# Makergear M2 or Prusa I3 MK2

Hi. I am new to 3D printing and was wondering which printer would better suit my needs. I realize one is more expensive than the other, but the reviews for both printers are excellent (read quite a few reviews on both). The Makergear I was looking at has a dual extruder. I would be purchasing either printer fully assembled.

The printer would be used for fun (as a new hobby/enthusiast). As a beginner, which one would you recommend?

Thanks,
Marc

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Hey @marczem, in case you haven’t already, check out our 2017 3D Printer Guide. Both the M2 and Prusa i3 MK2 are winners in their respective categories. You’ll also find community reviews from printer owners too to help with your decision. Happy buying!

I would go with the real Prusa MK2. No question for me. I have one I built as a kit. I have no experience with the MG but that is expensive.

The MK2 has available a 2 or 4 color upgrade for multi color printing. It now comes with ColorPrint which is software that lets you do multi color prints. Works pretty good.

It also comes with their customized version of Slic3r which does a nice job. There are also tuned profiles for S3D which work well.

Two issues! One, it is going to take a while to get. Demand is huge. Also on cost over 800 (I think it is which would be an assembled one) there is a import fee. It’s not big but just be aware. I would think if dual extruder is what you want then there are better options for an enclosed printer and much cheaper than the MG especially to use for fun. Overall, you get what you pay for — the same level of machine performance/reliability and customer service offered by MakerGear will cost much, much more with other brands. Choose MakerGear M2 if you want: + Industry-leading performance out-of-the-box AND for years to come, thanks to precision-machined components and a solid frame made from rigid steel (as well as a few other technical reasons) — M2 owners frequently report running multi-day prints without issue. + Responsive tech support from real humans and an active online community of experts. + Modularity (endless possibilities for upgrades, including dual extrusion) + Wide material compatibility Choose Prusa if you want: + To save money in the short term while sacrificing performance in the long term. + Good print quality out of the box, but lots of maintenance needed to maintain such quality. + Modularity (including a dual and 4-color extrusion upgrade) + Wide material compatibility + Fancy software intended to compensate for misalignment on poorly “assembled” machines (still not sure why this is being advertised as a benefit to the end user) Key issues to consider: - You’re a beginner who will benefit greatly from prompt email/phone tech support and an active online community. - 4-color printing is cool to brag about, but doesn’t offer much utility. In most cases, a paintbrush and some paint would serve one better. - The purge and materials-switching process on the 4-color extrusion system is both wasteful and time-consuming. Final thought: Which machine has scored at the top of its category for 3 consecutive years AND is currently ranked #1 compared to all other machines reviewed by 3D Hubs users? 2 Likes The way you come on here and bad mouth the Prusa machine is exactly why I would never by anything from Makergear. I don’t care if it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you have to sell something by putting down something else you can keep it. In my opinion, 3D Hubs’ 2017 printer index and printer review both provide an accurate illustration of what to expect in terms of features and benefits. 1 Like @Maker5162 do you have any evidence of the claim that the Prusa “sacrificing performance in the long term” and needing “lots of maintenance to maintain such quality”? These are quite bold statements for a machine that’s only been shipping since May of this year, and I’ve not seen any reports of problems with maintenance. 1 Like Sorry, double posted… @cobnut My apologies for failing to clarify. Though my experience with Prusa machines does not extend to the MK2, I am pointing out that Prusa machines in general are made to be more affordable and therefore cannot use the high-performance components that you find on an M2— that is simply an economic reality wrapped up in things like supply chains, manufacturing processes, etc, which are not matters of opinion but simply cost. Is this evidence enough, or would you like me to provide links, research journals, and spec sheets? With regard to my statement about sacrificing performance in the long term and maintenance needed to maintain quality, I am speaking of my experience of 1) build quality and 2) attention to detail during assembly for previous Prusa machines. One of their new features is literally a software program that enables you to print on a mis-assembled machine — this is not something that one would even want if quality and performance are their top priorities. Though I cannot say for certain that this is true of the MK2, my experience with earlier i3 iterations indicates that paying ~800 for an assembled printer simply means that you’re to sacrifice component quality and quality control measures during assembly and testing. When you sacrifice component quality, you sacrifice the performance of the machine over long periods of time. If you examine the revisions made on the i3 MK2 from its previous generation, there are lots of improvements in terms of features but pretty much the same old Prusa in terms of build quality and components used.

