Markforged vs Fusion3 vs Prusa

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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Okay; can you share what about your experiences have led you to this conclusion?

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I am really appreciating all of the feedback here. Still mulling things around. I did see another thread where someone mentioned that you can upgrade the Onyx One to the Onyx Pro. I haven’t seen any details about that so that is on my research list for tomorrow. Working on a weighted decision matrix with our student 3d printing lead. Decisions, decisions!

One thing to remember is that not all the carbon fibre filaments are created equal.
When we were in your position 2 years ago I have done a fair bit of searching for the best solution and we have decided to go for Prusa mk3 with 0.6mm Olson Ruby nozzle and Treed Carbonium filament.

This has worked very well for us over last 2 seasons.

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With all of our 16 Vectored intake wheels only one roller fell off through our Utah Regional and they were rammed into walls repeatedly at 15ft/s. For comparison, we destroyed half of the hubs of our PLA wheels and most of the rollers after a few matches at a local scrimmage.

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In my lab I have an Airwolf Axiom direct drive ( $4K) that works really well with anything from PLA to PC. I have 4 Makerbot replicator +'s ($2K) and a Makerbot Z18 ($5.5K). We also have 2 Markforged Onyx ones ($4.5K), and a Stratasys F170 ($25K).

I put the Markforged at the top of this list, by far! Zero issues! The Airwolf works awesome until it doesn’t, poor customer service, but it does awesome with a lot of types of filament most of the time. Makerbots are learning 3D printers for my students and work the vast majority of the time, just not the best print quality, (PLA only and really poor customer service). The F170 is a POS in my opinion, a $25K printer should just work, the print heads should go to 1000 hours and I just had my second one die at less than 100 hours (only used it for ABS).

IMO the Markforged is the best for robot parts and its print quality is way better than the Stratasys F170 ever was. Also IMO the PC printed from the Axiom is not as strong as the Onyx from the Markforged. When testing out our serve we started with 3D printing parts, and the only ones that stayed together were made from Onyx.

YMMV, but IMO if a FRC part is going to be stressed it will be made of 3D printed with Onyx or CNC’d out of aluminum or PC stock.

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Ok, I have no experience with the Airwolf, Prussa or Markforge. My issues with them stem from:

  1. Prussa - not available through a US vendor and my school district will not approve
  2. Markforge - price of filament

I have experience with the Makerbot Rep 2, Rep 2x and now the Fusion3 410. Here are my thoughts for what they are worth.

Makerbots were ok for what they were when we bought them six years ago.
Pros

  1. Ok for prototyping
  2. Good learning platform
  3. If treated properly can be a little workhorse if you REALLY take care of them
  4. Mid-price range
    Cons
  5. Can get persnickety with environment (too humid, too cold, etc.)
  6. Ok print quality but not the greatest
  7. Little to no customer support unless you purchase maintenance plan
  8. Poor customer support

Fusion3 410
Pros

  1. Print volume
  2. Variability of print materials
  3. Speed
  4. Two year warranty
  5. Lifetime tech support
  6. Training webinar for even advanced users
  7. Print quality - draft on the 410 is better than HQ on my Makerbots
  8. Virtually EVERYTHING is 3D printed
  9. Easy to work on
    Cons
  10. Virtually EVERYTHING is 3D printed
  11. I have had occasional issues with the filament snapping in the middle of a print job and you don’t know it until it gives you a feed error. At that point you have to disassemble the feed mechanism to pull the filament out of the Bowden tube. Not difficult just a pain.
    3…I can’t come up with a 3 at the moment…

I couldn’t be happier with our Fusion3 compared to the Makerbots. I looked at the Markforge, the Airwolf (one of our local sponsors had the Airwolf for several years. Loved it in the beginning and now they really don’t like it at all. They are replacing with the Fusion), and the Creality Ender. I ultimately chose the Fusion based on pricing, support, print volume, and the wide range of print materials. So far I couldn’t be happier with our choice.

I’ve had good customer support from Markforged personally. They usually open a ticket and give you steps to try to resolve your issue.

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Filament is definitely, very, very pricey. Could you elaborate on the customer service though? We haven’t needed to use it yet, but I’ve heard only wonderful things about it.

Sorry, that pasted in the wrong place. The customer support issue was supposed to go under the Makerbot NOT the Markforge. Thank you for asking, I missed that completely and updated/corrected the post.

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For what it’s worth we just bought a MethodX in December. It’s a piece of junk. And, that’s about the nicest thing I can say about it without a 5 page thesis of my grievances.

And, technically we’re on our second MethodX since the first one had to be returned.

The customer support wasn’t awful but we got the platinum plan where they did a hot swap. But, the second printer still doesn’t really work that well.

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Believe me I understand. We originally got a plan as well but even at that when we had issues getting technical help was next to impossible. Most of what I needed was early before I learned to diagnose and work on them myself. It may have changed over the past 6 years, I really hope so anyway.

We have an Onyx Pro. The fiberglass reinforcement adds a huge amount of stiffness to parts. The downside is that the parts weigh a few grams more than the same part with continuous carbon. If capital and material costs are not a limitation, go with carbon.

From the chats that I’ve had with 1678 folks they find their MF printers worth the cost, but not for the continuous fiber. IIRC they (Mike Corsetto?) mentioned it was largely about no fuss setup and reliability when students want to make parts, and I have seen the same of MF at work. The Onyx material alone is very functional and a much cheaper than the fiber inlays.