Review Anycubic Kobra Max Review: Massive Prints

Kurdain1

Distinguished
Nov 30, 2007
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I'd like to get back into 3D printing but after leaving Microsoft I have had trouble finding a free Solidworks style design program.
Solidworks itself is incredibly expensive but it's really the only 3D modeler I have spent any time with.

Suggestions on a free, easy to use for simple home designs and thus prints?
 

hecksagon

Distinguished
Feb 26, 2013
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I'd like to get back into 3D printing but after leaving Microsoft I have had trouble finding a free Solidworks style design program.
Solidworks itself is incredibly expensive but it's really the only 3D modeler I have spent any time with.

Suggestions on a free, easy to use for simple home designs and thus prints?
Fusion360 from Autodesk has a free hobbyist license.

https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/personal
 
Jun 9, 2022
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Give Onshape a try. Entirely web based (no client install so you can work on your personal projects in your lunch/downtime on your work PC) , workflow compares really well with my experience of PTC ProE/ Siemens NX and solidworks. I used to install a dodgy version of whatever package I used for work at home but I'd just use onshape now.
 

Giroro

Distinguished
Jan 22, 2015
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I am new to 3D printing, and the Kobra Max was the first 3D printer I've bought.
After a week and a half of trying to tune and write a printer profile for PLA, the spool fell off of the janky spool holder at some point overnight. Even though it was only about a 4 inch drop (The printer is on the floor), something snapped the filament. Maybe it was the force of the fall, or maybe the extruder was trying to pull stuck filament until it broke. Regardless, when that happens, the printer sits there at full temp for an unlimited amount of time, apparently.
You can supposedly insert new filament and continue a print, but I couldn't find instructions on how to do that. The company's manual is very lacking, and there's not enough good information from other users. For example, I have no idea how tight the wheels or belts need to be, which have been part of the cause of the problem.
When I reprinted the part, I now have regular banding on the Z axis. So something must be damaged, somehow. I have no idea what, or where to start. In a tall cylinder, the band is bad at the start of a layer, but is greatly reduced by the end of the layer. It could be anything or maybe everything. This company's manual is lacking, and their tech support is in about 40% Chinese, which makes it hard to figure out how to fill out the forms - but that's the only way to try and get parts.
I'm pretty close to just calling this whole disaster as a write-off. 3D printing is exactly as I feared: A learned skill and giant hassle, which is nearly impossible to get working correctly and requires constant tweaking and a huge amount of work. The end product being a low quality plastic part that is more expensive and more difficult to obtain than what you can just buy in a store. And all that is before the "multiple college course" level of training you need to get decent at CAD software.
I wanted to buy a product to help me with my real hobbies, but this is a hobby in itself. It doesn't save work, it causes work.
I'm tired of wasting time on this. I didn't have the time to build a 3D printer from scratch, but that is apparently the same amount of effort that it takes to get an off-the-shelf product working optimally. Except that you can actually buy parts and fix the missing firmware features for the DIY model. I've burned through almost a full roll of Anycubic's branded filament, and exactly one small test print actually came out without any significant flaws - but that was probably because it was a single-walled cube printed in vase mode without a top or bottom.

But here are some lessons I've learned, so far.
  • A novice to CAD should not buy this printer.
  • A novice to writing/compiling firmware should not buy this printer.
  • A novice to technician maintenance of electromechanical systems should not buy this printer.
  • A novice to thermal dynamics should not buy this printer.
  • A novice to open loop control systems should not buy this printer
  • If you don't know what GCODE is, then you should not buy this printer.
  • A novice to multiples of the above should not buy any 3D printer, because they are all apparently essentially the same.
  • E step and PID calibration is mandatory - these are the only 2 things I've done that showed a consistent improvement to print quality.
  • If you don't know what E steps or PID are, then you probably shouldn't buy this printer.
  • Calipers are a required tool, possibly also a micrometer if you don't luck your way into finding a good flow rate. And by flow rate I mean there's like, 6 different flow rates.
  • There is not a lot of machine specific debugging information out there about the Anycubic Kobra Plus/Max.
  • There is not a lot of machine specific information on how to use or fix this printer, in general. For example, the printer comes with a small tube of grease. The manual does not tell you what this grease is for, outside of the vague notion that some moving parts of 3D printers generally need to be oiled, if they exist.
  • Nobody sells spare parts for the Kobra max, outside of the hot end and baseplate which are the only parts you can get direct from Anycubic
  • Anycubic is apparently not a very popular brand.
  • I need to re-emphasize how big of a problem it has been for me that there is no good Cura profile for this printer. As trying to make my own has been many hours of flailing in the dark. If users have made good printing profiles for this printer, I can't find them. There's about 200 variables that need to be optimized, each of which can both ruin a print, or do nothing - which is highly situational, I guess.
  • This printer does not support Linear Advance. The firmware change logs suggest that it might, but changing the K value does nothing. It took a lot of wasted time for me to figure that out.
  • I can't figure out how to properly tune retraction/priming/coasting, so I had a lot of minor extrusion issues that are now making it way harder to figure out the cause of the Z banding.
  • The source code for AnyCubic's firmware is not available.
  • You should not buy a 3D printer that does not support Linear Advance, apparently.
  • You can't release the extruder's grip on the filament, so things like a "cold pull" cleaning and checking if the extruder is gripping/deforming the filament are much harder than necessary. The automatic filament in/out command from the screen is extremely slow.
  • Solidworks has a terrible UX - they don't even know the right way to zoom with a scroll wheel.
Of course, if you don't care about the surface of your print, because you plan on filling/sanding/painting every single part, then maybe this thing is capable of cranking out some "highly disappointing" prints, but I'm not sure it's actually any easier/faster/cheaper than just sculpting something by hand. But I have no real idea. I'm not willing to throw $30 worth of material at a full scale print until I've been able to prove the printer is set up properly and is free of damage... which I have been completely unable to do in under 2 weeks.
 
Last edited:
Aug 18, 2022
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I'd like to get back into 3D printing but after leaving Microsoft I have had trouble finding a free Solidworks style design program.
Solidworks itself is incredibly expensive but it's really the only 3D modeler I have spent any time with.

Suggestions on a free, easy to use for simple home designs and thus prints?
Solidworks is free for makers......
 

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