Some big news out of Prusa recently. They are launching a brand new printer: The Prusa XL. The XL is a large-scale CoreXY 3D printer with a 36×36×36 cm build volume, with a next-generation extruder, brand new hot end, segmented bed, and a tool changer! Now say that three times fast. Adding to their already impressive lineup of printers, the Prusa XL will be a welcomed addition to their fleet. It will of course come in the standard and beautiful orange and black colour scheme.
A CoreXY printer is more stable than a normal printer design, especially at large volumes. The added strength will defiantly be required for this large print volume. With their 36 cm (14.17’’) cubed print volume is more than enough for a vast majority of large objects. – You can, for example, print a cosplay helmet (like a Mandalorian or Iron man Helmet) in one piece easily, or produce detailed architectural models. An aspect of this new printer that I really like is that Prusa is focusing on print quality. So overall speed might not be fast. But to offset the longer print times and the nerves of creating such prints, Prusa will utilise power panic, filament sensors, telescopic filament spool holders, draft shield/ enclosures among other fail-safes to ensure the print finishes.
Segmented Heat Bed
A new bed is on its way from Prusa, what they call a segmented heated bed. Their reasoning for this new technology is actually pretty great. There are occasions when we use a large printer to print small objects. I often find I printer small items on my CR10 often. So what’s the point in heating up the entire bed just for a benchy test or something else along that size. Wasting energy and putting a massive strain on the PSU when it’s not really required.
The new segmented bed has individually controlled 9×9 cm segments. The segments can be turned on/off for energy efficiency. By placing a small print in the centre of the bed, only the corresponding segments will heat. So if the middle 4 tiles are only required for the print, then they will be turned on. but the outer 12 will remain off. The overall power consumption of the unit will be reduced thus, reducing the overall load on the machine. I’m assuming that in the future these segmented pads will find their way into the smaller printers.
Load Cell Sensor
Prusa will be utilizing a highly precise load cell sensor to deliver ”an always-perfect first layer”.
It is embedded within the solid single-piece heatsink and it allows us to measure the physical load on the heatsink. As a result, we can use the nozzle as a sensor to ”probe” the surface. We useanalogue data readings, which gives us precise information to work with.https://blog.prusaprinters.org/original-prusa-xl-first-look_58312/
The XL is equipped with a new next-gen 3D printing extruder (Nextruder).
They can utilize the load cell system to perform an incredibly precise height calculation for the first layer. This means if you change the nozzle or the build plate you will not need to do any more calibration afterwards. No need to adjust the Z switch and no manual calibrations. The new load sensor can now recognize a jam in the nozzle and pause the print, that’s in real-time, no more mid-print clogs and moving around in the air. This sounds like an absolute godsend. No more manual calibrations, whos ready for that?
To further upgrade the print quality, the extruder now features a brand new, internally developed zero-backlash cycloidal gearbox with the large no-slip drive gear. This system replaces the two small grooved gears and allows for greater control of filament feed. It is embedded inside an entirely new assembly unit that allows you to easily pull the entire assembly (with all-metal parts) out of the extruder.
The XL can use five independent print heads with its optional tool changer. This will be an optional feature on the pre-order list. You can pre-order the XL with just a single print head and expand later if you wish. Going beyond two tool heads requires an “expansion card,” which seems to be the hardware Prusa attributes price jumps after three tool heads to.
Globally there is ongoing uncertainty regarding components and delivery times for products and just parts. Prusa has decided to start manufacturing around Q2/Q3 2022, so they can secure enough parts. Loading up before manufacture to then try and ride the wave with enough components in stock. Based on that information, they are targeting the following prices:
Single tool head semi-assembled – $1999 / 2099€ (vat incl.)
Dual tool head semi-assembled – $2499 / 2599€ (vat incl.)
Five tool heads semi-assembled – $3499 / 3699€ (vat incl.)
The printer itself is more expensive than all of the other Prusa’s. It shouldn’t be viewed as a hobby printer. Look at it more like a printer needed for industry. Technological advancements like the new segmented bed can filter down to the rest of Prusa’s printers. If you can afford it, great. if not, don’t worry.
I don’t own a Prusa printer, not because I don’t want one (Because I do). I started using Creality for their beginner’s friendly price and to essentially start my journey, the Ender3 was the ”Essential” 3d printer for beginners on every blog I read, so naturally, I bought one of the first. In the future, I am hoping to add a Prusa machine to my line of printers once I am more permanently located. Buying Creality machines all the time becomes less interesting when Prusa is making such strides in technology don’t you think?
This is now a huge step for Prusa and their Prusa XL. A lot of the technology you see here is completely new to them. If they can pull it off it will be amazing for their future printers.
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Freelance designer & Mechanical Engineer.
Over Engineering Prop Designer.