Anet has kindly sent me their Anet ET4 Pro 3D printer for review, along with 2kg of PLA filament. This updated version from their original Anet ET4 has silent stepper drivers and automatic bed-levelling. This is my first Anet product since starting 3D printing around 3 years ago. Let’s check it out and see how it performs!
Anet ET4 Pro Specifications
|Model: ET4 PRO||Printing size: 220*220*250mm||Printing resolution: ±0.1mm|
|Layer Thickness: 0.1-0.3mm||Printing speed: 20-150mm/s||Hotbed temperature(Max): 100℃|
|LCD Display: 2.8″ colour touch screen||Standard nozzle diameter: 0.4mm||XY Axis Position Precision: 0.012mm|
|Movement speed: 10~300mm/s||Extruder working temperature(Max): 250℃||Z AxiPositioPresicion: 0.004mm|
|Printable Filaments: ABS/PLA/HIPS etc.||Continued power failure: YES||Broken material detection: YES|
|Filament Diameter: 1.75mm||Automatic levelling: YES||Automatic feeding and returning: YES|
Anet ET4 Pro What’s In The box
The Anet ET4 Pro 3D printer came packaged well as expected. A large box with dense custom foam cut to the requirements to house all the parts of the 3D printer. Removing the top layer exposes the instructions and accessories along with the gantry and the hot end packed separately. The 2nd layer houses the main base unit, the build sheet and the mains cable underneath. Unfortunately, the wrong power cable was supplied, but I have plenty of spare UK plugs lying around, so no issues there.
Inside the Anet ET4 Pro 3D printer box you will get the following: All are in their own section of the foam, which is secure so no chance of anything being loose in the box.
|User and setup manual||Parts List||Wrench|
|Cable ties||Micro SD card with USB reader||PLA sample (seems to be a white silk PLA)|
|Belt for gantry||Bolts||Hex Keys|
|Spare nozzle||Spool holder||Screwdriver|
|Build surface sticker||Power cable||Warranty card|
A Closer Look At The Anet ET3 Pro 3D Printer
As I was unpacking the Anet ET4 Pro 3D printer, I noticed a couple of interesting things about this printer. The bed mechanics are different from what I have seen before! The mechanics run on only one side of the bed. To tension the belt, you just need to loosen the 2 screws holding the motor, get the tension, then tighten back up.
Underneath the base of the printer, there is a large empty gap. It would have been good if this could have been utilised to include mounting points for a Raspberry Pi for example. It seems like it should have had some cover over it. I don’t know if they designed it like this to save on the weight, or for future upgrades maybe??
Lastly, I found this a clever idea! As part of the packing, you would normally find your bed secured with just packing foam to stop it from moving about during transit. Anet have cleverly used the coloured decorative strips either side of the bed wheels to stop it from moving about… Genius!
Setting Up The ET4 3D Printer
To build the Anet ET4 Pro 3D printer is fairly straightforward. Just 4 bolts are used to secure the gantry to the base and then the extruder is installed on the gantry along with the belt. We can now plug everything in. They label everything, which is great, and the breakout board has the corresponding labels on them too. Plug in the 1 stepper motor for the Z-axis and then plug the main cable into the side of the breakout board. Plug in your power cable and connectivity is complete! Secure the spool holder to the top gantry, apply your build sheet to the glass bed and we are ready!
Anet ET4 Pro 3D Prints
Before printing, I used the auto bed levelling feature. I was going into the menu to then select the auto levelling and pressing the play button on the screen. One would assume this would start it, but in fact, you have to double-tap the auto levelling feature to start it. This is listed in the instructions too, so an oversight on my part! The bed probes 25 points on the bed, taking approximately 6 minutes. Once the bed is levelled, you shouldn’t have to level it again.
The first thing I normally do when testing a new printer is to print the files normally supplied on the SD card. The Anet ET4 Pro has only 2 test files on the SD card, along with some instructions. The test files are of a pig and a dog.
The first test file I printed was the dog which took approximately 2.5 hours which is also labelled on the filename. I used the supplied sample of white silk PLA.
The first layer went down well. As with most test prints, it printed with a brim which helps secure the model to avoid any warping. There was very slight stringing, but I can sort this with some heat. I had a rough line just above the feet, however; I believe this was because of the Z rod being secured tightly as whilst printing. It was squealing! I loosened the 2 bolts that secure the brass part of the Z rod and I also applied some grease to the rod as it was dry.
Overall, the print wasn’t bad. A few imperfections on the print which looks like it could be where it changes layer and retraction too.
XYZ Calibration Cube And Benchy
As I had only a little of the sample filament, however, Anet provided me with a Black and a White PLA, I wanted to load up some of my own. I have a gorgeous looking Dark Champagne Silk Gold PLA and I wanted to try with this. After loading up Simplify3D, I used an Ender 3 profile seeing as it is very similar. I proceeded to print a XYZ calibration cube.
