Anet ET4 Pro 3D Printer Review

Review Anet ET4 Pro 3D Printer on Quiet TMC2208 Drivers 2021. Hello! 3D printers, thanks to a large number of Chinese manufacturers of such devices, have ceased to be something exotic and are quite accessible to almost anyone who wants to join the world of 3D printing, because the average price of models with good characteristics and print quality, almost does not bite and is comparable to the cost of a smartphone of average parameters. I would like to note that the competition is doing its job and forcing printer manufacturers to constantly introduce new features into the basic models, which were previously available exclusively on expensive devices. In this review I will talk about the new FDM print ANET ET4 PRO from the long-standing and well-established company Anet.

Anet ET4 Pro 3D Printer on Aliexpress with discount

The main feature of the novelty is the use of silent TMC2208 stepper motor drivers in the electronic part of the device, thanks to which, during the operation of the printer, the noise level is significantly reduced, which significantly affects the comfort of those around who are in the room where 3d printing takes place.

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There is a cheaper model with the same characteristics, but on common drivers — ANET ET4 X

For me, this is my first own 3D printer, so don’t ask if some points that seem obvious to experienced users were a revelation to me 🙂 But first things first …

The printer came in a large box weighing about 10kg:

All contents are perfectly packed in thick foam material, so they arrived without damage. This is important because the printer is practically assembled, and damage to the geometry of the all-aluminum frame can significantly affect the quality of the print in general and its capabilities in principle. There is a hot-end in a separate compartment, i.e. part of the print head that performs plastic printing:

The package is two-tier, at the top there is a frame with a printhead guide mounted on it, in the lower tier there is a main unit with a heated printing table already installed:

I would like to note that all elements that may somehow be damaged during delivery are protected by the manufacturer with additional packaging:

Characteristics of the ET4 PRO model:

  • Model: ET4 PRO
  • Print technology: FDM
  • Printing unit type: 1xBowden extruder
  • Print media type: PLA, ABS, HIPS and analogs
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Printing area: 220x220x250mm
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Accuracy: ± 0.1mm
  • Layer thickness: 0.1–0.3mm
  • Model download options: connection to a computer; off-line with microSD
  • LCD-display: color 2.8 inches
  • Maximum print speed: up to 150mm / s
  • Recommended print speed: 30–60mm / s
  • Table material (HotBed): aluminum platform + tempered glass or thermal pad
  • Extruder temperature: up to 250 ° С
  • HotBed temperature: up to 100 ° С
  • 3D printer size: 510x485x250mm
  • Weight: 7.6 kg

Some of the characteristics can be seen on the base unit plate:

Features of this model: Silent TMC2208 stepper motor drivers; full metal frame construction; built-in adjustable sensor of the distance of the printing nozzle to the table; auto-calibration at 25 points; pause and resume printing; control of the presence of filament in the extruder; offline printing from a memory card.

The package bundle is rich, it contains everything that is needed to assemble and start printing:

  • printer and accessories: fasteners, belts, tempered glass, thermal stickers on HotBed, etc.
  • set of keys (3 hex keys + double-sided box wrench and screwdriver)
  • microSD 8Gb memory card + card reader
  • Spare nozzle and fuse
  • PLA plastic probe (10m)
  • power cable
  • filament spool holder
  • instructions

INSTRUCTIONS

Additionally, my kit included a 1kg coil with filament (random color), they sent me bright yellow:

The printer uses the classic Bowden extruder design. The Hot-end is already assembled with all protective covers, fans, pipes and blowing nozzle and it is enough just to install it on the rail, connect the connectors and snap the plastic feed tube into the corresponding fittings of the feeder.

I note that another distinctive feature of my configuration is the presence of a sensor installed on the Hot-end and measuring the distance to the table for the possibility of automatic calibration of the printer (in the pictures below this is a cylinder with a blue fill and an adjusting screw, and on the side where the nozzle is located there is a green cap ). In addition, the bottom photo shows that some details, for example, the blowing nozzle, are themselves printed on a 3D printer — “robots make robots” 🙂

The main unit is equipped with a separate power switch and fuse, on the same side there is a hole for installing a memory card and a connector for connecting to a computer (though not a standard USB, but like in ordinary printers), there are also slots for blowing the power supply, and for cables and cables corresponding holes are made in the right places:

Bottom platform. All cables are secured and the assembly itself makes a good impression:

Back view:

The front panel has a display:

All the stepper motors and the connection board are already installed on the frame, the frame itself is made of a double aluminum profile:

Feeder with filament sensor and limit switches:

