Introduction: Anet A6/A8 3d Printer Crucial Upgrades
I bought this printer when I was 13 off amazon for £130 on sale. This was one of the cheapest branded 3d printers that had decent reviews and had an impressive 220x220x200 heated bed build space. It delivered quickly and I set about assembling it every night after school. It took me about 6 hours to assemble but someone more experienced could definitely do it under 4. After this stage, I quickly set about levelling the bed and was keen to try and print something. The quality was a lot lower than I expected. I have tried lots of upgrades and tweeks and these are my suggestions for this printer.
Your own 3d printer to print the upgrades!
Step 1: Belt Tension
This was the most important step for me as both my belts were too loose. For the x axis, I tightened the belt again just using cable ties it originally came with. This was better than before but I was still not satisfied. So then I printed a small belt tensioner to tighten it that last little bit (first image). You can get the file here https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:19892/files. I really recommend this design.
On the y axis, you have a bit more freedom. you can actually put in a adjustable tensioner. There are a lot of excellent designs but my favourite one is https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2149867. I like this design because of the way it reduces the use of nuts. This is also compatible with the a6 although it doesn't say.
I would recommend starting with these two upgrades.
Step 2: Cooling
This is a very important part of 3d printing. The fan the printer is not very good at all. This fan is well worth your time at a print time of 2 hours.
You can find it here: https://www.myminifactory.com/object/3d-print-anet...
Notice the improvement already after the first set of upgrades.
Step 3: Better Filament Holder
The filament holder this comes with is not that great. It can lead to great frustration due to layer shifting and other annoying problems. On the first ever image, I was ironically trying to print a wedge for the filament so it would spin more freely. The extruder was put under strain by the lack of filament hence the layer shift. During this print, I had to keep of giving it filament so that wouldn't happen.
Note: I printed the two arms before the first upgrade hence the poor quality.
You can find it here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1624641
Note: I have designed on fusion 360 two small supports to make this structure more stable.
Step 4: Other Small Bits
Three other small bits of advice I would give is:
Buy new filament. The 500g roll they give you, is great for playing around but when it gets to quality, it is awful. I would recommend saving this for drafting in your own projects.
Oil the guide rails and the z axis threaded rods. When I got my printer, the rails were not oiled as well as I would like. This was easily solved with WD40 and a rag. I recommend applying some oil at the top of the threaded bearing so as it moves up, the oil works its way into the bearing.
If you can invest in a glass bed. If you cant, I would recommend starting on masking tape as a cheap alternative.
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