Hope this helps to clarify!

Just to be clear, I am not claiming that the Prusa i3 MK2 has inherent maintenance issues, but that it requires much more attention and replacement parts over time if held to the same performance standards as a MakerGear M2.

Hi @Maker5162 thanks for the clarification. I think price vs quality and reliability becomes a very difficult discussion when dealing with technology (or many other things for that matter!). It’d be lovely to be able to definitively say that a “thing” that costs twice as much as another “thing” does its job twice as well, but we all know that’s not usually the case. If we’re right down the bottom of the market, the lower priced thing could be virtually useless while the higher priced one does an OK job; at the upper end the differences between the two could be hard to spot (and the higher priced thing is almost certainly overpriced). And, of course, there’s every stage inbetween.

The Prusa Mk2 and the Makerbot M2 are, on the face of it, very similar machines. Virtually the same build area, both open source, both the same physical design, etc. The M2 can go down to 25 microns rather than 50 for the i3, but really I rarely print below 100 microns anyway so it’s debatable how important that is for a new user. So, someone looking to buy their first machine is left asking, what am I getting for my extra $1000? Your argument (and I’m not disagreeing with it) is that the extra cost is in higher quality components, greater reliability and so on, but that’s really only relevant if the i3 Mk2 has demonstrably poorer quality issues in terms of reliability, etc. What’s important to any user is whether they’ll actually be affected by any such issues. If the M2 will print 24x7 for 10 years and the i3 only 6, I’d argue that’s irrelevant to me because I can be pretty sure I won’t be using either in 6 years time. If the Prusa will break down in a year, that’s more of an issue, but it seems unlikely and if it breaks down, I’ve got$1000 in my pocket I can use to repair/upgrade it and, perhaps more importantly, by then there will be other machines on the market and that $1000 could buy something even better than the M2, who knows? I think the M2 is a fine machine, I have absolutely no criticism of it, but this thread was started by @marczem who has said he’s a new user, looking for a hobbyist/enthusiast machine and that being the case I’d argue the Prusa is a better choice because it’ll do everything a hobbyist will need and it leaves$1000 in their pocket for filament, the multi-colour upgrade, spare nozzles, etc., or to reduce their wastage if they discover 3D printing isn’t for them. If the original poster was an experienced printer with specific needs, the M2 may well be the better choice, but that’s not the case here and we should consider the person as well as the machine.

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If neither machine has a major issue over a similar time frame then your first paragraph is really irrelevant. Which it really is anyway. You are comparing two products built by different methods and different parts with a considerable cost difference that can do the same basic function. Really an apples to oranges comparison. There is no dispute that the M2 is a good machine but saying the MK2 is not because it is not built with the same parts is disingenuous.

In the second paragraph - again you make a comparison that is irrelevant. You compare “old-different” models of the i3 but not the MK2 of discussion to the M2 so your claims of reliability etc are again baseless.

“One of their new features is literally a software program that enables you to print on a mis-assembled machine — this is not something that one would even want if quality and performance are their top priorities.”

Again, you over dramatize a feature with “mis-assembled machine”. An advanced feature of the firmware and leveling system is its ability to adjust for very small alignment issues. To say that you can incorrectly put the machine together wrong but a magical “software” will make it all better is misleading.

The purpose of this feature is to let the builder and user know there is an issue and have a means to diagnose and correct it. No machine stays perfectly aligned and level as it is used. Some do better than others but we are not talking high end CNC machines here.

You must then feel auto leveling systems are also only to compensate for problems on inferior machines or for users who don’t know what they are doing and thus have no business on a “quality” machine.

With all respect, all you have done is give this guy a lot of miss information and innuendo. If you like and have experience with the M2 more power to you and provide him with useful pros and cons of the machine. It does seem to be a well made albeit expensive, well received machine.

