As soon as I received the confirmation that my Prusa is finally shipping, I checked the status of the shipment incessantly on DHL website. It took around 2.5 days for the printer to travel from Czech Republic to my doorstep in Singapore. Quite a feat I feel. Then the fun of unboxing and assembling Prusa i3MK3S+ can officially begin!
Receiving the delivery
First reaction is a surprise. Surprise because the box contains so many parts. Also included are Galaxy Silver PLA, some stickers and Haribo gummies among the printer parts. All the parts are neatly packed and clearly labelled. Quite impressed with the level of organization here.
Assembling Prusa i3
The experience of assembling Ender 3v2 is still fresh in memory. I was expecting a 2 half-days work to assemble Prusa i3. I kinda knew I am going to be wrong then the assembly instructions booklet comes in full 130 A4-size pages that consists of 230 steps organized into 9 chapters. And those steps consist of average of 5-7 sub steps. So there are about over 1000 detailed steps that need to be taken. And I initially thought some of the steps are just unnecessary. But boy, I was proven wrong quickly. All those steps must be completed- and completed in sequence and precisely to ensure good-working printer. Good luck to me!
So it took me a good 9 days to complete it. Most of the sessions lasted 3-4 hours. In total, I spent a full day- about 24 man-hours- to unbox, assemble and to successfully completed a first print. There are some issues encountered during testing, but I was able to resolve them rather quickly by talking to Prusa technical team, reading online forum or watching some videos. In all, here is the hyperlapse video of me unboxing and assembling Prusa i3MK3S+.
So do you recommend buying i3 Kit or assembled printer?
The level of complexity is well-beyond my expectations. Compared to Prusa i3 assembly, Ender 3v2 assembly almost feels just like putting together completed printer parts. For Prusa i3, every cable needs to be connected to the right sockets, the sensors to be just at the correct place and all the little tiny screws and nuts need to be in the correct holes holding together the intended pieces. Some nuts need to be tight slightly and yet some need to be real tight to hold crucial pieces together.
Overall, I won’t say it is an impossibly difficult tasks. It is because to a great extent the very detailed explanations and pictures help a great deal in the process of assembling i3. What is really needed is patience and TIME. One of the reason why it took me 9 days to assemble because I have to find time out of my already packed schedule here and there to complete the assembly. With price difference between i3 Kit and assembled printer is USD 250, it may or may not worth it. If you like the process of assembling your own printer then of course the price difference does not really matter as you would go with the kit. However, if you are on the fence, then I think the most relevant question is whether or not it is worth my time to assemble the kit from scratch.
In conclusion, I think the most relevant question to ask whether to purchase a kit or assembled is not whether I can assemble it (because with the provided clear assembly instructions, you can certainly do so), but rather whether I have the patience and time to assemble it.