As with many hobbies, moving into 3D printing may be intimidating, expensive, and time-consuming. But it surely would not should be. Because of cheap open-frame printers just like the Creality Ender-3 S1 Professional, the time spent assembling your printer and truly getting a print began has shrunk by a bunch, and so has the monetary barrier to entry. The Anycubic Kobra 2 maintains this new established order, not solely being straightforward to assemble, however straightforward to make use of, too, with a novel extruder made to print as quick as doable. It’s not with out its faults, however at simply $279, the Kobra 2 may simply be one of the best finances 3D printer we have examined thus far, and so earns an Editors’ Alternative award for the class.
The Quickest Funds 3D Printer within the West
Whereas the primary Anycubic Kobra borrowed a little bit of the commercial look seen on printers just like the Unique Prusa i3 MK3S+, the Kobra 2 goes for an easier look, with a chunky, bold-colored plastic chassis round its extruder, nearly like a toy. In any other case, it seems to be like many different open-frame printers. At 19.1 by 17.3 by 17.1 inches (HWD), its footprint is barely smaller than that of the Creality Ender-3 S1 Professional, although it’s nowhere close to as small because the Monoprice Mini Delta V2’s.
The dimensions of the construct space is barely smaller than the S1 Professional’s, too, however completely workable at 9.8 by 8.7 by 8.7 inches (HWD). It weighs 18.5 kilos, making it a hefty printer, however not as heavy because the 34.6-pound anvil that’s the AnkerMake M5.
The construct plate is each scratch-resistant and wear-resistant, produced from a spring-steel-textured polyetherimide (PEI). Your prints adhere to the bottom, which permits for each speedy heating and good adhesion. To take away your prints, you simply have to bend the plate barely. The plate is straightforward to take care of, too, and doesn’t require any further adhesives, like glue.
The printer’s base holds the facility provide and helps the carriage on which the construct platform can transfer out and in, much like different open-frame 3D printers we’ve seen. Two semi-hollow vertical beams hook up with the edges of the printer and maintain the crossbar in place, whereas one other horizontal beam manages the extruder. The filament holder extends to the aspect of the machine, feeding in from the aspect reasonably than the highest just like the Creality printers do.
A 4:3-aspect-ratio LCD touch-screen panel fastens to the best aspect of the printer. The entrance of the printer includes a USB-C port, in addition to an SD card slot. All of those design parts are pretty standard-issue, although there’s no built-in software drawer such as you’ll discover on the dearer Anycubic Vyper.
The Kobra 2 helps just a few completely different filament varieties, together with polylactic acid (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG).
The printer’s defining function lies within the velocity of its extruder, the a part of the printer that ejects materials. The Kobra 2’s direct extruder is certainly quick; Anycubic charges the default velocity at 150mm per second, with a peak velocity of 250mm. We don’t usually measure exact 3D print speeds, as there are just too many variables to think about between fashions. However in our check prints, we did certainly discover it to be fairly fast (extra on velocity under).
That velocity comes at a price, although. Whereas the printer employs an upgraded cooling system, the fan embedded within the extruder meeting is noisy; the entrance face (the consumption) can be uncovered, with no grille. You’d should put your finger in there for it to be an issue, however you will wish to preserve curious tots and pets nicely clear. It’s additionally susceptible to getting fairly sizzling. Sure, all 3D printers needs to be dealt with with care, however the exhaust warmth is extra distinguished across the extruder and its fan than most. It is rather more noticeable than the cooler-operating Creality Ender-3 S1 Professional, for one, probably because of the excessive print speeds.
Meeting is easy, with simply 5 items to take care of. Even when it’s your first time increase a 3D printer, you’ll discover the method fairly intuitive. Nonetheless, as soon as the unit is put collectively, the construct high quality doesn’t really feel fairly as strong as different, dearer mainstream 3D printers, and even different cheaper printers just like the Monoprice Mini Delta V2. It is largely because of the chunkier elements of the machine: the bulked-up joints, the contact panel, and the extruder. The general really feel jogs my memory of a toy with additional materials added to guard it from careless dealing with, although the additional bulk would not make it really feel noticeably stiffer.
