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3018 CNC Mill/Router Review

Purchase this item HERE and use offer code BG7563 to get it for $169
Hey Guys, today I’m reviewing the 3018 CNC Router/Mill from Banggood!
This is a little bit different to my normal 3D printer reviews, but it is definitely cool, and I look forward to reaching out into the CNC space a bit more.
Lets get into it!
UnboxingThe box came in okay condition, and is actually smaller than I expected.

The parts are well protected and appear to be in perfect condition.

Everything unboxed

ManualThis unit had a very basic manual, not much writing so I guess you are just meant to follow the pictures.

The BuildAssembly of this machine actually took a while, it took time to get all of the T Slot nuts sitting correctly and making sure everything was square. It was nice that the manual showed some dimensions so I was able to make everything line up nicely.
The Parts for the first step:

The Base frame assembled

The Gantry frame assembled (is this still a Gantry? Not sure)

The two frames joined together, the injection moulded angle braces are a nice touch. I used my square at this point to make sure everything was straight.

Addition of the linear rod holders. They were just loose here, I lined them up exactly as I assembled the rods.

The bed needs to be assembled using two plates, and all the parts pictured here attach to the bed.

Bolted the two bed parts together with the plates

I soft mounted the linear bearings, and hard mounted the lead screw exactly in the middle using my ruler.

I slid the linear rods through two of the mounts and then slipped them through the linear bearings loosely attached to the bed.

I then slid the linear rods the rest of the way through, and then used my ruler to centre all of the parts and tigten them down. It’s important to fasten the bearings to the bed first, then roll the bed to both ends of the linear rods to make sure it doesn’t bind at either end, then the mounting points can be fastened down to the base.

I had it tipped like this to tighten the linear bearings to the bed.

Repeating the same process with the X-Axis linear rods

Fitted

Next step is the lead screws, they have anti backlash nuts so you have to thread the leadscrew into the loose part of the nut, and then push it in with the spring and thread it the rest of the way.

This is where I pushed the anti backlash part of the nut in and then kept threading the lead screw into the fixed nut.

Lead Screw fitted

Same process for the Y-Axis lead screw

Next up was mounting the motors, I put them on these plates and then soft mounted them to the frame.

Mounted the y-axis motor with the T slot nuts, and put the coupling on. I then wound the bed as close to the motor as possbile and then tightened the T slot nuts. This enabled me to get the motor nice and inline with the lead screw.

Same process with the Y axis.

Put on the bearing to hold the other end of the Y-Axis lead screw

And the X-Axis lead screw

Mounting the control board was a bit funny, I think the acrylic piece should really have spacers under it because the nuts for mounting the PCB touch on the frame, but it still fits so whatever.

Stepper motors plugged inI did miss the motor plugging in here, it goes from a barrel plug on the board to two blade terminals. There is a small + printed on the top of the motor to denote positive, but you really have to look for it.

These are the included bits, I guess they are for wood, but I will order some more different types to try.

Here I mounted the work piece clamps, I think I will need to 3D print some modifications here, maybe some custom clamps… More to come on that though.

The included chuck is actually pretty nice looking, I like it 😀

Thoughts after assemblyIn my next post I will dive into the first job with this machine. After assembly I can definitely say you get a lot for a very small amount of money, but it shows in some places.. Like the Aluminium extrusions come with the plastic covering still on them, and all inside of the plastic is shavings.. So I recommend you take the plastic off outside as you get shavings everywhere! Also the ends of the extrusions could do with a deburr in places, but it doesn’t affect use.. I might just print end covers similar to what Creality uses and push in.
Overall the machine actually comes out really solid and i think it’s a great option to get into and learn about CNC because I believe it will do a good job for a low cost.
The other thing about this machine is that it has a lot that can be improved, and that can be done quite easily. There are some pretty common motor upgrades (watch this space, I have one ready) and I think the frame can be made WAY stronger for not much cost at all.
See, the frame is held together by these 90 degree brackets and T slot nuts, which is great but not super strong. I will order a M5 tap and Die set and a bunch of M5 screws as I want to try tapping the extrusions and bolting it all together.. I think that in conjunction with the corner brackets will make this small machine very very strong and I’d like to get it to the point where it can cut steel!! We will see though 😀
Let me know what you think of this machine, I think it’s pretty cool.. Would be nice to get a little custom mod group going here… We could make some cool stuff with these and printers!

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Creality Ender 3 Max Review

Hey guys, here for another 3D Printer review, this time the Ender 3 Max!

Normally I would put a link to where you can buy this printer but unfortunately it isn’t out yet! 😮
Thanks to Creality for sending me this Pre-Release machine, but lets get right into it!
UnboxingThe box came in unscathed, except my puppy tried to open it while I ws at work… Luckily he only got some of the tape off, so I guess you could say the box is dog proof? hehe.
Also, this is one of the bigger printer boxes i’ve received, about the same size as an Artillery Sidewinder, which I guess makes sense due to the similar Build volume.

After opening the box you can see the accessories packed ontop 

Removing the foam with the accessories reveals the pre-assembled gantry sitting on top of the base

Everything removed from the box

It came with these few bits of paperwork

Contents of the tool and screws bag

Appears to be a standard ender 3 display, and it is good to see the good quality AMASS XT60 being used on the PSU.

