I was first introduced to AnyCubic i3 Mega while I was searching the difference between the AnyCubic printers. After seeing it’s interesting features and affordable price, I decided to review it. In this review, I will test its print and build quality, stability, ease of use and many other things.
AnyCubic I3 Mega is the third printer released by Chinese AnyCubic brand. Some of the notable features of i3 Mega are :
- Full metal made frame
- Filament detector
- Resume from outage
Quite honestly, the printer itself picked some very good reviews online and at the first glance, it really seems like a good cheap 3D printer for beginners. But is it all that good? Let’s find out.
The best way to familiarize yourself with a 3D printer is to take a quick look at the technical specs of the product. In the table below, you’ll be able to see most notable features and characteristics of the AnyCubic I3 Mega.
- Printer model
- Printing size
- Printer Dimensions
- Printer Weight
- Print speed
- Layer resolution
- Axis positioning accuracy
- Material diameter
- Printer Frame Material
- Platform board material
- Extruder type
- Heated Bed
- Max Nozzle Temperature
- Max Heatbed Tempeature
- Auto leveling sensor
- Filament sensor
- Resume from outage
- Recommended Material
- Power Input
- Retail price
- AnyCubic i3 Mega
- 20mm/s - 100mm/s
- 0.05mm - 0.3mm
- 0.01mm - X 0.002mm Z
- 3.5 inch TFT Touch Screen
- ABS / PLA / Wood / Nylon
- 110V/220V AC, 50/60Hz
The printer comes in a huge 15kg package. Once opened, the box contains two layers of mini foam boxes. These boxes contain all the parts you need to get your i3 Mega up and running. Everything inside is very well protected and packed. Nothing arrived scratched or damaged.
What I really loved is that AnyCubic provides not only a 1kg roll of PLA filament but also spare parts. Incredible. I am so pleased that they included an extra limited switch, gloves, spatula for removing the prints, but also bunch of tools you’ll need to assemble or disassemble the printer. One of my favorite things added is a spare hotend.
The manufacturer paid special care that you have parts in case something brakes, so you’ll have zero investments if some of these things stopped working.
So what’s exactly inside the box?
- 1x AnyCubic i3 Mega base
- 1x AnyCubic i3 Mega frame
- 1x 1k test PLA filament (random color)
- 1x quick start guide
- 1x SD card reader
- 1x 8GB SD card
- 1x USB cable
- 1x spare hotend
- 1x spare endstop
- 1x spool holder
- 1x power cord
- 1x tool set
- 1x tweezer
- 1x pillar
- 10x screws
- 1x scrapper
- 1x glove
Personally I was quite surprised to see some of the tools included such as tweezers (useful for removing extra filament from the nozzle), scrappers (extremely handy when removing printed objects from a surface) and glove (not much useful, but you’ll look like a doc while operating your 3d printer).
The best thing about the AnyCubic i3 Mega printer is that it arrives nearly fully assembled. There are few minor things you’re required to do, which, depending on your previous experience with 3D printers might take from 10 to 25 minutes.
Assembling the printer
First thing first, you should check if all the parts are there. Upon checking, you need to assemble the Z carriage onto the base. There are only 8 screws to screw, and you assembled the printer.
Onto an SD card which came with the printer, you’ll find assembly instructions in PDF. Besides that, AnyCubic has a video guide on how to get your i3 Mega up and running.
Even though this part may sound scary, wiring the AnyCubic i3 Mega basically means put the 3 cables into the proper connection.
The problem I had with the cables is that mine were not labeled. So I just had to figure out myself which is which, but that’s not hard at all. Speaking of wiring, the cable management is excellent. All the cables are tidy and neatly secured and the printer looks very clean.
Besides the 3 wires, you also need to put AC cable into your printer. Once connected, you can turn the printer on.
An essential thing in 3D printing is learning how to properly level your heat-bed. i3 Mega has an auto-leveling sensor already installed, which makes the whole process a bit faster, though the manual leveling isn’t hard either.
