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Anet has been around for quite some time now since the advent of 3d printing and has released a printer that has been the favorite of many hobbyists primarily due to its low price and high-quality printing that matches the quality of some other premium printers. One would ask how on earth they were able to pull this up at such a low price.
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Well, talking pretty realistically and without violating any rules of basic economics, a prudent person will be able to understand that there must be some cost-cutting. Many realize this after buying this thing. It is not essentially a bad thing as it doesn’t affect that much on your prints, especially if the price is considered. However, there is much more room for improvement which the manufacturer has left for the consumer to figure out and thus the low price point.
That is why you are in luck since you have the opportunity to upgrade this printer at your will. You can upgrade just about any component of this printer and that is the beauty of all of it. In this article, we have put together some of the basic upgrades that you can do after buying this printer which includes PSU, belt, electrical components, etc.
What Is The Anet A8 3D Printer?
The Anet A8 3D printer is a high quality and low-cost 3d printer that has taken the market by storm. Almost everyone is talking about it. Since it is aimed at the consumer market and that it is new, it is growing more popular than ever. This Chinese 3d printer has been the favorite of many hobbyists that are on a budget. Let’s face it; these things don’t come cheap. If you are into some serious printing then you gotta spend some bucks. But what if you want to enjoy 3d printing as a hobby and not necessarily as a means of business? This is where the Anet a8 printer comes in. This is a lost cost, low profile, and small form factor printer that is suitable for hobbyist and small scale 3d printing. Coming just under two hundred dollars, you can purchase a DIY printer which will yield some decent results.
Why is there a need to upgrade?
The 3d printing community is laden with professionals and they have consistently laid down their concerns about cheap equipment for 3d printing. As evident from its price point, it is a presumed fact that there will inevitably be cost-cutting which reflects in the individual components. This affects the overall performance and quality of your prints and thus the need to upgrade those components that affect the performance.
Luckily this printer is very flexible. For very cheap, you can add tons of upgrades to it. This is one of the reasons so many people are buying it. There are quite a few upgrades that will transform this cheap machine into a full-fledged machine. There are some upgrades that are printable on demand while others can be bought separately. Having these upgrades in your printer will increase your performance manifolds.
In the list that follows, we have put together some of the essential upgrades from the upgrade collection of Anet that will give your printer an entirely new look and a performance that matches some of the high-end printers.
The Best Anet A8 Upgrades
Anet A8 Mainboard Upgrade
- High-quality auto-leveling motherboard made for Anet A8 printer
- Supports both the RAMPS 1.4 and 2004 LCD panel and control board
- 12-volt power supply with USB ports
- A newly upgraded circuit board that offers a highly stable performance
- MOS driver for high performance
This board is a nice little replacement and a good upgrade to your existing mainboard for many reasons. It is tailor-made for auto-leveling 3d printers. The highly integrated design gives you a lot of options to add further components to it. The board will function with a 12-volt power supply unit and comes with a USB input.
This model has upgraded its component design that offers a more stable performance even at higher workloads. The circuit design is revamped and the capacitors are very high quality that they are likely to last years. This makes it a very good investment for your money as well. We liked the support for MOS drivers which further increases the performance manifolds. The connectivity includes a 2004 LCD, 12864 mainboard controls, and Ramps 1.4 as well.
This is an all in one board to get all your printing tasks done. The Ramps modular interface can easily handle all the complex designs and prints the fine-looking output. It works in unison with the layout of the hardware and helps in optimizing the alignment. The design is highly efficient and stays cool even at full load thus making it more stable and provides you with the peak performance. Although it supports an ‘automatic leveling proximity probe’, which is quite nice, what is nicer is that you can manually adjust your own leveling.
The connections are very stable yet very concise and easy to use. The whole design makes it easy to organize your wiring making your work easier and more efficient. This board uses the stepper motor drive which is a dual motor interface for the z-axis. The subdivision stepper is the A4988 16 subdivision stepper dual drive. It has a 3 way PDM output that transfers high current through one line, 3-way current, and the 2-way small current through the other two lines.
The MOS tube makes the working better as it cools down through the MOS tubes which gives an overall better performance. The power supply chip supports the 12 v power input with voltage correction that eliminates the heating problem during the voltage conversion. It can be directly connected to the 2004 LCD C panel after removing the L type board adapter.
Anet A8 Printable Upgrades
- High-quality MOSFET with voltage regulation
- Option for adding a second POWER SUPPLY UNIT
- Directly plugs into hotbeds
- Best used with crimped wires
- Direct DC connection with no conversion required
Mosfet helps to determine the conductivity of any device through its voltage. Since this is extremely useful in amplification of voltages, 3d printers use them to fill the pool with high voltage supply to the hot ends. As this printer is a cheap one, it ends up struggling when it comes to high voltage regulation simply because the MOSFET is not rated high enough to deal with high voltages and currents that is essential for a 3d printer to work efficiently. Adding a MOSFET that has the correct rating and power to control high voltages with a heat sink on it helps a lot in increasing the performance of your printer.
