The Anet E12 is Anet’s actual response to the ever popular Creality CR10; many think the E10 is, however the E10 is much smaller. The E12 has the same build volume, style, and color as the E10, which I have previously reviewed. While I do not trust Anet’s pre-assembled parts, the E10 prints very well, but I do suggest going over every screw to make sure they are secure. I purchased my first Anet A8 printer almost 2 years ago and the printers keep getting cheaper and cheaper. Being a moderator of a Facebook group of over 8,000 members, I watched Anet update their printers over the years.
When the E12 arrived, I figured they fixed some of the issues that were in the E10 such as the loose extruder carriage and the weak bed carriage. During shipping, my E10 bed fame bent to the point to where it rubbed on the Z motor’s connectors and the bed rod holders. Fortunately, the E12 did not have this problem. Representatives from Anet are in the aforementioned Facebook groups, but it appears they pay little attention to suggestions and complains from current owners.
- Printer model
- Printer size
- Packgage size
- Printer Weight
- Package Weight
- Print Area
- Print speed
- Nozzle diameter
- Layer thickness
- XY-axis positioning accuracy
- Z-axis positioning accuracy
- Material diameter
- Printer Frame Material
- Platform board material
- Operating Temperature Range
- Printer navigation
- Reset printer
- LCD Screen
- Extruder type
- Supplied memory card
- Nozzle Temperature
- Heatbed Tempeature
- Auto leveling sensor
- Operating system
- File type
- Offline printing
- Retail price
- Anet E12 DIY
48.60 x 50 x 59.40 cm
19.13 x 19.69 x 23.39 inches
52.50 x 59.20 x 22.60 cm
20.67 x 23.31 x 8.9″
300 x 300 x 400mm
11.8 x 11.8 x 15.7in
- 40 - 120mm/s 1.5 - 4.7in/s
- 0.012 mm
- 0.004 mm
- Aluminum Alloy
- 10 to 35°C 50 to 100°F
- G-code, OBJ, STL
- rotatable knob
- on the mainboard and on via the menu
- 260°C 500°F
- 100°C 212°F
- ABS / PLA / Wood / Nylon PVA / PP / Luminescent
- Windows XP / Windows 7 / Windows 8/Windows 10 / Mac / Linux
Unboxing this printer was very simple. There are only 3 parts, a small box of tools, and accessories.
Every Anet printer seems to come with more tools, the small box contains allen keys, screw driver, side cutters, scraper, SD card with reader, plastic ruler (for calibration), USB cord, power cord screws, and PTFE tube (for guiding filament to the hotend). They also include 2 very small pieces of filament for a test print. They are roughly 10 meters (32 feet) in length, so it’s best to order filament when you order your printer (Order Here). One important item to point out is that the corners of the box are reinforced to prevent shipping damage, possibly as a reaction to the bent beds on the E10.
The E12 comes mostly pre-assembled while the remaining parts are very easy to assemble. There are 2 screws to mount the upper piece to the base, and 4 screws that loosen and tighten to turn the T-nuts sideways. You will also need to connect the wires to the motors and control box. From past experiences I recommend double checking that every screw is tight. I would even open the control box and ensure that all the wires are securely connected to the power supply and main board.
Unfortunately, the print quality of the E12 was not up to my standards since I know what the past Anet printers are capable of. However, I think I received a defective printer, as others have not had this problem with their E12’s. Normally I group my prints by filament type, but this time I’m going to do it a bit different due to troubleshooting the printer.
First, I started with the easiest type of filament to print which is PLA. PLA prints well because it uses lower temperatures and does not shrink as it cools. Some filaments shrink when they cool which, in turn, makes them come off the bed.
My first print was a cylinder shape selected from the included SD card. It started out under extruded and, at one point, I bumped up the flow which helped a bit. This tells me it was sliced with settings for a different filament, or the extruder E-steps need to be calibrated.
I wanted to print something large since this is my first large volume printer. Many people print vases, yet I chose to print the popular Christmas tree from Thingiverse.com. I printed the tree in vase mode which prints one outer layer in one continuous line. The print looked okay, and I did not notice the diagonal lines at first. (My daughter hasn’t noticed either and loves it anyway).
Second, I tried printing the adjustable wrench to see if I could get it to work, unfortunately it did not work once it was done printing. The wrench is supposed to be usable, but I would not trust it to remove a stubborn nut.
I swapped out the filament for PLA Pus and printed a tolerance test. This did not give the results I was hoping for. The tolerance test holes and pegs have varying gaps from 0.1 up to 0.9. A good printer will allow all the pegs to come out from 0.9 down to 0.2. The E12 printer stopped at 0.5 and 0.7 will not come out. I’m not sure if the diagonal lines have anything to do with it. After this, I printed brackets for my delta printer which is when I discovered the diagonal lines.
