Anet A8 to AM8 conversion

I bought my Anet A8 somewhat 3,5 years ago and over time it got upgrade after upgrade until it became the work horse you can see here:

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As you can see I converted it into a bowden style printer (fun fact: early low cost printers all where direct drive and got converted to bowden. These days all are bowden and get converted to direct drive), and added cable chains, x/y tensioner, an adjustable z endstop and other stuff.

However due to the original price which varied from around 95 euro and 150 euro depending on time limited offers, it´s frame was made from black acrylic, which required re-tighten every screw once in a while, resulting in breaking.

In my case it started at the bottom section where the four vertical pieces along the motors reside. Those started bending in or outwards and begin to crack. Since this printer is my ABS work horse and the ABS parts for my giant clock where done I continued printing ABS parts for the AM8 conversion.

This is the basic frame. It in fact is so robust now, that I added a handle on top of the bridge for easy transport from its chamber to the workbench and back.

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After connecting the bridge onto the bottom frame with about 32 screws and beefy corner pieces it will never get loose again. This setup brings my printer on par with modern shaking bed printers available right now.

I made some minor changes to the original AM8 design, as I did not want to loose my existing parts for the X gantry (tensioner, adjustable endstop, cable chain) and the y axis (cable chain), I need to swap a few parts and design a replacement y endstop mount, so I printed one on the halfway converted printer:

Since I always use ATX power supplies I needed a proper AM8 mount for that, too. All I found were far to fancy and over engineered, total bullshit (big psu fan blowing over the build plate) or just perfect, beside the fact the mount it self was to weak in the result of making it look cool. Gnarf. So I designed my own, too. :AM8 ATX Power Supply Mount (Customizable) by geit_de - Thingiverse

Currently I print LED brackets for the sides, as printing inside the chamber without lights is just stupid. As you can see on the image the display is still loose, as I need to print a case/mount for it, too. Last part will be a camera mount for the RaspiCam. But those are details:

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It is a beast now. A robust beast for the upcoming years to be. No more degrading as most structural parts are ABS and aluminum now and I bet the print quality is still on par with all recent printers you can buy.

I won’t say it’s pretty exactly, but it sure looks functional (and we’re both guys who favor function over form). It will be cool to see it with lights. I like that you chose 4020 for the vertical frame members. The handle on top is an interesting idea.

Well, it is a tool :smiley:

However the 2040 extrusions weren´t exactly my idea. The AM8 style conversion is basically several years old. I just gave it my touches. I also saw that handle on some other printer and since I have the very same handle on my other printers, too, I printed it a fifth time. :smiley:

It basically it is now a Creality CR10/Ender or Tevo Tornado style printer just with a smaller 220x220x2?? build volume. But with bearings and not these crappy plastic wheels I hate so much :smiley:

PS.: I for sure will not add fancy RGB lights. I got some cheap 1,20 Euro LED strips, which I used three on my TronXY. Those work great and are cheap like hell :wink:

And, most importantly, it works! Nicely done.

Yeah, I had it completely apart reassembled it. Ensured the bridge is leveled and guessed the z end stop. I did not level the bed (which was disassembled, too springs and all.). I hit print for the endstop and it did print a perfect first layer with brim.



First image while printing and second after peeling it off. First ABS print and not even inside a chamber. No bed leveling after rebuilding. :smiley:

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good :smiley:

So, did some more work on the conversion. The lights are done and only light up, when the raspberry pi turned on the printer.

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The reborn AM8 is already back inside its housing to print the remaining non functional parts:

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In the image on the right you can see the support-raft (first print using tree support. Looks kind of fuzzy) for the display case, printing in NOYES white ABS as all the other parts. The black stuff at the bottom is just remaining black ABS from the clock project which got smeared to the side when applying new acetone. There is no cleanup needed. If a part gets printed in that area, the print sticks even harder to the print bed and when removing the part the residue is gone as it will stick to the brim/support, too.