This also eliminates the possibility of overheating during heavy operations. That is why they are also known to increase the efficiency of printing and longevity of the components as well. 3d printers are always at a risk of catching fire due to overheating. The MOSFET upgrade ensures that you don’t end up with a fire extinguisher in your hand while you just wanted to make a toy car model. The MOSFET upgrade also ensures that your motors are being provided with accurate voltages. This is probably the most common use of the MOSFET. It allows the voltages to be regulated and distributed evenly on the mainboard effectively reducing the chance of any potential hazard.
If you are printing ABS then you must add a MOSFET because in this case, the filaments need high temperatures and high bedding. But if you are using materials like PLA which require low temps, make sure that your bed isn’t causing a lot of stress on your mainboard and install a MOSFET anyway. Remember that the more efficient your setup is, the more quality finish you will have as these setups are dependent solely upon the hardware.
Another thing about MOSFETs is that it allows you to add a secondary POWER SUPPLY UNIT to your setup which generally reduces your time to almost half when you are heating your bed to the required temperatures. You can even have separate MOSFETs for the extruder and another one for the heated bed.
Keep in mind though that properly configuring your MOSFET will require a little bit of experimentation and it is advisable to watch some tutorials on how to do that. We recommend using third party MOSFET because the issue with the A8 stock MOSFET is that they are prone to short circuits due to excessive heat and voltage fluctuations. There are not many reported cases of A8 catching fire but we feel that it is better to be safe with this thing. Remember safety comes first.
The installation of these MOSFETs is pretty simple. The 3d printer board comes with extra wires that are pre-crimped and go all the way to the MOSFET from your main control board. After you are done connecting the control wires you will need to connect the DC terminals to the POWER SUPPLY UNIT. Here, we recommend using the crimped wires instead of the bare wires so that the chances of a short circuit are reduced. The next step will be to connect the hot wires to the heated bed. Just plug them into the terminals which say “hotbed”. This will be all. Just remember to use the crimped end wires for the MOSFET as well because the screw terminals will suit them better.
Anet A8 Power Supply Upgrade
- Supports both American and European voltage standards
- 12-volt output with 30 amps on rails
- High-quality POWER SUPPLY UNIT with POWER SUPPLY UNIT switch
- Used with 3D printers and computer projectors
- Anti-surge protection
- Overload and over-voltage protection
Do you need another PSU?
Many users including myself feel that the stock POWER SUPPLY UNIT of the A8 is not that big of a deal. I think the power supply unit is both underpowered and low quality. Luckily for you, it is fully upgradable. There are a lot of high-quality alternatives to this power supply but the Padarsey is one of those that we tested and can vouch for. Other users may just attach a mountable fan with a fused socket (also purchased separately) and get going with printing.
While it is not necessary to upgrade the power supply, it is better to be on the safer side. I will prefer working with a reliable and working system with consistent results than an unstable system that yields unsatisfactory results. Furthermore, having a quality power supply unit ensures that you have a continuous and uninterrupted supply which means that there are fewer chances of your system breaking down during printing.
This supply is widely used for CCTV radio as well as projectors. It is a 30 amp supply that has an output of 12 volts. The supply current is very clean and there were no noticeable spikes or ripples in the current. It is also highly efficient up to seventy percent. The voltage spikes were also minimal which means it will keep your system highly stable. This POWER SUPPLY UNIT also comes with anti-surge and shortage protection from the bad current. It also comes with voltage and overload safety mechanisms that protect the supply from the high input voltage and prevent the supply from getting overused.
We were also concerned about user safety since the default POWER SUPPLY UNIT is not well known for being safe. Just to be on the safe side, we would recommend this as a compulsory upgrade. But if you are still not convinced to buy a third-party POWER SUPPLY UNIT, we would advise you to do yourself a favor and at least buy a supply cover switch to turn it off when not in use.
A8 Printer Upgrades
- Hybrid gear system
- Works with both the 1.75 mm and 3 mm filaments
- Fit for Bowden setup
- 3 to 1 reduction gearing system.
- 4 mm bore
Why should you upgrade?
Titan has been known to provide surprises with its products. This extruder gets the best of both worlds as it is both geared and direct drive in a small package. This thing is small and if you are looking to upgrade your extruder then this would be worthy of your choice. It is very simple to use a direct drive geared extruder. While it is a hybrid it is still able to deal with those mechanics involved in the easy release of filament. It works well with lever based and spring operated cores and can work with up to 3mm of filament with its three to one reduction gearing system.
That is why it is a good choice for a worthy upgrade since it works with both the 1.75mm and 3mm filaments. The process is very easy to understand. The lever is idle at its default position. The filament will first run through the lever that has one mm more bore than the filament thickness which enables it to go for the 3mm filament directly. But, it also lets you put in Teflon and PTFE tubes for a 1.75 mm setup. This means that you essentially have a place where you can attach the tube for feeding if you want to use one of them. This is also a recommendation since it allows you to easily fix the filament in case it pulls up on the extruder should you fix the other end as well.