Instructions
It’s nice to have some decent instructions finally, I really liked these. 

Assembly
The first step of assembly is bolting the gantry to the base, and I must say I am very impressed with creality’s design improvement here, this is a wonderful idea.
They have machined a slot in the side of the 40x40mm base V Slot to locate the gantry, and the screws go through the side of the gantry into the side of the base.. I think this is a much better idea than the screws from underneath and I believe it will stop some Gantry wobble that we have issues with on other printers.

I used a square to make sure the gantry was straight before doing up the screws

Gantry Mounted

Power supply mounted, just 2 screws through the gantry.

Screen mounted, just the 2 screws on the front like a traditional ender

This is the new spool holder, It clips onto the base of the printer.. Was a little hard to get clipped on at first but it seems rigid enough.

Physical assembly is complete now, just plugging in cables to go

This picture shows the cables for the gantry and the new spool holder in position..

And the printer is finished!

First printSo for the first print I tried something different, I actually did a live stream.. And it went really well so I will be doing this from now on.
Firstly, the Z Limit Switch was mounted too low, and I couldn’t level the bed, so I fixed this on the fly with some V slot nuts and different screws… Then there wasn’t any test files on the SD so unfortunately I had to improvise and do a quick slice on CURA, so the settings obviously weren’t ideal. But regardless I still think the printer went well.
If you want to see me quickly figure out how to move the Z limit switch and the first print, then have a look at the live stream below. Either on Facebook or youtube :)

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=523202072258741

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBy0OtyGcdM

I would love to hear some feedback on this printer, what do you think?
Hopefully It comes out soon so we can see the actual pricing, and I hope Creality sorts out the limit switch placement and includes a test print on the SD.

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Creality Ender 3 V2 3D Printer

Purchase the Creality Ender 3 V2 printer from Banggood HERE and use code BG3445b0to get it for $249USD!

Hey guys, here again for another 3D printer review, this time the Creality Ender 3 V2!

Why did you choose to review this printer?
The ender 3 is arguably one of the most popular first 3d printers as it is low in cost and is a great platform for beginners to learn on. So I was excited to hear creality doing a V2 of this printer and ordered one right away for testing purposes. At a first glance it just looks like a more polished version of the ender 3.

Initial packaging thoughts/ unboxing
So the box was about the same size as the original Ender 3, and it box arrived in perfect condition suprisingly but unfortunately the delivery time was a bit long (1 month) due to the ‘virus’.. As usual I’ll show step-by step photos of the unboxing and then move onto Assembly. 

The packaging reminds me very much of the original Ender 3.

And here is everything included in the box it looks like it will need some assembly but not too much.

The Instruction Manual
The instruction manual looks detailed enough, as usual I will assemble the printer and do my first print only by following this guide.

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Pre-Assembly First ImpressionThere are a few notable differences upfront, the screen is pretty obvious but what I’m interested in is this hotend setup which looks very different from the original ender.
The actual hotend inside looks like the same hotend creality normally uses, but with this new cover, I also like the look of the new fan duct for the part cooling fan which creality printers have lacked for a long time now.

I also like the idea of this built in tool storage drawer, I will be able to keep all of the included tools in here so I don’t lose them.

Assembly OverviewThe assembly of this printer isnt super involved, but it does require the assembly of most of the gantry structure. I have taken a picture of each step I took (while following the book instructions) below.

NOTE: This is the Z Stop, you need to adjust the height of it once you have the printer setup, I found I had to lower it all the way till the stopper hits on the bottom rail.

One thing I will note here is the underside of the printer is very neat and tidy, this is a much better looking setup than the ender 3 V1.

Z rails installed

Z axis stepper and lead screw installed

Assembling one end of X-Axis rail

Installed the Push Pneumatic fitting for the bowden tube into the extruder

Rolled printhead onto X-axis, have belt sitting in place under printhead

New design of x-axis belt tensioner. I had to completely unscrew the tensioner and remove the roller to get the belt in.The roller is keyed so it can only go back in one way.

Both ends installed on the X-Axis Gantry

Same old creality belt retention mechanism. If it aint broke don’t fix it?

Tensioner installed and tensioned, I like being able to easily adjust the belt tension it’s nice.

Slipped x-axis over the top of the Z Gantry. Gently feeding the lead screw in.

I noticed they are running gates belts which is nice.

I had to adjust the y axis belt tension too, but its nice that its so easy.

The display mount needs to be screwed on, and the top piece of the gantry attached.

An easy plug for the display.

They have this clip mechanism for screen removal (not sure why printer manufacturers do this, I’ve seen a few with magnets too)

Mounted the screen mount with the T-Slot nuts and attached the screen

Last physical parts are the same old spool holder, and a nice wheel to turn the extruder.

This wheel just slips over the end of the stepper shaft, has a nice fit.

I also installed the bowden tube into the push lock fitting and added the little blue safety clip.

Plugged in Extruder stepper, X Axis stepper and X axis end stop.

