Saturday, 17 June 2017

Anet A8 Review // Best Cheap 3D printer

Anet A8 Review
Anet A8 3D printer from Gearbest
The Anet A8 from GearBest is an affordable, D-I-Y 3D printer that retails for around $150 or £130 and is a great printer for anybody interested in desktop 3D printing, yet is on a tight budget. It features a heated build plate,  a 220 x 220 x240mm printing volume, and is capable of printing with materials such as PLA/ABS/Nylon/PVA/Wood compounds . The design of the printer is sturdy and the black acrylic frame feels and looks high quality. The same can be said for the electronic hardware, high quality components, built to last. 

The printer arrives in pieces yet is easy to assemble and takes around 4-5 hours to complete with the included tools (screwdriver, zip ties, spanner and side cutters). Once completed you run some configuration and level the bed, making sure the bed is close enough, then run some test prints supplied on the 8GB SD card . It comes with a small amount of a random coloured PLA filament, I received red. 

Loading the printer with the  file is easy. You take the SD card and plug it into you computer where, using a slicer e.g Cura, you save

your  G-codd file onto it. Although this sounds complicated it is all done by Cura under the covers and leaves only the printers settings down to you. You can then push the card into the A8's mother/controller board and access it through the clear, easy to read, blue LCD screen. 

The printer features a direct drive extruder and requires you to push the filament through a small hole in the top of the assembly until oozing out of the nozzle. However, my first negative is how hard it is to load filament and I have to normally end up taking the fan off to access the throat or you have to move the filament around and guess where the extruder is positioned. But you shouldn't need to do this too frequently so nothing overly major. 

The prints produced by my printer so far have been high quality when printing designs I have created in CAD and files off websites like myminifactory and Thingiverse. The printer comes with a 0.4mm which produces nice result yet this can be improved with a 0.2mm or 0.3mm nozzle (available at the shop). As well as this, I recommend replacing the masking tape that comes with the printer for blue professional masking tape that can be found at most home improvement stores.

Overall, the Anet A8 is a great beginners 3D printer for an astounding price. It is designed and built well and features high quality parts such as an bright LCD, powerful stepper motors and accurate temperature controlled heated bed .I was surprised at how no extra tools, zip ties or screws where needed to assemble the machine as normally the kits require slight modification to function appropriately. The printer is capable of printing ABS yet it will require an enclosure to retain the heat which covers the basic materials. However, the Anet A8 will require you to have a basic understanding of electronics in order for you to fix any issues that occur (not that you will encounter many!) 
Buy the printer here from Gearbest!

Pros
  • cheap yet high quality.
  • easy to use (software/hardware).
  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • high accuracy.
Cons 
  • poorly written instructions.
  • unreliable at times.
  • mains voltage exposed.
  • Buttons not responsive and screen hard to navigate.



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