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Anycubic Kobra Max Review

Kobra, to the Max!

Emily Byrnes Updated: Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

If you were a fan of the Anycubic Kobra, we have a hands-on review for the Anycubic Kobra Max! For the veteran looking to get a little more serious about their printing or looking to upgrade from a smaller build plate, the Kobra Max is certainly an appealing (albeit expensive) new contender on the printer market.

Specifications 

  • Estimated price: $569 (Anycubic - $539, Amazon - $599)
  • Product type: FDM
  • Structure: Cartesian
  • Printing platform: 15.7 x 15.7 in. / 40 x 40 cm
  • Printing dimensions: 17.7 x 15.7 x 15.7 in. / 45 x 40 x 40 cm (HWD)
  • Printing material: PLA / ABS / PETG & TPU
  • Extruder: Self-developed
  • Extruder type: Separated bowden
  • Extruder quantity: 1
  • Nozzle dimensions: ø 0.4 mm (replaceable)
  • Filament dimensions: ø 1.75 mm
  • Nozzle temperature: ≤ 500 °F / 260 °C
  • Cooling fan: 2
  • Machine leveling: Anycubic LeviQ, auto bed leveling with Strain-gauge sensor (25-point)
  • Platform material: Carborundum glass
  • Hotbed temperature: ≤ 194 °F / 90 °C
  • Y axis: Rail x 1
  • Operating noise: ≤ 60 dB
  • Printing accuracy: ± 0.1 mm
  • Horizontal accuracy:12.5 μm
  • Vertical accuracy:2 μm
  • Z axis: Threaded rod x 2
  • Layer thickness: 50 - 300 μm
  • Printing speed ≤ 7.1 in./s / ≤ 18 cm/s
  • Control panel: 4.3’’ LCD touch-control
  • Data input: microSD card
  • Mainboard: 32-bit stepper motor drivers TCM2209 
  • Resume printing: Yes
  • Filament sensor: Yes
  • Body material Aluminum alloy
  • Modular assembly: Yes
  • Machine dimensions: 28.3 x 28.1 x 26.2 in. / 72.0 x 71.5 x 66.5 cm
  • Machine weight: 35.3 lb. / 16 kg

If the Anycubic Kobra was a sea of machinery, then the Anycubic Kobra Max is an ocean! After dragging the 35-pound box up a flight of stairs in my apartment and unboxing it in the middle of my office, I was honestly flabbergasted at the size of this unit. To say that the sheer size of the machine is an upgrade from its smaller Kobra counterpart is a grave understatement. Comparing the printers side by side, you could probably fit two or three of the Kobra inside the Kobra Max unit. 

Like the Kobra, the Kobra Max comes with a lovely assortment of tools and parts, nicely packaged and separated so that the pieces won’t get lost in assembly. In addition to a handy tool kit, screws, washers, a spare nozzle, and lubricant, this iteration includes some cable clips that can be used for cable management later on in the assembly process. But, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Like the Kobra, the Kobra Max comes semi-assembled with the frame detached from the base. This means that you’ll still have that issue of needing two hands and some awkward tilting to get the two attached, but after that, the assembly is smooth sailing. I think it probably took me a solid hour just to do the unpacking, assessing, and assembling since I had experience with the Kobra instructions. (And, I remembered to use the included card reader this time!) The assembly is nearly identical to the Kobra, with the exception of some new support rods and the bowden tube.

Why exactly does the Kobra Max use a Bowden tube extruder versus the direct drive of the Kobra? More than likely, it’s because the Kobra Max is a much larger unit coming in at 28.3 x 28.1 x 26.2 in. (72.0 x 71.5 x 66.5 cm). Since the extruder is mounted on the frame instead of the printhead (like on the Kobra) there’s much more freedom for quicker, quieter movements. In fact, just looking at the specifications, the Kobra Max puts off 60 db when printing which is only 2 db higher than that of the Kobra’s 58 db. I noticed very little difference in the operating noise between the two and was pleasantly surprised to find that the background noise wasn’t invasive at all. Having the printer in my office still allowed me to keep a watchful eye on the print while resuming work as usual. Both the Anycubic and the Anycubic Kobra printers also have a “pause printing” function as well, so if you’re concerned about the background fan noises during a meeting, you can pause the print and resume it at a later time.