Plugged in Z Axis stepper and Z Axis End stop

Post Assembly ThoughtsThis thing looks nice! definitely much more finished off than the Ender 3 V1, and it has a lot of small things that are quite nice. Some other changes I have noticed are below:
They still have a MicroSD slot, but appear to have gone from Mini USB to Micro USB.

All of the tools fit in the tool drawer except for the cutters and the paint scraper. Still a neat idea.

First StartUpon turning the printer on for the first time I immediately noticed how nice the new screen looks

I had a poke around the menus, it is not touchscreen but the new user interface is very nice to use, and the dial feels more refined too.

First Print
Well, I thought I may as well give her a go, so after a quick bed level I put on one of the test prints, which is a small Dog on the included SD Card.

The first layer looks nice, I didnt use any glue stick or hairspray, just a quick wipe of the bed with IPA.

And this is the finished product!
[img]https://i.imgur.com/vSLLcw3l.jpg[/img]
I can’t really pick any issues with it, the quality is quite nice actually.
How can I setup this printer in cura?
I will cover CURA setup in my next post about this printer, but you should be able to set it up as per the original Ender 3, the G code for both printers should be the same.

Are there any quirks about this printer?
Not for a printer at this price, I’m still not a fan of bowden extruders as I don’t think they print TPU as nice as Directdrive but other than that this is actually a very nice machine for the price.

What are some good points about this printer?

  • Silent steppers
  • Tidy Cable Management
  • Sleek Finish
  • Nice Display
  • Glass Bed
  • Easy Belt Tensioners
  • Good price

What are some bad points about this printer?

  • I worry about the lifespan of some of the injection moulded parts (belt tensioners)
  • It only runs at 12V
  • Still has a bowden extruder

Final thoughts – Who should purchase this printer?
If you’re thinking of a base model Ender 3 V1 as your first printer I’d definitely recommend considering the V2, it has some good improvements.

If you are comparing it against the Ender 3 V2 then there are some more things to consider, like the lack of 24V on the V2, but overall I really like this printer and I’m happy to have it as one of my main printers. It does very nice prints and at a good price, keeping up with the Name of the Ender 3.

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ISDT N24 AA AAA Charger Review

Hey guys!

I normally review 3D Printers, but I recently gained the need to charge a lot of AA batteries and thought I’d try out the Charger space.

Thanks to Banggood for sending me the ISDT N24, You can purchase it Here
USE Coupon Code BGISDTN24July to get this charger for $105 on Banggood.

I really liked this charger because of the information it shows, I wanted something that could monitor individual batteries so I can keep on track with their internal resistance and capacity.

This helps me to keep batteries paired up well to ensure they have a longer life.

Let’s have a look at the unboxing:

The box was a lot bigger than I expected

While the packaging had a few dings, you can see the charger was well protected

There wasn’t much to the packaging so I pulled it all out, the power pack was in the white box on the left end.

The Manual has some handy information and seems to be surprisingly well written. The operation of this charger is pretty simple so it doesn’t need a lot of explanation.

So that sums up the unboxing. Let’s look at how this charger works.
The user interface is nice and simple, this is the main screen with no batteries in the charger.

This is the main screen after you insert a battery, I really like how it shows the charge curve.

This is the menu that shows all the settings you can change.

And here is the charger with a few of our batteries in it on charge.

I have the ISDT SC-620 for charging my drone batteries, and I was hoping this charger would be a bit quicker to use and surprisingly it is. You just insert a battery and it automatically detects the chemistry (NiMH in my case) and starts charging it immediately. Holding the centre button on the right enters the menu and allows you to set charge rate in amps and change the battery type between Auto or any individual battery type amongst a few other settings.

This charger is ideal for what we need as we have a large amount of the same batteries and we change them out for new ones as they get old. It enables us to monitor battery health and the smart charging has shown to give us about 10% extra battery capacity for each charge which really helps.

The charger itself feels really well made with its full aluminium structure and the menus are nice and simple and easy to use. Although I must say this thing is MASSIVE, and that’s not because it’s a poor design or anything, it just takes 24 batteries and when you see 24 AA’s in real life next to each other it’s actually a bit bigger than I had expected.

If you have a need to charge a lot of AA or AAA batteries for something (Production in our case) then I highly recommend this charger. If you don’t have as many batteries the N8 or N16 may be a better option for you.

If there are any other chargers you’d like to see me do a review of let me know and I’ll try to get ahold of them. I personally really like the look of the ToolkitRC M8S.

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EleksLaser- A3 Pro 2500mW Laser Engraver

Edit: Use the Code BG9152 for 12% off if you purchase on Banggood Here

Hey guys, this time I have something a little different in comparison to my normal 3D Printer Reviews.

You can purchase the EleksLaser A3 Pro 2500mW on Banggood Here

I’m currently working on a 3D printer roundup video containing all the printers I have reviewed to date, and for this I wanted to leave some time for me to get to know the printers well. In order to fill the time in between I thought i’d do this as it is something different and something i’ve always wanted to dip my toes in.

This machine will engrave wood, acrylic and other soft surfaces but won’t really touch metal, this is because it uses a blue light laser, the laser cutters that will engrave metals use C02 lasers that are much higher output (40W+).