Aluminum rollers:

The frame is attached to the base with two screws on each side, the end of the long Z-axis screw from above is not fixed, as far as I studied the question, there is no point in such fastening, it is important that the screw itself is even:

Installation of the printing unit is elementary, some problem can only be caused by the installation of belts, because you need to tuck their ends into the corresponding clips, it is better to do this either by removing the roller, or by loosening the screws with which the tension of these belts is adjusted:

Filament tube is fixed in self-tightening fittings:

Mounted printhead:

Some structural elements, for example, a blower nozzle. printed on the printer:

All motors are connected to the board with marked connectors:

Finally, install the filament holder:

After installation, which slowly takes about 40–50 minutes, the printer is ready to print …

Naturally, “ready” is very conditional, he will print, but the question is the quality of the print result. Despite the fact that the manufacturer writes in the instructions that the device is pre-configured at the factory, you need to understand that, practically, any Chinese 3D printer is a kind of DIY project and minimal adjustment and adjustment are simply necessary. For me, as they say, it was “on fire” and I, not really “bothering”, decided to start printing right away and, in principle, what came out at the output looked like the model that I sent to print, but … not quite, pictures I will give comparisons before and after adjustment just below. If compressed, then, in general, significant “dancing with tambourines”, if there is some understanding of the process, is not required for tuning, although this is a creative process: you need to adjust the tension of the belts along the Y and X axes (by loosening the screws and tightening the belt roller,

In addition, it is important to adjust the horizontal position of the printing table. Using a float level is ineffective, so you need to use the built-in calibration, which I will talk about in more detail.

Anet ET4 Pro 3D Printer on Aliexpress with discount

After turning on the printer, three buttons appear on the small touchscreen display: Print, Prepare and Setting. All items are very simple and, almost intuitive, the impression was that Anet made the most simplified menu specifically for ease of use.

I’ll start from right to left, because this is exactly how, in theory, you need to prepare the printer for printing. Using the Setting button, in fact, little can be configured, here it is possible to check the operability of all printer axes, “park” the print head to see from what place and height printing will start, see information about the printer and software version, and , update the firmware (if it is recorded on a microSd card) and, in general, everything:

The central Prepare button of the main menu, the most important one in terms of settings, here we calibrate the table for printing and the height of the nozzle above it, and this must be done in parallel with adjusting the sensor sensitivity screw on the print head itself, according to the instructions, it should work at a height of 2–3mm from surface of the table, and the height of the nozzle does not exceed 0.2 mm (the thickness of a sheet of plain paper for the printer, which I used for calibration):

Naturally, nothing is written in the instructions for adjusting the sensitivity of the sensor, and for some time I could not understand why my head rests on the table and scratches on it, drawing “patterns” on the surface of the thermal pad, but in the end I won and adjusted it like this, so that the sensor is triggered only when the nozzle touches the surface to a minimum. When the sensor is triggered, the red LED lights up for a moment and the print head begins to move along the Z axis in the direction opposite to the print table:

But back to the calibration, which is carried out in the Prepare point, there are 2 modes, “automatic” and “manual”. Manual, in my purely personal opinion, is of little use, and I set it up in automatic mode. Calibration is carried out at 25 points within 5 minutes, the print head sequentially touches different points of the table with the nozzle (as if the intersection points of the 5×5 grid), but displays only nine digits on the display, i.e. through one measured value, this is quite enough to understand how crooked the table is. At the first calibration, such a horror may turn out (the numbers in the photo below), and here we begin to manually adjust the four spring-loaded lambs of the table height at each of its corners and adjust the head sensor (it is enough to adjust it once):

This is a somewhat tedious, although understandable process, we look at the numbers “in the corners” they just correspond to each corner of the table and adjust the height, if the number is in the minus, then raise the angle, if it is positive, then lower it, start the calibration again after each adjustment of the screws. Ideally, it should turn out so that all numbers are equal to zero, but this is not so easy to achieve, because the table, being metal, in itself can have a slight curvature, and besides, when heated, its geometry can also change, so here, as I already wrote, this is a creative matter, it also adds piquancy that when the table is heated change my geometry a little 🙂 I managed to achieve such a result of tuning and calibration, which is very good. In principle, as far as I know, a discrepancy of up to 0.5mm is acceptable. The figure 0.15mm on the screenshot below is the height of the nozzle from the table,

In addition to the important calibration, in this section of the menu there are 2 more useful tabs, loading / unloading filament and preheating the table and extruder:

