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I'm currently looking for my first 3D printer. I may be a stranger to 3D printing but my I'm a tool and die maker by profession, so the DIY and learning curve involved don't scare me in the least.

I found via AliExpress this machine - the Anet A8 plus. Main appeal to me right now is that they have local stock since I live in Brazil where choice is highly limited. The thing is, I don't see a lot of stuff about it online, as compared to, say, Creality machines.

What I would like to know is, is the lack of discussion online a sign that the design is obsolete/irrelevant by now? Or is it still a viable choice in 2021?

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    $\begingroup$ Hi and welcome to SE.3DP! I'm not sure if this question will led to opinionated answers, some people may love this printer, and others may hate it. That said, IMHO, as a first printer, it should do what you want, and probably will serve you well. Most printers require constant tinkering/maintenance and this model would not differ. There are probably better printers out there, and probably worse ones. Unless the A8 has a serious design flaw, it should probably be OK. Even if there is a design flaw, it probably could be rectified with a few customisations. $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline
    Sep 6 at 19:26
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In order to talk about relevance, we need to look into the design. Over the years, printers have moved on from wooden and acrylic frame parts to aluminum frames. The latter are much stiffer and more easy to build and connect other stuff too. The old acrylic Anet A8 had a community rework to the AM8 which is the aluminium 2040 profile upgrade of the A8 parts; the acrylic parts where prone to break and flexed, hence the vast amount of upgrades for this printer. So, the A8 plus printer has a sturdy frame.

However, this is a budget printer, but so are the Ender and it's clones. It is way better than the original A8. One of the negative aspects of the Ender type machines is the roller system and the single Z screw driven gantry, you see many topics that relate to the tensioning of the rollers. The Anet A8 plus uses the linear guide rods we know from the well proven Prusa i3 design. This design can also give you problems with e.g. Z-banding when low quality lead screws are used.

A weaker aspect of the Anet A8 plus is the hotend/extruder combo. It houses a full size stepper onto the X-Z gantry, adding a lot of weight, there are better solutions for this combo. The hotend itself is fairly simple, e.g. the Ender range has decent hotends, but the default plastic arm of the extruders tend to be a problem looking into some recent questions.

All-in-all, yes, the Anet A8 plus could still be considered relevant and will give you decent prints. If it is the best choice is up for debate. It is a question of what you want! Do you pick a printer that is less popular, or one with a huge fan base and modding scene (also spare parts, upgrades, firmware flavors, etc.).

If we look at your background of tool and die making, you may want to build a printer yourself, the Anet A8 plus printer may be a first welcome addition to make your own. E.g. although the Prusa i3 style printers can produce decent prints, all top printers use different kinematics, e.g. CoreXY, H-bot or Ultimaker Cartesian.


For me, printing started with a 180 Euro Anet A8 which has led me to building my own take on the AM8, a HyperCube Evolution (CoreXY) and buying an Ultimaker 3E...

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