AnyCubic I3 Mega 3D Printer Review - RC Groups

AnyCubic I3 Mega 3D Printer Review

If you've been thinking about getting into 3D Printing, there is no better time. This review is from a newbies perspective and I can't believe I waited so long to get one. Read on for the full review.

Splash

Introduction

3D printers are a modern day marvel. It's as close as we get to the Star Trek Replicators, so far. You can print just about anything and I'm not talking about just little trinkets, we're talking useful stuff, especially for the RC hobby. I've always thought 3D printers were cool, but figured they were too expensive and I had to know how to use a CAD program to make stuff and I just wasn't up for that. I later learned about Thingiverse where people post the things they've created and you can download the files for free and print them. This makes it more accessible to the average person who just wants to print without worrying about designing parts. When Gearbest offered to send me the AnyCubic I3 Mega printer for review, I knew it was time for me to get in the game so I jumped on the opportunity.

***Disclaimer - This review isn't coming from an expert in 3D printers with a thousand hours and countless machines. I'm a complete newbie that's excited to learn and share my experience with this printer from a first timer's perspective.

Technical Specifications

  • Type: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
  • Printing Size: 210x210x205mm
  • Printer Dimensions: 405x410x453mm
  • Printer Weight: 10kg
  • Print Speed: 20mm/s - 100mm/s
  • Layer Resolution: 0.05mm - 0.3mm
  • Axis Positioning Accuracy: 0.0125mm - X/Y, 0.002mm Z
  • Material Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Nozzle Size: 0.4mm
  • Printer Frame Material: Metal
  • Platform Board Material: Aluminum
  • Mainboard: TriGorilla
  • Screen: 3.5 inch TFT Touch Screen
  • Extruder Type: Bowden
  • Max Nozzle Temperature: 260C
  • Max Heatbed Temperature: 110C
  • Bed: Ultrabase
  • Price: $360
  • Available at: Gearbest

Features

  • Filament sensor
  • Resume from outage
  • Works with PLA, ABS, HIPS and Wood
  • Easy 5 minute assembly
  • Large build volume

Video

What's in the Box

The printer was nicely packaged and arrived safely to my door with no damage. Here's a list of items that are included in the package.

  • AnyCubic i3 Mega Printer
  • Spool of black PLA filament
  • Manual
  • USB SD card reader
  • 8GB micro SD card
  • Two Micro SD to SD Card Adatpters
  • USB cable
  • Power cord
  • Spare hotend
  • Spare endstop switch
  • Spool holder
  • Tool set with nice tweezers, side cutters, etc.
  • Scrapper
  • Hardware (screws)
  • Gloves

Assembly

While some printer kits will take you upwards of 12 hours or more to assemble, the I3 Mega takes less than 12 minutes to put together. Once everything is unpacked and laid out, you just lift the base over the frame assembly and set it in place. There are 4 screws used to secure the base to the frame. After that, you can connect the 3 wire harnesses to the base. The connectors are color coded and different sizes so you literally cannot plug anything into the wrong slot. The default power setting is set to 220V, so if you are on 110V power, make sure you move the switch to the 110V side. After that you need to.... oh wait, that's it, you're done assembling the printer. It could not have been easier.

OK, the printer is put together, but we're not quite ready to start printing. The spool holder takes 4 screws/nuts and you'll spend a minute or two pulling the protective paper off the acrylic panels. You need to install the roll of filament that was included and run it through the filament sensor and into the extruder. To insert the filament into the extruder you need to squeeze the lever to allow the filament to pass through. Run it into the tube a little bit, but do not push it all the way through to the nozzle at this point in time.

Software

To use the printer you'll need to navigate the software using the color touch screen. The screen is responsive and the UI is not complicated at all making it intuitive to use without looking at the manual. When you turn the printer on, you get a splash screen and then the main menu appears. On the main menu screen, you can see the hotend and bed temps. The left number is the actual temperature and the right number is the target value. You also see the Print, Setup and Tools buttons.

The Tools section will allow you to home the printer meaning it will put the bed and nozzle at the home positions. You can also move each Axis individually, preheat the unit, cool the unit, run the extruder motor in or out, reset the unit, calibrate the touch screen and get help or info from the More section.

