Upgraded a fair bit so far with frame braces and also some extra parts. To anyone upgrading… never ever ever ever drill into the acrylic frame!
First things first… seriously drill out those bloody threaded holes in the H frame under the heatbed!! I had two screws get stuck in them due to the expansion of heat. They then get jammed and you are sodded. Drill or file them out, then use the wingnuts you have left over. When you can, print out these thumbwheels to cover the wingnuts so you can easily turn them to level the bed.
The front plate isn’t symmetrical! I always noticed my belt was a lil off center but didn’t think much of it. Turns out the frame is meant to only go one way round. As you can see in the pics each side is significantly different!!
Thought I would share lol
Move short side to the left.
Frame Upgrades from Thingiverse
I had some 18mm mdf laying around so I decided to screw down the frame. It reduces the vibrations a ton and also means the frame cannot warp. It has a habit of doing it due to the vibrations. You may start to hear a worrying ringing sound… check the bolts they come undone ugh. One of the guys mentioned sugar in some water, drip it on and screw the bolt up. It will crystallize and keep it locked tight but some warm water removes it, unlike the glues you see around.
First one has two sections, one of them is the brace that goes near the front of the printer and the other keeps the middle section at the correct distances. Very tight fit and has increased stability significantly!
The hulk frame is wonderful, it near enough stops any side to side motion!
Belt tensioners are so incredibly important. Once you anchor the belt in, it is a total pain in the arse to tighten it. Also do not cut your belts too short! I did without realising it and then could not upgrade till I bought the new belts.
With the X axis belt tensioner I found the screws were grinding into the support bars that they press against. Just insert some plastic between them and it is fine.
The Y axis tensioner fits into that frame addition nicely too. It is a simple screw that can allow you to get a nice incremental tightening.
I tried out a few different spool holder but this combo is by far the very best! First you need the arms which by virtue of the shape hang onto the frame.
I found these are the best to hold the spool, it will fit near enough size spool diameter which is a positive. Print two, I also bought some dunlop 608 bearings… this thing has no resistance when it is feeding filament. I had to tighten it a tad just to slow it down lol
One of the most important upgrades is the MOSFET which will redirect power direct from the PSU to the heatbed. This prolongs the use of your motherboard and is a very important safety feature. You can buy two and have one for the hotend as well, I’ll probably do that soon enough.
While you are at it upgrade the hotbed wires to be safe. The little connector on there is not suitable really for what needs to do. It is a very simple upgrade, this mans vid is the best around. No soldering required for this one.
Get some silicone wire, lowest number the better for thickness so a 10 or 12 gauge. You’ll need 2 meters in total. This will cover the addition needed for the mosfet and wiggle room to cable tidy.
Absolute must of an upgrade!! Get some linear bushings called “Igus Drylin RJ4JP-01-08”. I upgraded the bed first with the legit ones and they made such a difference in sound. The normal ones rattle due to the bearings, since these are polymer then self lubricate and slide along the bars quietly. I bought a set of these far cheaper on aliexpress and just waiting on them to arrive. You will need 7 altogether, plus some needle nose pliers because they have one of those awful horseshoe washers stuck in there.
One of the most annoying things is changing filament, sometimes you can guide it in perfect and then other times it will just not cooperate. This is a block that replaces the stock extruder section. It allows you to easily take the fans and heatsink off without it literally falling to pieces. For the Anet A8 you need the “Positive Right Way”
Upgrade your belts pronto! The difference in your prints is huge and it is dead cheap. I purchased these 6mm width fiber reinforced rubber belts.
Glass bed is a must, you don’t need all that tape crap. Get some cheap hairspray, do one layer of it on glass and it will stick nicely! Most glass will do but I bought this, size should be atleast 8.46″ or 215mm square.
My newest upgrade is going to be moving the extruder motor up to the top of the frame and off of the X carriage, it means upgrading the hotend to a Bowden extruder which is dead cheap. Guide and mount:
www.thingiverse.com/thing:2268994 The reason for the upgrade is that the extruder motor is roughly 450g! It is on the X carriage and jerking back and forth when printing, momentum means it will slightly affect the prints. The bowden hotend extruder is… 50g! I was looking at the parts separately but it is all bundled together in one set for a fair price. You must request from the seller what size you need. Add it as a note, for mine I needed the 1.75mm with a standard 0.4mm nozzle.
I bought a spare extruder just in case. If you get a dud or even just a blockage it means you can swap it out easy.
Some of the lads said to get teflon tube parts, and sure they are €0.32 so why not. Get the 1.75mm teflon tube.
You can also get some extra nozzles in case you get it blocked. The standard is the 0.4mm but you can go as small as 0.2mm which means extra fine prints but it can get blockages easier so again get a few. Dead cheap anyhow.
Not necessary but handy.
LED light ring for getting direct light onto the print. They used the ring LED lights for car headlights since they are compatible with 12v from the PSU.
Silica Gel packs, place them in with your filament so it stays dry. Damn filament will ruin your prints. For this you get 100 x 1g packs at €1.75 I bought a few hundred just to be sure.
Digital calipers are a must!
Digital IR Thermometer, not exactly necessary but it is bloody handy when you do want one!
Sugru self drying silicone putty is beyond useful but… it’s expensive so finally China got onto that and made their own. Used it myself and is equally as good. I used it to firm up the connection of the wires to the heatbed socket.