Anycubic Kobra Plus review: Filling the gaps

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Anycubic is back with the new Kobra Plus, an interesting 3D printer that fills the ever-shrinking gaps in the Anycubic range. At the top end is the Kobra Max, a 400mm x 400mm x 450mm monster, while the other end has the Kobra, a smaller 220mm x 220mm x 250mm workhorse with a direct-drive hotend setup to grind filaments, and now there’s the Kobra Plus. At 300mm x 300mm x 350mm, it’s large enough to print one-shot headsets like the Kobra Max, without needing a dedicated desk to itself.

With a higher flow volcanic hotend, state-of-the-art auto bed leveling, large 4.3-inch touchscreen, filament run-out sensor, and large thermally stable build plate, the Kobra Plus seems to be a great printer for a lot of people, but without the extra space and cost considerations of large-format machines like its big brother, the Kobra Max. As long as you’re okay with larger prints taking longer, the Kobra Plus should definitely be on your list.

Price and availability

Rainbow Jointed Quetzalcoatl

(Image credit: future)

The Kobra Plus comes in at a not-cheap $499; however, the first 2,000 customers who order from Anycubic’s website can get $100 off and get this machine for just $399. You can buy it on Amazon as well as the Anycubic website, and while Prime shipping is great, being able to buy the printer, multiple rolls of Anycubic filament, or spare parts from ‘one resource and shipping to one place is convenient.

What you will like

Kobra Plus Tool Drawer

(Image credit: future)

Anycubic touts the Kobra Plus as being capable of printing at up to 100mm/s and when paired with the dual Z-axis screws and dual 6000rpm blowing fans on the hotend for part cooling, it’s a c is totally doable. The default Cura slicing profile on the SD card runs the printer at a print speed of 80mm/s and a travel speed of 100mm/s; however, in my testing, I was able to increase travel up to 200mm/s. I ran the infill on prints at 120mm/s, and most print movements at around 75-90mm/s, and the Kobra Plus was able to keep up effortlessly.

The geared extruder with dual drive feed gears works just as perfectly here as it does on the Kobra Max and the original Bondtech design it is based on. A spring-loaded lever arm allows you to feed filament without much hassle or effort. One of the nicest things is that in the installation manual, Anycubic tells you how far to screw the screw on the extruder for PLA, the most common filament, a really nice touch for new people who might not understanding the voltage of the extruder. The 300mm x 300mm aluminum bed is covered with a large piece of borosilicate glass with a silicon carbide coating (Anycubic calls it Carborundum). This coating gives the glass a slightly rough texture, and when heated, the coating becomes sticky to the polymers and expands. Once you are done printing and the bed cools, this texture shrinks and becomes less sticky, making the part self-releasing.

3D Printed Pokemon Skull

(Image credit: future)

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To interface with Marlin, Anycubic has designed a touch user interface for the 4.3 inch screen on the front right of the printer. This UI has a high contrast of white, black and dark blue, and large clickable icons – even my chubby digits can click things without much precision and without caring. For slicing software, Anycubic recommends using Cura, and on the included SD card are profiles for PLA and TPU that you can import into the latest version of Cura to already have machine print settings for heights of 0.2mm layer. However, you don’t need to use Cura, as the Kobra Plus reads standard Gcode, you can use PrusaSlicer, IdeaMaker, Simplify3D, Kiri:Moto or any other slicer you want to use to export the Gcode. You’ll need to create your own machine profile, so maybe start with Cura and branch out if you feel you want or need more control or a different workflow.

Specifications Anycubic Kobra Plus
Build volume 300mm x 300mm x 350mm
Printing area Carborundum coated borosilicate glass
Extruder Dual 3:1 gear drive
Hot end E3D Volcano Style
nozzle Volcano 0.4mm (+1 spare)
Interface 4.3-inch touchscreen, microSD card, USB-B

What you won’t like

Anycubic Kobra Plus Screen

(Image credit: future)

While I would have preferred a magnetic spring steel sheet with a PEI coating, much like with the Vyper or Kobra, the inclusion of a glass bed is understandable considering the size of the bed and the deformation potential. However, the LevIQ bed leveling should be able to even out any warping, and a flexible plate would be much lighter than glass, potentially allowing you to print even faster, and it would have the benefit of heating and cooling more rapidly.