Another feature I loved about the Kobra Max is the improved printing bed. The Kobra came with a removable, sturdy magnetic plate that slapped on top of the bed for easy cleaning but the Kobra Max comes with a luxurious Carborundum glass platform. Both beds have the Anycubic label on them, but the Kobra Max just looks and feels like you’re getting your money’s worth. Glass is a wonderful choice for a 3D printer because it supports even heat distribution, lasts longer, and has a smooth surface for printing. Though, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention I’m a little concerned about mixing my clumsy nature with the transferal of a large, glass plate downstairs. Oh well, that’s for future Emily to worry about.

The Kobra Max also includes the Anycubic LeviQ, which is the same auto-leveling system that is used by the Kobra, with the exception of the Kobra Max using strain gauge sensors. Strain gauge sensors take a lot of the pain out of leveling because it helps the Kobra Max to complete an automatic mesh bed calibration. After struggling to find just the right distance for my printing nozzle and resulting in several little sailboat failures on the Kobra, I was pretty happy with the out-of-the-box prints from the Kobra Max. There really was little to no tweaking or calibration that I needed to perform on my part to start churning out quality prints immediately.  

Since I started working with the Kobra, I’ve done a little diving into the world of 3D printing and secured myself a nice air purifier for the office. Most printers are familiar with the little plastic particles that float in the air during and after prints and how they can be damaging to your health. Even though the filament Anycubic provided us was non-toxic, it doesn’t hurt to be safe. And besides that-cat hair and dust are a thing. Looking at the two printers side by side on my small, angled desk and my new little air purifier, I guess this is it. This is my life now. I have unlocked some kind of urge to print that I never knew I had deep down inside. Soon my office will be covered in neon green owls as I work tirelessly to perfect my printer settings and will move on to printing prop weapons that I can proudly display on my wall. If my partner can have movie posters, I can have weapons, okay?

Final Thoughts

The elephant in the room is, of course, the price. There is a huge price jump from the Kobra to the Kobra Max. The Kobra Max will start at the price of ~$569, whereas the Kobra starts at ~$299. After using both printers, I’m pleased to comment that the Kobra is a powerhouse of a little printer, with very comparable quality to that of the Kobra Max. There are subtle details that the Kobra Max is better at carving out, and it can certainly print much, much larger jobs due to the sheer size of the unit, but the Kobra is nothing to scoff at for those wanting to jump into the hobby for the first time. 

The Kobra Max, however, is a fantastic upgrade for those interested in maybe printing some terrain or generally larger prints. You’re paying a lot of money for more build space, but it’s definitely worth it if you’re looking to upgrade. Not only that, but you really can feel the quality difference in parts and know you’re getting a hefty machine that will last you for a long time. Plus, Anycubic usually has some awesome sales running around the holidays! If you’ve been saving up for a while to upgrade or take your printing to the next level, I’d highly suggest looking into adding the Kobra Max to your printing tool kit.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. 

8.5Great
Pros
  • Convenient, easy to follow instructions
  • Hefty unit, with a luxurious glass bed
  • So much space, both vertical and horizontal for printing!
  • Pause to print
  • Low operating noise
Cons
  • Same early assembly problems as Kobra, needing two hands for the frame and base
  • A few localization issues in instructions
  • Pricey


Jensyn

Emily Byrnes

An avid lover of all things fantasy, horror, and stylesheets, Emily spends her spare time trying to balance her affection for both technical and creative writing. One day she'll get there, but until then, she'd rather lose herself in the wonderful stories to be found within tabletop games and rpgs.