The Setup section allows you to change the language, manually adjust the hotend and bed temps, turn the motors off, check the print status and control the fan and print speeds manually.

The SD card includes an owl pair that is ready to print, but it also includes a copy of the Cura slicer software. I'm not going to go into Cura, but it is what you can use to take STL files from Thingiverse and turn them into the GCode file that the printer needs to be able to print.

Getting Ready to Print

OK, before you can print the test owl pair included on the SD card, there's a couple of things you need to do first. You have to level the bed, but don't go reaching for your bubble level. We're not talking level with the ground, bed leveling is a process where you adjust the bed height in relation to the hot end nozzle. To get started, turn the printer on, click the Tools button, then Home and then Home All. This will move the bed and the nozzle to the home position. Now you can either turn the printer off or go back to the main menu and click Setup and then Motor. Both of these methods will turn the motors off so you can move the bed and nozzle around manually.

Use a piece of A4 paper (there is one included in the kit for this purpose) and the idea is to adjust the bed height using the thumbscrews under the bed corners. Put the the nozzle over one corner and adjust the thumb screw on that side until the paper can slide between the bed and nozzle. You want to adjust it so that the paper rubs the nozzle slightly with a small amount of friction. When the bed is too high, the paper will be stuck or hard to move, when the bed is too low, the paper will freely move under the nozzle with no resistance. Once you have that corner set just right, do the same process for the other 3 corners. It's a good idea to check all 4 corners a second time after the first pass. Now you can move the nozzle to the middle of the bed and adjust further if needed. Do take your time during this bed leveling process as it is critical to printing. It's one of the most important factors in 3D printing.

Now that your bed is level, we can get ready to start the first print. You'll want to pre-heat the nozzle to be able to insert the filament down to the hotend. Click the Tools button, then Preheat and click the PLA button. You'll see the E0 temp setting change to 190 and the Bed temp to 50. Wait for the left hand number on the E0 to reach 190 and then you can press the lever at the extruder and manually feed the filament in all the way to the nozzle. Once it gets there, you should see filament oozing out of the nozzle. At this point you can stop feeding the filament in and use the tweezers to clear the nozzle.

Go to the main menu, click the Print button, then click on the Owl_pair.gcode and hit the print button. The printer will start moving shortly and begin the print. It's fun to watch as it prints and after the first layer, you can take a look and see if the first layer looks like the image in the manual. If it doesn't look right, you'll need to adjust the bed again to the proper height and start the print over. This all sounds like a lot to think about, but it's actually very simple and easy to do. My first owl print came out great and since then I've been printing nearly 24 hours a day for weeks!

Gallery

Final Thoughts

OMG! Just like flying, I'm now addicted to 3D printing. Having the ability to create things at home is amazing and it supplements the RC hobby quite well. You can print off parts, tool holders, accessories, and even airframes. It's only limited by your imagination and having Thingiverse around to pull parts off of is fantastic! The AnyCubic I3 Mega was incredibly easy to setup and use and the print quality is outstanding. At less than $400 and with a generous build area, it makes for a great first printer. The manual is helpful and this thing comes packed with features you only see on units with much higher price points. After a couple of weeks of nearly non-stop printing, I'm really happy with the reliability and performance. I've only had a few failed prints due to my own errors in the parameter settings in Cura as I was experimenting. I'm loving the Ultrabase bed as it makes getting the parts off a non-issue, you only need the scraper tool if you are in a hurry and want to pull the part off before the bed cools down. If you let the bed cool after a print though, you can literally pull the print off with no effort or tools! I've learned that on other printers people use tape, glue or hairspray to get the parts to stick to the bed and end up having to scrape it off with a knife or scraper tool with some force. Not with this print bed! If you are thinking about getting into 3D printing, I really don't think you can go wrong with the Anycubic I3 Mega. It's a great midsize printer with nice features and an affordable price tag and I have really enjoyed my experience with it as my first 3D printer.

Things I like

  • Full Metal Solid Frame
  • Large 210x210x205 Printing Area
  • Wide Supported Filament Type
  • Resume Print from Power Outage
  • Filament Sensor
  • Fast Easy Assembly
  • Ultrabase Heated Bed
  • Touch Screen Controls
  • Supplied Tools are Awesome!

