I purchased a “genuine” Prusa i3 in 2016/2017 and it was a real piece of crap.
The build instructions were terrible - they referenced parts that weren’t there and had no mention of some that were. There were some YouTube videos which made it possible to get it together but it was arduous and frustrating with build instructions like "Screw together the optical rail linear bearing holder halves and test for smoothness on the frame " at which point I paused the video to do that before moving on to “… but first, mount the X-Axis stop microswitch on the front optical rail linear bearing holder” - Grrr.
No instructions at all on how to do a first print. Seriously.
The aluminum heat bed that came with the printer was warped and had deep scratches on it. The ribbon cable for the user interface wasn’t long enough to mount the user interface in its spot on the frame. A rubber pad and a glass plate fixed the flatness issue and buried the scratches.
From an engineering perspective the printer didn’t impress me at all; there was no thought to cable management and my heat bed wires broke days after assembly due to mechanical fatigue the hot end wires followed shortly. Nuts and bolts weren’t accessible for maintenance and the rear bed leveling wheels couldn’t be accessed except when the bed was all the way to the rear (take a measurement, move the bed back, turn a wheel, move the bed forward, take another measurement…). There was no on/off switch on the damn thing - just a power cable with bared leads to screw into the power supply (with no instructions on which wire went to which lead on the power supply) it should go without mention there wasn’t any strain relief for the power cable.
Response to complaints were on the order of “Well, we don’t have any problems with our printers, have you followed the instructions exactly?” Me: “No, the instructions didn’t explain how to assemble these areas so I used this YouTube video.” Response: “Well, we can’t be responsible for your problems if you don’t follow our instructions.”
I did eventually get the printer working without a huge expense but with me reworking quite a bit of the design - if you look on the forums, you can see my comments, bitches and fixes going back to 2017.
If you read through that - thank you, I needed to get it off my chest (yet again).
I’m just saying this to reply to @Loosenut - honestly, after all the bad things I’ve said about Prusa, the i3 isn’t that expensive when you factor in all the stuff you have to buy to get a cheap printer working with a good Z-Axis sensor, power supply and good quality bed surface as well as the work to mount everything and create your own firmware image.
For @Gerk, you’re exactly right; there needs to be a decently made printer that just works and basic users can easily maintain them (ie doing no more than replacing the nozzles for the first couple of years at least).
Hell, I’d love that, I’ve never found it which is why I’m designing my own.