Anycubic Mega X ReviewAnycubic Mega X Cura Setup
The Anycubic Mega X is an excellent choice for budget-conscious users who want to enjoy the benefits of a large build volume without sacrificing quality.
- Massive build volume: 300mm x 300mm x 305mm
- Great print quality, especially for the price
- Sturdy construction
- Relatively small footprint
- Nice, glass-like build plate/print surface
- Required some initial fine-tuning
- Arrived with a loose X-axis belt (easy fix)
- Confusing interface
- No wireless connectivity
- Intermediate and advanced users
- Small business prototyping and small-scale production
- Users looking to make large prints
- Users looking to print many models at once
Is it worth it?
Yes. Overall, at $399, this is a great large-scale budget 3D printer. The Mega X is a solid buy that produces high-quality prints with little fuss.
|Anycubic Mega X Specifications|
|Printing Technology||FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)|
|Layer Resolution||0.05-0.3 mm|
|Positioning Accuracy||X/Y 0.0125mm Z 0.002mm|
|Supported Print Materials||PLA, ABS, TPU, HIPS, Wood|
|Print Speed||20~100mm/s (60mm/s suggested)|
|Build Size||300 x 300 x 305mm|
|Operational Extruder Temperature||Max 250ºC|
|Operational Print Bed Temperature||Max 100ºC|
|Printer Dimensions||500mm x 500mm x553mm|
|Input Formats||.STL, .OBJ, .DAE, .AMF|
|Ambient Operating Temperature||8ºC - 40ºC|
|Connectivity||SD Card, USB serial port|
Build plate is huge
First, let's talk about size. At 300x300mm, the bed on this thing is huge. If you're asking yourself, "When do I print large objects?" then you're asking the wrong question. You should be asking yourself, "How many things can I print at once?"
Finally, we're NOT gonna need a bigger bed.
There's a fixed and variable cost to 3D printing in terms of your time. Slicing and placing the models, prepping the printer, cleaning the build surface, checking on the printer, removing prints, and other common tasks really add up. In addition, when you're doing a multipart print, you can't print things in parallel with only one printer. On one printer, two 8-hour prints still take 16+ hours to prep and print.
In other words, having a massive bed is simply amazing—especially after experiencing my Ender 3's measly-by-comparison 220x220mm build plate. I was able to arrange a ton of prints, all at once, and come back to a bunch of completed models—a full OctoPrint assembly, test vase, and Benchy—with tons of room to spare. No more multi-day prints from the same printer.
Frame is rigid and sturdy
The stamped metal frame is thick, heavy, and leaves little to be desired. There doesn't appear to be any "flex" on any axis.
Most parts are encapsulated in the base
The power supply, logic board, display, and most of the innards are housed in a sturdy metal box at the base of the printer. This means a smaller tabletop footprint for the size of the printer—a feat nearly ruined by the filament holder (more on this later).
This rigid base also means you're less likely to need to level the printer after moving it. In comparison, many printers inadvertently level themselves to the tabletop they're on.
Surprise filament sensor
This thing has a filament sensor, a feature usually found only in higher-end printers. This sensor will pause your print if filament runs out. I don't see myself using this feature much since I don't run massive multi-day prints and usually have plenty of filament on hand, but I can see where this comes in handy on such a large printer.
Huge leveling knobs
Anyone who's manually leveled a printer knows how much of a pain it can be to turn those small leveling knobs. Well, Anycubic really outdid themselves: massive knobs are coupled with a very fine thread count on the bed-leveling screws. As a result, you can turn each knob with a single finger.
The result is you can turn each knob with a single finger.
Why is this important? Well, when turning small leveling knobs in tight spots with your entire hand you can inadvertently apply upwards pressure on the build plate. When you release this pressure, the plate moves back down—so you're really screwing with your leveling. I was surprised by how much this made a difference.
Interesting build plate material
The build plate is made out of some sort of glass material with a fine mesh layer adhered on top. The result is glass-like printing without the adhesion issues normally associated with glass bed printing.
The God-awful sounds the menu makes
Want to hear the loudest PLINK sound possible every time you tap the screen, plus an insane stock audio clip while the printer boots up? Me neither. Thankfully, this can be easily and permanently disabled.
