Anet A6 test - experiences and improvements
The days of the expensive "3D ready-made printers" are numbered! Well, not quite. Nevertheless, there is now an inexpensive alternative to buy a printable 3D printer already under 200 €. The speech is of so-called "3D Printer Kits", so an 3D printer to assemble yourself. One of the most popular printer kits - the Anet A6 - we have assembled for you and tested extensively. Whether the kit is suitable for beginners and whether the printer actually produces clean prints after assembly, more in this review!
Model: Anet A6
Type: FDM printer
Housing material: acrylic
Motherboard: Anet V2.0
Print speed: 40 - 120 mm / s
XY accuracy: 0.012 mm
Z-precision: 0.004 mm
Size: 48.00 x 40.00 x 40.00 cm
Diameter: mm 0.4
Temperature: up to 260 ° C
Layer height: 0.1 - 0.4 mm
Print bed size: 220 x 220 x 250 mm
Heating bed: Yes
Material: 1.75 mm ABS, HIPS, PLA and more.
First impression of the Anet A6
Anet is one of the now most famous 3D printer producers from China. In addition to the less well-known "Anet A6 ", the producer also distributes the much better known model "Anet A8 ", as well as other finished printers, which settle however in much higher price categories. This test deals with the Anet A6. First, let's take a closer look at the main differences between the two cheap Anet models.
Anet A6 vs. Anet A8
Both models are 3D printer kitsthat differ especially in detail. Probably the most relevant difference between the Anet A6 and the Anet A8 is this larger display of the A6 and the one-button control. The display of the Anet A6 provides up to 12864 pixels whereas that Display of the A8 only on 2004 pixels comes. The Annet A8 is operated via 5 control buttons. The Anet A6, on the other hand, has a one-knob operation with rotary control. The mainboard used is now identical for both models.
Another difference is the leadership of the X-axis. Of the A8 has a vertical guide, so both waves run parallel to each other, whereas the wave guidance of the Anet A6 horizontal, so next to each other, runs. All brackets of the A6 are made of acrylic. Mounts of the A8 model were partially created using 3D printing. Another difference is in the scope of delivery. The A6 comes with an 500g roll of white PLA filament. With the Anet A8 this was waived!
Scope of delivery
Delivered is the Anet A6 kit with all necessary components, In addition to the housing parts are also the required screws, straps, shafts, guide rods, etc. included. Also to the assembly required tool is includedso that even those who do not have an appropriate tool at hand can easily assemble the Printer Kit. Even a 500g roll of white PLA filament is supplied by the manufacturer to every Anet A6 kit. After assembly, nothing stands in the way of a first pressure test.
Design and workmanship
The Anet A6 was created based on the Prusa design by Josef Prusa and is authoritative of RepRap Scene ("Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Manufacturing"). Due to the open-source design, it would be possible to reproduce the Anet A6 without the finished printer kit.
The processing of the printer is good according to the price. In the tested kit no parts had to be reworked, as well as the parts fit together and screwed. The included steel shafts were straight and could be easily installed. Nevertheless, these DIY Printer Kits from China are always to be treated with caution. The components of our test kit were knotless, but it is not uncommon to catch inaccurate waves, a distorted heatbed or other, badly processed parts!
The pressure chamber of the Anet A6 measures 220 x 220 x 250 mm, The extruder is of the type "Direct drive"where the extruder is directly over the hotend, resulting in increased weight on the x-axis. The Nozzle or Nozzle has a diameter of 0.4 mm. The printable layer height lies between 0.1 and 0.2 mm. 1.75 mm filament is supported by different materials (called ABS / PLA / HIPS). The Accuracy of the X and Y axis indicates Anet with 0.012 mm. The Z axis is 0.004 mm. The motors used are unspecified NEMA17 stepper motors. Das mainboard is of type Anet V2.0.
Assembly of the Anet A6
Nanu, where is the construction manual? Printed instructions are not included with the Anet A6 Kit. Instead, Anet lays one USB card reader in the form of a stick with matching 16GB Micro SD memory card. In addition to the illustrated construction manual, the memory card also contains the "Cura" slicer program, the matching printer drivers and test files that are matched to the A6 and can be printed directly after assembly.
The instructions given are mostly illustrated, but it is advisable for beginners Video tutorial on YouTube to follow. The step to Z-stop was even completely omitted in the illustrated instructions, which would have led to much frustration at the end of the assembly. But also on the video manual of the manufacturer one should not rely on 1: 1. The support of the heatbed is mounted the wrong way in both instructions, whereby the belt does not run parallel.
