Anet A8 - Cheap 3D Printer

Discussion in 'Corrugated Plastic (Coro) & 3D Printing' started by lithgowlights, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    OK After a week with the Anet A8 I have a few images and comments regarding this extremely affordable printer. Firstly a big thanks to Anet, Maker Hacks and especially Chris Garrett for this printer, and the help given to me by a few other users both in the Maker Hacks and in the Anet Facebook groups

    The Anet A8, when I first saw it, was not on my radar at all. I own a Flashforge Dreamer and an Ararum Wombot, both which have been extremely reliable printers, so if I was looking at a new printer it was likely to be a metal frame and larger than a 250mm bed, so why the A8? I am forever printing things like covers, braces, clips, holders etc for other peoples display, so could the A8 be an affordable item that they could use to print their own items? In a word: Yes.

    The A8's Laser Cut polycarbonate frame is far from stiff, but there are a massive number of different braces and clips designed to stiffen parts of the printer up, and in the end it is actually quite surprising how well the things work. I added some of the braces to the printer during the build, and will continue to add more soon, but the rest will be printed on the A8 itself I also added an external MOSFET for the heated bed, and will, very soon replace the heated bed wiring connections and maybe add a second MOSFET for the hot end.

    I have partly finished an enclosure for the printer, but at the moment it has no sides, as they will be added once the printer is completely tested, and upgraded. I still have a rear frame brace to add, as well as replacing the belts and adding belt tensioners. I will also add a glass bed to the printer as well, but that can wait as the tape is OK for now.

    What needs to be done when you get the printer? Really nothing, but for reliability I suggest looking ad adding bracing, fix the cables on the hot end, and replacing the appallingly poor quality belts with something better. I also replaced the Power Supply with a 12V 350W one I had in stock here, as load testing the stock one caused it to fail after 3 hours at 180W - that was way shorter than I expected it to last.

    My only actual failure of the printer was something I should have checked. I had run a few prints with mediocre results in terms of layer bonding and strength. Using PLA filament that I knew was good, I could not get a decent print at 210c hot end, 60c bed - it was like it was under extruding, so a test was done to extrude 100mm and check the hot end did infact use 100mm of raw filament. It started so well, and then I noted an occasional skip of the extruder, and this got worse and worse. Hot end temps barely moved so it was not a poor heater, but in the end it turned out to be a clogged nozzle - small 2-3 mm runs caused no problem, but longer runs of 10+mm in one go simply caused the nozzle to clog, but wait 30 seconds and it would free again and you can print. It showed all the signs of the hot end cooling down, but a contact thermocouple showed less than a 3 degree drop. Swapped out the nozzle and it's printing perfectly!

    [​IMG]
    Well packed and undamaged - thats always a good thing from China

    [​IMG]
    The adapter from the 2 pin plug to the Australian plug was not used, and I actually think this is illegal as the supplied PSU is NOT double insulated, and contains a metal frame so it should be earthed, and the provided adapter does not provide for an earth. The entire cable was thrown out and replaced with a new one.

    [​IMG]
    Box Layer 1

    [​IMG]
    Box Layer 2. Oh and the paper cover of the laser cut acrylic frame is the devils work - it took ages to get off all the parts!

    [​IMG]
    Box Layer 3.

    [​IMG]
    The supplied 12V 200W PSU. This PSU was replaced with a new 350W one, and failed my load testing after just a few hours.
    Box
     

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    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
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  2. OP
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    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    Part 2

    [​IMG]
    The build is started - the Y endstop switch is installed on the back panel

    [​IMG]
    Y motor in place.

    [​IMG]
    The frame is starting to take shape. This was actually the most difficult bit as you almost need 3 hands to hold the nuts in the frame, frame in position and then screw in the bolt. Luckily I used tape [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The Y carriage is starting to be placed in place. You can see the front brace, but the rear brace has yet to be installed. The 2 white braces really stiffen up the whole frame and make a massive difference. The heated bed is about to go on, but I chose to place the connector at the side where I can watch for issues, as well as to keep it away from the Y motor if it was installed at the back as some people do it.

    [​IMG]
    Heated bed in place, and the 2 Z motor mounts are connected and in place.

    [​IMG]
    Left side Z motor mount. These looked a bit flimsy, but in reality were very stiff and hold the motors really well.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  3. OP
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    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    Part 3

    [​IMG]
    Here is the Z threaded rods in place, and the whole hot end gantry installed, and the control panel and buttons up the top.