In order to 3D print an object, you’ll have to “translate” the 3D model into a code that a 3D printer understands – G.code. Software which handles the “translation” is called a slicer. There are tons of 3D slicing software on the web. I’ve always used Cura, it’s free and it worked well for me so far.
On the micro SD card you’ll find the Cura software. The version provided in an SD card is quite outdated 15.04.06. This is something I did not quite like, so later on, I tried with the newest Cura 2.6.1 but I was unable to make my prints work, though I must admit I did not invest much effort into it.
To summarize, AnyCubic I3 Mega works great with supplied slicer – Cura 15.04.06 if you follow the software setup instructions carefully. Making it work with never Cura versions requires some modifications I yet have to figure out.
In this paragraph, I will not talk much about how to configure Cura software, since the instructions manual covers that pretty well.
After adjusting your software you’re ready to print.
Design and Build quality
After closer inspection of the printer, it was obvious that one of the biggest strengths of the printer will be – well the strength. In other words, i3 Mega is quite rigid, stable and well-engineered machine. It does not feel or look cheap at all. All the wiring inside and on the outside has been well made as well.
The only part of the whole pack, I did not like, is the stick for the filament roll, which is quite bigger than it should be. Well you can always 3D print a replacement for this one, or just put a marker or a pen instead.
When you have everything set, initialize a print from a memory card or a PC (depending on if you’re having a 3D printer as an offline device or connected to the PC). Instructions on how to start print can be found in the instruction manual.
On the card, there’s a test file which already has been sliced so you can print even before you
On the card, there’s a test file which already has been sliced so you can print even before you adjust the software, right after you’re done with leveling the bed. This first print turned out pretty good though some slight overhangs can be found on the top. But for 0.2 resolution, I’m satisfied with how it turned out.
After printing some of the less challenging stuff and calibration objects, I decided to put the printer to a real test. Hollow Darudi is considered to be quite hard to print figure, especially because it’s printer without any supports. I was quite skeptical, but the print turned out great. I was impressed with the way i3 Mega handled such a complicated figure.
Next, I decided it’s time to print some upgrades for one of my 3D printers from Anet series.
I also 3d printed a frame which resembles the famous Wayfarer from Ray-Ban. You can download the STL file here.
PETG is a material which melts at a higher temperature compared to PLA. It’s slightly gloosier and easier to bend. In order to sucessfully print PETG, you’d have to put the hotend temperaure to 230-240 °C and slow down the printing speed slighty.
I used the 235 °C and 70 °C for the heated bed, and 30mm/s speed. All other settings were the same as in the instruction manual. Results were great. However the adhesion of the PETG is even stronger, so was very hard for me to remove the objects from the heated bed. Below you can see some of the PETG prints I made.
Here’s the link to the PETG filament I used in this test. I am very satisfied with how it worked and would recommend it.
The wooden filament is not 100% wood. It’s actually a mixture of some wooden elements and the PLA. It prints the same way as the PLA. This was my first experience with wood filament and I was shocked with how well the prints turned out. I used the same recommended settings and in my opinion wooden figures turned out better. This is probably because the temperature was about right for this type of filament.
The only complaint I have when it comes to how wooden filament works with AnyCubic i3 mega is adhesion. Again, it was very hard to remove the figures from the build plate and since the wooden filament is slightly softer compared to the PLA I used, the damages caused by the spatula are obvious on first few layers. This is quite visible on the calibration cube and the Marvin leg.
Like most of the 3d printing enthusiasts printing with wooden filament, I wanted to print out a Baby Groot, a fictional superhero appearing in the Guardians of the Galaxy. The print came out amazing, even though I re-scaled its size it down by 60%. The figure was printed in whole, not in parts, with no supports.
I used this wooden 3D filament and I highly recommend it.
Quite honestly, I did not expect flexible filament can be printed on this printer. The reason for this is a Bowden setup which printer uses. The rule with cheaper 3d printers is that if a 3D printer has a Bowden extruder, it will either not be able to print TPU, or it would require modifications.
