Anet A8 3D Printer

I must say that I am very fond of my first 3D printer purchase. For $160 and a bit of self-assembly this machine has been very worthwhile. In addition, for my senior project at WPI, it has been indispensable. Recently I printed off the largest and longest print for said project. It was estimated to take 20 hours, but ended up taking 30. Check out a picture of the print starting and nearly-finished product below.

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Printer beginning its 30hr journey
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Buoyancy chamber mock-up. The inner chamber extends outwards and extends to nearly double the length of the closed mechanism, pictured here.

As for problems with the printer, I have had a few. Namely,

  • Belt tensioning
  • Burnt (to destruction) hotbed connector
  • Under-powered power supply
  • Leveling the print bed
  • Inconsistent filament extrusion (between different colors)

Yet, for all of its flaws, I have been extremely pleased with what has come out of it. See below an example of one of such prints. The connecting rod is from my Pontiac engine after it exploded (see 1976 Trans Am) and I decided that I would chance a new one, rather than machine the old one’s bearing surface.

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3D printed PLA piston head connected to connecting rod by way of 3 parts, one full-length shaft, and two spacing collars that situate the connecting rod in the middle.

I look forward to many new projects in the future that will benefit greatly from this piece of equipment! Especially when it comes to miniature tanks and arranging drive systems within them. Stay tuned!

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