The Kobra Plus runs a version of Marlin as firmware; however, Anycubic has yet to release a source file, which is against the rules of the GPL v3 license under which Marlin is released. We’re hoping Anycubic will take over the license and release it soon, but given that they haven’t done so for the Kobra and Kobra Max yet, I wouldn’t be too hopeful.

3D printed ventilation ducts for the Kobra Plus

(Image credit: future)

Some issues I have with the printer are with the printhead, specifically the nozzle size and the fans. Anycubic proudly claims that it uses two 6000 RPM fans for print cooling on the Kobra Plus, like with the Kobra Max, but the problem, like with the Kobra Max, is that there isn’t has no fan ducts on the printhead, it’s just blowing downward, with no direction towards the model or the nozzle tip. I printed a set of fan ducts from the “Mandic Really” User Thangs File Repository website and these helped me a lot, but I shouldn’t have to print something that should already be on the printer.

Similarly, the nozzle of the Kobra Plus, like that of the Kobra Max, is a 0.4mm brass volcano nozzle. It’s the wrong choice. On such a large printer with a higher throughput hotend like the Volcano, it should be a minimum 0.6mm nozzle, which can retain high detail but has a 50% larger bore for more throughput, which makes printing less time consuming and stronger. . I also think the material is incorrect, brass is a good material, but a nickel plated copper nozzle would be better. It has significantly better thermal conductivity, so it reaches temperature faster, but is also more stable at that temperature, with the nickel plating acting as a non-stick coating, so it’s easier to remove filament ooze at the end of printing.

Competition

3D printed Mandalorian helmet

(Image credit: future)

Unlike the Kobra Max, there are quite a few competitors in size and price range, be it the Creality Ender 3 S1-Plus with its 300mm x 300mm x 300mm build volume, a “Sprite” extruder all-metal direct drive, a CR-Touch for automatic bed leveling and 4.3-inch touchscreen for $529. Or Sovol’s SV03, with its 350mm x 350mm x 400mm build volume, direct-drive Titan-style extruder, and a legit BL-Touch for its auto bed leveling and filament breakout for $459, or the Artillery Sidewinder X2, which has a build volume of 300mm x 300mm x 400mm, a titan-style direct-drive extruder, and an AC heated bed for fast heat-up times and heating stable on the entire bed for $469. Anycubic is not alone here, but surprisingly I think Anycubic is poised to be on top.

Should I buy it?

You should buy it if…

  • You want a large format printer in a relatively small footprint
  • You print a lot of large items
  • You don’t mind using a lot of filament
  • You don’t mind waiting long for prints

You shouldn’t buy it if…

  • Space is a strong constraint
  • Electricity is very expensive where you are
  • You strictly adhere to open source licenses and regulations

Not everyone will need a large format 3D printer. They take up more space, use more electricity, and use a lot more filament, but if you need a larger format 3D printer, the Kobra Plus is a great machine to start with. Cosplayers are a prime candidate to buy the Kobra Plus because you can fit full-size helmets as well as big love chunks on it without having to cut them too much, if at all. The filament run out sensor is also very useful for those large rolls of multi-day and potentially multi-day filament prints. Getting the printer to recognize it’s out of filament, pause the print, go to safety, and beep you to refill the filament is very helpful when you have 96 hours in a helmet, believe me.

Anycubic has built a machine that has a fairly large build volume, higher throughput hotend, great interface, well built extruder and without a doubt the best auto leveling system of all the printers I have mentioned previously. It’s more expensive than all at $499, but it’s not an extortionate amount and more than reasonably priced in my opinion.

Anycubic also offers a well-stocked inventory of spare parts for its printer on its website in case you break the large glass bed, heatbed, or hotend itself. These are all available at reasonable prices, and you know they’ll work because they’re direct from the manufacturer.

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