Author Topic: Anet A8 3D Printer  (Read 8968 times)

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Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #75 on: July 27, 2020, 02:41:29 pm »
I'm a bit torn on these upgrades.

I like the idea of making the head lighter, but rather have metal parts that wouldn't warp. Also, I've had this printer for a month and haven't done anything with it because all I keep doing is fixing issues or realizing a fixed issue also has an upgrade that requires additional time.

I still need to upgrade the firmware and the last video I watched suggested installing a boot loader which requires a piece of software (VS I think) that needs Win7 or better.

Currently I've been the process of picking out parts for a new PC because I run XP - but Win10 on my work laptop which is what I use often - but I don't have access to installing software such as stuff to upgrade the printer firmware.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #76 on: July 27, 2020, 02:47:38 pm »
Also, I've had this printer for a month and haven't done anything with it because all I keep doing is fixing issues or realizing a fixed issue also has an upgrade that requires additional time.

Frankly the best advice is to get something better.

I'm not going to say it. :)
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #77 on: July 27, 2020, 03:07:40 pm »
I think it's a solid printer to be honest.

What is the cost of a "better" printer, $1k? I'm not going to print $1k worth of stuff on it in probably five-years if that. I think it's cool to own one, but even at the original cost of the A8 being $300 (?), it wasn't worth owning. The advantage is that I can (eventually) design parts and print them without sending the file to a company, pay the money, and discover the part doesn't fit, thus wasting money.

My only grip is that the printer is "unstable" and in order to stabilize it, it needs to run slower to print parts to make it safer and more stable. But I'm spending more time and money for filament trying to print parts that aren't coming out well because I need to print parts to make it print better quality parts. hahahha  it just seems I'm in a vicious circle. I'll say this much, with the help of many, I've certainly become more acquainted with this printer and made it stronger.

Personally I'd rather just buy a Bowden metal bracket upgrade kit, some brackets to mount it to a surface, and call it a day. Unfortunately I haven't seen any metal brackets, just files to print the brackets (which apparently I already have).

A new printer will still have a hotbed and hot extruder making it unsafe to run for long periods of time while unsupervised. Unless of course something that would take a day to print on the A8 can be done in an hour or so on a better printer.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #78 on: July 27, 2020, 03:26:34 pm »
I think it's a solid printer to be honest.

You haven't been able to get it to make anything useful so far - so what do you base it being 'solid' on? It barely works, you spend all your time trying to remediate its multitudinal flaws..

I'm not their biggest fan (by a long shot), but this is a vastly superior machine: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BR3F9N6

I've owned an A8. I feel qualified in saying it's a hopeless turd in 2020 (not that it wasn't whenever it came out).
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 03:51:46 pm by Monkeh »
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #79 on: July 27, 2020, 03:36:21 pm »
The link doesn't work.

I consider it a solid machine based off the potential I see. I should have rephrased that statement earlier. The parts printed on it was with loose hardware, original extruder, and not mounted to anything. If it printed parts that well before, I think with a few modifications, it will be solid.

The unfortunate part is that not all parts are available to purchase in metal. While having the stl parts available it great (and appreciated), I wouldn't mind spending a few bucks just to get the printer upgrades completed in a day or two rather than over the course of weeks.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #80 on: July 27, 2020, 03:51:27 pm »
Link fixed.
 

Offline Ranayna

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #81 on: July 27, 2020, 04:19:48 pm »
Well, it is definelty true that decent 3D printers are relatively cheap nowadays. Even back in 2018 when i bought my A8 this was already developing.

I can only give my personal reasons for getting the A8 kit: I wanted something to build. Plain and Simple. The less stuff that is pre-assembled, the better  >:D
A couple of years back, Conrad Electronics had a 3D printer kit. For a whopping 1900 Euro as a kit, or 2300 Euro assembled. I was soooo close to getting that thing back then, but i could not reasonably spend so much money on what is (for me) essentially a toy.

For the longest time, i forgot about 3D printers.

Then, in 2018, the german computer magazine www.heise.de, who are also publisher for MAKE: in germany, wrote an article series about the A8. That was, even with a couple of store bought upgrades (rods, powersupply, bowden kit, MDF Board) a reasonable price for what i wanted it to do.
I got it to print, had to stow it though, and it stood on the back of the shelf until that CoVID crap started :D

I have it now in a resonable shape, but to be honest, since building and tweaking stuff is what i prefer, it is now mostly standing around again, waiting for a project. Likely, if not for this thread, i would already have stowed it again ;)
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #82 on: July 29, 2020, 02:47:33 am »
I guess my initial gripe (if you'd call it that) is the unknown of when is the end of the upgrades so I can begin using the printer.

