A few months ago I posted 2 articles (Post 1 & Post 2) about upgrades to do to the Anet A8 printer. I planned on writing more guides in addition to the 2 mentioned but I quickly found that there was just too much to cover in regards to this printer. I was constantly making changes here and there to the printer so it was hard to keep up.
The bottom line is that the first 2 articles I posted are really all that you need to get good prints and make the printer reliable. Anything further than that you will be customizing the printer for a specific need that you have or want. As I write this followup my printer only has 2 things that are factory left on it; the heated bed PCB and the frame. I have replaced and upgraded every other part on the printer and even added dual color support through the single hotend. The guides were meant to get you started with the printer and to make it safer, these 2 posts did just that.
That is really all that I needed to say on the matter. There will be no other posts as I feel the ones already published cover the goal of the articles and anything further would not be applicable to everyone as people have different demands and needs for their individual printer.
The next part of this 4 part series is going to cover the recommended upgrades. These upgrades are not required to use the printer but will help your printer produce better, cleaner, and more accurate prints. I will go over what each one does and why it is beneficial.
The factory cooling duct is very simple and doesn’t fully cool all sides of the filament as it is extruding. This upgraded duct will ensure that there is 360 degrees of airflow going around the filament as it is being extruded. This will allow the filament to adhere and cool evenly as it is being extruded to the layers.
The factory way to attach the belt to the rear of the carriage is with 2 screws and a zip tie. This makes adjustment and belt replacement difficult. This holder allows you to easily adjust and remove the X axis belt by hand without any additional tools. I had this pre-printed from a friends printer before I even had the printer assembled. This made connecting the belt to the carriage much easier as well as getting the correct tension.
In addition to the upgraded mounting blocks I recommend in this post these other two addons make adjustment of the tension of bot the Y and X axis belts much easier. You can simply adjust the tension by turning the screws on the addons to change the belt tension. I should note that if you want to use the X tensioner you must cut the belt about 3″ longer than the Anet A8 guide recommends or just replace the belt with and GT2 style belt (Amazon)
Lastly the Anet guide actually tells you to assemble the mounting plate upside down and this causes a shift and un-needed strain on the stepper motor and belt. Make sure the plate is mounted with the single bar down, not up. I have included a picture illistrating this. In addition to that you may want to print some upgraded mounting clips to further level the belt and replace the brittle acrylic ones that are included.
I hope this has been helpful. If you need the parts printed and are near the Chicagoland area I would be glad to print some for fellow Anet A8 users. The next part will be coming tomorrow going over some enhancements and extras you can add on to make the printer even better. Until then have fun and let me know if you need any help!
Around Christmas time 2016 a friend let me borrow his Micro M3D printer. I enjoyed playing with it and decided to get my own. I came across the Anet A8 DIY printer kit and purchased on from a seller on AliExpress.com (shipped from the US warehouse). During the time I spent many hours researching information on this printer. I found out that while it is a decent printer there are some major issues with it if you do not spend about $50-60 on some aftermarket addons to make the printer work better and safer. I am going to cover what the must do-s are for this printer are and what other modifications I did to mine. They will be broken down into 3 categories: required, recommended, and optional. The required ones are the most important since they are safety related. Each category will get it’s own post since I do not have time to write them all at once. After that there will be a general write up post on the printer and tips to get it to do what you want.
Heat Bed MOSFET
The factory heat bed mosfet is severely under powered and you will burn up the connector where it connects to the board OR completely fry your Anet board. This is a manufacturer issue but for the price I am not surprised that this was an oversight. The MOSFET can be had for between $10-15 on Amazon or EBay and looks like the image below. Some people also go with a SSR or Solid State Relay but it is really personal preference as both will handle the current required to run the heating bed.
To connect the MOSFET is simple. You will have a small 2 wire plug that will come with the MOSFET, these 2 wires go to where your heat bed + and – go now. Not connect the heat bed wires to the heat bed terminals on the MOSFET. Now run 2 more wires from the MOSFET + and – to your power supply directly. This takes the load off of the Anet board and puts it on the MOSFET.
In addition to this I would recommend going from the PSU to the MOSFET with 12 Gauge silicone wire and running dual (4 wires total) 16 gauge silicone wires to the heat bed itself. There are 2 positive and 2 negative terminals on the heat bed and they are the same connection that accept 12V. If you measure the bed resistance you will get between 1.0 and 1.1 ohms on a working bed. If you have anything different then your bed is broken.
Upgraded Power Supply
The factory power supply is also very under-powered. It is rated at 20 Amps and actually puts out around 15 Amps. This leaves very little head room for expansion. This also causes the heat bed to take forever to warm up. Replace the PSU with a 30 Amp one like the one pictured to the right. You can purchase one on Amazon with THIS LINK. After just changing this my heating times for both the heated bed and the extruder were greatly increased. I highly recommend this upgrade as it is under $20 shipped.
That is where I will leave this post. I have also put some pictures of actual Anet board failures because the users were not listening to advice about using a MOSFET and checking their connections. This is a great printer but you will need to give it a little TLC before you start printing with it.