So it’s been what, 2 months since I introduced myself to 3D Printing here, and I have another review for you… The Anet A8 Plus.
Now I’d like to preface this with the note that I know about all the issues with the original Anet A8 and I have steered clear and I came into this expecting things to be negative.
So I got the DIY version of the Anet A8 Plus, found HERE, as it’s a bit cheaper and lets be honest if you want to learn about a printer and how to look after it, building it might be a good idea. I will note though that you need to know what you’re doing to some degree when building a printer or you will have issues, small things like adding pre-tension etc make a big difference. Let’s get started.
The Anet A8 Plus, came in a box of similar size to my Ender 3 Pro, except there was almost nothing pre-assembled, it was basically a box of parts:
It was at this point that I realised……
So after a few days I brought myself to having a crack at assembling this guy, I made a tidy area and pulled out a few things I thought I needed. I decided to attempt full assembly using only the included instruction book, which was a paper copy in comparison to the ender 3’s PDF on the SD card which was nice. I have steps of the assembly photographed, so I will list them out and then do a general speel on assembly.
So overall the assembly was uneventful, but very time consuming, I did this over 3 evenings after work, totaling in the neighbourhood of 10 hours. There are just a lot of little things that take as much time to figure out as they do to actually do. I found the general quality of the parts to be acceptable, and i can tell there is a noticeable improvement in the quality of the 3D printed parts from other people online that have received this printer. The one thing I might say is that the linear roller bearings are not smooth and they have a little play against the guide rod, but I may be able to fix this by packing them with some more grease.
Some important notes about the assembly, the x axis belt retention setup is 3D printed and i found that the belt would slip in one half of it when it got to tension and lose tension, so I got the belt set at the right length and super glued it into the 3d printed part, this has fixed the issue but will mean i’ll need to re-print the part if I replace the belt.
The y axis linear rods should be installed with some pre-tension, this means installing them, loosening the top retention screws 1/4 turn, raising the locking collars and then re-tightening the retention screws to that the rails are tight. This will have an effect on the finished product of your 3d printed parts and it’s good to keep this mindset of putting extra effort into maintaining pre-tension and reducing tolerances throughout the assembly process as you will get a better finished result (often better than a factory assembled printer.
I must say I was pleased to find that this is a factory 24V model, meaning that you could easily upgrade to a 24v silent driver board and everything else wouldn’t need changing, it also means the hot end and bed heat up quickly.
I found the instructions to be suprisingly good and unlike 99% of chinese instructions I have used, the only place they are lacking is in the hot end installation. They should be much clearer about how to install the hot end and thermistor as this is critical for avoiding damage (and fire).
The wiring was a little complex but everything was relatively well labelled and I was able to figure it out, it was definitely challenging though and cable managing that many wires is not far short of a nightmare. The included wire wrap is not great and I would recommend ordering some plastic conduit much like what comes on the creality printers, or just printing the wire guides right off the bat.
Now to the results part, Bed levelling worked well, and from the get go I actually installed some of the larger levelling knobs i had lying around, and the included glass bed seems to be quite flat. I did level the x axis rail by measuring the height both sides and turning the y-axis steppers to the same height before turning on the printer, this makes the bed levelling work better and reduces natural layer shift.
Here is my “perfect” first layer with the included roll of white PLA:
And here are some of my small prints, all of these were done on the ender 3 pro except for 1, I challenge you to figure out which one is from the Anet A8 Plus (note the one on the Anet was printed at 70mm/s as I was testing the speed capabilities):
Finally, here are some roller guides and rollers i printed for my ender 3 enclosure on the Anet A8 Plus:
So final thoughts, would I purchase the Anet A8 Plus myself? Definitely yes, it has surpassed my expectations and I feel it is like a CR10 Competitor with some Pro features and close to an Ender 3 pro price point.
I like that it has a direct drive extruder too, although it does look to be a less advanced extruder it seems to work just fine, I will be getting to printing TPU on it this week so I look forward to the results of that. I will be able to compare results to the Bowden TPU prints I have been doing on the Ender 3 Pro.
Please let me know what questions you guys may have and what your thoughts on this printer are.