First off lets do an unboxing and assembly. There were no assembly instructions included but there was a website address that shows the assembly in a picture format:
Assembly guide

I have skipped a lot of small assembly steps here as they are shown in the guide and are pretty straightforward.

Everything was well packed, no damage at all

I really like this small included parts kit, I will use this to keep spare parts for all my printers I think.

Soft assembly of the axis rollers and motors

Slid them onto the shorter 40×20 rails and tightened the rollers

Fitted the belts

Assembly of the tool head

Slid the tool head onto the longer 40×20 rail, tightened the rollers and fitted the belt

Screwed the acrylic corner braces onto the 20×20 rails with the T slot nuts

Assembled all of the axis rails together

Installed control board on mounting hardware

This is the laser

All wired up, just a few plug connections and some cable management. Very simple really.

Finished unit

So All in all this was actually a pretty easy build, especially compared to some of the more “DIY” 3D Printers I have reviewed.

SOFTWARE:
DISCLAIMER: DO NOT TURN ON THE MAIN MACHINE POWER YET
So running the software is easy (no need to install it), finding a download link was not so easy. I went through a chain of “Download over here”s until I found their forum, then had to make an account to even access the download link…. Kindly if you have the link you don’t need an account to download the software, and to save you guys the hassle you can get it at the link below.
http://oss.eleksmaker.com/software/EleksCAM%20v3.1.zip 

To setup the driver, you need to open the software, plug in the Engraver (Don’t plug it into the wall power yet) via USB, press the dropdown menu at the top right and select install driver. Then you restart the software and on the main screen you should be able to select a COM port on the dropdown.

Once you have selected the COM port you can go into the settings tab on the left and Press Select Machine and select “Laser Engraver”.

From this point the machine is pretty much ready to use, so I would recommend going somewhere outdoors or with good ventilation, and making sure you have something beneath the machine that you won’t mind getting burnt. I’d also recommend you consider others or any pets that won’t have protective glasses on, make sure they can’t see the laser. I opted for my back patio, with all of the blinds closed.

USING THE MACHINE:
Okay, so now is time to turn on the power, have your green glasses on for your safety, and keep them on incase of an accidental laser fire. First thing is make sure the small button on the top of the laser module is depressed, this will put it into low power focus mode and make it not harmful, although in this mode it will ALWAYS be on. Then turn on the main power, put some material under it that you want to cut and turn the bottom of the laser module to focus the point to be at its smallest.

Now we must go back into the software and prepare something, so far I have been using image trace since I have images of everything I want to cut and can use photoshop to make tweaks. But first up I did one from the included gallery. To do this select the Gallery menu on the left, double click on the item you want to etch, and a window will come up. Here at the top right you can define the dimensions and set some of the settings, like speed and Mode. For most basic shapes or cutting something out outline is what you want, but for etching an image the other 3 modes can be used, but you will need to do some trial and error to figure out what is best. Press ok and this generates the machine code, the laser is now ready to go, but if you want to change the power output go to the settings tab on the left and the ON/OFF slider changes the power output level of the laser, you might need to lower this if you are etching an image and want more detail.

Now once you’re all setup press the button on the top of the laser to turn it to power mode and then you can hit the START button in the software and it will cut away!

Here are some pictures from my first engrave:

Next up I wanted to try a piece of thin cardboard, its what my wife uses as packaging for our 3D printed earrings and I thought it would be cool to put our logo at the bottom, this time I turned the power down to 250 (25%) and did an outline instead of an etch. You will note I used a piece of wood to do some tests, this piece is actually the “base” that I got for the machine, It’s 12mm MDF and will never be cut through, It’s good to do a test on it then you have something to line up your work piece with.
Here’s the first attempt. looks pretty good!

And here’s what it looked like mid burn:

One last thing I thought I’d try is cutting some 1.5mm balsa wood. Previously I left the cut speed on 1000, this time I turned it down to 300, and I did an outline of a logo I had on my laptop. I really fluked the settings, have a look at the video below of me removing the cut piece… Quite Awesome!!
https://youtu.be/P5L0wD5LAsg

FINAL THOUGHTS:
So what do I think of this thing? I’m impressed with how well it worked out of the box, and how simple the settings are (after 3d printing which has a lot more settings). I think if you are a maker and love making different bits and pieces this is a good little machine to have lying around, It’s also small and light so can be put in a cupboard and just pulled out each time you want to use it which makes it a bit nicer to own. The use cases are somewhat limited so I wouldnt get one just cause, you would need to have something in mind that you wanted to make with it, maybe you want to cut up balsa to make model aircraft or boats or you want to engrave images on pieces of wood to sell.

I saw a few bad reviews saying the laser turned on when it shouldn’t have, causing them to have a safety risk. I was aware of this so wore my glasses whenever the machine was powered (should anyway) but I noticed they did not follow the instructions to connect it to the computer and setup before powering the machine, the laser does fire if the machine is powered up when you plug in the USB (so isn’t foolproof) but if you follow the instructions correctly it’s not an issue. This is also why I recommended turning on focus mode before powering up as an additional layer of safety since the laser won’t fire in focus mode.