In my expertise, leveling a printer’s mattress has all the time required a human contact, regardless of the auto-leveling software program that comes put in on many fashions. The Kobra 2 comes with one thing referred to as the LeviQ 2.0 Computerized Leveling System, which is meant to manually alter the Z-axis offset, a user-defined print setting that enables the print head to be positioned above or under the default Z-axis residence place.
Anycubic cautions that offset deviation could happen throughout transport, and that’s comprehensible. However after we tried to run the auto-leveling software program, it merely didn’t work. Correcting the leveling required some tinkering, and the documentation wasn’t all the time clear. We needed to take away the extruder casing to correctly alter the stopper hooked up to the extruder, and solely then have been we in a position to get the nozzle inside placing distance of the construct plate—simply sufficient room to slide a bit of paper in between, normally our splendid tuning distance. As soon as that was dealt with, it was easy printing.
Anycubic’s touch-screen interface options 4 choices: Print, Put together, Instruments, and System. Print is self-explanatory, whereas Put together provides you choices to regulate the filament, preheat the mattress, and carry out mattress leveling. The Instruments possibility lets you alter velocity, tweak temperature, and even flip the motor on or off, and System lets you change the language. (Chinese language is the one possibility moreover English, although.)
Testing the Anycubic Kobra 2: Speedy Prints
When you’re leveled, printing needs to be easy crusing. The Kobra 2 comes with a small starter coil of filament, sufficient for one or two prints, however you’ll wish to get your self a spool of PLA filament ASAP, since you’ll be going by way of filament as quick because the Kobra 2 prints it out: very quick. In a single check, it managed to print out a 3DBenchy in simply half-hour.
Nonetheless, the detailing was a bit of muddled, not less than in comparison with the output of the Creality Ender S1. Nonetheless, the Kobra 2 did current quantity of element total, particularly on bigger prints—and with out a lot “furry” residue to talk of. The element stage is near what we’ve seen from Creality printers.
Plus, the sizable print mattress helps each small and medium-size prints. These searching for an even bigger print space on a budget may be higher served by the Vyper, however the Kobra 2 gives greater than sufficient print space to get the job accomplished.
Our Kobra 2 check unit got here loaded with the Prusa Slicer app on the included microSD card (it is also obtainable for obtain from the web), however the Kobra 2 wasn’t listed within the software program’s record of Anycubic printers. Regardless of this oversight, the app is completely usable with this printer, with tons of modifying choices for brand new and superior customers. You can too use Cura, one other open-source app extensively utilized in 3D printing. I largely used Cura in getting ready information for printing for the Kobra 2, however each are painless to navigate, even for newcomers.
We discovered a lot of our pattern prints by looking Thingiverse, however there are many different 3D printing choices on-line, and also you’ll discover a few check prints on the included SD card to get you began.
Although we ran throughout occasional misprints, most of our check prints have been stable and retained a lot of their element. Bigger prints fared one of the best, like our Chocobo, for instance, which got here out sturdy and detailed, whereas our flower pots retained their form with out problem. Ribbing, or “z-banding,” was current however minor, and there was no seen warping on any of the prints. It may not be as detailed because the Creality Ender-3 S1 Professional’s output, nevertheless it comes very shut, and at $280, it’s a cut price that can not be ignored.
Verdict: Quick Prints on the Low cost
As 3D printing settles into the mainstream, and higher-quality 3D printers enter the sub-$300 vary, the Kobra 2 manages to do exactly sufficient proper to face out from the pack. It is not with out its points, specifically its clunky leveling system and noisy cooling. However most of its points may be neglected because of its entry-level worth and comparatively high-quality, speedy prints.
You will discover higher 3D printers for prime greenback, after all, just like the Unique Prusa i3 MK3S+, however for underneath $300, the Kobra 2 is a superb alternative for newbie hobbyists trying to dip their toes into the world of 3D printers.