If we equated the budget 3D printer market with the historic Gold Rush, the Chinese-made Anet would have to be considered as one of the first to trailblaze the Western frontier. The immensely popular Anet A8, a desktop 3D printer that comes in DIY form, signified a new era of affordability for FDM technology.
Although the Anet A8 was an undeniable success as far as popularity goes, it certainly had a few flaws too, including a lackluster design and electrical issues that made the 3D printer a potential fire hazard. It seems that the Anet team is aiming to address these problems with the Anet A8 Plus, a new and improved version of the manufacturer’s flagship 3D printer.
Believe it or not, the Anet A8 Plus is nearly indistinguishable from its namesake. It has a new frame design, larger build volume, a movable display screen, among other intriguing features. Best of all, it can be found for around $300, just a slight price increase for more than a few refinements.
Still, a vast amount of 3D printers have entered the budget market since the Anet A8 had the top spot. This begs the question: how does the Anet A8 Plus stand up to the new class of frugal FDM 3D printers? Let’s review the features and specs to sort it out.
Judging by the similarity in name, you might suspect that the Anet A8 Plus is just a slightly tweaked version of the original. But the specifications showcase some stark differences between the two models.
For starters, one of the main criticisms leveled against the first Anet A8 is that the flimsy acrylic frame was highly susceptible to cracking. But with the Anet A8 Plus, the manufacturer wisely swapped out this polymer material for aluminum, which we surmise makes the latest version much more sturdy and stable.
Aside from the aluminum frame, the first difference you’ll notice between the Anet A8 and Plus model is that it has a much larger build volume. While the original offers a petite 220 x 220 x 240mm, the Anet A8 Plus is equipped with a 300 x 300 x 350mm build area, a substantial increase if you’re asking us.
The manufacturer also claims to have upgraded the inner workings of the 3D printer, integrating a better motherboard and protection from over-current and short-circuiting. Considering that the original A8 was rightly chastised for being a fire hazard, the new electronics are certainly a welcome addition to the Plus.
Circling back to the frame, we were also intrigued by how simple it looks, drawing as much inspiration from the minimalistic CR-10-like design as it does from its predecessor. However, like the Anet A8 before it, the Plus has two Z-axis double-threaded rods that run up in front of the aluminum frame.
All in all, it seems like the decision to implement an aluminum frame and new design will likely lead to greater stability and high printing precision. From what we can tell, the Anet A8 Plus needs to be built out of the box, but we imagine the assembly process is less time-consuming and difficult than the Anet A8.
Anet has taken a unique approach by creating what they call a “magnetic moveable screen,” which we imagine refers to the LCD display. According to the manufacturer, this “ergonomic design screen” allows for easier and more convenient operation.
The heated bed for the Anet A8 Plus is made from aluminum substrate and, from what we can tell, appears to be coated with a glass bed. Anet also states that its easier to adjust the tightness of the X-axis and Y-axis belts.
Other features boasted by Anet include automatic filament feeding and unloading, as well as what seems to be a new extrusion mechanism that Anet claims will provide smoother discharge and better compatibility with flexible materials.
The Anet A8 Plus is clearly superior to its forerunner, but the price puts it more in league with the Creality Ender 3, a budget machine that replaced the original Anet A8 as the most popular 3D printer.
While the Anet A8 Plus does offer a larger build volume and some impressive features, we can’t say whether it’s better or not until we get our hands it. Stay tuned for a full-fledged review in the near future.
Here are the technical specifications for the Anet A8 Plus.
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