No need to spend a fortune today to embark on 3D printing. Here is the Anet A8, a
200 € 150 € printer at a very good price / quality ratio.
I always wanted to know what a low-cost 3D printer was worth in terms of performance. My partner Gearbest allowed me to have an answer, allowing me to discover the world of 3D printing. You will therefore excuse in advance some approximations that I owe to my meager experience in this matter. But believe me, I’m going to improve, and you’ll see articles about 3D printing a little more often!
Anet A8 introduction
The Anet A8 Desktop is a low-cost printer. It is based on Prusa I3. It is delivered as a kit, in a carton of about 9 kg. For my part, the polystyrene had suffered a little, I thought a risk for some parts, but it was not, we talk about editing later. Here are the main features, do not hesitate to comment if I omit some important information:
- Printing volume : 220 x 220 x 240 mm
- Nozzle diameter : 0,4 mm
- Filament diameter : 1,75 mm
- Precision : 0,1 mm
- Print speed : 100 mm/s
- Bed : alu, heating
- Materials : ABS, Luminescent, Nylon PVA, PLA, PP, wood
- X and Y axis precision : 0,012 mm
- Z axis precision : 0,004 mm
- Supported formats : STL, OBJ, gcode
Do not look for paper-based building instructions, there are none. In any case, it would take a 100-pages Bible to get through it. No, just read the files from the micro-SD (via the USB adapter provided), to find a link to a series of video tutorials. No language barrier, the video is silent (sometimes with a little music) and explanatory enough to get out pretty easily. Too bad the cameraman left his tripod at home, and has some problems with focus, but despite that I have not encountered any particular difficulty.
The assembly went well, in about 4 to 5 hours, the longest having been to remove the protective papers plastic parts, all laser cut elsewhere.
The bed leveling is manual, of course, but easily made. This done, all you have to do is slip the filament into the nozzle, preheat it all and start printing the test file. I had no settings to make, the printing went very well.
So I undertook to download a bust of my dear Yoda in STL format. I first opened it with my favorite software, Cinema 4D, to see if nothing was wrong, then I imported it into Cura, the software that came with the printer. It generates the gcode file that contains the printer settings information.
Having left the default settings (based on a Prusa Mendel I3 profile) with the exception of the diameter of the filament, this model was printed in approximately 4 hours with an accuracy of 0.25 mm, which explains why the strata are also visible. But even with this thickness, prototyping is largely feasible, as well as some small everyday objects. My little boy will want a game of chess with the image of pokemon … I will think to put the precision to 0.1 mm!
Like I said on Google+, I like this thing! I will now explore all the settings to make the most of them. Anyway, this Anet A8 is really a great opportunity to discover 3D printing without ruining yourself. The assembly is easy (even my 8-year-old son has put his hand to the task), and the result is quite satisfying, even exhilarating: it is a real pleasure to see the objects being born before his eyes! The Anet A8 printer is available here. Are you looking for a printer for less than 115€? This one is in your rates. Similar in design to the Anet A8, it offers a smaller printing volume: 14x12x13 cm. But it’s still a very good choice to start with!
I initially wrote this article in French in mid-2016. But this printer still has a huge success and is really good for beginning with 3D printing, as I did 2 years ago. That’s why I decided to translate this article aiming to make it available to everyone as it’s my most read article in french version.