We’ve covered quite a few resin printers on MMORPG, but this month we were lucky enough to get our hands on the newest, beginner-friendly filament printer in the Anycubic line – the Anycubic Kobra.
- Estimated price: $279 (Anycubic)
- Product Type: FDM
- Structure: Cartesian
- Printing platform: 8.7 x 8.7 inches / 22 x 22 cm
- Print dimensions: 9.8 x 8.7 x 8.7 inches / 25 x 22 x 22 cm (HWD)
- Print Material: PLA / ABS / PETG & TPU
- Extruder: In-house development
- Extruder type: Integrated direct drive
- Extruder quantity: 1
- Nozzle dimensions: ø 0.4 mm (replaceable)
- Filament dimensions: ø 1.75 mm
- Nozzle Temperature: ≤ 500°F / 260°C
- Fan: 2
- Machine leveling: Anycubic LeviQ, automatic bed leveling with inductive sensor (25-point)
- Platform material: PEI spring steel
- Hatchery Temperature: ≤ 230°F / 110°C
- Y axis: rail x 1
- Operating noise: ≤ 58dB
- Printing Accuracy: ±0.1mm
- Horizontal accuracy: 12.5 μm
- Vertical accuracy: 2 μm
- Z axis: threaded rod x 1
- Layer thickness: 50 – 300 μm
- print speed ≤ 7.1 in/s / ≤ 18 cm/s
- Control panel: 4.3 inch LCD touch control
- Data input: microSD card
- Mainboard: 32-bit stepper motor driver TCM2209
- Resume Printing: Yes
- Filament Sensor: Optional
- body material aluminum alloy
- Modular construction: Yes
- Machine dimensions: 19.1 x 19.1 x 16.9 inches / 48.6 x 48.6 x 43 cm
- Machine Weight: 15.4 lb. / 7kg
Something I’ve quickly learned over the past few months of immersing myself in the world of 3D printing is that filament printers are intimidating and extremely technical at first. There are far more moving mechanical parts that can be tuned and tweaked to get just the right response from the device, while our resin printers seem to house most of the moving parts internally. Because of this, there’s a somewhat steep learning curve when it comes to using filament printers and understanding the lingo, but the Anycubic Kobra has attempted to address some of those issues with its semi-assembled design.
Right out of the box, we’re greeted with a variety of tools and pre-assembled items. Everything you could possibly need is included: various screws and washers, a well assembled tool kit, lubricant, some filament and a pre-installed memory card with a card reader. The small piece of filament worried me at first, knowing I would likely go through a lot of trial and error on my journey to learn the device, but Anycubic was kind enough to send us a large, neon green spool of their neat PLA . The “clean” variety is fantastic for beginners as it’s less tangle-free, non-toxic, and less smelly! Since this device would be going into my smaller office, I was definitely excited about the less smelly aspect of the filament.
Seeing everything scattered across the table was definitely intimidating the first time. The Anycubic Kobra has dimensions of 19.1 x 19.1 x 16.9 inches (build volume of 9.8 x 8.7 x 8.7 inches), but despite being slightly smaller, it’s still a well-designed, tight-knit piece of machinery. If you’ve ever felt that immense sense of satisfaction from the sight of a computer rig with great cable management, you’d probably appreciate this pressure unit, too. There are very few loose cables to interfere amidst the sea of machines. Thankfully, there’s a nice guide to walk us through the process.
In hindsight, the first thing I should have done was pop the memory card into the card reader and look through the files on my computer. While the instruction manual was incredibly handy with full color graphics and useful hints, the card reader actually stores a full PDF with the images enlarged with larger font. So, mind our readers, if you end up buying this device for yourself, check out the included card reader first!
Back to the assembly, everything was actually pretty self-explanatory with a few hiccups here and there. The most difficult and awkward part of the assembly for me was installing the frame to the base. There was really no way around tipping the base off the edge of the table so I could insert and tighten the screws through the base and onto the frame. Something I keep in mind when assembling is the difficulty of using one hand against two. I have a family member who would love nothing more than to get into 3D printing as a hobby, but I know he wouldn’t be able to put this together alone as he can’t use both hands at the same time. Once you can get over the frame it’s easy – but it’s still something that weighs heavily on my mind when I think of the assembly and those who may not have anyone to help. Just a personal note.
