Welcome to 2020! I will start the year putting my original Prusa kit together.
After making my decision, I purchased an Original Prusa i3 MK3S kit from a Canadian source, Voxel Factory. The price was CDN $999, which is roughly equivalent to its US dollar price, and I avoided customs and other related costs.
I found the kit well packed, which parts logically arranged in a number of smaller boxes. Everything was there. I even found a bag of “spare hardware”, which was a nice touch.
Believe it or not, Prusa actually provides a glossy 100+ page book of assembly instructions. You don’t see this attention to detail and customer service very often. You can find this book of assembly instructions online here, if you want to take a look. A particular benefit of the online version is you can view the pictures full screen for extra detail while assembling.
In my opinion, the Prusa folks have put a lot of effort into this manual, providing just the right level of detail and very clean English instructions. No garbled translations here. From what I can gather, customer feedback and suggestions supported this first class effort.
Finally, all of the plastic parts and hardware were sorted out into plastic bags, shown right above. Each bag was referenced to a section of the assembly instructions. I began by sorting all the bags into the order I would need them. Each plastic part has a clear name. You can see that all of the hardware bags have a proper scale outline of each screw or nut on the cover, so you can check size easily. Wow.
Putting My Original Prusa Kit Together – Slow and Steady
It took me 15 hours, over 3 days, to assemble my Prusa i3 MK3S kit. This was slightly longer than the estimated 12-14 hours, but I was not in a rush.
On the first day, I did the basic frame and X/Y axis, including bearings, stepper motors and timing belts. The frame is made from machined aluminum plates and extrusions. I found everything screwed together easily and the final result was very solid. On the second day of putting my original Prusa kit together, I focused on the extruder assembly, which was the most difficult part of the build.
Finally, on day 3, I did the heated bed, power supply and electronic controller, followed by harnessing and connecting all the wiring. The final result looks like it was built at the factory.
If you are interested, here is a video time lapse assembly that demonstrates pretty well the whole process.