Prusa MK4 Alpha Firmware Adds Missing Features

Prusa MK4
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The team at Prusa has released new firmware for its latest 3D printer, the Editor's choice Prusa MK4. The firmware, 5.0.0-alpha1, is still in the alpha stage so only experienced 3D printer enthusiasts should attempt the upgrade as some hiccups are expected. The firmware comes with a few new features that aim to improve print quality by adjusting how the printer behaves throughout the printing process. Prusa asks that users who experiment with the new firmware report any problems to the team at GitHub or through the Prusa forums.

The 5.0.0-alpha1 firmware has quite a bit to get excited about but the major updates come in three new key features. Users can tinker with Input Shaper, Pressure Advance and Precise Stepping. These each have unique performance-changing features that aim to reduce common problems like stringing and ghosting. Input shaper and pressure advance were both touted as main features for the MK4, but were left out when the printer was released.

The first new feature, Input Shaper, is intended to reduce ghosting or ringing. It analyzes the printer for resonance vibrations and attempts to cancel out those vibrations using a filter. It also increases the travel speed as well as acceleration during printing. According to Prusa, this should also help reduce stringing. 

The next feature, Pressure Advance, aims to improve print quality by constantly making adjustments to pressure changes that occur within the nozzle. If the extruder is accelerating, it will extrude additional filament. While decelerating, it will retract the filament. This feature also should help increase the speed of prints.

The last new feature is called Precise Stepping, and it’s necessary to work in tandem with the previous two. It increases the timing precision of the motor steps used by the MK4 while it prints. This helps ensure the Input Shaper and Pressure Advance tools are working with the adequacy they need to implement improvements.

If you want to get a sneak peak at this new firmware, check out the official alpha release over at GitHub. Again, because this is Alpha software, some bugs are to be expected. Whether or not you choose to experiment with the new firmwar is up to you. Just be prepared to share any possible problems with the development team. 

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.