As mentioned a couple of times across ToolGuyd.com and our Instagram channel, I have been working to assemble a new Prusa 3D printer, the i3 MK3S+.
Prusa gives you a tool set with the 3D printer kit, namely a selection of straight and ball hex keys, a Phillips #2 screwdriver, and small needlenose pliers. I gave the included tools a shot, but after the first few steps, I realized that I’ll get faster and easier results with my own tools.
Here’s what I’ve been using:
Hex Keys and Bits
I’m a big fan of PB Swiss tools, especially their color-coded hex keys. I also have stubby ball end hex keys in another tool box, but didn’t need them here as my standard metric hex keys worked just fine.
The 3mm hex key came in handy for initial frame assembly, and the 2.5mm hex key is used throughout the build.
For the 1/4″ hex insert bits, I’ve been using PB Swiss and the latest Milwaukee Tool Shockwave bits.
If you look closely, there’s also a 2.5mm Wera hex screwdriver to the right. I bought that a couple of years ago when working on a large project with many M3 fasteners, and precision screwdrivers weren’t quite cutting it. It’s pricier now than it used to be (at least via Amazon), and so if I didn’t have it available I’d at least make sure to source a second 2.5mm bit to use with a larger screwdriver handle.
A 2mm hex bit comes in handy later on for heated bed assembly.
Screwdriver Bit Drivers
I used a small Wera screwdriver bit holder for a single M2 fastener, used to secure an IR sensor. I went with the Wera bit holder because it has a locking bit chuck rather than a magnetic one.
Most of the assembly is done with 2.5mm hex driver. I would say that about 60% of the work is done with this Scout Leather Co. titanium screwdriver (purchased for review purposes, more about it later), and 40% with the ball-end hex key.
The Knipex pliers wrench has come in handy, and in more places than I thought it would, mainly for gently pressing square nuts into recesses in the 3D printed frame and axes components.
The precision pliers are NWS. They aren’t used very often, but the couple of times they’re needed, they do a better job than the included needlenose pliers.
Long X-Acto tweezers help with screw and nut placements. I have a PB Swiss tapered alignment punch that I’ve started using to help wiggle inserted nuts into place. You’re advised to use one of the included hex keys to check for nut placement alignment in a couple of steps, but I started using the tapered punch with decent results.
The ball hex on the 3mm hex key has also been used to press M3 hex nuts into position, and I have used the flat handle of the tweezers as well.
I busted out a couple of small parts bins for extruder assembly, as there were more fastener sizes than used in previous steps. Some of the screw lengths were close in size, and so separating them helped to avoid confusion.
Are Any of These Tools Needed?
Not really. As mentioned, the Prusa kit comes with a set of basic hand tools and everything you might need for assembly. But, using my own tools provided for an easier and faster experience so far.
In Prusa’s online instructions, there are more than a couple of comments from users who have cracked some of the 3D printed parts. And in the printed instructions, there are warnings about not over-tightening and cracking the fan housings or other parts. Control and feel is necessary here, which is why I opted to only use hand tools and not any cordless screwdrivers of any kind.
It wasn’t after I took this photo that I realized these are all fairly premium brands. More affordable brands would have worked just as well, such as Bondus hex keys and Xuron pliers.