Anet 3D Printers are quickly becoming a popular choice for 3D Printers. These 3D printers come in various kits that require extensive assembly and feature an acrylic cut frame. These printers are great for beginners and hobbyist with a build volume of 220x220x240mm. The manufacturer is continually upgrading their models as I am now seeing ones with Autobed leveling and Mold Injected Parts.
So, what is so special about the ANET controller board?
Well, a couple of years ago nothing. The board was closed-sourced with no ability to modify the EEPROM settings. Enter Scou and the Skynet development team: https://www.facebook.com/skynet3ddevelopment/
Back in 2016 Scou figured out a way to get Marlin Firmware to work with this Controller Board. This really made the ANET a great and cheap solution to control your 3D Printer. This lets you control things like esteps, auto bed leveling (ABL), PID Tuning, and much more.
It gained so much recognition that on June 25th 2017 the controller board was officially added to the Marlin Firmware boards.h file and is fully supported by Marlin. This is awesome because any future firmware features in marlin will now be supported for these boards.
The best part is these boards are cheap! You can typically find these for under $30 online!
The Mainboard features On-Board 16-step A4988 Drivers which do just fine for standard build volumes. The nice part about On-Board drivers is you can tune the amps through the firmware and don’t have to mess with a multimeter to tune each motor. If the motors are too loaded for your liking simply add some stepper dampers, these take the noise right out.
Its operating voltage is 12V – 24V which makes it a good candidate for swap upgrades of other printers. I find this board to be a better solution than the most commonly used RAMPS Boards. The board has JST-XHP Connectors which are easy to make and stay in place well.
So don’t go buying a RAMPS board just yet. Unlock your Anet mainboard and see the potential you already have!
If you want some great upgrades for your Anet, Scou has some really cool stuff on their ebay store Skynetmods
Also, check out this great wiki page for the Anet A8 with tons of great info and mods for your printer.
Marlin Firmware 1.1 has been released and it now includes the anet mainboard in its configuration file! The Skynet firmware instructions are still best for uploading the firmware to the board.
You can also find the Arduino Board Drivers here: https://github.com/SkyNet3D/anet-board
Check out our Marlin Guide for Beginners to learn how to configure your 3D Printer with this amazing open-source firmware.