As a hobby, 3D printing is one of my favorites. With a small (almost) investment in hardware, you can create just about any object imaginable: a keychain for your Apple Tag (in your face, $35 AirTag Loop!), a Wall-E model in color (with movable arms and head!), an adjustable phone holder (so you can watch how-to videos hands-free), a working ukulele (BYO strings), or even a full Iron Man costume (a piece at a time, of course). If you are totally new to this, I recommend starting with the Creality Sermoon V1a bargain at $369 and one of the simplest 3D printers I’ve ever used.
However, it has a nice little print bed, which is easy to overtake. That’s why I’m now turning my attention to a pair of new, larger models: the AnyCubic Kobra Plus ($448, from $560) and the Creality CR-10 Smart Pro ($899). Both are extremely capable – and extremely tall. Be sure to check the measurements before purchasing and have a dedicated space with enough room.
There are many similarities between these two: 4.3-inch touchscreen control panels, all-metal extruders, dual-threaded Z-axis designs, run-out filament detection, even built-in tool drawers.
But is there a clear winner here? Keep reading to find out.
Reviews on AnyCubic Kobra Plus
If I had to judge the Kobra Plus on configuration alone, I might advise you to stay away. AnyCubic provides very basic documentation, not all of which is accurate. For example, he mentions retrieving various tools from a drawer in the front of the printer base, but that drawer arrived empty; all the tools were in a separate bag. The glass print bed has been repeatedly called the “grass plate”. And the included starter filament isn’t even worth a mini spool; that’s barely enough for a test print.
Newbies may also be chagrined to discover that although AnyCubic has YouTube videos for specific tasks (like bed leveling and printhead replacement), there is no unboxing and installation video. actual setup. I was able to find a few user-created videos; this one proved useful.
Contrary to the dodgy documentation (there’s a better, more comprehensive manual on the included microSD card, which also contains Cura slicing software), the Kobra’s touchscreen user interface is one of the best I’ve seen. tried. It’s simple to learn and navigate, with large, clearly labeled icons for various printer operations. I was also impressed with the printer’s self-leveling system, which proved to be vastly superior to Creality’s. After running the procedure once (which oddly requires touching a tool to the printhead before starting), the bed was perfectly leveled; no manual adjustment required. This is a big deal, because proper bed leveling is one of the toughest hurdles in 3D printing.
However, more experienced users should note that Z offset adjustments are limited to 0.5mm increments; most printers allow 0.1mm, which provides more accuracy. Also, it seemed like all the Z offset adjustments I made weren’t carrying over from print to print. Firmware updates could potentially fix both of these issues.
In testing, the Kobra Plus was reasonably quiet and decidedly fast, and it produced high-quality prints. Ironically, it’s so fast that you don’t really have a chance to adjust the Z offset until the print is in progress. Luckily, thanks to auto-leveling, you shouldn’t really need it. (That said, all printers require a bit of fine-tuning, as this one is no different.)
AnyCubic provides a glass bed, which is definitely better than a standard metal bed but not as good as the flexible magnetic plate that comes with the CR-10 Smart Pro. Although glass provides better overall adhesion (another common barrier to printing), it can make removing the print more difficult. And when it comes time to remove the bed from AnyCubic to clean it, it’s difficult to remove and then replace the six metal clips that hold it in place.
These are mostly nitpicks; the Kobra Plus is a very good 3D printer, one of the best big models I’ve tested and a bargain if you’re able to buy it for less than $500. It’s harder to set up than the Creality model and doesn’t have as deep of a user support bench, but it’s actually easier to use thanks to the simple touchscreen user interface and leveling function automatique. If you want big prints without too much hassle, this is definitely worth considering.
Creality CR-10 Smart Pro Review
You’re probably wondering if the CR-10 Smart Pro could be worth nearly $400 more than the Kobra Plus, especially given their size similarities. The answer is a qualified “maybe”. It’s arguably the best large-bed 3D printer Creality has made to date, but it still suffers from a few annoying quirks – and that price tag is hard to swallow. (As of this writing, there’s a $100 off coupon on the Amazon product page, but even $800 is high.)
The Smart Pro is able to handle prints up to 400mm high, slightly taller than the Kobra (which tops out at 350mm). This could prove important for things like Mandalorian helmets or anything you hope to print in one piece.
There is also an LED light strip that illuminates the print bed nicely, an HD camera that you can use to monitor the print progress remotely, built-in for Wi-Fi for wireless printing and monitoring via the Creality app and a removable spring steel magnetic print bed. All of these features are nice to have, but hardly essential.
The Smart Pro was assembled very quickly, with only the transom and a few cables to install. Because the filament feeds from a top-mounted spindle, the CR-10 has a slightly smaller footprint than the side-feeding Kobra Plus. However, you will need a large space to accommodate it.
It’s worth noting that, as Creality is arguably the most well-known and popular 3D printer manufacturer, you’ll find a large and active user community (on Facebook and elsewhere) and tons of tutorial videos on YouTube. . These are important resources, especially for beginners. When I started 3D printing, many Creality users came to my rescue with help and advice.
Unfortunately, I needed a little help here too. Although Creality considers this a ‘self-leveling’ printer, it really isn’t; leveling also requires manually adjusting all four corners of the print bed, which I only realized after my first few prints failed. Luckily, Creality itself has several helpful setup videos, including one on upgrading. It’s a problem, however, that made me dream of the simplicity of the Kobra Plus.
That said, the Smart Pro can handle a wider variety of materials, including carbon fiber and nylon, something to consider if you want to venture beyond more traditional filament types (namely PLA, ABS, PETG and TPU).
Because I’ve used various Creality models before, I wasn’t surprised to find that the CR-10 Smart Pro produced near-perfect prints. The flexible bed made removing these prints a snap, although at times I had issues with adhesion. Creality’s touchscreen user interface is a bit less intuitive than AnyCubic’s, but still fairly easy to master.
Overall, I really liked the CR-10 Smart Pro. But I’m less in love with the price, which seems high for what you get.
AnyCubic Kobra Plus vs Creality CR-10 Smart Pro: Which 3D printer to buy?
If you want to print cosplay helmets and other large items, either of these printers will get the job done efficiently. That said, I have to give a nod to AnyCubic’s Kobra Plus, which is not only more affordable, but also easier to use thanks to its well-implemented auto-leveling feature. It’s also fast and quiet, able to zip through print projects faster than many smaller models I’ve tried.
Whichever printer you choose, expect a sale. At the time of this writing, both were discounted below their retail prices, and I’ve seen this happen many times with various models from both companies.
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