Missing parts are Raspberry Pi Case (which I won´t print soon, as the Pi is sitting there in a crappy PLA half case at the back) and a camera housing, which is currently obsolete, as the Pi1 struggles to handle printing and camera. It works, but it is a slide show. Probably print both, once the Pi1 dies :smiley:

I probably will design a nozzle cleaner. Currently when the printer is homed it oozes into the cable chain, which is a long standing issue. I think some silicone rubber mounted to a simple cover over the cable chain, will remove the issue and also trigger a basic nozzle clean on every home.

It’s certainly coming along. You must be just about finished.

Display mount arrived:

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First time I used the new tree support in Cura. Looks fancy!

I’m surprised you couldn’t just print it on it’s back without support. Still, it seems to have come out well. Can’t say I’ve had occasion to try the tree support yet.

Got lucky today. Found two Raspberry Pi 2 on local EBay for 17 Euro each to upgrade my struggling Pi1.


and printed a nice case for one of them.

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Ok, this is the final post as I consider the printer conversion done,

I designed a small magnetic connector, so I can plug the display to the printers top. This is limiting the print height, but shouldn´t be a problem as I never print such tall stuff. However, since the mount it magnetic I can simply unplug the display and put it at the printers side, when needing the full z height.


I also designed a nozzle cleaner, which also prevents that the nozzle is oozing onto the cable chain, which was a huge issue in the past. You can also see the PiCam mounted on the left. The used design is a little bulky, but since I am working in the front of the printer for the most time and other designs where just flimsy, I choose this robust one, which does not break, when you hit it by accident. The diagonal plastic mount is for the part cooling fan, which I don´t use.


Finally a shot of the mounted PiCase and the fully converted printer.
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Nicely done my friend. I do have a couple of questions: [LIST=1]

  • can your PiCam zoom in & out?
  • I'm surprised the PiCase leaves the USB connectors exposed. Is that normal? [/LIST] Again, a nice job. It should make printing that much easier.
  • No. Only digital zoom. That the standard PiCamV2 module. Basically a 20x20mm PCB with a lens on it. You can remove a filter to make it night vision.

    The cause is mostly air inside and the thickness comes from the actual camera module sitting on the PCB.

    There are other modules available, but no clue about that. This one is the cheapest available.

    About the USB connectors. It is normal. Even cases you can buy do that. Since the USB shield box is robust like hell, a cover on top would not do much beside making the case bigger.

    Ah, so it has digital zoom. That could be useful (obviously not as high quality as a zoom lens, but we’re not talking about fine art here after all). Do you know if the digital zoom is available from within OctoPrint (I’m just now investigating some of the plugin modules for for OP)?

    Actually the camera itself has no digital zoom. I mean a digital zoom is just a post processing operation, you likely won´t do in a camera. The resolution of the camera is quite good. I have one that I sometimes turn to the street. I can even read the licence plates when cars drive by. It has a video resolution of FullHD.

    There exist compatible “high quality” cameras which come with an huge lense at the front, but that is overkill for a 3d printer. The module I use is the standard one you get for around 6 bucks. When I bought it about three years ago it was around 30 euro. At this price you get modules with IR lighting, which may be useful for printers when using them without light, like I do.

    You can also plug in a USB web cam. It will work just fine. At least if it is a modern one, which does not need a driver.

    OctoPrint just redirects the image to the browser, so if you zoom in using your browser you have your digital zoom :smiley:

    Many actual cameras, even cheap ones, do have digital zoom but, you’re right, not usually at these prices. I agree, a fancy camera is overkill for 3D. I’m looking for a camera that can give me a full view of the printbed from a relatively close distance (so, a fairly wide angle), but I can then zoom in to see closer detail. Zooming a browser window is a compromise, but 1 I can probably live with. I have located an OctoPrint plugin that can zoom the webcam stream to full screen simply by double-clicking. I like that idea.