There are many 3D printers available to purchase these days and trying to decide which one is best for your needs can take time and effort. To help I've done a Prusa I3 MK3 Vs Flashforge Creator Pro comparison which are two of the most popular 3D printers available on the market which are from mid-range introductory price range.
The areas I have compared include how easy the assembly is, the sturdiness of the printer, online community assistance, and printer software.
What is Prusa i3 MK3?
Prusa i3 MK3 3D printers were developed by Prusa Research in 2018. The Czech based company built these printers with some specific objectives,
They achieved this objective by costing 3D printers by not passing the cost of professional assembly to the customers without compromising with the quality.
That helped Prusa to attract new users and those pursuing 3D printers as a hobby.
Features of Prusa i3 MK3?
Easy to Assemble
Easy assembly is one of the key features of Prusa i3 MK3. 3D printers can cause a lot of frustration to assemble a meaningful machine from their different and complicated kits.
Compared to that, Prusa i3 MK3 is pretty simple to assemble. Moreover, because of the systematically organized kits, the 3D printers are a lot quicker to assemble compared to other 3D printers.
Separate Kits or Assembled
You have a choice with Prusa i3 MK3 printers. The printers are available in both options. You can choose between the fully assembled machine and separate kits to assemble them later.
Though assembling these printers is comparatively easier, yet a fully assembled unit can definitely save you from a lot of complications at a small extra cost. It is particularly handy for those who are not best placed to assemble machines. Not all of us are techie gurus!
While reducing the cost of manufacturing Prusa, they ensured they did not compromise with the quality of the product. For this reason, they have kept the frame of the printer pretty sturdy. The pure steel frame avoids wobbling due to the extruder movement.
Moreover, it keeps the machine steady even when the frame is open to allow for the X and Y axis movements outside the building sector.
Detailed documentation makes the operation and handling of 3D printers very easy. The i3 MK3 printers have very systematic and simple instructions in their manuals. You just have to follow those easy to understand instructions to perform regular operation whilst also easily resolving any technical issues occurring while operating.
The i3 MK3 printer has a power backup. It ensures that you can work without any interruption even during power outages. This feature is not available in all 3D printers so one that I would certainly emphasize as a worthwhile feature.
The crash detection feature in the printer is very useful during a computer crash or power blink situation. It ensures that you restart your work exactly where it had stopped. The last thing you want it to have to start a project from the beginning if there is a crash. This can cause additional cost and time which is avoided with this feature.
Rather than fidgeting with the axes settings, you can simply trust the auto-calibration feature of the printer. It calibrates the printer bed and extruders on its own to ensure the right printing object despite any chance-disturbance of the axes. If you are new to using 3D printers this feature really helps build your confidence for your first projects.
Printing beds play a very important role in ascertaining the quality of printing. The magnetic printing bed of Prusa is easily attachable and removable with magnets. This makes setting and cleaning the printing bed extremely easy. This is a very good feature.
Thanks to the NU GPLv3 usage license, you can modify the 3D printing software of the machine. Moreover, you can share it with others as well.
Users can help each other to resolve any issues related to the software among themselves.
What is FlashForge Creator Pro?
The FlashForge is a Chinese company involved in manufacturing 3D printers. FlashForge Creator Pro is one of the most affordable dual extrusion 3D printers in the market.
The strong & robust printer has many unique features to support multi-material 3D printing. It includes even the most heat-sensitive materials which other printers can not handle.
The printer is highly suitable for beginners as well for entrepreneurs looking for proto-typing jobs.
Features of FlashForge Creator Pro
Sealed Printing Chamber
If you wish to use materials with different temperature-sensitivities, Creator Pro offers a great solution. The enclosed printing chamber facilitates temperature stability to a variety of these materials through its closeable door option. Besides, the removable cover further helps in isolating the material from the outside temperature conditions.
The flexible dual extruder allows for multiple printing usages in quick time with multiple materials. Both the printing heads are in alignment with each other on the x-axis.
