The Prusa i3 type printers are the ones that I have enjoyed the most, so I went shopping for one that seemed to solve the problems that I have had in the past. Those are primarily:
- Mechanical stability
- Clean design (no wires hanging all over, multiple bits, ugly design)
Other problems I've had but wasn't specifically shopping to avoid:
- LCD display instability (display garbles after a few hours of printing)
I wound up buying a JGAurora from Amazon for $369. It arrived via Prime shipping in 2 days. I unexpectedly had the evening available to build and I got first power up on it in 4 hours and first print the following evening. Total build time was about 5 hours.
This printer is a very well thought out i3 clone that addresses pretty much every problem or shortcoming that I've experienced with other i3s. It's not plug and play but it is a straightforward build, everything needed is included and the instructions are clear and complete.
It came with an 8GB SD card inserted in a small USB reader containing excellent videos covering every aspect of assembly and calibration. It also came with a set of allen keys and a small stamped metal wrench. In contrast with the Geeetech (which was missing or short on a number of small parts) this printer came with everything needed, minus a pair of wire cutters and a screwdriver. It even came with a filament spool stand.
I did replace the firmware with Repetier, but the included version of Marlin is entirely adequate. I just like to tinker. There is a user group on Thingiverse here, and there is also some discussion of it on the i3 group.
If you want to try Repetier on this printer, use their online configurator. Here is a link to my config.json file which will set you up immediately with my working configuration. Also I wanted the "home" position to be around -30/-30 but the EEPROM settings were already set, so I had to do these two commands with Repetier to set these values.
M206 T3 P133 X-30.0
M206 T3 P137 X-30.0
If you decide to move back to Marlin, this is the latest (1.1 RC8) helpfully provided by a user on the Thingiverse i3 group.
Here's a quick video I made on the printer.