The assembly of our test copy you can watch in this video.
Calibration of the Anet A6
Before you can start printing, the printer has to be calibrated. The Z and X axes must be parallel, the Y-axis heatbed must be in the lead, and the distance between the nozzle and the heating bed must be adjusted. The height of the heating bed can be corrected with four screw nuts with wing nuts. The maximum distance to the nozzle should not exceed 0.1 mm. To reach this distance, take a sheet of paper and place it on the heating bed. If you drive with the nozzle over it, you should feel a slight pressure on the sheet. All belts of the printer should be sufficiently tensioned, as otherwise inaccurate printing results will occur.
Another step is that Inserting the filament, To gain initial experience, you can safely use the supplied filament. The filament is introduced directly into the extruder. For this purpose, the metal spring rocker is pressed down and pushed the filament through the small opening. Then you have to with some feeling the filament past the transport wheel through another opening directly into the nozzle. Whether the filament has been inserted correctly, can be seen by whether liquid filament comes from the nozzle. Of course you should pre-heat the nozzle to about 200 ° C beforehand! The filament can be removed by pressing a few centimeters through the preheated nozzle, pressing down the rocker and pulling out the filament with an upward sweep.
Here's another video for calibrating the Anet A6 for a better illustration
First pressure tests
If you have done the above steps correctly, nothing stands in the way of a first print. For beginners, it is recommended to first print the print files provided on the SD card. For printing, the SD memory card is inserted into the corresponding slot on the mainboard. Then you switch on the Anet A6 and select the SD memory card as the print medium. Alternatively, you can print from a connected computer. A connection between computer and printer is made via the USB interface of the mainboard. The required drivers are also located on the SD memory card.
Once you have started a print job, the heating bed and the nozzle will heat up to the temperature given in the GCODE file. The current temperature can be read off and monitored via the display. The temperature of the heating bed is usually between 50 ° C and 60 ° C. The temperature of the nozzle depends on the respective filament. The vast majority of filament manufacturers provide the appropriate printing temperatures. Also on the supplied Anet filament the printing temperatures are indicated. But also here is a try! In our first print trials, the heating bed was set to 50 ° C by default and the nozzle to 200 ° C. However, we achieved better print results with the Anet filament at 60 ° C and 210 ° C. A recommendable, first pressure test would be the "XYZ Calibration Cube", This small cube is printed quickly and the accuracy of the print can be measured with a caliper gauge.
Our first printing experiences with the Anet A6 are more than positive. If one observes all steps for commissioning, also the first pressure test can succeed and deliver an accurate result. Compared with far more expensive finished printers, the print result of the Anet A6 is by no means inferior.
You can download a GCODE for the XYZ Calibration Cube tuned to the Anet A6 here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/u5dtx1a989sivrw/AA_xyzCalibration_cube.gcode
CAD and slicer
Own 3D models are created with so-called "CAD programs", One of the most beginner-friendly is "TinkerCAD", a "browser-based 3D design and modeling tool". Here you could directly without having to download a software to have to model directly and export your finished 3D model as an STL file. Advanced users should take a look at "SketchUp" toss. This free 3D program is more complex, but also offers a significant increase in modeling possibilities.
If you have created an 3D model and saved it in STL format, you need a so-called "Slicer program" to create a printable GCODE. The best-known freeware 3D slicer is "Cura", If you have downloaded and installed Cura, you have to create a new 3D printer profile with the appropriate Anet A6 parameters. Beginners can also work on the finished Profile of "maciekish" To fall back on. The 3D model in STL format is now imported into Cura. Subsequently, numerous printing parameters can be set. In addition to the velocities, the layer height, the infill and other parameters can be given as GCODE. In addition, you get a preview of how the print will run, what time it will take and how much filament will be consumed. The GCODE can be exported to the SD memory card or printed directly via Cura, as long as Cura is connected to the Anet A6 via the USB interface.
Anet A6 improvements
A DIY 3D printer is often a large-scale craft project where you like to swap parts to get better print results. On the one hand, there are printable improvements that are relatively easy to implement, but there are also extensive modifications that change the former Anet A6 extensively. An overview of possible modifications you will find attached. We have already extensively tested many of the improvements listed here.
Fan duct (fan): This improvement ensures a uniform cooling of the filament and is one of the most important, printable improvements.
Y-Belt Tensioner: So that the belt of the Y-axis is always tight, it is advisable to print this belt tensioner.
