The Bear…

    You can find all the information about the Bear mod directly from the man himself Grégoire Saunier on his GitHub.

    To summarize the features would be a disservice to the magnitude of benefits but I must keep the article from becoming a complete documentary. The best way to describe the Bear mod in the ocean of upgrades is this is your one stop full upgrade. As of posting this article Greg has upgraded the following major improvements have been made:

    1. X and Y axis belt tensioning
    2. Far sturdier V slot frame with endless room for attaching new parts
    3. Easily removable Z motors
    4. Far improved extruder with its own list of upgrades over the stock extruder

    In all this is a well supported upgrade for your already existing system and if assembled with care allows for better overall management of alignment which can produce superior prints, allows for faster printing, and is far easier to service.

    There will be a future Bear upgrade list since the platform itself is highly customizable and Greg continues to update all the parts and designs bettering the system each and every iteration.

    If you’re looking to order one check out the official resellers

    Prusa System Upgrades

    The Bear isn’t the only full system upgrade for your Prusa. We can’t forget about the Zaribo system.

    I don’t have any experience with it and hope to add one in the near future to my collection of awesome printers but they come with quite the following and you can’t deny the quality.

    Check them out on the Official Zaribo website.

    Bondtech Extruder

    Bondtech is the king of geared extruders in the 3D printing arena and for good reason. They make a solid product with 3:1 gearing, use Nylon SLA to keep the extruder mass down and the ease of production up, and work with the community to improve the designs. Specifically the Bondtech extruder for our Prusa printers had a long list of community members involved in the process of making it an excellent upgrade for most users.

    So who is this for and what exactly does it do? Prusa used the Bondtech filament gears in their extruder design but left out the best part which is the gearing. A geared extruder reduces printing artifacts by stretching those aberrations out over 3x the area so smoother prints and with the 3x the resolution you can print finer detail than you could with a 1:1 extruder.

    Will you see dramatically better prints? No. Will you see better prints? As long as there aren’t other issues stopping you from achieving good quality, yes. In some instances the quality can be the same or worse since this will eliminate one issue uncovering others so be careful when you switch to this extruder or any geared extruder for that matter to make sure everything else is in proper order. Loose belts, bad hotend assembly, improper cooling, lack of PID tuning of the bed and hotend after install, Z axis alignment, and so on will be more apparent after this since the accuracy is higher.

    Don’t forget if you have a Bear X axis or the Vecko X Axis to print newer sexier X carriage as the Bondtech extruder only works with it’s own custom X carriage and the alignment of the belts is different for the Bear and Vecko X ends. Just to note that the Vecko J carriages will fit on the Bear X axis and vice versa.

    Geared Extruders

    Geared extruders are my all time most suggested upgrade for any printer be it a Prusa or a Tevo. Gearing always helps and there reason are plentiful.

    • Smoother print surfaces
    • lighter/smaller motors can be used
    • indirect motion to extruder gears keeping them cool

    You don’t need the official Bondtech extruder to get the major benefit of gearing. There are add-ons and full on extruders designed by amazing community members that can vastly improve your print quality vs anything Prusa has to offer.

    1. Skelestruder by JLTX
    2. Bunny Bear Short Ears by Bunny Science
    3. Bunny Science Gearbox by Bunny Science
    4. FDM Printable BMG by Marco
    5. Maybe others!

    I’ve seen these in the wild and even tested some of them and they come highly recommended. If you need a place to start these are great options and you will see immediate changes to your print quality swapping to a geared extruder.

    MK3/2.5/s Quality of life Improvements

    The following mods and upgrades have everything to do with improving you MK3/s and making sure it’s easier to maintain and in some instances can improve you print quality.

    X Axis

    1. Vecko’s Improved X axis by Vecko J
    2. Bear X Axis by Gregsaun
    3. X Axis cable strain relief by crzcrz
    4. X Axis cable strain relief by jurassic73

    X Carriage

    Y Axis

    Z Axis

    Other goodies


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    Mods prusa i3

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    Hack Your Prusa! - Prusa Bed Leveling - Chris's Basement

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