In this post we are going to see a review/unboxing of what, for me, is the best home printer that we can buy at the moment, the popular Anycubic i3 Mega.
Those of us who chat regularly on Twitter will already know that for my birthday I “semi self-gifted” a new 3D printer, because the previous one had earned a well-deserved retirement.
After a few months of testing my new Anycubic i3 Mega, I am so happy with the result that I have decided to take the plunge and do a Review/Unboxing of this great 3D printer.
More than that, this new printer has rekindled my “itch” for 3D printing, so let’s create a new section on the blog dedicated to 3D printing! Here we will see everything from beginner tutorials, solving the most common errors, sharing 3D models… and whatever else comes our way!
Of course, you are invited to participate in this new 3D printing section however you want. Participating in the comments, asking questions, sharing experiences, sending us photos of your projects, or whatever else you can think of.
For now, in this first entry in the section, logically, we are going to start with the review of the Anycubic i3 Mega, since it will be my printer for (hopefully) the next few years.
Looking for a home printer
We started looking for a good 3D printer for the home sector. What I was looking for to decide on a printer were a series of factors, which I imagine many of you will share.
First of all, the most obvious, I want it to have a moderate price. I don’t want to spend 600€ on a 3D printer. In the end, it’s just a hobby, and I don’t like the budget for “playthings” to go overboard.
Of course, at the same time, I want it to have good printing quality. I have seen home printers that print truly pitiful pieces, no matter how proud their owners are of them.
On the other hand, essential for me, I want it to be as close as possible to “plug and play”. I don’t want to calibrate the bed every so often, spray lacquer to make the pieces stick, checking if it gives me this or that error, if the print has gone wrong. I don’t have that much time (or desire). What I want is for it to print well when I need it, even if I haven’t used it in 3 weeks.
Finally, I want it to look good. I don’t want a Frankenstein printer that I’m embarrassed to have in the office, with a tangle of cables coming out, a glass held with paper clips, and mechanical parts in plain view.
With these conditions, after the initial purge, I was left with three candidates. The Anet A6, A8, and A10, the Tevo Tarantula, and the Anycubic i3 Mega, all very popular models.
In the end, I decided on the Anycubic i3 Mega because of the large number of sales it has on AliExpress, Ebay, or Gearbest and the good comments I read (although you can never fully trust this).
I must say that I am very happy with the decision to buy the Anycubic i3 Mega, because it meets everything I was looking for and exceeds it by far. Next, we will see its main features.
Features of the Anycubic i3 Mega
The Anycubic i3 Mega is a fused filament fabrication (FDM) 3D printer with a Bowden-type extruder. It can reach up to 275ºC, so it can print most filaments such as PLA, ABS, Wood, Metal, or Nylon.
The printing volume is 210x210x205mm, correct but perhaps a bit tight for current trends. The precision is 0.01mm in the X and Y axes, and 0.002mm in the Z axis, resolutions within the common range. The size of the printer is 405x410x453mm, and the weight is approximately 10kg.
The Anycubic i3 Mega comes ready to print with the usual 1.75mm filament diameter. It incorporates a standard 0.4mm diameter nozzle. With this configuration, the printer can print layer heights from 0.05mm to 0.3mm.
The frame of the Anycubic i3 Mega is metallic (aluminum) and provides great rigidity to the whole. It has a double motor for the Z axis, for greater precision. The assembly of the printer is really simple. It comes unassembled in two parts that are joined with 8 screws and 3 cables with different terminals and colors. Literally, in 5 minutes we can have the printer assembled and working.
Another advantage is the Anycubic Ultrabase heated bed. This base has a specially designed treatment to provide perfect adhesion to your parts. It is difficult for a piece not to stick, and at the same time, they are easily removed once the bed is cooled. The temperature it can reach is up to 100ºC. An absolute success by Anycubic, which makes printing a delight.
In terms of electronics, it mounts a Trigorilla control board manufactured by Anycubic. It also incorporates a 3.5-inch touch screen so its use is very simple and intuitive.
The printer has a slot for SD cards, where we can load the models and print from the SD card directly. It also has a USB type B port to which we can connect a computer with the provided cable and print from the computer (for example, wirelessly with Octoprint).
Other improvements include a filament sensor that stops the print in case the filament is cut. It also has the option to continue the print in case of a power outage. In reality, these two functions are much less useful than they seem (I have them deactivated).