Obviously this has nothing to do with the upgrades as they are all valuable, and, in some cases, for safety issues.

For now, I'm going to hold off with the Bowden upgrade. The printer works just fine except the Y belt is lose and will be fixed once I fix the printer to a base (I can go tighter, but holding off so I can eliminate any possibility of bending the bracket).

Some upgrade questions: why is the power supply considered underrated? One annoying issue I've seen: the plug sparks whenever it's plugged in for the first time indicating lots of capacitance with no slow turn on circuitry. In any case, someone said the power supply can't handle bringing the hotplate up to 200C, but the hotplate is the same resistance regardless if it's 60C or trying to climb to 200C. From my measurements (and going by memory), the bed draws around 10A, the extruder 2A, with a total power draw (while a motor or two was turning) about 13A (and I think it was less than this). This means the printer is only using 60% of it's total capability.

As for updating the firmware, initially I was under the impression the firmware was owned by Anet. When I began reading that updates exist from everyday users (?) I got concerned that anyone can tinker with the code and make it a ticking time bomb. From my understanding, the firmware is open source, but (maybe this is the incorrect term, but I'll use it) in a vault maintained by the community; or at least verified by the community.

With this being said, I watched a few videos the other night and carefully took down notes until the end, where the video stated a new version existed. I began watching that video and it stated to use a booloader.

Do several versions of the firmware exist, or is Marlin version X the only one? Which version is the current, and do I need to install a bootloader?

Since memory size seems to be an issue, I imagine saving space by not installing a bootloader is a better approach, but I don't necessarily know what a bootloader does; nor what install options exist.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #83 on: July 29, 2020, 08:14:30 pm »
In any case, someone said the power supply can't handle bringing the hotplate up to 200C, but the hotplate is the same resistance regardless if it's 60C or trying to climb to 200C.

Not only can that bed not reach 200C, but you would never want to. And no, it's absolutely not the same resistance, look up the tempco of copper.

The power supply is of inadequate quality at first glance. I never did manage to kill it, though.

Quote
As for updating the firmware, initially I was under the impression the firmware was owned by Anet. When I began reading that updates exist from everyday users (?) I got concerned that anyone can tinker with the code and make it a ticking time bomb. From my understanding, the firmware is open source, but (maybe this is the incorrect term, but I'll use it) in a vault maintained by the community; or at least verified by the community.

The original firmware is simply a copy of Marlin from who knows how long ago. Any modifications are unreleased, the original config is unreleased, and they don't give a hoot about GPL obligations (or not burning your house down). As for any modified versions released randomly on the internet, that's at your own risk. You can quite easily obtain a copy of Marlin (of an equally ancient version or current or anywhere in between) yourself and configure it.
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #84 on: July 30, 2020, 01:04:02 am »
Quote
Not only can that bed not reach 200C, but you would never want to. And no, it's absolutely not the same resistance, look up the tempco of copper.

I accidentally got mine up to 193 or 194.

In any case, I now understand temperature measurements a bit better. Not necessarily on a per part basis, but know 200 is too hot.

Now it's more a question about firmware as I stated in my previous post (see above). Is a bootloader required, and what is the common version of Marlin most use so I know that's a version that can be trusted?
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #85 on: July 30, 2020, 01:42:37 am »
Quote
Not only can that bed not reach 200C, but you would never want to. And no, it's absolutely not the same resistance, look up the tempco of copper.

I accidentally got mine up to 193 or 194.

And how long did that take on a completely stationary bed? The firmware shouldn't have even let you try that..

Heating time on mine to 100C, with the power boosted well beyond normal, was 10min or more, which is insane, and it barely held it once moving.
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #86 on: July 30, 2020, 01:56:30 am »
I selected pre heat PLA and didn't realize the default (?) was set to 200.

It took quite a while before I realized (and referenced this thread) that 200 was just crazy.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #87 on: July 30, 2020, 01:57:04 am »
.. no, 200 would be the nozzle temperature, not the bed.
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #88 on: July 30, 2020, 02:00:41 am »
Wait a second.... hmmmm maybe I'm thinking it was a 100 for the bed and I'm confusing it with the 200 for the extruder

 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #89 on: August 07, 2020, 03:11:55 am »
Before I spend time updating to Marlin 2.0 and installing a bootloader, I was wondering if the new version board (1.7?) is worth the investment?

