Markforged vs Fusion3 vs Prusa

Our team has received funding to replace our 3d printer. I am looking at the Fusion 3, Onyx Pro and the Prusa. I am interested in comparisons from people that have used two or more of these printers. The primary goal is parts that are durable for FRC (i.e. reinforced with carbon). I am very interested in the variety of materials the Fusion 3 can handle. I have read many of the threads on here and am primarily looking at information from people that have used the machines and can compare them.

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Prusa exists in a different category from the other two, I have only minimal experience with Markforged, but like… not really comparable.

That being said, a Prusa is very good and if you’re really in that price range, it’s what I’d get. Either of the other two are a significant chunk of change more.

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We have all three. Love the Fusion because of everything it can handle and how fast it is.

Love the Prusas because of how easy they are to repair when something does go wrong. Also how tweakable they are.

Love the MarkForged because it can do fiber inlay and the others can’t do that and Onyx by itself is pretty nice too. Also, the Eiger software is pretty dead simple to use and works well for enabling remote printing.

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This may be what MF’s marketing department has convinced you; it’s not true. Take a look at what 1678 and 33 have done without disproportionately expensive continuous fiber enabled printers. Chopped CF reinforced filaments are pretty meh as well, often decreasing strength for a slight increase in rigidity (which is pretty easy to design around)

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Definitely agree that not every part needs to be Onyx or reinforced with fiber. In fact, most of our parts haven’t been but it can work very nicely for some parts and it’s a useful tool to have available.

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Absolutely, and if you have grant money you might as well blow it on something before it disappears, but the Mark 2 is not the move if you haven’t picked up a CNC router, decent lathe, laser cutter, etc yet. (and just a normal Prusa for all the “boring” stuff)

We have the other tools. The grant money has to be used for a 3d printer. Currently we can only print in abs and pla - my primary goal is to make stronger parts

  • I am leaning towards the Fusion because we aren’t locked in to one type of material or vendor for materials. If I can make it work I would get the Fusion and the Prusa.

Thanks, will look at their robots.

Appreciate the reasons you put forward.

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Stronger parts is a bit of a diminishing return as far as most printer technologies go. You don’t “print” stronger parts, you design stronger parts. Just something to keep in mind. At the end of the day, it’s still FDM.

Simply increasing print capacity may be useful; 330 had a lot of stuff where we’d design a large part and need like 4 of them the next day. That was totally possible with multiple machines running at full speed. I don’t know what your workflow looks like, but more machines are sometimes more helpful than fewer, more capable machine. 1678 has 3+(?) Omio routers for that very reason.

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Definitely a Prusa or two (I’d assume you can buy multiple considering the price of the others). Prusas have a much larger range of what you can print, and onyx parts aren’t a necessity for teams. Its actually not very often that you actually need to print in a material like onyx (prusas can print materials like nylonx, btw), let alone reinforce it.

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I believe the prusa can do most of if not all the materials the fusion3 can. Might want the 20 dollar hardened steel nozzle upgrade for some materials though.

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I don’t know about the Prusa or the Markforged. But the Fusion3 F410 is made with 3D printed parts in some critical places.

Ours has failed catastrophically under normal use twice with the most recent time breaking it such a way that it has to be factory replaced. The first time it failed it was just the feeder assembly which was easy enough to replace.

The second time a attachment point on the main extruder carriage broke while printing PLA.

I have had good prints with my F410 and I’ve had bad. It’s not conclusive.
I didn’t buy this machine the district I work with did, and if it was my money. I’m not sure I’d buy one.

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Yeah, that is probably one of prusa weaknesses. There are lots of 3D printed parts. I assembled a mk3 kit and broke one printed part during assembly, but have not broke anything during printing so they are probably fine. I will note that the reason for this is because Prusa feels they can quickly iterate on their design with 3D printed parts vs molding. I have owned a prusa i3 mk3(now mk3s) for over a year now and have been very happy with it.

Not that any FRC team would probably buy it, but I also got a MMU2 and have had a pretty bad experience with it to that point where I just took it off the printer.

So I really had to think about this… but it is worth mentioning that the Core XY configuration of the Fusion has also lead to some pretty horrendous failures for us too.

