When getting into 3D printing, novices are faced with the choice of getting a cheaper model that’s easy to operate vs. investing in a more expensive one whose potential they’ll be able to unlock only after getting their bearings. When designing the I3 Mega Anycubic must have been led by the idea of creating a 3D printer both sides would be happy with, and they have pulled it off quite well.
Features of the Anycubic Upgraded Full Metal i3 Mega 3D Printer
Once you open up the well-padded box the printer arrives in, the number of accessories and spare parts the manufacturer has generously included comes as a pleasant surprise. Apart from the printer itself, there are things to make printing easier like a spatula and glove, but also great life-extending additions like a spare end stop and hot end.
So many parts might lead one to believe that setup is complicated and takes long, but the i3 Mega is actually comparably easy to assemble. All that’s required of you is to attach its frame to the print bed through eight screws, connect three more wires and plug in the resulting 3D printer. If anything in the process isn’t clear, detailed instructions are there to get you back on track.
Assembled, the i3 Mega really looks like a sturdy printer, which is confirmed as soon as you put it to work as it doesn’t wobble or vibrate in the slightest while printing. Steel was used for its entire frame, and you can easily tell the difference that makes. After assembly is done all that’s left is to align the print bed, and this is done by adjusting its four corners and takes about 10 minutes or less to do.
Anycubic emphasizes the i3’s large print area as one of its strong suits, and with good reason. An area of 8.3 inch squared with a height of 8.1 inches allows for large and complex prints to be created. This can be done with a variety of filaments thanks to variable speed and temperature controls. To start with, you get a massive 1kg spool of black PLA, but can also print with TPU or PETG.
Best of all, the print bed is heated, so printing with ABS is another welcome option, not to mention the added stability each print gets from having its base firmly stuck to the bed without messy tape or glue. Whichever filament you use, the i3’s built-in sensor will signal when it is about to run out and pause your project until more is added.
Controlling the printer is done via its large touchscreen LCD display through easy-to-understand icons. “Print,” “settings” and “tools” make up the initial menu and pressing each opens up more options. Sometimes the screen might not register a button press, but after another time or two, it responds well.
Like other models in its price range, this printer comes with an SD card. Sporting a not-too-shabby 8GB of memory and the essentials needed to start printing like the popular slicing program Cura and other starter models, you don’t even need to hook it up to a computer to make instant use of it.
It’s hard to come up with things to nag about when dealing with such a well-rounded 3D printer, but if anything is to be criticized it’s the print speed and noise levels. With a maximum speed of 60nm/s, it’s one of the slower printers out there. Add to that the considerable noise its fans produce to make the waiting less bearable.
While useful and welcome, the heated bed can cause some prints to stick to it quite strongly, so using the spatula to scrape them off is needed. This can damage more frail prints and force you to start over.
- Easy to assemble and well made
- Supports a wide array of filaments allowing for versatile prints
- Comes with generous starting supply of filament as well as spares and accessories that prolong its life and make printing easier
- Heated bed increases print quality and makes using ABS possible
- Can create large and intricate prints thanks to a big printing area
- Prints take a while to complete and the printer is fairly loud while working
- Sometimes prints will get stuck to the heat bed, requiring tools and a bit of force to come loose
The upgraded I3 Mega straddles the line between someone’s first printer and an advanced model comfortably well. Simple where it needs to be to attract beginners, and versatile enough to keep them interested when it’s time to design prints of their own and tinker with more than garden variety PLA, it gives excellent, long-term value and definitely won’t be outgrown quickly like other newbie-friendly 3D printers out there. At close to $500 the cost is reasonable, and should be considered as a worthwhile investment into such a creative and useful hobby.