I watched the Marlin firmware update video and saw an issue can arise with memory size, so I'm curious whether the new boards have more memory.

 

Offline towe96

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #90 on: August 07, 2020, 08:24:52 am »
A more contemporary printer would be Creality's Ender 3 series or the BIQU B1. How much did you pay for it, if I might ask?

You can use aftermarket boards on almost all printers. The SKR Mini E3 v2.0 would be a good choice - supported by Marlin 2.0, and it has much quieter stepper drivers than the original board.
To update your existing board, you might have to install a bootloader (ISP programmer or and Arduino Uno), or "simply" change the upload baud rate to 57600 if it uses the old bootloader.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 08:26:29 am by towe96 »
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #91 on: August 07, 2020, 12:15:20 pm »
I got the printer free, but it has more sentimental value, so I'd rather keep this one and get the printer firmware updated for the safety factors.

I don't know if it has a bootloader, or which version firmware is on it. From the video, to install a bootloader, I need a programmer or something like that. If I'm going to pay for a programmer, I thought maybe buying a new modern board is more ideal since it probably already has a bootloader.

 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #92 on: August 07, 2020, 12:56:35 pm »
I don't know if it has a bootloader
from screen capture you made earlier its clearly running marlin FW. why dont you try the arduino IDE path through USB first? why start with fancy bootloader (that every arduino should alredy have) and dedicated programmer HW? you seems certain about something yet not very clear to us. after these months, have you reverse engineered which mcu (what mcu is it?  avr?) pin controlling which motor/heater/sensor?
« Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 12:58:16 pm by Mechatrommer »
It's extremely difficult to start life.. one features of nature.. physical laws are mathematical theory of great beauty... You may wonder Why? our knowledge shows that nature is so constructed. We simply have to accept it. One could describe the situation by saying that... (Paul Dirac)
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #93 on: August 07, 2020, 12:59:56 pm »
If you're going to replace the board, there's no point buying another crap one from Anet. It won't have any more flash space, and I sincerely doubt it's all that much of an improvement in any other area.

I don't know if it has a bootloader
from screen capture you made earlier its clearly running marlin FW. why dont you try the arduino IDE path through USB first? why start with fancy bootloader (that every arduino should alredy have) and dedicated programmer HW? you seems certain about something yet not very clear to us.

These boards don't usually ship with a bootloader, because they're not Arduinos and Anet never had any intention of releasing firmware updates.

after these months, have you reverse engineered which mcu (what mcu is it?  avr?) pin controlling which motor/heater/sensor?

Why would he need to? In the spirit of cheap and lazy production it's a near 100% electrical clone of an old Melzi board, warts and all, and everything about it is documented already.
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #94 on: August 07, 2020, 01:03:06 pm »
if changing the board is inevitable, then maybe RAMPS pcb kit/module + arduino mega is much more sensible. all the mechanics are already there. easy, cheap and well known/documented.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 01:05:00 pm by Mechatrommer »
It's extremely difficult to start life.. one features of nature.. physical laws are mathematical theory of great beauty... You may wonder Why? our knowledge shows that nature is so constructed. We simply have to accept it. One could describe the situation by saying that... (Paul Dirac)
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #95 on: August 07, 2020, 01:04:46 pm »
if changing the board is inevitable, then maybe RAMPS pcb kit/module + arduino mega is much more sensible. all the mechanics are there, easy and cheap.

Really not. RAMPS is just as bad - cheap boards, bad layout, no heatsinking..
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #96 on: August 07, 2020, 01:08:30 pm »
if changing the board is inevitable, then maybe RAMPS pcb kit/module + arduino mega is much more sensible. all the mechanics are there, easy and cheap.
Really not. RAMPS is just as bad - cheap boards, bad layout, no heatsinking..
mosfets are working as hard switches (not linear mode), barely need a heatsink. my Melzi board doesnt have any except for stepper drivers. Melzi also is not an arduino board, but compatible and works with arduino IDE without a programmer. trying this path on that anet board should not hurt, at worst is rejected arduino IDE request to upload FW. i worked with RAMPS board on my Bethan machine, and now 2 RAMPS for my CNC and a giant printer (i call it Cartesan). Marlin 2.0 are ready configured and installed in both boards.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 01:16:59 pm by Mechatrommer »
It's extremely difficult to start life.. one features of nature.. physical laws are mathematical theory of great beauty... You may wonder Why? our knowledge shows that nature is so constructed. We simply have to accept it. One could describe the situation by saying that... (Paul Dirac)
 

Offline bostonman

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #97 on: August 07, 2020, 01:30:13 pm »
Quote
from screen capture you made earlier its clearly running marlin FW.