    Here I struck a slight issue and that was the at the Y axis bearings were pretty rough and did not want to slide well. A good dose of white lithium grease and they soon freed up and could be tightened down fine.

    [​IMG]
    X axis belt and extruder in place

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    There were no screws long enough to go through the supplied frame into the motor, so I managed to scrounge 2 from my spare parts draw. The only ones of adequate length were actually too long and bottomed out on the motor before tightening up on the frame. It does look like this part is different to the video's so it may be a later upgrade. It is also really hard to get the X belt through this as well, but with some perseverance and tweezers it worked fine

    [​IMG]
    Controller board with the external heated bed MOSFET above it.

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    The black supplied cable wrap was pretty loose, so I decided to use some opaque stuff that I had here as it tends to bundle the cables tighter.

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    Messy cables for now - I'll tidy them up later, but you could say it's a homage to smartalecs normal wiring quality?
     

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    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    Part 4

    [​IMG]
    Yep still messy [​IMG]

    You may note that I ran 2 sq mm cable from the MOSFET over to the Power Supply. Since the heated bed is often the most power hungry item on the printers, supplying this from a separate cable made a lot of sense.

    [​IMG]
    About ready to turn it on.

    [​IMG]
    Smoke test: Passed!!!!

    [​IMG]
    First print. Z offset still needed work and has been fixed. Under extrusion turned out to be a clogged nozzle but I did not find that for a week, as new nozzles dont normally clog....

    [​IMG]
    Printer in the case. The 12V LED strip is powered from the printers supply (Switch to be added soon), and the sides will go on soon. I just have to replace the belts and change the Z endstop switch and I'm done.

    [​IMG]
     

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  5. OP
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    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    Saved for future images with the new belt, case done etc :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  6. Boof63

    Boof63 Full Time Elf

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    Hi lithgow, just wondering what the cost for this whole setup and improvements
    has been for you.
    Cheers Boof63
    Apologies after posting- light bulb went on- check google DOH:oops:o_O
     
  7. OP
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    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    No cost, except $15 in filament. By the time I'm finished I will have printed about half a roll of upgrades to the printer, maybe a little more. MOSFET upgrade was AU$14 delivered, but second identical one is only $10 from the same supplier. Case is made from 2 tables from Ikea at $7.95 each, and 2 bits of MDF I had here, but it's likely to be $15 worth, same as the LED Strip - it's what I had spare, and half a roll went into each printers enclosure. Only thing I need to get is a front door for the 2 enclosures. All up it will be maybe $80-100 worth of improvements, none of which are required, but many are "strongly recommended" such as the MOSFET, PSU and frame bracing
     
  8. bbayjohn

    bbayjohn Full Time Elf

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    Thanks for the rightup on the arnet A8. I have been looking at these recently. Looks very complicated to build. Are there any good videos worth watching to help with the build? Where did you buy the A8 from?
     
  9. OP
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    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    These are a lot of great step by step videos on YouTube - the images show my laptop sitting behind the printer and that's the build video being shown. In reality it was about 4-5 hours to build and another hour to set up, so a good days work. I got mine from Gearbest with a big thanks to Maker Hacks and Chris.
     
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  10. heathwithnoteeth

    heathwithnoteeth Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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  11. kevr

    kevr Full Time Elf

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  12. scamper

    scamper Senior Elf

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    I have been looking at these printers for a while now and keep putting it off.
    Can you tell me why you went for the a8 over the a6?
     
  13. OP
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    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    Heath: Yes thats the one I got, and the AnetA8 is sold by a LOT of distributors, but Gearbest seems to be the cheapest out there

    Kev: I created a group of things I have or am considering printing - https://www.thingiverse.com/Lithgowlights/collections/anet-a8-printer
    but the ones I have are these:
    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1852358
    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2074478
    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1857991
    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2009549

    Scamper: A challenge :) Also I was asked to add some things to a review, so I was up for something different, but the A6 looks good, but I really wanted a Creality CR10, but may weell get the Anet E10 as it does look interesting. I just need to work out where it can go in my shed, as it's a little squished at the moment... printers.jpg
     
  14. Fing

    Fing Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    squished? I see plenty of room there.. I also noted the red being drunk out of a hand cut crystal flute? :p
     
  15. OP
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    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    Well the hand cut crystal flute is plastic - Wife does not trust me with good glasses in the shed for some reason.
     

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