It’s time to talk about the “vile metal” which, whether we like it or not, is one of the main constraints in the purchase. We can find the Anycubic i3 Mega in the main online stores, such as Amazon, AliExpress, Ebay, or Gearbest, among others.
The cheapest I have found is 268€ with shipping costs included. When buying it, I advise you to choose it with shipping from your country. If not, you will have to pay the shipping costs and customs charges, and in the end, it will be more expensive.
It’s a fairly unbeatable price for a printer of this quality. It is slightly more expensive than (some) Anet models and in a similar range to the Tevo Tarantula.
In my case, the shipping was very fast because I chose local shipping, about three days. The package has dimensions of about 56x26x26cm and weighs approximately 15kg.
The Anycubic i3 Mega comes very well packaged and protected. Each part is properly wrapped and located in its position in the box thanks to the polystyrene protectors (which is not polystyrene, but you know what I mean).
In the package, we find the parts of the 3D printer, the screws for its assembly (8x M5), the power cord, a USB A-B power cord, and the disassembled parts of the acrylic support for the spool.
As extras, it includes a roll of 1kg black PLA, an SD card reader and an 8GB card, a spare hotend and an endstop, and tools (glove, pliers, spatula and allen key, and wrenches).
In other words, a very complete set that includes everything we need to print, and even some extra items. Perfect.
The simplicity of the assembly is one of the strong points of the Anycubic i3 Mega. If it’s the first one we assemble, we’ll want to look at it carefully, read the manual, and it will take us 10-15 minutes to assemble it. But seriously, it’s 8 screws and 3 cables, no more. If we assembled it for the second time, we would do it in 5 minutes, and we would have some left over.
The SD card that comes with the Anycubic i3 Mega comes with a file so that we can test the printer. It is a model with two owls, a model widely used in printer testing. This is the result and as you can see, for a first print, the quality is very good.
Here are some more examples of things I printed with the Anycubic i3 Mega in the first few days. It is worth noting that this is the printer without any upgrades or improvements, this is how the Anycubic i3 Mega prints “out of the box”.
Here we have an Ironman Hulkbuster, layer thickness 0.10mm.
A Warhammer 40k Dreadnought, layer thickness 0.10mm, printed in several parts.
An Ironman figurine with adaptive layer thickness.
A baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, layer thickness 0.2mm (printed in two colors because I ran out of brown
And a case, layer thickness 0.2mm, to improve the ventilation of the printer itself (obviously, the fan is real, not printed).
Not bad at all! In fact, it is an impressive result for a printer in this range.
I am very happy with the purchase of the Anycubic i3 Mega and surprised because it has exceeded my expectations in all aspects. The assembly is very simple, I like the aesthetics, the use is very comfortable, and the Ultrabase is a real success. It is just what I was looking for in terms of “plug and play” and much more.
In terms of quality, this printer is outstanding from the first moment. With the parameters correctly adjusted, the Anycubic i3 Mega prints the same or even better than many “professional” printers I have seen, and they cost several thousand euros.
As a negative, the biggest drawback I have found is the noise of the fans. Perhaps for many, this is not a big problem, but for me it was. Fortunately, it is easy to fix, and we will see in an upcoming post. Right now, it is practically totally silent.
In summary, these are the strengths and weaknesses of the Anycubic i3 Mega for me:
- Outstanding print quality
- Very easy to assemble and use
- Touch screen, possibility of printing from USB or SD
- Very good adhesion thanks to the Anycubic Ultrabase
- Correct printing volume, but could be better
- The fans are somewhat noisy (easy to upgrade)
If you are someone who likes to “tinker” and get the most out of your 3D printer, the Anycubic i3 Mega is compatible with most standard components available. Also, as it is a model that has gained some popularity, many user upgrades are appearing.
With a few upgrades (which we will also see in future posts), the Anycubic i3 Mega goes from being a remarkable printer to absolutely fantastic. A level of detail that really leaves you speechless, very good printing speeds, and absolutely quiet. A marvel!
In general, at the moment, it is the best home printer we can buy. It is suitable for both those who want to start and those looking to upgrade their printer to a higher quality one. For less than 300€, it is unbeatable in terms of quality/price.
In future posts, we will see many more things about 3D printing, including some more tutorials about the Anycubic i3 Mega (obviously, because it is the printer I currently have), but you can take advantage of them even if you have another printer. So, see you soon, and let’s get printing!