Without much hope I put the Flexible filament into an extruder. I was shocked when it began printing without issues. I realized that AnyCubic i3 Mega can print flexible filament with no modifications, right out of the box. There were no jams.
The particular flexible filament I used is SainSmart TPU 1.75mm.The end results were quite good. There was some stringing on the figures, but usually strings like that are normal for TPU filaments. I’m sure though that it can be reduced by tweaking settings.
In order to print the flexible filament, you’d have to adjust the hotend temperature (for the filament I used, temp range is 200-220°C). Additionally it is recommended to reduce the printing speed. I set my printer to 10 mm/s for these models.
User interface and navigation
You might not know, but on this site, we also test action cameras. We love user-friendly action cameras with an LCD screen. This is my first 3D printer which has a touch screen navigation. I must admit it’s quite simple and easy to use. Just like with tiny action cameras, the touch screen helps a lot.
My only complaint is that an LCD screen is not the most responsive one, so sometimes you’d have to put more pressure or press twice.
As far as the navigation goes, the design of the interface is simple and it won’t take long before you get used to it.
From the user perspective, i3 Mega is the remarkably user-orientated 3D printer.
New Ultrabase AnyCubic i3 Mega
As I was finishing this review, AnyCubic released the upgraded version of the i3 Mega called AnyCubic i3 Ultrabase. It is absolutely the same printer, but it has an improved hotbed and has no auto-leveling sensor. They also moved the filament sensor, which is a big plus. Basically with ultrabase edition they solved some of the issues.
The AnyCubic i3 Mega ultrabase can’t be easily found online under that name. The reason for this is because they want to replace i3 Mega with i3 Mega Ultrabase. It is possible that even if you buy the regular Mega, you’d get an Ultrabase, but to be on a safe side just ask the seller you’re buying from if it says Ultrabase on the heated bed.
UPDATE : The ultrabase platform is now sold separately as well, so the previous version owners can easily upgrade. You can check it out here.
If I could describe this printer in a single world, that would be – reliability. From the moment I unboxed it I haven’t had a single major problem with printing, which was not the case with my previous 3d printers.
I am really impressed with the metal frame which makes the whole printer quite stable. It works right out of the box, it’s very easy and fast to assemble it. The instruction manual was quite good, though I think they should make a video about auto-leveling as well. Furthermore, I’m impressed with the cable management and features like filament, auto-leveling and outage sensor.
One thing that I really did not like sort of a BuildTak surface the printer has. Even though it makes layer adhesion work remarkably, it’s sometimes extremely hard to remove the printed objects from it. If I would have to nit-pick, the spool holder could have been better and if I was a designer of the printer, I would’ve put the filament sensor onto a printer, not on the filament holder.
Personally, the build volume of the printer might be an issue for some, though personally for me it was more than enough. Recently large print volume appears to be a trend, so i3 Mega is slightly smaller than some of the competitor printers which appeared on the market in similar price range.
- Stable, rigid and firm build quality
- Easy to assemble
- Great print quality out of the box
- Prints multiple materials without any issue
- Easy to swap between filaments
- Bunch of spare parts included
- Resume from outage, auto-leveling and filament sensor are great features
- Very good and concise user manual
- Extremely easy user navigation thanks to a touch-screen and minimalist user interface design
- Good cable management
- BuildTak surface makes printed objects very hard to remove from the heated bed. Causes breakages of the figures in some cases.
- Not the most silent printer out there
- Touch-screen is not always responsive
- Filament sensor sometimes gives warnings on low filament level when turned on, even though the filament is loaded.
- Filament sensor position should be on the printer, not on the spool holder (there’s a 3D printable upgrade which solves this)
In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend AnyCubic i3 Mega as an extremely well-made, mid-range 3D printer. If you are a complete newbie who can spend around 350$ for this printer, I really think you’ll be satisfied. However, if it’s a bit over your budget, take a look at some of other cheap 3d printers we reviewed. I am quite happy with the printer and I already have plenty of fun projects in mind.