Which screen captures? The ones from the slicing software?

I assumed Marlin was the base for the printer in general and selected that from the slicing software setup menu. Otherwise, I don't have a clue as to what is on the printer, whether it has a booloader, etc...

I've really owned this printer for a month or so, and began with the mechanics (with much support from here). As for the firmware, I don't know anything about Audrino and all the other associated stuff. Also, I don't know anything about programming firmware and stuff. The basics I know such as taking a file and hitting upload, however, I don't know all the details of setting up firmware to be installed.

The videos I've found are a great help, but, as I said, am I wasting time on a board that I should upgrade with more memory.
 

Offline Ranayna

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #98 on: August 08, 2020, 09:15:31 pm »
The only screencaptures shown in this thread were mine ;)
And all of them were with the stock A8 firmware, which is indeed as far as i know a Marlin version. At least the slicer tells me so...

Anyway...
I finally got around to updating the firmware of my board. And boy, this was surprisingly difficult. More on that later ;)

I will lay out my steps here. I have not yet printed with this firmware! I have just installed it and my printer still boots

1. Download and install the latest Arduino IDE. I have used the latest official one. I do *not* know which one will still work with XP, or if that will work the same

2. Download the USB to Serial Driver for the CH340: http://www.wch.cn/download/CH341SER_ZIP.html That should still work with XP

3. Download the Firmware here: https://marlinfw.org/meta/download/. Version 2 will not work as far as i know (but i haven't tried it)

4. Power on the Printer and connect the USB Port to the PC. Go to device manager and install the CH340 driver if not present, and note the COM Port of the Printer

5. Unzip the Firmwarefile. Then go to \Marlin\example_configurations\Anet\A8 and copy both files in that folder to \Marlin. Overwrite the existing files.

6. Open the \Marlin\Marlin.ino file

7. In the Arduino IDE go to File -> Preferences and add the following URL to "Additional Board Manager URLs": https://github.com/benlye/anet-board/raw/master/package_anet_board_index.json Multiple URLs can be in there, comma separated

8. Go to Tools -> Board -> Board Manager. Search for anet. One result should be shown, install that

9. Go to Tools -> Board -> Anet Boards -> Select Anet V1.0

10. Go to Tools -> Port -> Select the COM Port of the Printer

Now this is the step that is required in the current Arduino IDE Version, likely from 1.8.x
11. Go to Tools -> Board -> Boards Manager. The first default entry should be "Arduino AVR Boards". You need to select a specific older version here, namely 1.6.23
Without this step i get compile errors. That took me some time to track down. Most people just said "disable the end stops, dummy"  :-DD

12. Go to Sketch -> Verify/Compile. This should not produce any errors, and should say something around 83% space used.

This step does the actual install
13. Go to Sketch -> Upload. This will take some time. I did not get a finished notification, but after a couple of minutes (and the loading bar was full) i noticed that the printer display changed.

I have not had any time yet to test, and as hot as it is here currently i am not really in the mood to try. But i was able to navigate through the firmware without issues. The behaviour has significantly changed, but everything seems to be there after a cursory glance. This will take some time to get used to ;)

EDIT: I mainly did this to see if there would be any real reason to actually change the board. It seems that is not the case ;) There are even ways to optimise further by loading a different bootloader, but as far as i could see that cannot be done over USB.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2020, 09:19:03 pm by Ranayna »
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Anet A8 3D Printer
« Reply #99 on: August 09, 2020, 05:15:53 am »
The only screencaptures shown in this thread were mine ;)
right! my mistake. i should have not make another reply :palm:

i was refering to Reply #33 without looking closely who's posting.


but refering to Reply #18 the anet board looks like a arduino compatible, maybe CH341 usb chip there and some unknown AVR chip. anyway, too less input to make any usefull help on Marlin configuration. or even the working condition of the printer. OP only posted some mutilated printouts which i suspect wrong setting in slicer or unlevelled bed or not homed Z=0 properly...


this picture from Reply #68 also shows some loosening problem in mechanical bearing or else that need fixing but which one precisely is unknown since OP didnt provide anymore details. but since the printer is printing out, i suspect no problem with FW...

« Last Edit: August 09, 2020, 05:34:15 am by Mechatrommer »
It's extremely difficult to start life.. one features of nature.. physical laws are mathematical theory of great beauty... You may wonder Why? our knowledge shows that nature is so constructed. We simply have to accept it. One could describe the situation by saying that... (Paul Dirac)
 


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