The Anet A8 3D-Printer
The search began, probing the internet for a 3d printer on a budget. Finally, I came across the Anet A8 DIY kit and the prices seemed reasonable from multiple online retailers. From about $150 to $200 was the typical price range that I seen. After spending hours watching YouTube videos on the capabilities of 3D printing, I was convinced that I had to have one.
Ultimately, I searched Google for a coupon or discount and found one for the Anet A8 DIY kit for $129.99 and I ordered it. Thinking ahead I made sure to order some 1.75mm filament with it. Arriving from China within a week, the un-boxing began . Like a kid on Christmas morning, I was full of excitement. Carefully opening the box as quickly as I could, I verify that nothing is damaged or missing.
Do it yourself
Keeping in mind that this is a Do-It-Yourself(DIY) kit, there is assembly required. Do not let that discourage you as there are detailed instructions included on the SD card included, as well as numerous YouTube videos and an enormous online community available for help if needed. All of the tools necessary for completing the assembly process are included which makes things simple. The assembly process took me about 8 hours to complete, but can be done in a much shorter time. During this time I was sure to double check that everything was going together correctly. It’s important to note that you should hook up electronics to power supply before assembly to ensure your components are in good working order.
This printer runs from G-code files generated in a slicer program such as Cura or Repetier-Host. I have used both with success.There is also Simplify-3d, which is a paid software that I have not yet used. These G-code files are placed on the SD card via the USB SD card reader included. You will need to use your computer, whether a laptop or PC. There are many settings in the slicer software that can be changed with different results, but that’s another subject. I will say that for me the print speed and nozzle temperature have the biggest visual impact. My settings would likely not match the same printer in a different environment. Some types of plastic are more sensitive to humidity, while the ambient room temperature could effect your nozzle and print bed temperatures.
Printing with Anet A8
Finally with the assembly complete and a G-code file ready, I load the SD card into the printer and power it on. After leveling the print bed and loading the filament I was ready for my first print. It was semi-successful, however, this was due to my slicer settings. After getting my settings calibrated to my printer and environment, I was getting better results than I ever expected out of such a low cost machine.
The upgrades available include different types of extruders, printable belt tensioners, fan shrouds. Glass print beds, flexible print beds, the list goes on and on. You can also design your on upgrades or anything else that you might want to print on Tinkercad.com. There are plenty of tutorials to get you started. Free files are available at Thingiverse.com for downloading to print. Some of these files have different licenses, so some you may not be able to resell while others you will.
Patience is important to success
With a bit of patience and practice the performance of this machine along with it’s ease of use make this printer worth the money and then some. After a short time of owning one, people will begin to ask you to make them things. It can be a nice little side income for a relatively low investment. There are many upgrades that are available to print and purchase, but out of the box I was able to get precision prints after a few attempts and getting to know the machine.
I would recommend the Anet A8 DIY kit to anyone looking to join the 3D printing community without having to spend a whole lot of money, but especially beginners because the assembly process helps develop a working knowledge of your machine. I would recommend searching the internet for coupons and codes. Mine was purchased from Gearbest.com and I had no problems. We are all always searching for a bargain and with the cost of printers dropping and the popularity growing, they are definitely getting more available.
In conclusion, this is a great little machine for the money. It is surprisingly capable for a low cost printer and would be a great addition for beginners and experts alike. Below is a list of pros and cons to help those considering purchasing an Anet A8 3d printer.