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Folger Tech Prusa i3 2020 Review

Posted by samuelmennega 
Folger Tech Prusa i3 2020 Review
May 20, 2017 03:56PM
I purchased the Prusa i3 2020 just over a year ago. I noticed it came very well packaged, with no chance of parts breaking during transport. Folger Tech's documentation/build guide is very good and easy to follow with helpful pictures. The whole build/config process took me about 2 and a half days, and I was able to load the software onto the included Arduino without any difficulty. My first print was a little octopus, printed with 0.3 resolution, using the included sample filament and It came out ok for a first print, with a few imperfections. After leveling the bed very meticulously I was able to produce some good looking prints, and I purchased some Hatchbox ABS to use with the printer. I immediately ran into a problem where the extruder jammed every 30cm or so, and I contacted Folger Tech concerning my problem. I received a response that day informing me that their printer doesn't work well with Hatchbox filament. This actually surprised me because Hatchbox seems to be a high quality filament, but sure enough, when I tried Folger's PLA it flowed great! Throughout my experience with this printer I have experienced quite a few issues; however, the Folger tech team was incredible! They always responded quickly and were willing to send me any parts I needed free of charge. One thing I noticed was that prints sliced using Slic3r -which is the software recommended by the company- failed much more frequently, took longer and came out in lower quality. I switched to MatterControl and experienced a huge quality upgrade! I also printed out a new z endstop mount when mine cracked, and that also seemed to help with the general quality of my prints. When printing in PLA I had a problem with the project detaching itself from the heated bed, as well as the print warping, so I switched to a cold bed and painters tape and that fixed the problem.

Overall this printer offers some really great specs for a very low price, and I have had fun playing with it! The customer support is superb, and I love the open source feel of this printer. I was able to make quite a few modifications without almost any disassembly. However, if you want a printer that you can print with right out of the box this isn't for you. This is an amazing entry level printer for makers and tinkers who are prepared to do some tuning and maintenance!
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Re: Folger Tech Prusa i3 2020 Review
May 21, 2017 12:02AM
Biggest asset is a large community of owners that have ironed out some kinks and posted upgrades on Thingiverse.

It was very 'educational' for a kit. (read: instructions/software/stock parts; could use an update/revision)

TBF, in today's market, with today's price points. There are some good looking kits that have a more user friendly frame than the 2020.

But it's my first, and spawned the need to acquire robotic worker bees. For that, I like it. But the learning curve was steep, and I'd still be struggling if I hadn't found a good build to copy. [github.com]

It is a bit masochistic that they haven't included an adjustable Z in the stock parts yet. 90% of the problems people have getting prints to 'stick' to glass is improper bedlevel/z-height.

Overall, I'd still rate it a 'buy'. Just not the 'slam dunk' it was 9 months ago, imo.

EDIT: I still source some parts from them, time to time. And keep an eye on their offerings, as they do offer a good features/price ratio.

P.S. Also, you compare Brand X ABS to Brand Y PLA. ABS != PLA ; so it may not be so much the brand, but the type of filament that was giving you trouble $0.02

P.S.S. If you haven't found the 'brim' setting in the slicer (I found Cura works better for me most of the time), then that will help with warping/un-even bed.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2017 12:08AM by VonRansak.
Re: Folger Tech Prusa i3 2020 Review
May 22, 2017 02:11PM
"This is an amazing entry level printer for makers and tinkers who are prepared to do some tuning and maintenance!"

I couldn't agree more, I'm going on 10 months and still love mine.

VonRansak, what printers would you consider a "slam dunk" currently?
Re: Folger Tech Prusa i3 2020 Review
May 22, 2017 10:37PM
Idk, I just have the 2020 and am putting together a couple P3steels from parts right now.

But 9 months ago I couldn't find another kit (non-acrylic) that had this price point. So back then it was a 'slam dunk' for me.

Now there a lot of kits at the price point w/o acrylic. So the market has changed. Nothing against the printer.

The only grudge I hold, is it doesn't ship with a screw adjustable Z endstop -_-
Re: Folger Tech Prusa i3 2020 Review
May 23, 2017 09:09AM
Quote
VonRansak


The only grudge I hold, is it doesn't ship with a screw adjustable Z endstop -_-

This is probably typical for most of the i3 clones coming out of China too.
A good Z endstop adjustment is a must if you want consistent quality prints.
It's probably why a lot of people get frustrated and waste so much time setting up "auto leveling" when it's really a poorly designed Z endstop that is the fault
Re: Folger Tech Prusa i3 2020 Review
November 16, 2017 04:42PM
Hi!
I know it's been a while, but I wanted to let you know that I have updated my review, and posted it on my new website. If you would head over and check it out, along with my other reviews posted, It would help me out a huge amount!

Thanks to everyone!

[sites.google.com]
Re: Folger Tech Prusa i3 2020 Review
November 28, 2017 08:54AM
After 2 years with my Folger Tech i3 2020, I have to say it was and still is an awesome kit and a great way to learn 3D printing. This forum was a great help back then. Rather than head to the OP's own website and promote it, I'd rather keep my comments and suggestions here in an open forum where it is easily searched and read without being buried. I have spent too many frustrating hours trying to help people on the several Facebook user groups only to see the same questions come up over and over again because FB has no useable/workable search routine. Also, the FB groups are inundated with too many 'experts' that blindly give their advice and attack anyone who counters them. I've had enough! (venting here..)

Since my introduction to the I3 2020, I've also added a Folger Tech FT5, which I also love. With the i3 2020, the only upgrades I've done are the Z height spacers, some fan covers to keep MY FINGERS OUT!, 2 fans over the RAMPS board, and a BLTOUCH and its mount which I created and put on Thingiverse. IMHO nothing else is really NEEDED. Yes, you can add all kinds of other upgrades like lead screws, extruders and hot ends but you don't need them to make quality prints on this little guy.

One other thing I discovered if you use a BLTOUCH on the i3 is that chances are your Arduino board will not support the BLTOUCH consistently. When it needs a momentary surge of current for the electromagnet, the voltage drops too low and you get glitches. This weak 5v power supply is a known issue. I choose to attach a 7805 IC voltage reducer to the plexiglas plate for the Arduino and feed it from the 12v supply. I routed the 5v to the Ramps' header AND REMOVED THE JUMPER that feeds 5v from the Arduino to the RAMPS so it doesn't back feed. You could send the 5v directly to the BLTOUCH if you wanted to. Either way, I've had no more problems in a year and a half. Many people on FB and complaining in the ANTCLABS group about having to fiddle with the set screw on top to get it to work. The low voltage is their problem but they complain and complain instead of solving the problem.

The board on the FT5 seems to have enough reserve 5v to adequately support the BLTOUCH. I have no problems there for over a year.

With the advent of the FT5, there are not as many people posting questions about the little i3. Everyone wants to go bigger, which also brings bigger problems with it. 90% of what I make can easily be made on the i3 so I shake my head when everyone keeps buying the larger printers. What I also see from the posts on FB is that we have moved from eager tinkerers willing to research and learn the intricacies of the printer to people who want instant gratification and their questions answered to their satisfaction rather than spending some time learning. (more venting, I guess). In any event, I hope this forum sees a resurgence in use as I and others promote it over on the Dark Side. smiling smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/2017 08:55AM by tjnamtiw.

Folger Tech 2020 i3 and FT-5. Both running the BLTOUCH.
Great kit. Having fun and running the heck out of it.
Running Marlin 1.1.0 RC8 on the i3 and 1.0.2 on the FT5.
Folger Tech Wiki board >[folgertech.wikia.com]
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