Part 2 of the Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro 3D Printer: Hands-On Review

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Our review of the Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro continues with a look at Setup and Operations. This is part two of a three part series, please read parts one and three.

Powering up the Kobra 2 Pro is slightly different than its predecessor. It takes a bit longer for anything to happen. I timed the boot up to take about 21 seconds, which is surprisingly longer than most other machines. When boot up completes, the machine emits a double beep, which I prefer over the previous friendly but annoying musical jingle.

The Kobra 2 undergoes a self-test, something I first saw with their MSLA devices. Now they’ve ported the process to their FFF machines. It seems to go through a sequence where it detects the presence of components and sensors. I presume that if you have cabled the machine incorrectly, this is where you’d find out. For me, it seemed to be OK.

The next step was calibration, and this is something that only high speed 3D printers must perform. In order to properly compensate for high speed vibration, the machine must precisely know the behavior of the toolhead when it moves rapidly and changes direction. In order to gain that knowledge, a calibration process is automatically performed.

This calibration is fascinating to watch, as it moves the print head in rapid fashion. The movements become shorter and shorter, eventually becoming a high frequency buzz. Within a few moments, the machine is perfectly calibrated.

The Kobra 2 Pro includes the company’s new LeviQ 2.0 leveling system. This is a very competent system that performs not only the plate calibration, but also sets the Z-gap automatically. This is huge for newbies, as improper Z-gap is the cause of many print failures. The leveling process takes a few minutes, and makes use of a unique “wiping” station that’s at the back of the print plate.

I found that once leveled and calibrated, the machine ran perfectly without issue. I never had any issues with leveling or Z-gap.

The Kobra 2 Pro includes a “U-Disk” or what I would call a “USB stick” with some files on it. These include some pre-sliced test prints that I tested later. I noticed that the Kobra 2 Pro has WiFi capability. I was easily able to connect to my wireless LAN, and wondered exactly what this would allow me to do. Unfortunately, I could not get any functionality from the WiFi.

The three (three?) seemingly identical but different Anycubic apps all focus on their resin 3D printers and don’t seem to have the capability to add FFF devices. My assumption here is that as we received this machine before the official release, Anycubic is still working on wireless operations and associated apps, which presumably will be available soon. Unfortunately, we were not able to test this feature.

The first thing I noticed with the operations is that the touchscreen interface is completely different from the Kobra 2. Evidently the new firmware required for high speed operations also comes with a different interface.

I found the interface pretty easy to use, as most things were in places I’d expect to see them. There was one confusing part: it turns out that the Kobra 2 Pro includes LOCAL file storage! When you insert a stick you are able to browse its files — but only if you touch the stick menu item. By default the machine first presents the contents of the on board storage. It does not automatically switch to the stick panel if you plug one in.

What’s in the 6.5GB local storage? It seems that every time you print a file it is automatically copied to local storage. This is good if you intend on repeating the print, as you won’t need a stick. However, it can also be confusing. Because files are copied over, the initial appearance of the files can be quite similar to the contents of your USB stick.

Several times I found myself scrolling through local storage looking for that file I had just sliced, but only to realize I was on the wrong panel. I think local storage is a good feature, you just have be clear about what you’re doing.

Diving into the world of 3D printing can be both exciting and overwhelming. There are so many options to choose from, each with its own unique set of features and capabilities. One such option is the Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro, a printer that claims to offer high-speed printing without compromising on quality.

Upon unboxing the Kobra 2 Pro, I immediately noticed its sleek design and user-friendly interface. The touchscreen display made navigating through the printer’s settings a breeze. However, one thing I did find slightly confusing was the file management system. It’s easy to mistakenly select the wrong version of a file if the names are similar. This is something to be mindful of when organizing your 3D models.

Another interesting feature of the Kobra 2 Pro is its cloud connection capability. Although labeled as “AC Cloud,” it did not appear to be fully operational during my testing. I suspect that in the future, this feature may allow users to easily download their favorite 3D models from the Anycubic Cloud.

During the setup process, I came across a loose blue segment of PTFE tube. According to the instructions, it should be placed on the input side of the filament sensor. However, I found that the printer operated perfectly fine without it. I’m still unsure why this tube is required in the first place, as I often found it attached to the end of the spool I had just removed.

One improvement I would suggest to Anycubic is the addition of a method to align the print plate. Many other printers have pins at the back that allow for instant alignment, but the Kobra 2 Pro lacks this feature. As a result, aligning the plate can be a bit tricky, especially when it’s hot. Using your fingers to align the plate may not always yield the desired precision.

When it came to actually printing, I was blown away by the speed and quality of the Kobra 2 Pro. The shark 3D model I printed from the pre-sliced files came out with impressive detail and in record time. Compared to other 3D printers I’ve seen, the Kobra 2 Pro’s toolhead moved with astonishing speed and accuracy.

However, one word of caution: be sure to place the Kobra 2 Pro on a stable surface. The printer vibrates quite a bit during operation and can potentially cause items to fall off an unstable table. This is a minor inconvenience, but an important one to note.

The Kobra 2 Pro is advertised as being capable of printing at speeds of up to 500mm/s. While it can reach this speed, the default speed in the supplied print profile is a still impressive 300mm/s. This is faster than most other 3D printers on the market. I did encounter one minor issue with the startup sequence, where the toolhead movement from front to back resulted in a drag of material. As a result, my print plate now has a permanent streak in that area, which is unfortunate.

In terms of filament compatibility, I conducted an experiment using different types of filament. While Anycubic provided me with their “high-speed” filament for testing, I wanted to see if regular filament would work just as well. I printed a #3DBenchy using a high-quality but not “high-speed” Prusament, and the results were satisfactory. However, when I attempted to print a model at the maximum speed of 500mm/s, the Prusament filament couldn’t keep up. It’s worth noting that adjusting the temperature slightly might yield better results, but this can also affect other aspects of the print profile.

To sum up, the Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro is a formidable 3D printer that delivers on its promise of high-speed printing. Its sleek design and user-friendly interface make it a great option for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts. However, there are some minor improvements that could enhance the overall user experience, such as adding pins for plate alignment and addressing the issue of material drag during the startup sequence.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a 3D printer that combines speed and quality, the Anycubic Kobra 2 Pro is definitely worth considering. Stay tuned for the final part of this series, where I’ll share my thoughts on the print results and overall performance of this impressive machine.

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