The leftmost Print button is responsible for printing from a memory card, just go in, select a file in .gcode format (created in any program designed for this, for example, Cura) and after a minute, the table and extruder are warmed up to the specified temperature (55–60 ° С for the table and 200–220 ° C for the print head), the printer starts printing. On the display, you can change the temperature of the table and the extruder, the speed of the blower fan, pause or cancel the print while printing. Below you can see the progress of printing the model and the time elapsed since the start of printing:

A few words about connecting ET4 PRO to a computer. Due to the fact that Anet is a well-known company, this printer and its parameters are already in the latest versions of CURA, where you can select it:

There are no problems with the connection itself, everything works right away, the main thing is to find an interface cable with a USB printer connector, which is not included with the printer.

The flashcard that comes with the kit contains 3 interesting models, instructions for assembling and setting up, fairly ancient versions of software for working with the printer and, in a separate folder, models for printing printer parts:

3D printing

As mentioned above, although I am technically well versed, I am a beginner in this topic, and since I wanted to quickly use a new device for me, I did not adjust the mechanics at first, but now you can see the result, as they say, “before and after”. Of course, professionals will always say that there is something to work on, but, nevertheless, I am quite pleased with the results of printing after adjustment and tuning. When printing, the quiet TMC2208 drivers do their job without adding stepper noise to the overall sound picture. Of course, several coolers make a certain noise, if we compare the noise emitted by the printer in operation, it is comparable to the operation of a desktop in game mode 🙂 When printing, it was interesting to experiment in programs with settings for layer thickness, print speed and other model parameters. Models below printed with a layer of 0.2mm,

The well-known test cube turned out more or less from the very beginning (on the left), but on the right after setting:

The test multi-tiered pyramid is more indicative: at first there were problems with filling the layers, unequal thickness of the side walls and the top cube was melted all the time, after adjusting the pyramid it turns out very well:

I liked the model of another cube very much, it has both a protruding cylinder and a depression in the form of a cylinder:

It prints quickly and immediately shows problems with geometry, when the base of these cylinders turned out to be not round, but oval. The problem turned out to be in the eccentric of the print head that I tightened strongly, which is fraught not only with the crookedness of the printed objects, but also with the rapid wear of the rubber rollers. Again, a comparison before and after (on the right cubes you can see that the circle already looks like a circle 🙂

And I also tried the function of pause and resume printing on it, which made it possible to print a two-color model, replacing plastic in the extruder, that is, you can print models of two different colors even with one printing unit:

By the way, if suddenly the filament bar ends or breaks, the printer pauses and waits for it to load:

Famous before and after boat settings:

And, of course, on more complex shapes, artifacts and problems with poor alignment will be even more noticeable. Here is an interesting model of a puppy, at first it was printed badly, after that it turned out, in my opinion, quite amazing:

The most revealing patterns that will reveal most of the problems, it seems to me, are compound shapes, i.e. with parts moving relative to each other, if the printer is poorly configured, after printing, the figure will not move. Examples of such models are the skeleton of a fish, a dinosaur, and the like. Here I will immediately show the finished result of high-quality printing, which I was able to get on this printer.

Fish:

Dinosaur:

One more point, when choosing what to print on: on glass or on a thermal pad, I preferred the latter, gluing it to the hot-bed, my models peeled off the glass more often, perhaps, it was necessary to experiment more with the heating of the table.

More examples of printing, even very small figures of 3 cm in height are quite good.

I’m also still learning how to work with the support options used when printing models — elements that provide the ability to print “dangling” objects, for example, the hands of figures. The main thing here is to find a balance so that the figures are printed exactly, and the supports could then be removed (which is not always easy to do):

Another composite model consists of five parts rotating relative to each other:

I was pleased with the printing of small detailed models, for example, the T-34 tank was a success, consists of two parts, the tower rotates:

I tried plastics from different manufacturers, for example, from PLA “FDplast” color “Terminator”, you need to slightly raise the temperature of the extruder (up to 230–235C), but the result is very good:

And the SUNLU plastic in the Cooper color, which Aliexpress bought on sale here, looks fantastic :

Outcome

The Anet ET4 PRO printer pleased me : it is easy to assemble, easy, understandable and set up quickly enough. Of course, to get the quality print that you expect, you need to make some effort, but I liked the fact that the result is a very good result. High-quality workmanship and all-metal frame, and silent stepper motor drivers reduce the sound discomfort if the printer is where people are.

Anet ET4 Pro 3D Printer on Aliexpress with discount

That’s all for me. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments below the article. . Happy shopping everyone

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