The 1.75mm hole takes in the Teflon line all the way down to your E3D v6 hot end and you will have one length of Teflon line as you insert it. If you choose the Bowden adapter, it will also work with that well and will travel your line directly into the hot end. In short, the 3mm is a straight bore for a single straight line length. Both of these guiding mechanisms are supported by the hot end and the mount helps in keeping it in place super snugly. Although with the Mendel setup, we had some trouble with the mounting options. But, since it was not a traditional setup so we have nothing to complain about.
This extruder is meant to be mounted within the bracket that fits between the extruder, the motor, and the stepper. This is a great choice for the Prusa printers and you just have to use the hot end mount and print an adapter that can fit in there. You do however need to spare some distance between the extruder and the motor and it is better to leave it unchanged as its working depends upon that spacing to have the lever in place without needing to adjust it.
Is it that good?
We would say that this is a robust upgrade from E3D. It has dual gears and a top-notch design. We did expect an extreme level of performance and we are happy to say that we got what we expected. The extruder is a pretty solid geared extruder that has a nice filament drive gear mechanism. We think that the overall design is well built and has some very fine details which are very pronounced. With this extruder, you can build a pretty light setup if you are using the 1.75 mm filaments. If you are thinking of a Bowden setup then you should consider this extruder.
As far as working is concerned, we would say that it is best to use this as a precision extruder. If you want precise designs then this will yield some really good results. With A3d every other extruder will work, but since you have already got the printer for cheap, it is worth investing in this extruder to get the best value to performance factor. If you don’t want to compromise on the performance, then this is a recommended choice.
Anet A8 Belt Upgrade
- Made with high-quality rubber and reinforced fiberglass
- 6mm in width and 10 meters in length
- Model number GT2
- Synchronous timing belt with aluminum pulley
- Suitable for all 3d printers
Another thing you would want to add to your setup is a high-performance belt. It might not seem so but belts have a direct impact on the quality of the final print. You are not likely to notice any difference when you are using the stock belts during the initial stages. The difference comes when the belt stretches over time. This is where you would notice a quality degradation in the prints. The stock belts are easily stretchable which degrades the quality over time and you need to replace it again and again after some time of usage. The solution to this is to buy fiberglass-reinforced performance belts.
Why choose a fiberglass belt?
There are a couple of reasons why I have recommended fiberglass belts and not any other. First and foremost, these belts last for almost a lifetime. Furthermore, they are smooth and have a very quiet operation as opposed to the stock belts. There is a noticeable difference in the sound when you compare the two. They are also very easy on the drives of your printer and thus consume less power. If you install this upgrade you will experience increased smoothness and highly accurate positioning for the prints. It also affects how much of the filament is used and how much of it is wasted. This will make your filaments last longer than usual.
Another thing that we are always concerned about with the stock belts is that when you cut the belts to install them on the x and y-axis, they are usually very short that they cannot be used with a tensioner. These belts go well with the x and y-axis. Therefore, it is indeed a must-have upgrade for your printer.
Another factor is that, once you cut the stock belts to install on the X-axis and Y-axis, they are usually too short to use with a tensioner. You will find on our list of the mods and upgrades that 3D printable tensioners (X and Y axis) will improve your 3D printer’s state. But to optimize the way your Anet A8 operates, fiber-glass reinforced belts are a must-have upgrade.
Anet A8 Frame Upgrade
- Made of AL 6063-T5 alloy
- 6mm bore slot
Includes two pieces of 340mm Al extrusions, three pieces of 313mm Al extrusions, and two pieces of 440mm Al extrusions
- 100 pieces button head caps screws and 10 pieces of m510 and m516 each
- Two pieces of Aleen Wrench and 35 pieces of M5 Washer
- 6 pieces rubber foot to fix on aluminum extrusions
The stock build of this printer is what you would expect from its price. It is light and appears flimsy. To add more sturdiness to your printer and make it look like something premium, you can add this metal frame made of aluminum. You may have to spend a good amount of money on it, but trust me it is better than buying a new printer altogether. Besides, it will be your very own DIY so you will own it as your own creation.
This frame comes with the 2040 aluminum extrusions and for the primary connections to the frame, it uses the aluminum brackets. Since you will be switching from acrylic to aluminum, you will feel a great depth of quality and increased sturdiness. This is not a necessary upgrade but if you want to show off, then it is a recommended upgrade.
This frame also uses some printable parts that will be used in the assembly. Aside from the build files, it also has the guide and materials to assist you in building your printer frame and give your printer a completely new makeover. It also makes it appear very solid and rigid. The frame keeps your filament line in control and prevents tangling.
Upgrading your Anet printer isn’t a necessity but having much more for much less is always welcoming and is recommended. The essential upgrades provided in this list will improve the working, efficiency, and overall performance of your Anet printer. The good thing is that you can always customize them and upgrade them for even better parts in the future. So what are you waiting for? GO grab some of those components and make yourself a premium printer. Let us know what upgrades you like the most.