This thing arrived in a massive box, well-packaged in tons of foam. It's hard to tell from this photo how large the box is, but it's kind of ridiculous.
In the box
In the box you'll find:
- The printer itself
- Wire cutters
- 10x M5 screws
- Print scraper (but without a hole for hanging, making it useless for my workshop layout)
- Misc. hex keys and other tools
- Cables and wires
- Card reader
- SD card
- User manual
- A very generous 1kg PLA spool, though it wasn’t vacuum-sealed for some reason
- Backup hotend set! Not sure if this is a good thing or foreshadowing of things to come.
Like most 3D printers on the market today, the Mega X came in only a few pieces, taking just 20 minutes to assemble. Gone are the days of spending ages assembling your new 3D printer.
Gone are the days of spending ages assembling your new 3D printer.
The included instructions are as confusing as any other 3D printer instructions. Luckily, there are a limited number of steps which reduces confusion and assembly complexity.
Grab a friend
Despite what the instructions say, you will definitely need two people to assemble. The bottom bracket that you're instructed to remove has wires zip-tied to it, so a single-person-assembly would mean removing these wires and zip ties, which is not advised.
Overall, assembly is very simple; remove one of the cross-support bolts (the one with the wires zip-tied to it), have someone pick up the front of the printer, and slide the frame to the center of the printer. Then, tighten four bolts on each side.
One very funky thing is that if you reattach the frame bolt you removed earlier, the printer will wobble—the frame sits slightly lower than the 4 feet, even on a level surface. This is VERY silly but the solution is easy and won’t affect rigidity: just leave one bottom frame bolt out. This might have just been an issue with my specific unit.
Next, attach the filament sensor holder and the filament spool holder. The filament spool holder is made from cheap, stamped steep. It looks kinda silly, sticking out of the side at an odd angle like it was a complete afterthought. I can’t wait for someone to design a better one that takes up less table space.
Finally, connect the cables—there are only four of them and the connectors are all different, which is great.
PSU comes pre-configured as 220V. On every printer I've ever received (10+), a giant sticker on the printer warns you to switch it to the proper voltage for your country. This is mentioned in the instructions, but assembly is so straightforward that many people will skip the instructions. Don't forget to change the PSU voltage according to your country (110V in the US).
As I mentioned earlier, the Anycubic Mega X features a massive print volume of 300mm x 300mm x 305mm. This is absolutely enormous, even when compared to other large-scale budget 3D printers.
Again, the benefit of having such a large build size isn't solely to print large objects. While this is obviously a plus, I've mostly enjoyed the freedom of printing large multi-part models—or just several different models—all at once. I'm about to embark on a long RV trip, and I needed to print a number of holders, hangers, mounts, and refrigerator replacement parts. I was able to print everything in one go, with the print finishing overnight.
Here's a quick size comparison of other popular Anycubic printers (and my main printer, the Creality Ender 3):
|Printer||Width (X, in mm)||Depth (Y, in mm)||Height (Z, in mm)|
|Anycubic i3 Mega||210||210||205|
|Anycubic i3 Mega S||210||210||205|
|Creality Ender 3||220||220||250|
|Anycubic Mega X||300||300||305|
The result is a striking 30% increase in build volume over the existing i3 Mega series.
Like other Anycubic printers, most of the Mega X's components are housed in the base of the unit. This means the printer takes up less horizontal space on your desk or table. However, the awful spool holder juts out of the side like a harpooned whale, increasing its overall footprint immensely. This is a spool holder that screams, "We forgot to add a spool holder. See what you can slap together." But not to worry: I'm sure someone will design a better filament holder pretty quickly.
This is a spool holder that screams, "We forgot to add a spool holder. See what you can slap together."
Nonetheless, the printer is pretty compact given its build size. Its approximate desk footprint (excluding the filament holder) is 20" wide x 19" deep. Including full Y-axis travel, the printer extends to about 25" deep. In other words, the maximum depth the printer will ever encompass is 25".
Important note on desk depth
A large build plate means a large Y-axis travel distance. In other words, if your narrow desk is up against the wall, the build plate will hit the wall and [probably] push the printer off the table.
A large build plate means a large Y-axis travel distance.