A successful print and I have eradicated that rough line I experienced before. Some very slight ghosting, but this could be down to print speed (I think was 60 mm/s). Next on my list was the famous Benchy! Again, using the same filament and profile, let’s see how this turns out.
I was pleased with the result of this print. The overhangs held up good, stringing was minimal, and layer lines were OK. This 3D print shines well thanks to the fantastic filament! the only downside was the bottom which has picked up the ink from the build plate. This could be that I’m that bit too close to the bed. Unfortunately, I can’t baby step whilst printing!
Personalised Cable Tags
Whilst testing the Anet ET4 Pro 3D printer, I had a request from a friend to print some personalised cable tags, and thought, let’s use the Anet! I needed different colours for each name, so meant changing filaments after each print. My first came out perfectly!
This was using T-Tek’s Tangy Orange Filament, and I was thrilled with this! Time to print the others using different colours! Again, all came out flawlessly! A little cleanup required from some stringing, but nothing major. You can see on the build plate where the ink has come away with the prints. Filaments used on the other names were Ziro Blue Diamond PLA, Eryone Glitter Red PLA and 3DQF Sky Blue PLA.
Movable Skeleton That Snaps Together
Because of Halloween, I decided it was fitting to print something bigger, using multiple parts. I decided on this movable Skeleton that snaps together using the supplied 1kg of White filament Anet sent me. This printed out fairly well, apart from some obvious layer lines on my first part. After this first part, I loosened the brass nut on the Z rod a little more, which seemed to improve things. I required some cleanup from the supports and the stringing, but cleaned up fairly well.
All the parts fit snugly together with this model, which shows that the printer seems to be calibrated OK. As an addition to this model, I printed some eyes in a glow in the dark PLA filament. I then cut a bit of black PLA, heated it up and used as the pupil of the eyeball. Charging up the glow in the dark filament, it looks fab!
Anet ET4 Problems
Now there will never be a perfect 3D printer! The Anet ET4 Pro doesn’t come without its faults. Firstly, the clips for the heated bed are fiddly and awkward! They do keep the bed secure, however, are sharp because of their size and they do need to be manipulated with some force to put them back on. I would suggest just using bulldog clips, or better still, a magnetic removable build plate.
Secondly, the menu isn’t that great, to be honest. It’s not overly clear on what does what. When selecting a file from the SD card, you need to press the down button to scroll through and then OK. You can’t just tap on the file you want to print, unfortunately. Disabling the stepper motors, it is just an icon with an M in it. Good guess on my part realising that was what it was for. Whilst printing, you can’t amend anything other than fan speed, print speed and temperature of the hotend and bed. No baby stepping to help get that flawless first layer!
In addition, when manual levelling, the 4 squares are the wrong way round. 1 & 2 are at the top of the screen but corresponds to the 2 bottom corners of the build plate. 3 & 4 are at the bottom on the screen but correspond to the top 2 corners of the build plate. Swap them around!… more work required on the interface, I think.
Other issues I have encountered whilst printing include the options on the screen menu becoming unresponsive after a print, meaning I have to power cycle the printer. You can go to the other menus, but if you try to start a command, it does nothing.
The SD card also stopped working properly. It was able to see the files, however, when going to print, the printer just whizzed through the progress to 100% without printing a thing. I re-sliced the file and tried again, but the same thing. I power cycled the printer… same thing again! After moving off some files on the SD card to increase the space, I tried again, but again, the same issue. To resolve this, I had to format the SD card, which then allowed me to print again. Obviously an issue with the SD card itself.
Graphics On The Build Plate
The printed graphics on the build plate come off easily with the prints. This could be caused by the print being that little bit too close to the build plate. However, being on the bottom of the print, no major issues but should be addressed.
What Is Good About The Anet ET4 Pro 3D Printer
Not everything is bad with the Anet ET4 Pro 3D Printer. There are in fact some great things about it! It is quiet! With it’s installed TMC2208 stepper drivers, the operation is quiet. As expected, you have the noise from the fan in the base, but this isn’t that loud either. A lot quieter than other printers I have! The auto bed-levelling works well. There is no need to level each time. It will sense the middle of the print bed and then start printing, ensuring you have that perfect first layer!
If you want to use my Simplify3D profile, you can download a copy of it here
Where To Buy
The Anet ET4 Pro 3D Printer can be bought directly from Anet on their site at a price of just $339. Amazon is also another option of £329. Other sources such as Banggood, Gearbest and Tomtop are other avenues you can source one of these from.
To sum up, the Anet ET4 Pro isn’t a poor printer at all! It can produce some great prints with a bit of tweaking and with its silent operation, it’s great! Some things I would change as mentioned above, and a few bugs need to be ironed out, it seems, with the touch screen interface. The auto bed-levelling is an impressive addition to which helps with your first layers. I would say this is a good printer for those just starting out.
For the more experienced of us, we’d probably be looking for a printer that can produce flawless prints. Maybe the Anet ET4 Pro has upgradability to help achieve this? I don’t think it will beat the Ender 3 in affordability and upgradability, but overall, it’s a pretty good printer, despite the issues I encountered.