The Robot Army Grows
Recently I had a client order. It was a small custom-designed part, but it was a large quantity of them. I started out with my Robo R2, Prusa i3 Mk3, and Creality CR-10s to churn out 40 pieces. Here's how it went down:
On day one, I got one batch (24 pieces or 12 units) out of the Robo and it just completely gave up the ghost. The CR-10s never got past the first layer of the first batch. The Prusa i3 Mk3 churned out 5. Then 12 hours later, another 5. Then 12 hours later another 5. In fact, for the entirety of the 1 week production run, the Prusa ran nearly continuously churning out batch after batch after batch with no breaks in between unless I wasn't home to clear the build plate or I was sleeping. It never let me down and suffered zero failures.
Which is why when the job was over, I ordered another one. Prusa i3's are not cheap; let's get that out of the way. But one thing they are is worth it. If you've seen Joel Telling's video with Out of Darts, you'll see their entire print farm is i3 Mk2 and Mk3 printers.
I've always advocated for the "best tools" not the most expensive ones. I don't believe spending money automatically gets you quality. In this case, however, the level of quality and reliability I get out of the Mk3 is way higher than any other printer I own. I know I can set a print, walk away, come back and find it done, and usually done perfectly.
The additional productivity gains of not having to slice files multiple times for production are going to be huge, and I can start printing spare parts for these two guys since I know they're identical machines and have the same mechanical parts. I also know that should (God forbid) one of them stop working I can pop the card into the other and keep moving while I get the first one sorted. I said a few months ago that I made my Robo R2 a basically perfect printer, and while that might have been true at the time, I also said that the Prusa i3 Mk3 was the printer I wanted all along. I will never buy anything else.
This isn't an ad for Prusa. Believe me when I tell you they don't need my small little push, but I will say this much: I now have confidence that when I take an order from a client for a production run, I'll finish it out with minimal stress and no intervention. That's worth more than the slightly higher price of the equipment.