As far as low end laser engravers go this one seems quite good, and it does what it’s meant to. I have heard people having problems with some of the rip off ones that are a copy of the Eleksmaker branded unit, supposedly they use cheaper lasers and overdrive them, meaning that the lasers die after a couple of hours use. Let me know what you think of this review anyways and if you’d like to see more CNC product reviews? I’d like to do a small C02 laser unit that can engrave soft metal, and maybe a small 3 axis CNC mill.

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Two Trees Sapphire Pro 3D Printer Review

Order the Two Trees Sapphire Pro from Banggood HERE and use coupon code BGTTSPC to get $20USD off!

Hey guys, back at it with another review!!

This time I opted for the Two Trees Sapphire Pro which you can purchase from here if you’re interested: LINK HERE

I got the Upgraded Version of this printer which just includes an enclosure, you can get the standard version without the enclosure from the same product listing as well if you aren’t wanting an enclosure.

Why did you choose to review this printer?
I’ve been wanting to try another CoreXY printer for a while now, if you don’t know what that is I’ll explain it in a topic below. This printer has a lot of good features, TCM2208 Silent motor drivers, touchscreen interface, BMG extruder drive, included enclosure, 24v power supply etc, and this printer does it at a relatively cheap price. I havent had a Two Trees branded printer yet, and I wanted to give them a try. At a first glance I didn’t think Two Trees seemed like a quality brand but after some research the finish of their printers actually looked quite decent. I hope we will prove this in the coming weeks of testing.

Initial packaging thoughts/ unboxing
So the box was a little smaller than what I expected, hinting at the assembly ahead… As usual I’ll show step-by step photos of the unboxing and then move onto the next part – Assembly. 

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And Here is the instruction Manual:

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Overall it was quite well packaged and nothing appeared to be damaged from transport.

Assembly overview
The assembly complexity of this printer appears to be somewhere between the Ender 3 Pro and the Anet A8 Plus. It took me about 6 hours all up, and I did it pretty much entirely based off of the included instruction booklet that I showed above. It was all relatively straightforward assembly though.

First thing is to install the 4 main posts, they each have 2 screws on the side and one from underneath. I recommend installing all the screws but leaving them slightly loose until you put the top plate on so it is easier to line things up.

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Next thing is the 2 Solid round bars that hold the bed, they just slipped into the mounts at the bottom and the screw tightened them up.

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Then the bed assembly, this was pretty easy too. 
Firstly is putting the linear bearings into the bed platform, I missed a pic of this but its just 8 screws to hold them in.
The instructions failed to mention the insulating pad under the bed but this is easy enough, I applied this first and then mounted the bed with the 4 screws, thumb nuts and springs onto the bed platform.

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Then I had to slide the bed onto the round bars and wind the lead screw in to wind the bed down

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Installed the Z-Axis Limit switch

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Next up was the top plate, it goes with the two stepper motors towards the front of the machine, and there are just 4 screws going down into the V slot extrusions. After I installed this I also tightened the screws at the bottom of the V slot extrusions.

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Extruder fitment was just 3 screws. I did notice that the older version of this printer only had 2, so an improvement there.

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Next up was belts. They were a bit hard but not so bad. They supply one long belt, so I would recommend cutting this in half for a start and then fitting it as per the diagram in the manual and attaching it to the extruder by wrapping the belt through the slot and then cabletieing it to itself to restrain it. Make sure to get adequate tension so the belts make a slight “twang” when you flick them and cut off any excess belt (leave 20mm or so incase you need to tighten them further). After the belts are all attached add a second cable tie to further secure them.

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Then I installed the BMG extruder. You have to add the thumbscrew, spring and washer that tensions the extruder drive as it isn’t installed in the packaging but this is easy.
Once I added the extruder and bowden tube this is what I got (I later shortened the bowden tube and cut the ends better as they werent perfectly straight cuts)

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The next hurdle to tackle was the wiring…. This is what makes this assembly harder than the ender 3. The instruction booklet shows the diagram pretty well, the main issue was where to route the cables, but I figured it out. Here’s some pics of the wiring process, if anyone wants more detail here please let me know.

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Aaand here is what the finished printer looks like. This is if you get the standard version, and I have actually got the upgraded version which includes an anclosure, so we will do this next.

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Here I installed the adhesive bed cover.

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So the enclosure parts seem very well made, to fit the mounting screws I had to modify some of my cable management that goes inside the V-Slots, but this was easy enough:

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So it was just a matter of twisting these V-Slot mounting nuts into the slots and screwing on the panels, here’s when I was almost finished:

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And with the doors mounted:

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So this concludes the assembly procedure, i’ll move on.

What were the first print results (included test print)?
So there appeared to be nothing on the SD card when I put it in, but I put it in my PC and everything was in a zipped folder. I found this 1cm cube test print so I put that straight on with the included filament. Here are some pictures:

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But I wasn’t overly happy with this as a test, too small and simple. So I imported the included CURA profile which was easy and then printed a benchy. The settings need a slight tweak but overall i am impressed with the results

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How can I setup this printer in cura?
Included on the SD card is a CURA project that you can open with CURA and it adds the printer. Worked pretty well actually.