We’ve had to drive it out to their shop and had it completely rebuilt once and then the last go round, I replaced a bad bearing block myself. I’m not sure that the 3D printed parts are the cause of the failures so much as something that might exacerbate them.

That being said, most of the failures have been due to us not paying attention to the extruder head and wear on it. It’s something that we pay more attention to now and replace the head/nozzle when things start going awry.

I’ve been extremely happy with their support though and I can’t thank them enough for introducing me to Simplify3D and how awesome that slicer is.

So yeah, it’s definitely a bit of mixed bag. It’s a crazy fast printer though. Allows us to iterate on large parts very quickly or just churn out small parts.

Edit: One last thought, if it were my money now… I’d be hard pressed not to buy as many Prusa Mini printers as I could… I think that’s the route I would go now. I wouldn’t trade what we’ve got now for that though if that makes any sense and it might very well not.

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I’d go with the Markforged. It’s easy to use right out of the box, they have great customer support, and I like the Eiger slicer and how it’s all cloud based. The print quality is really refined and you don’t need to mess with any settings. We started playing with embedded hardware a little bit before COVID hit (we just got the machine in January at the start of build season) and Eiger made it really easy to do that stuff. I also like that I don’t need to mess with the machine we just click print and everything just works --which is helpful in build season when we want to kick off a run at 12-1am when we’re leaving and don’t want to sit around and wait for the first layer to print.

The negative is material cost. The spools run $169 for Onyx last I checked so you’re paying quite a bit more per spool than you will with other machines.

I bought a Prusa last month because I was bored and wanted something to do. I really like the machine and I think if I spent more time on settings I’d get the prints to be pretty awesome on that machine too. I bought the CarbonX PC material to see how well it compares to the Markforged Onyx but I still need to build an enclosure. With the Prusa you can get a bunch of them for the price of the Onyx Pro.

Also, you may want to check and see if you really want an Onyx Pro vs the Onyx One. The Onyx Pro only uses fiberglass reenforcement and I don’t know how much bang for the buck you’ll get compared to just printing with Onyx. The Onyx One is $4500 vs Onyx Pro at $10k. I’d just get two Mark One’s instead unless somebody chimes in on reasons why you’d want that fiberglass reinforcement.

We have a Mark Two and it’s definitely pretty awesome but the only fiber reinforcement material we use is carbon fiber; and thats on a fairly limited number of parts.

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$182.50 is the cheapest I’ve found. I know at one point there was a material discount for FRC teams but I think that’s been discontinued.

That being said, I’d get an Onyx One desktop model and a good amount of Onyx with your grant. The ease of use of the printer is incredible. It’ll take you maybe 30 minutes to unbox it, load up some filament, level your bed plate and start printing. No assembly required. Being able to start prints from my phone or any internet connected PC out of the box through Eiger has also been extremely convenient.

I’ve put days worth of printing on the ones I ran for vectored intake wheels and the only failure was that the Onyx filament eventually will eat through the Bowden tube as it is quite abrasive. Occasionally you’ll get a layer dislocation too. But overall I’ve been very satisfied - virtually no maintenance required and almost always get a perfect print. I’ve not been able to say that about any other 3D printer in the hobby grade realm.

If you already have printers that do PLA, I’d recommend doing your early revisions in that material and then do the final ones out of Onyx to save money. Onyx isn’t something you just want to send it on and end up wasting it when something wasn’t right with the 3D model.

The strength and durability of Onyx is incredible though - it’s really the perfect material for a lot of FRC parts. Knock on wood, but I did not receive 1 email or message about Thriftybot’s Onyx vectored intake wheels failing. Doesn’t mean they didn’t fail ever necessarily but the Onyx hubs of the wheel really did a good job holding up to abuse from all of our internal & team testing.

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We opted to use PC on a modified Prusa for our functional parts. In our experience and opinion prints are stronger and more machinable than Onyx or the various other Nylon-CF filaments. Having considered the Onyx One about 2 year ago I’m really please we never sunk k$ into it despite the out-of-box just works factor.

Do you have data or some other information that backs up this statement?

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Fixed it for ya. No longer a statement

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