Links

Gearbest has the AnyCubic I3 Mega in two versions linked below with some coupon codes!!

Anycubic I3 MEGA Full Metal Frame FDM 3D Printer - US Plug

Use Coupon Code: AnycubicI3US

Anycubic I3 MEGA Full Metal Frame FDM 3D Printer - EU Plug

Use Coupon Code: AnycubicI3EU

Thread Tools
Sep 26, 2017, 01:30 PM
who has rabbit ears down
Captain Canardly's Avatar
eehah! missy walks dad, then I read!
Latest blog entry: Finally getting some airtime!
Sep 26, 2017, 02:39 PM
Registered User
GSVNoFixedAbodec's Avatar
Having just got one myself I have to agree with 95% of this review! The 5% is that there are some printers arriving (mine included) with an uneven bed, 'domed' high in the middle. There are fixes depending on the severity of the problem, primarily with the Y-axis rods.
Sep 27, 2017, 12:01 AM
who has rabbit ears down
Captain Canardly's Avatar
Great Review Jason! and congratulations! So now, to celebrate, here's a couple of gifts to printing! Just change the (txt) to (stl) and import to your Cura slicer, and have some serious fun oops, 2 of the files are over limit, (adjusting) Also, when a .020" music wire is put into the center of the "bullet nose", the divisions of 5(mm) will be oncenter for viewing. ( werkin' a new revision )
!
---edit---
found the CAD pics to explain better!
Last edited by Captain Canardly; Sep 27, 2017 at 12:09 AM. Reason: found CAD pics & added
Sep 27, 2017, 02:44 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Cool thanks!
Sep 27, 2017, 03:40 PM
My quadcopter is not a drone!
unseen's Avatar
Jason, there's no need to learn CAD software.

Take a visit to tinkercad.com, watch the videos and start designing your own 3D objects. It's really, really simple!
Sep 27, 2017, 03:48 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Yep! I was happy to find that out. I've been "tinkering" with Tinkercad, see what I did there and it looks fun. I need to watch the tutorial videos still and have a ton to learn, but it doesn't seem to hard to learn. So much fun!
Sep 27, 2017, 03:52 PM
My quadcopter is not a drone!
unseen's Avatar
Glad to hear you found tinkercad already. I just love the way you can turn any object into a 'hole' and use it to subtract from the model.

It's truly a brilliant web application.
Sep 27, 2017, 03:55 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Right! I used that already to cut out some text from the bottom of a model. Cool stuff!
Sep 28, 2017, 11:56 AM
My quadcopter is not a drone!
unseen's Avatar
Having looked at your review, plus the reviews of others, this looks like an extremely competent 3D printer for the price.

The fact that it can print at a much higher temperature than my current 3D printer opens up the choice of some more interesting filaments like nylon, HIPS and polycarbonate.

I really like the resume after a power cut and the filament sensor; both excellent features.

You just made a hole in my wallet!
Sep 29, 2017, 02:28 PM
Registered User
I ordered one Weds off Amazon, it comes today. Should be a fun weekend...

Tom
Sep 29, 2017, 02:31 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Sweet! My power supply failed on mine this week so I hooked it up to one I had on hand until the stock replacement I ordered on Amazon gets here tomorrow.
Sep 30, 2017, 02:30 AM
who has rabbit ears down
Captain Canardly's Avatar
Ahh Bummer! sorry to hear that one!
Latest blog entry: Finally getting some airtime!
Sep 30, 2017, 04:37 AM
My quadcopter is not a drone!
unseen's Avatar
This isn't the first report I've seen of the power supply failing. I wonder what the issue is. Poor cooling? Power supply too small for the job?
Sep 30, 2017, 09:14 AM
Registered User
DonA's Avatar
Power supplies failing is a common problem with many of the printers that are knockoffs of Prusa, or others. The manufacturer buys the cheapest components they can find and these supplies really have no excess 'buffer' like higher quality supplies. They have to run at max power just to meet the stated amperage so the weakest component in the supply gets pushed to its limit continuously. I have had 2 supplies fail on my printer until I broke down and used a higher amperage supply, no problems since.

Don


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