Ooznest PRUSA i3 review

Discover the inner workings of the 3D print revolution

Ooznest PRUSA i3
Ooznest PRUSA i3

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

We liked

The big selling point for the Ooznest Prusa i3 is that you can build your own 3D printer. This kit also excels over other Prusa i3 kits due to its clearly defined boxes of parts and bags along with incredibly clear instructions on the building process.

The build process is great fun if you enjoy tinkering with mechanics and electronics, and you learn an incredible amount about 3D printing technology as you build. Handling, fitting and tuning each part as the printer comes together makes you far more adept at unravelling print issues and understanding many of the more technical aspects of 3D printing.

Once you've finished the build and start printing any preconceived notions about dodgy prints from self-build printers are quickly dispelled, and as long as you've followed the instructions and understood the processes, the end result is a device offering a print quality that rivals many printers that retail at twice the price.

We disliked

As with other kits based on the Prusa i3 design this is very clearly a homemade printer in every way. Our finished machine worked well, but despite producing good quality prints, the aesthetics of the printer or more accurately the neatness of construction left something to be desired. This is solely down to our neatness of finish when it came to tidying the cables.

Again as with the original design the power supply and filament sit separately to the main unit, and it would be nice to somehow integrate these with the rest of the machine. The manual is as clear as they come but once the build is complete a further section on upgrade ideas and projects would be a great way to complete the kit.

Final verdict

The Ooznest Prusa i3 is an incredibly addictive 3D printing kit. The build process is enjoyable from start to finish, and possesses enough of a challenge so that on completion you feel you've really achieved something, sparking a few head-scratching sessions along the way which are always overcome by simply reading the instructions properly.

The thought that has gone into this kit is staggering with high quality parts used where essential, as with the hotend and extruder, and cheap alternatives used for other less vital components such as the motor to threaded rod couplings. Money has been spent where it is needed in order to provide a basic kit that will produce good quality prints from the outset.

How good is a print from a homemade printer? Surprisingly good is the simple answer. Compared against two popular printers, the Ultimaker 2 and the Lulzbot Mini, the quality of prints produced by the i3 are closer to the Lulzbot Mini, with the Ultimaker 2 having the edge in terms of both quality and consistency.

The similarities between the Lulzbot Mini and Ooznest Prusa i3 really shouldn't be that surprising as they both come from the same origin, the RepRap design, and use the same brand of hotend, albeit with different voltages, filament and nozzle sizes.

No doubt with a bit of tinkering and an upgrade to the Prusa i3 the two would produce almost identical prints. As standard the Ooznest Prusa i3 is better at finer detail and sharp edges whereas the Lulzbot Mini is better at objects with overhangs and bridges, doubtless due to the larger nozzle and filament size, so there is a balance between the two as they both produce good prints but in different ways.

The Lulzbot Mini is twice the price, but if you buy all the upgrades needed to make a similar specification printer to the Lulzbot from the i3 kit, you'll have spent about the same.

Ultimately if you are looking to buy a 3D printer or already own one but want to know more about how they work then buy an Ooznest Prusa i3. The build process is thoroughly enjoyable and the amount you learn while making the thing is incredible. Buying a kit rather than sourcing your own parts is actually far cheaper and definitely a much less frustrating experience.

The level of thought that has gone into putting this kit together is incredible. Print quality is good and the kit should really be looked at as your first stepping stone into the world of real 3D printing, and once you're addicted there are plenty of upgrade options available to buy or print yourself.