Are there any quirks about this printer?
There was an included auto level sensor thing that I dont know what to do with, I couldnt find any information on it anywhere so more to come with that. Also it appears the filament runout sensor isnt activated by default so I’ve left it unplugged for now. I’ll do some investigating here and come back with fixes or guides on how to get these working.

Are the special features of this printer useful?
The included enclosure is a good addition, I liked the included cable management options and the CoreXY design may be good for higher speed and quality prints.

What are some good points about this printer?

  • The enclosure will allow good printing of items other than PLA (ABS, TPU, ETC)
  • Core XY design
  • Silent steppers
  • 24V Power Supply
  • Good Cable Management
  • BMG Extruder
  • Touchscreen interface
  • polished design

What are some bad points about this printer?

  • No Glass Bed
  • Bowden tube extruder setup
  • Filament runout sensor and auto level setup aren’t usable out of the box

Final thoughts – Who should purchase this printer?
This printer has a lot of good features out of the box, and the finish of the Two Trees brand has actually impressed me. This is one of few printers that you can get with an included enclosure for the price, and it looks very nice with the enclosure so won’t be considered as an eye sore by the women in our lives….. The enclosure is great for materials other than PLA, and even with PLA is great if you don’t want to keep the printer in an enclosed room as airflow drafts can cause issues with 3D prints. Overall this printer has a very good featureset for the price and I will continue to develop my knowledge of it so that I can help anyone out who purchases it. Please let me know if you have any further questions about this printer.

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Tenlog Hands 2 3D Printer Review

EDIT: Order the Tenlog Hands 2 from Banggood HERE and use coupon code BG04a4f7 to get it for only $358USD!

Hey guys, back at it with another review!!

This time I opted for the Tenlog Hands 2 which you can purchase from here if you’re interested: LINK HERE

Why did you choose to review this printer?
I have free choice to review any printer on the market, and I’d love to eventually get through all the printers out there. The reason I chose this printer is because I’m looking for specific features that i currently believe are important and at a certain price point. This printer features direct drive extruders, and it is a dual printhead machine meaning it can do multi colour, multi material, or duplicate prints. I’m yet to try a dual printhead machine, and there did seem to be a few options available but this is the cheapest one I could find that had dual direct drive extruders. I did seem to not be able to find much info on the actual extruders, but we shall find out tonight!

Initial packaging thoughts/ unboxing
So the box was a little smaller than the artillery I recently received but in the same neighbourhood for size. 

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Stupidly I opened the bottom of the box not the top (facepalm)

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Anyways I flipped her over and got into it, here’s the step by step process of me unboxing it:

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Now overall everything was packed well, and nothing was damaged despite a damaged section of the external cardboard that suggested the box has had an impact during shipping.

Assembly overview
Much like the Artillery Genius, assembly was a breeze in comparison to the Anet A8 Plus or even the Ender 3:
First step was mounting the gantry to the base, just 4x M5 screws as usual, I will note I slid the base off of the table to put the screws in this time instead of tipping the whole thing on tits side, this did work better.

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Next step was to mount the extruders, and I am very impressed by the mounting system which is 2 CNC aluminium pieces that key together with 4 screws, this is a very accurate method and would make the extruders basically hot-swappable.

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Now i’m at about 5 minutes after starting assembly and the thing looks done… lol.
Next was plugging in the wires, i’m going to put these pictures and see if you notice something (an unusual double up)

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I had to do a double take for a second…. 2x limit switches on the z-axis?!?!?! THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER. It is a common mod to have a z-sync belt that ties the z-axis lead screws together so that the z axis doesnt become unlevel during power off (this is a big issue with my CR10S5), but that is a dodgy bandaid compared to just re-homing both sides of the z axis independently and I am really pleased with this feature.

Next is plugging in the extruders and heated bed, I like the use of standard connectors for the extruders as they would be easy to place, but cable management is lacking, I think I might make some rollers that go on top of the gantry for the extruder cables to rest on.

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So final physical build step is the spool holders, pretty straight forward:

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Now It was power up time, I’ll put some pictures of the screens here, I like the different menus.

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Bed levelling…

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Some settings

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The included SD card and reader are quite nice, I also like the chrome on the slots in the printer.

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Next it was time to load up the filament, I added in the two rolls and put the filament into their respective extruders. The extruder drive seems similar to the creality one but you cant really see inside it.

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You push down on the piece where my thumb is to be able to push the filament through

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On the display you have to type in the temperature

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This brings the printer into a printable state so we will move to the next step!

What were the first print results (included test print)?
I put the included test print on:

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Initial results were looking okay, but i was wondering why it didnt have a prime/wipe tower for the dual colours, this left some straggly filament leakage on the edge of the print at first so I wasnt overly impressed, but I was amazed by the quality after I broke off the straggly bits.

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The accuracy of the printer really amazed me. I went ahead and found the Low-Poly pokemon models… here is the one I printed last night…

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It still needs some tuning but I am really happy for now.

How can I setup this printer in cura?
Included on the SD card is a copy of cura that has a profile for this printer pre-loaded. I’m not a fan of re-installing cura just to get this profile out though so I will host it up on my website when I do the blog post for this printer.