If you don’t have direct experience with the MK2 then negative comments are hearsay and not useful.

Personal experience with older models can be relevant to address issues of past so a potential user can research to see if it is still there.

I tried to give the person my personal experience and opinion of the MK2 and made it a point to say I have no experience with the M2 thus couldn’t comment.

Ok, I think we have all said enough! Let’s move toward helping a new user make an informed decision.

Thanks for a spirited debate.

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If you’re looking to go into 3D printing for fun, I’d vouch for the prusa I3 mk2. I have 4 China model mk 1 prusa I3s that I got as kits, and they’re a ton of fun. Only just recently have they started breaking down, and I was hitting over 2000+ hours on some of them (I have another post on me thinking it was the motherboards) Only thing I’d have to say is, one of th best parts of the prusa machines is building them yourself, and truly learning your 3D printer inside and out during the process. I don’t have experience with the Mk2, but honestly with the way 3D printing is evolving and expanding at a rate much faster than previously imagined, spending the extra 1000$on a machine that could quite likely become obsolete within a year or so seems like a waste to me. Personally I don’t see any real gain for that extra money spent. It’s like the equivalent to having purchased a 4000$+ makerbot 4 years ago, yes the machines work but their print volumes, tolerances, speeds, ease of use, and customer service have become obsolete since then.

Great points.

Lets just be clear though, I would never mistake a MakerGear for a Makerbot. If you’re not careful when recommending 3D printers, an engineer might end up with an expensive kids’ toy and a teacher may end up with a heavy-duty workhorse!

PS: I’d love to pick your brain for ideas about possibilities for developments in 3D printing. You seem very knowledgeable and on-the-frontier… For the benefit of the OP, what future features might we see in a Prusa machine that we’re not finding today?

A spirited debate indeed. If only every conversation spurred this much excitement!

Our friend hit the nail on the head by calling our attention beyond features to the needs of the person behind the printer, and I must admit that I am less hesitant to spend the extra \$1000 in exchange for a bullet-proof guarantee and prompt customer service — as a business owner who relies on fast, reliable output from my 3D printer to make a living, the cost savings of a prusa machine (and the natural consequences) is more of a liability than a benefit. I just happen to prefer the same 3D printer for my home projects as I do with my with my business.

You’re right to say that I’m not the most qualified to speak about MK2 software features. Though you’ve made a Strong argument, I cannot accept your use of the term “baseless”. As I mentioned, the MK2 has many improvements from the previous version. VIRTUALLY NONE OF THESE IMPROVEMENTS ARE STRUCTURALLY- OR PERFORMANCE-BASED, meaning that the MK2 rests upon the same basic foundation as my experiences because it relies upon the same components, setup, and performance that I am calling attention to. It would be different if Prusa actually made improvements in these areas for the MK2, but they’re focusing their marketing budget on ease of use features, therefore we are wise not to believe that Prusa somehow made huge leaps of progress toward better build quality in one upgrade but didn’t manage to tell anyone.

Best of luck in all of your endeavors, and thank you for your contributions to the discussion @wirlybird

What is your experience with Prusa Research support? My experience is that I had an immediate online chat which lasted for two hours with a very informed and helpful employee.

What is wrong with the build quality? I have no structural problems with my Prusa i3 MK2 of any kind.

I have to agree that this echos my personal experience.

I have talked on chat for several questions and curiosities and they have been responsive and helpful. the nice thing is even though it is the middle of the night for them when I need to call they are there.

Plus the Prusa forum is great with a lot of knowledgeable people in it. Josef even comes to the facebook group from time to time!

I’m glad with Prusa i3 mk2

When I compared makerbot with the current situation, I wasn’t comparing printer quality itself but rather the fact that makerbot was once top of the line and quickly became obsolete. IMO makerbot is a joke and I’ve used their products a substantial amount. Maker gear I’m sure is leaps and bounds above them, I was simply comparing the fact that buying an expensive printer, even the MK2 , may quickly become regrettable due to bigger/badder/better machines

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