UPDATE: I have sold my Anet A8, so I checked off everything that I did to it below and will not be upgrading it further. We’ll see what 3D printer my future holds.
Following the lead of some of my friends at college, I bought an Anet A8. For those of you who are not familiar with the Anet A8, it is a 3D printer kit that costs approximately $150. How does it get this cheap? By being an okay printer that requires hours of work to be functional.
Over my fall break, I built the printer over the course of 24 hours with many breaks in between. There were various issues, such as mounting things upside-down and pieces requiring hammering to fit into place. All struggles aside, I finished and had a working printer.
This is my printer in the middle of one of its first prints:
Something I can appreciate about the printer is the amount of flexibility and control over the design. Thingiverse has countless prints available to improve the printer.
These are most of the things on my to-do list for the printer:
- [x] Add a MOSFET to the hotbed
- [x] Print top T-braces for X-axis stability
- [x] Print bottom T-braces for X-axis stability
- [x] Print adapters to make the spool holder better
- [x] Print a better fan duct
- [x] Add a power switch for the printer with a fuse
- [x] Print knobs to adjust bed level instead of the wing nuts
- [x] Drill out the threads for the bed to allow for easier bed leveling
- [ ] Flash better firmware onto the control board
- [ ] Print belt tensioners
- [x] Get better bearings or find a better lubricant
- [x] Print an extruder button to make filament switching feel better
When you are buying the Anet A8, you are not buying it to have a 3D printer necessarily. You are buying a project to work on and learn from.