X-Belt Tensioner (belt tensioner): Also, the belt of the X-axis should not be loose. A good solution provides this belt tensioner.
Table Nut Cover: With this improvement, the heating bed is even easier to calibrate.
Filament Guide: So that the filament does not get tangled there is this practical filament guide, which leads the filament evenly to the extruder.
Igus plain bearings (RJ4JP-01-08): One of our first non-printable improvements was the replacement of the original ball bearings Igus plain bearing RJ4JP-01-08, The all-plastic plain bearings consist of a special one iglidur® plastic, which is particularly wear-resistant and self-lubricating. The advantage of the Igus plain bearings compared to the factory - installed LM8UU linear bearings is the reduced volume and a freedom from maintenance. To convert to the Igus RJ4JP-01-08 you need a total of 8 such plain bearings, which are available from 2 € per piece.
Igus Precision Aluminum Shaft (AWMP-08): The steel shafts included in the Anet A6 Printer Kit are not of particular quality. If you are looking for a cheap alternative, we recommend a look at the Igus precision aluminum shafts to throw. These anodized solid aluminum shafts are available directly from Igus at 8.65 € per meter. Of course you can also have the waves cut directly to the right size. In our test, the waves of the X-axis became two AWMP-08 and four Igus RJ4JP-01-08 exchanged. The sled glides altogether heavier on the X-axis, but the reduced volume is clearly perceptible. The printed result also seems to be more accurate.
GT2 Timing Belt and Washers: A worthwhile improvement is the replacement of the original timing belts and pulleys. Unfortunately, Anet has used a very stiff timing belt, which decreases relatively quickly with increasing tension. Interesting is also a change on Pulleys with 20 teeth, Pulleys with more teeth allow a higher print speed. A pulley with fewer teeth, however, allows a more accurate print result. If you swap the pulleys and the timing belt, make sure that the steps are still set correctly.
- 16 teeth: 100 steps / mm
- 20 teeth: 80 steps / mm
- 25 teeth: 64 steps / mm
E3D-V6 Bowden: Also interesting is a conversion of the direct extruder to the E3D-V6 Bowden extruder, The advantage of a Bowden conversion is that lower weight on the X-axiswhich allows more accurate prints to be achieved at higher print speeds. At the same time, however, the distance between extruder and Nozzle is increased, which is very Soft filaments with a Bowden set-up are very difficult to print are. If you would like to change, we recommend an E3D-V6 Bowden Extruder replica, which is available from 7 €. Of course, the slide of the X-axis must be converted accordingly to Bowden. A very good design with the beautiful name "Frankenstein" is available on thingiverse.
Inductive / capacitive proximity sensor: Constantly realigning the heatbed can quickly become frustrating in the long run. Remedy creates a Capacitive or inductive proximity sensorreplacing the Z-stop. The proximity sensor is attached directly to the extruder carriage. A manual correction of the distance between Nozzle and Heatbed is then no longer necessary. So that one "Autolevel" remodeling however succeeds, another firmware must be flashed on the mainboard of the Anet A6. Probably the most famous, alternative firmware for the Anet A6 and Anet A8 printer series is the so-called "SkyNet 3D" firmware, There are also some things to be aware of with the sensors themselves. a capacitive sensor The best choice is to print on a glass surface because an inductive sensor does not detect glass. On inductive sensor on the other hand works mostly more accurately, but recognizes mainly metallic objects. You should also pay attention to the voltage with which the proximity switch is operated. Mostly the sensors are operated with 6 to 36 Volt. Scattered sensors can also be operated with only 5 volts, but then measurement errors are not uncommon. So that the sensor of the Anet mainboard is correctly recognized, it is recommended a optocoupler in between, so that no residual voltage remains when switching.
Glass plate as printing surface: I do not want to keep the filament right, or do you like that Blue Tape do not have to change constantly, we recommend switching to Glass as printing surface, A suitable glass pane (215 x 215 mm) one can be cut to size with most specialized dealers. Alternatively, you can get one already Borosilicate glass plate cut to size to buy. The advantage of glass is the very good hold, that it is easy to clean and that you get a very smooth print result. If the pressure on glass does not adhere directly, you can do something hair spray help to create a better soil structure. If the filament does not stick even then it will help the glass surface with a thin layer UHU Stic to coat. Every filament that sticks so hard will be guaranteed!
►Good print quality
►Large printing area
►High modification potential
►Faulty construction manual