Are there any quirks about this printer?
I was suprised by how thick the glass bed was, pretty much double the thickness of most that i’ve seen at 6mm.

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Are the special features of this printer useful?
I expect the dual colour and dual material capabilities of this printer will be extremely useful for me for special prints and if you have a bit more to spend on a printer this is a feature i’d definitely consider. The fact that all of the other features like direct drive extruders and the limit switch setup make it a very good starting point of a printer, nothing really needs to be done to print things like TPU and the print quality seems as good as any.

What are some good points about this printer?

  • The Glass bed is very thick (6mm)
  • Dual Z-Axis Limit switches
  • Dual Direct drive extruders
  • Inductive limit switches
  • Touchscreen interface
  • polished design
  • Standard connectors

What are some bad points about this printer?

  • Extruder connectors seem a little dodgy and I worry they won’t last, but easy to replace or manage
  • Price is higher ($379USD)
  • Not much else.

Final thoughts – Who should purchase this printer?
I dont think this would be a common first printer as people generally gravitate towards something in the Ender 3 price range, but I think if you are wanting to do flexible materials in multi colour then this is definitely the way to go. I scoured the internet looking for multi colour capable printers with this feature set and it’s incredibly hard to find, especially not at this price. I absolutely love the Dual limit switch setup, and its cool to see it level one side, then the other and then check the first side again. Mostly what I like about this printer is that at this point I wouldn’t change much about it at all, I’m not thinking about all the mods i’m going to do to it it’s just ready to use already.

If you guys have any questions please let me know, multi material printing is new to me and I’m looking forward to learning more about it and sharing it with you all!

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Artillery Sidewinder X1 Review

Artillery saw my previous review of their Genius printer and offered to send over their other model, which is the Artillery Sidewinder X1. This printer was on my list of printers that I wanted to cover so of course I said YES and here we are.
The Sidewinder X1 is the older, bigger brother to the Genius that I previously reviewed, but it has had a few revisions with the one I got being V4. This means it has a lot of upgrades that were included in the Genius model.

You can purchase this printer from here:
Artillery official store on Aliexpress: HERE
Banggood: HERE

I mention my review of the Artillery Genius a few times, it can be found HERE

Why did you choose to review this printer?
The Artillery Genius is hands down my current favourite printer, it is easy to use, it’s consistent, its quiet, it heats up fast and its just an all around polished machine. Having a bigger version of what is virtually the same machine sounds like an excellent idea to me and in this review we will find out if it still maintains the same standards as the smaller, newer variant. I would like to hear what printer you guys would like to see me review and why.

Initial packaging thoughts/ unboxing
So the box was one of the biggest i’ve got, almost as big as my CR10-S5, which told me from the get go that assembly would be minimal. The box arrived in perfect condition suprisingly, and shipping direct from Artillery to Australia was around the 1 week mark which suprised me especially with the current COVID-19 status. As usual I’ll show step-by step photos of the unboxing and then move onto Assembly. 

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I was impressed to see the cardboard angle line to help with edge rigidity in the box.

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And Here is the instruction Manual

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Overall it was very well packaged and nothing appeared to be damaged from transport.

Assembly overview
The assembly complexity of this printer is right at the bottom end with the Genius, just a few basic steps and you’re going. It took me about 20 minutes all up, and I did it100% off of the included instruction booklet that I showed above. I will list out the steps below.
Insert the gantry in the base

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Put the spring washers on the included M5 screws

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Insert the M5 screws under the base to screw through into the bottom of the gantry.

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Mount the filament holder on top with the 4 screws and pre-installed slot nuts, plug in the filament run-out sensor.

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Plug in the Z-axis steppers, and the z and x-axis limit switches.

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Untape, straighten and plug the x-axis ribbon cable into the extruder unit.

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Repeat the same for the y-axis ribbbon but plug it into the base of the printer

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This is the end of the assembly, but the instructions asked to check the eccentric nuts so i felt around for axis movement and loose rollers and only found one roller on the z-axis was loose so I adjusted it

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here’s a picture of the finished machine

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So this concludes the assembly procedure, i’ll move on.

What were the first print results (included test print)?
There was an included test print on the USB stick, but no filament so i put some transparent blue filament in I had out.
If you would like to see the menus, check out my review of the Artillery Genius, the software is the same.
The first layer looked quite nice, I tried to get a pic of it:

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and here is the whole printer, while printing

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The finished test print on the bed

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and removed

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How can I setup this printer in cura?
I will cover CURA setup in my next post about this printer, If I forget it please remind me.

Are there any quirks about this printer?
Not really, this is a very nice machine. The only one thing I liked about the genius that this didn’t have is the PCI-express style connector for the gantry to the base but I understand that this is a slightly older design and i can’t see any real issues with the way the ribbon cable attaches.

Are the special features of this printer useful?
This printer has pretty much all the features. 24V, silent steppers, AC heated bed, direct drive titan extruder, dual lead screw with a sync belt etc.

What are some good points about this printer?

  • Dual lead screw with sync belt
  • Silent steppers
  • 24V Power Supply
  • Excellent Cable Management
  • Titan style direct drive extruder
  • Touchscreen interface
  • AC heated bed
  • very sleek finish

What are some bad points about this printer?