While looking over the printer, in an attempt to figure out the cause of the diagonal lines, I noticed the Z rods were not parallel with the frame. After further inspection I noticed the Z motor mounts on the E12 have two screws, while the E10 only has one screw. I figured I would try removing one. I removed one of the screws and printed a platform jack which is printed in one piece, and I noticed the lines changed a bit. After this I tested the lead screws to make sure they were not warped; I also flipped the lead screws to see if it was catching on the brass nut.
I then printed the ever popular ‘benchie,’ which is a small boat for benchmark testing. At the standard size I could not tell if the lines were present, so I reprinted the boat at 200% which showed that the lines were still an issue.
Next, I printed a small battery box for my electronics projects but that, too, had the same lines.
Trying to fix the issue, I replaced the extruder motor and the entire hotend assembly including the heat-sync fan and wires. These repairs did not seem to have any effect. In time, I will find the cause even if I have to replace each piece one at a time. I am guessing the problem is linked to the Z axis and I will update this review when I find the cause.
I also printed Darth Vader. For some reason I was thinking of the stormtrooper so I used white PLA Plus…guess I can paint it black!
After all the troubleshooting I decided to move on and test other types of filaments.
I printed the TARDIS from the Doctor Who TV show I fell in love with a couple of years ago. My PETG filament is blue and the right color. PETG is easy to print like PLA, but prints at a higher temperature so it can stand up to heat like ABS.
TPU, which is a rubbery type flexible material, is hard to print and is even harder with the bowden style extruder on the E12. The materiel does not get the proper pressure inside the long PTFE tube which causes a jam after just one layer.
Last, I tried printing with ABS which I was not comfortable with. The reason being, ABS requires high temperature on the bed and Anet did not include an external MOSFET. The MOSFET handles the current going to the bed, and with such a large bed it should not be done because a fire could start. However, smaller 200×200 beds can get away with not having a MOSFET. Another issue is that when the heat is bumped up to the hotend for ABS, the filament begins to jam from heatcreep. Heatcreep is when the filament gets soft all the way past the throat (heat-break).
Cheap printers always come with free open-source software. I, for one, do not like Cura 2 and 3, but the Cura 14 and 15 seem okay. There are other options that you can download such as Slic3r and Craftware. If you can afford the $150 USD, Simplify 3D seems to be the software of choice among the 3D printing community.
Upgrades and Modifications
The first upgrade I would recommend for the Anet E12 is the MOSFET, it is a must for a 300×300 build plate.
Most CR10 mods on Thingiverse will likely fit the E12 since there are not many for the E12 because it is so new.
Pros, Cons, and Evaluation
- Cost. This printer is $319 USD at the time of this review.
- Large build volume. The 300x300x400 size is larger then the average printer.
- Prints pretty well, despite my diagonal lines.
- Dual Z motors.
- Flimsy X carriage.
- Thin bed support frame. The 3mm plate bends very easily.
- T slot frame instead of the popular V slot. Y holds the guide wheels better and don’t ware as fast.
- No external MOSFET included. Trying to keep costs low is not always a good thing.
- Quality control. Anet does not take the most care when pre-assembling printers and parts.
I believe Anet has pioneered the wave of cheap kit 3D printers, even their own printers keep dropping in price. They use their own board design which is reused in all of the printers, and they change the firmware to suit the style of frame. For comparison, the Creality CR10 costs $491, while the E12 costs $319. Printed parts and minor issues aside, this is not a bad printer.
Diagonal lines aside, the E12 prints very well. The printer was also way off on the extrusions so I re-calibrated the E-steps which was easy to do as there was plenty of information on YouTube. The E10 is a great printer and the E12 follows suit, printing just as well.
The tall aluminum style frame works okay and is better than the acrylic frames used on the Anet A8 and A6 printers. Anet chose to use T-slot rails instead of preferred V-slot rails. They also chose 20x20mm for the upper frame while other manufacturers use 20x40mm, which offers more stability since the extruder moves left and right. Anet did, however, use two motors and threaded rods for the Z axis, while competitors use only one motor to raise and lower the entire X carriage.
USER INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION:
The 12864 LCD screen is the most popular choice for printers under $1,000. The user interface is the typical rotary knob that you push in to select different options. The one downside to the knob is that when adjusting settings, the value changes by 2 or 3, so fine adjustments need to be done over USB to fix the knob sensitivity. The included firmware is Anet’s modified version of Repetier, but you can flash most of the open-source firmware to use Marlin.
VALUE FOR THE MONEY:
Is the E12 worth the price? Yes, it is the most affordable printer in its size class.
Would I recommend this printer? If you are on a tight budget and do not care that Anet support is non-existent, then yes. There are a few Facebook groups with thousands of users that are ready, and willing, to help you troubleshoot any problems. These groups were created by, and supported by, other Anet owners because of Anets lack of response.
Here is one with the most open and honest members and administrators. You are welcome to join no matter what printer you decide to get, or if you just want to learn more before you buy.