Since buying my printer early last year, I've had a lot of questions about it, like 'where to get one', 'how good is it compared to others' and 'what kind of prints can I get out of it'. What follows comes from numerous emails and private messages with folks over the last year and a half. This document will change as I find new useful info.
Q: What kind of printer do you have and where did you get it?
A: I have an Anet A8. I bought it from Gearbest.com and at the time I paid $165 + shipping and print material (around $240 all in). Since then the price has dropped significantly.
Q: How does it compare to other more expensive printers?
A: The short answer is, I don't know as this is the only printer I own. However, I've had people with other printers inspect my prints and they have all commented that the quality was good or very good - especially when I tell them how much it cost.
Q: Would you buy this printer again?
A: Yes! I've suggested it to others who also bought it and so far, no one has said that I steered them in the wrong direction. The printer has its limitations and there are some design issues that need to be addressed but overall, it is a very good printer for the price.
Q: How difficult is it to build and get a first print out of it?
A: On a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being "pull out of the box, plug in and hit print" and 10 being "build from scratch" the Anet is a solid 6. You have to assemble it and the directions are not great. You'll get a crash course in google if you stick with those instructions. Below is a step by step set of videos I used to build mine. I would not recommend this printer for someone who is not comfortable or hates assembling things like this or Ikea furniture.
Step 1: Follow the assembly videos provided or one of the many assembly instructions on YouTube. Don't bother with the assembly manual included on the SD card. It is difficult to follow and can mislead you. I used this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSdP-1c4WQI
Step 2: After you assemble the printer and verify power is good, you'll need to level your print bed. This can be a long tedious process but it is absolutely critical. Take the time to do it well. Here again there are several videos on how to level a bed. I used this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6GJWHwrTmY
Step 3: Print one of the test files on the SD card of your printer. If your card is organized the same as mine, you will find the options here \A8Z-1\Test file GCODE\
There are many suggested upgrades for the A8. So far I have made the following changes to mine:
If you aren't already familiar with these sources of information and designs, they will quickly become your favorite spots online:
Here are some links to basic, non-printer specific, troubleshooting guides.
Here are some more links to some online classes and resources that I hope you find helpful:
These first two links are for classes on Instructables and are good introductions into designing 3D things to print using two different software products. The third link is a more in depth class.
Here is a tutorial on using Cura slicing software which is very popular and easy to use
Here is a Udemy class on vector graphics which is just fun for anything but can also be used to start a 3D sketch. I use it to draw up items I then send to a friend of mine who has a laser cutter.
If there is a resource or tip you think I should include here, please contact me!