Aside from a nick or two on the braided part of the printhead cable (probably from shipping, to be honest, despite the unit being extremely well packaged) everything else was in perfect condition and felt really secure and heavy. Now for the fun part: tune in! A cute little melody plays and the touchscreen display lights up after you press the power button. Hooray! The first thing to do, according to the instructions for use, was to level the bed. The Anycubic Kobra uses automatic bed leveling with inductive sensors as opposed to mechanical or optical sensors. This concept is totally new to me, but I’m all for fewer bugs to account for. After a few button presses on the touchscreen and the device warming up, it was time to figure out how to insert the filament.
Following the instructions back then, I hung the green PLA spool on the filament holder and began trying to familiarize myself with the print head. One of the more unique features of the Anycubic Kobra is that it actually uses a direct drive instead of a Bowden extruder to print. This makes sense given the smaller size of the device, as it means far less energy is required to feed the filament through the extruder. There is less space to travel! Using a direct drive extruder also means we should have fewer nozzle leaks or general issues as it should be able to pull the filament back more easily (being closer to the nozzle rather than pushing it down the length of a bowden hose ).
I put the memory card straight into the printer, selected the owl file and started printing. If I had to guess, the print took about 1 hour and 20 minutes, but the process was smooth and absolutely magical. Seeing something materialize right in front of your eyes, especially a character as cute as a neon green owl with a flower on its head, just triggered something in me that kept pumping. But how does one do it?
There were no instructions after printing the owl in the instructions booklet. Watching the friend on the resin printers earlier, I knew he was using a program called “Cura” and that we needed STL files to print. Remember, I’m on my own here and I was determined to do this work alone. So I downloaded Cura and got to work. After a bit of research, I wanted to print out the ever-popular “benchy,” a benchmark boot that helps diagnose and fine-tune printer problems, so I headed to Thingiverse to grab the file. After adding the file to the card reader, I learned that printers use files called “.gcode” for printing, and here I had to use Cura to split the STL file and turn it into instructions that Kobra could read.
Remember how I said I should have looked at the card reader first? I went all the way through installing Cura, adding my own custom profile called “Anycubic Kobra” and importing a file before realizing the absolute wealth of material available on this card reader. The PDF file I was talking about earlier? It goes straight to the basics of 3D printing and talks about Cura and what you need to do to continue printing. Anycubic even included the latest Cura download file so we don’t have to search for it. I just had to do it the hard way.
This is where things started to get a little weird after self sabotage. I started printing Benchy but it just wouldn’t stick to the build plate no matter what I tried. Thankfully, there’s a helpful troubleshooting section in the PDF guide that led me to believe my nozzle was still too high, which makes sense given that Benchy kept trying to sail off the build plate once he gained ground. I don’t know who piloted it, but it was definitely not cleared for takeoff.
After a good five or six failed boats, I tried to step back and think about what I could change. What was the problem? The filament seemed a bit too thin for him and he didn’t want to stick to the plate. Let’s change the extrusion force and play with the leveling a little more. After a lot of trial and error and a few hours, voila, a Benchy! To say I was proud would be an understatement. Also mentally exhausted. It felt so good to have pushed through this weird and exciting piece of technology to finally have a small boat in my hands. I could already tell that I still need to make some adjustments due to some errors in the print, but I’m more than up for the challenge.
Do I think the Anycubic Kobra is a beginner friendly machine worth the time and money? Absolutely freaking lutely. consider me addicted Much of the trouble I’ve endured comes with more experience and knowledge of the hobby, with little to no fault going towards the machine. As with anything else, it will take time to learn, but I’m learning and I’m excited to be doing it. If I can do it, with no prior knowledge of filament printers, anyone can. It would just have been extremely helpful to know all the resources on the memory card beforehand! Maybe add a little note at the end of the included booklet to *refer to the memory card after the first print for further instructions and troubleshooting* or something similar.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
https://www.mmorpg.com/hardware-reviews/anycubic-kobra-3d-printer-review-2000124658 Anycubic Kobra 3D printer review