This feature enables quicker dual prints because each print head has to move half the distance. However, it may require some adjustment in the nozzle setting to prevent leakage from the idle nozzle when the other nozzle is active.
Both the above features make this printer usable for many different materials.
The sealed chamber is particularly useful while using low-cost ABS material. Moreover, the closed chamber also keeps the unit neat and clean. In addition, it helps in protecting users from the high noise level and harmful fumes while operating on ABS material.
This design feature also allows you to keep the chamber open and ventilated while operating with PLA.
The dual extruder and the closed chamber together facilitate printing with many different materials like ABS, PVA, Flex, Woodfill, and etc.
Sturdy Build Plate
FlashForge Creator Pro has a heated print bed. It is made of aluminum alloy with a 6.3 mm thickness. The build plate avoids deformation because of high thermal conductivity.
The printing requires manual adjustment as the printer is not equipped with the auto-bed leveling system. However, the manual leveling system is pretty efficient and facilitates a good stable setting.
Sturdy Metal Frame
The single body structure has a strong metal frame. These features together make the overall device highly stable and thus, provide firm & steady movements during operation.
In addition, it also helps in increasing the speed to up to 60% compared to the older model.
Moreover, the stable and vibration-free operation leads to improvement in print quality thus, make it a quicker and high accuracy machine.
This printer uses open-source printing software. This makes it compatible with software like SimpliFy3D.
The available upgrades or improvements like spool holder etc. can easily be printed on the unit itself. You can check the collection of these modifications on the Thingiverse.
Comparison- Prusa i3 MK3 vs FlashForge Creator Pro
Dual extrusion presents the obvious advantage of speed and versatility. It can print with two different materials or colors at the same time.
These printers can operate in 2 different modes viz. Duplication mode and Mirror mode. While duplication allows print heads to perform two similar objects simultaneously, Mirror Mode doubles the speed of printing.
FF Creator Pro with two extrusions is a superior printer than Prusa i3 MK3 from this point of view. However, FF Creator Pro requires a more precise nozzle setting than Prusa printers.
Automatic vs Manual Bed Leveling
Auto bed leveling is by far much efficient compared to the manual leveling. It is a bit difficult to set the bed level manually. And with even slight disturbance of the setting, it may really impact the print quality adversely.
In addition, the Auto leveling system saves a lot of time as well.
Prusa i3 MK3 has an auto bed leveling system, therefore, better than the FlashForge Creator Pro.
If you want to do 3D printing with ABS, you essentially would need a heated print head. It helps in avoiding deformation. Besides, it provides good sticking of the initial layer.
Both Prusa and i3 MK3 and FF Creator Pro has heated print beds. However, the print bed of Prusa provides uniform heating to avoid the problem of distorted print closer to the edges which are observed in FF Creator Pro printers. In addition, Prusa has a magnetic removable print bed to facilitate better cleaning and settings.
FF Creator Pro has an enclosed chamber with a closable door and removable cover option making it more temperature stable compared to Prusa i3 MK3 printer.
Comparison Table- Technical Specifications
The following are the different technical specifications of both the printers.
Prusa i3 MK3
FlashForge Creator Pro
9.8” X 8.3” X 7.8”
8.9” x 5.7” x 5.9”
Max bed temperature
Max extruder temperature
ABS, TPU, and others
ABS, PVA, and others
Mac, Windows, Linux
Windows, Mac OSX and Linux
SD Card, WiFi
USB, SD Card
Replicator G, FlashPrint
Going through different features of Prusa i3 MK3 and FlashForge Creator Pro we could observe that both of them have some unique features which make them better over the other in different aspects.
Both the printers fall under the affordable categories. They are stable and sturdy because of the strong material and robust mechanical design.
Both printers offer effective and efficient print quality. However, Prusa offers uniform heating of the heated print bed & auto bed leveling features while FF Creator Pro offers dual extrusion and sealed printing chamber.