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  1. #1

    Lightbulb anet a8 prusa i3 upgrading

    so i bought an anet a8 prusa i3 a few years ago, i've played around with it a fair bit and would like to upgrade it some more but i don't know what upgrades ive have planned would be worth doing for quality of life, ease of use and over all quality.
    i have already upgraded the PSU, added a mosfet to the bed and a few print to help it (drag chain for the X axis, supports for the Z axis and so on) but i dont know where the upgrades i have in mind with be worth it so if i could have any opinions or experiences please let me know.
    i mainly use the printer for work on cosplay parts and odd bits around the flat and primarily in PLA but being flexible would be useful.

    Planed upgrades
    board upgrade to a SKR 1.4 running merlin (new screen and drivers) £40
    bed leveling touch sensor £26
    J-head hotend with bowden £30 (mainly of easy of changing filament)
    metal frame using extruded aluminum style around £50

    or do i just say screw it, save for an ender 3 and upgrade that?

    i mainly just want to make the printer safe as can be and the turn on and go feeling, as is i feel like i spend more time leveling the bed than printing but id like to hear your feed back
    all parts would be added gradually as i am on low income
    hope to hear some good feedback

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    well to start with what you currently have is much better than an ender 3.
    You already have a direct drive extruder, dual z-axis motors and side support rails with dearings on the printbed. You Lose all of those and the speed and stabiity they bring with an ender3.

    Also you already have a much better setup for printing flexibles than you get with ANY current creality printer.
    For flexibles you need direct drive - yes you can do it with a bowden, but you end up printing really really slow and retractions never really work properly.

    The screen and board are a good idea. I'd personally go with repetier over marlin for the firmware - but that's just personal choice.

    Not sure why you want to change the hotend.
    I wouldn't bother (well I haven't).
    As far as changing filament goes - that will come with the new firmware.

    As far as the frame goes - all that need is fixing to a solid base. I used a sheet of 4mm aluminium, made some brackets and feet and bolted tha whole frame to it.
    As far as bed levelling goes. Change the current nuts to nylon locking nuts and screw them all down until the springs are reallly tight.
    Adjust the z-axis endstop for the new height and level. That will stay level (particularly if you've bolted the frame to something flat and solid) almost indefinitely.
    All an autolevel sensor does is adjust for a non-flat bed. You still need to do the manual actual level.

    So stick with what you have and do LESS to it.

    Board and screen.
    Stable base
    change the bed nuts to nylock
    Job done :-)

    Autowiz on the other hand would have you totally rebuild the entire thing - I like to think I only change what NEEDS changing. He just likes building stuff :-)

  3. #3
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Also you talked me into it - did not realise board and screen prices had got so low !

    Got the skr1.4 turbo board, 3.5in touch screen and 5x a4988 drivers for £33 - no idea when they'll get here (early june to late july it says), but I'm tapped out trying to get any kind of working combination with the bits I've already got in my workshop. Either the boards don't like the screens or the screens are dead or the firmware doesn't like either. I don't know, but I've tried all combinations of screens and boards and no joy.

    I did think about the tmcs, but have yet to get my head round what the differences are. The a4988's will do 1/2 & 1/4 stepping, which could be useful. And they were an extra £10. As I only have 1.8degree steppers, don't think it's worth it.
    Plus I like the r2d2 noises stepper motors make and if there's one thing my workshop isn't - it's quiet :-)

    Between the other three printers (which are currently all functional !) and the K40 with it's air compressor and extraction fan - not to mention planet rock on the radio. Quiet is not something I look for :-)

    This is what I went for :

    basically £34. And i wasn't kidding about the delivery.: 4th june - 29th july :-) Good job I'm not in a hurry.

    Looks like the turbo is the pro version - which looks like it has dual z motor connectors, that'll save me buggering about with the second extruder driver - cool :-)
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-12-2020 at 10:39 AM.

  4. #4
    Thank you for the advice as for the holding it down im in the process of building an ikea table cabinet for it so i can bolt in into place on to that, the bed leveling was more just for the fact that i dont use it that often but when i come back to it after a month or 2 i need to spend half a day just fiddling with it to get it back to printing ok

  5. #5
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    the nuts should fix that and keeping the springs really tight and having the two parts of the frame bolted to something solid :-)
    Mind you the ebay bods were doing a cheap probe with the board and screen and driver kits for acouple of quid.
    But too much fuss.

    What does your z axis endstop setup look like ?

    Modified mine to simply screw up and down and hold in whatever place you set it. Before it had three tiny nuts you had to piss about with.

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