  • Cost is slightly higher than other printers I’ve reviewed, you get what you pay for.

Final thoughts – Who should purchase this printer?
This printer is very well finished and time will tell it’s overall reliability (I will give updates). This printer is excellent for someone new to the hobby or experienced, it is good because you don’t need to know a lot to get it functioning and it smooths out the steep learning curve of 3D Printing. i really like the build quality and product finish that artillery is able to offer and I look forward to reviewing more of their machines in the future.

I’m far from finished with this review and will cover CURA setup, print settings and tpu printing very soon. I hope to 3D print a quite complex mask with this printer from TPU soon, so you have that to look forward to 

Big Grin

.

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Artillery Genius 3D Printer Review

This printer is now for sale at the link below for $279 using offer code “BGGenius” get it while you can!!

First things first, here’s a link to the Artillery Genius 3d Printer: Artillery Genius DIY 3D Printer

I chose the Artillery Genius for a few reasons, mainly because it’s something different. I wanted to keep the same size and price class as the Ender 3 XS Pro and Anet A8 Plus that I previously reviewed, but look into a few different main features. The main eye catching feature of this printer for me is that it has an AC heated bed which is unheard of at this price point. It also looks like a generally higher quality printer than the Anet or Creality counterparts but time will tell here.

Upon opening the box i found the printer was mostly assembled and there were a lot less pieces than any printer I have received so far.
Here are some pictures of the unboxing process:

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So my initial thoughts:

  • Everything seems more polished than traditional printers
  • It still has the basic V slot design, with the bottom being the same as a standard V slot printer but with cover sheeting (I assume this is the same as the CR10 Pro models)
  • The blue injection moulded parts appear nice
  • The printer has ribbon cables to run everything on the gantry, I like how they look and move but time will tell their reliability
  • There is a PCIE x 1 slot utilised to link between the gantry and base, making assembly very simple.

Now, assembly is fully shown in 2 pages on the book that is included, basically screw on the gantry, install the spool rollers and plug a few cables in.

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Here’s the PCI express interface I talk about:

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For main assembly, I slotted in the gantry and tipped the printer to its side to insert the bolts from below:

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Then I had to plug in a few cables at the bottom for the stepper motors and end stop like this one:

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The filament spool holder setup is a bit different, which I like as new ideas are good for hobbies:

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The instructions said to adjust the V slot eccentric nuts if anything was loose, and I found that everything on the gantry was nice and tight but the bed had a little bit of movement in the Y direction (Up and Down). I moved the eccentric nuts with the included (and very nice) spanner while wobbling the bed until it stopped wobbling but not so far that it was tight to slide. In this picture you can see the eccentric nuts under the bed frame:

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Now, Here is the assembled printer:

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I followed the instructions for bed levelling, it reccommended the paper method, but oh I love how easy it is to bed level with the touch screen. I took photos of each step of the menus here:

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It recommended heating nozzle and bed for 1min before levelling, so I did:

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And now here is the Levelling menu, just press on each corner and adjust the bed, no auto level>disable steppers and manual movement stuff…

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Here’s some pics from levelling

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Levelling went smoothly, I did it with paper all around and then quickly double checked and touched up by eye, which was suuuuper easy with the button presses.
I have noticed by this point but the steppers are nice and quiet, even at high speeds!

Lastly after I added an old almost empty roll of white filament for a test, I put the test print on, here’s a pic of the first layer:

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Unfortunately this test print was somewhat underwhelming. It didn’t have consistent extrusion and the finish wasn’t nice.

So I decided after the underwhelming test print I would set this up in CURA so I have a known start place and go from there. Technically there is no CURA profile for this printer, but since It is basically an Ender 3 I created an Ender 3 profile and then renamed it and changed the start and end G code to what i prefer on my Ender 3. Really nothing else was required for changes which is good. I will probably export and upload the profile to my blog when I complete this review if anyone wants it.

Now for print settings I didn’t change that much from the basic ender 3 settings, the main one was that I changed retraction from 5mm to 1mm as this printer has a direct drive extruder.

I wanted to print a baby yoda, so I scaled the model down 50% and put it on the USB stick included with the printer.

For changes on the printer itself, I tightened the preload on the spring for the extruder drive, which was quite easy with the small knob on the back. I did this because the last print was under-extruding and I noticed the drive gear was slipping on the filament and it even made a bit of a mess of chunks of filament.

Now, THIS is the result (First pic showing the tree supports):

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After this success, i scaled the model back up to 100% and went again.

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And one in green, because Yoda..

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So I’ve gotta say, the quality of these prints is impeccable, I did use a 0.12 layer height because I know that this is an intricate and curvy model, but WOW I am impressed.

No visible layer lines, no layer shift, no nothing just a perfect print, on the SECOND print, with my guessed CURA settings….. No benchmarks, no nothing lol.

Let me know your thoughts 

Big Grin
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Anet A8 Plus Review

Hey Guys!

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:

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It was at this point that I realised……

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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.

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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:

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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):

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Finally, here are some roller guides and rollers i printed for my ender 3 enclosure on the Anet A8 Plus:

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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.

Cheers,

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