The absolute minimum length from the front of your table to the back wall is 22.5", and the minimum table depth (for the printer's rubber feet) is 18.5". Make sure your table is both deep enough and far enough from the back wall to account for travel.
As expected based on the other printers in Anycubic's Mega line, the Mega X produces high-quality prints with little fuss.
My first print did not go well. I didn't notice that the X-axis belt was noticeably loose, so I had tags and small blobs appearing over the X-axis. This was easily fixed in about 30 seconds by clipping off the 3 tensioning cable ties, tightening the belt, and then adding new cable ties.
My next print went very well. I did experience a small amount of stringing, but this was due to using incorrect Cura settings—my extruder temperature was set too high for the filament I was using, and I'd ramped the travel speed up too high.
Once I dialed in these settings, subsequent prints came out perfect, matching the print quality of my Creality Ender 3.
Like most budget 3D printers, the Anycubic Mega X features manual bed leveling. Thankfully, this printer has large adjustment knobs that make bed leveling a breeze. Just auto-home the printer and then slip a piece of paper around all 4 corners in an X pattern, adjusting each knob as needed.
The large knob design and super-fine leveling screw threads make it easy to make micro-adjustments without using your whole hand. Since my hands are gigantic, I have a huge problem leveling my Ender 3 where my hand pushes the build plate up while I'm turning the knob, making leveling a real chore.
Overall, the build quality of the Mega X is exemplary. It is primarily comprised of stamped steel panels that have good fitment and feel solid. Nothing about the machine looks or feels particularly cheap, unlike many other budget printers I've reviewed.
The only build quality issue I've had, as mentioned in the Assembly section, is that the bottom support rail was slightly bent, meaning I couldn't reattach it without it making the printer wobble. I left the screw out of this rail and it's had no measurable impact on flexure or print quality. That rail is meant primarily to guide a set of wires beneath the printer and is not structural.
The Anycubic Mega X didn't skimp on the motion system design. For example, while lots of budget 3D printers only provide a single Z-axis rod, the Mega X features two. This results in less wobble and better prints. Additionally, the wide, stable Y-axis double aluminum carriage improves stability and prevents bed rotation.
Like other printers, concentric wheels can be adjusted to reduce bed wobble. The wide, heavy base containing the Mega X's PSU and core electronics provides further stability, especially on uneven desks and tables.
The only things that could really use improvement are the belt tensioners. When my printer arrived, the X-axis belt was noticeably floppy and my first print looked awful—but only in one direction. To tighten the belt, you need to clip off the three small zip ties holding it in place, pull it taut, and then tighten it with some new zip ties. This was kind of a pain but only took about 30 seconds to fix.
One huge surprise on the Mega X is that it utilizes a MeanWell power supply unit (PSU). I wrote an entire Ender 3 MeanWell PSU upgrade guide that explores the benefits of a MeanWell PSU if you'd like to explore this topic further.
- The MeanWell PSU uses higher-quality components, making for a safer power supply.
- These higher-quality components provide cleaner power, resulting in better prints and less chance of failure.
- The MeanWell PSU's fan only runs when it needs to, making your printer whisper-quiet when powered and not printing, and quieter overall while printing.
The PSU also features a fused plug, an absolutely necessary safety feature for any 3D printer.
Once again, remember to change the voltage selector switch to whatever mains voltage your country utilizes.
The bed material immediately struck me as clever and novel. Anycubic calls it the "Ultrabase Platform." It's comprised of a heated layer of aluminum topped by a thin layer of what appears to be borosilicate glass with a fine layer of mesh on top.
The top layer features small holes, or pores, that expand when heated and contract when cooled. This means you get all the benefits of printing on glass without the hairspray or glue sticks.
This is barely worth mentioning since all FDM 3D printers now seem to feature a Bowden tube-type extrusion system. In a nutshell, the extruder stepper motor lives off to the side and filament is passed to the heating element and nozzle via a flexible, translucent plastic tube. The result is a lighter print head, meaning faster print speeds and less "lashing."
I don't like how the Bowden tube rubs against the Z-axis ball screws though. I imagine it will wipe all the grease from the guides over time. Perhaps I'll design a holder to safely move it out of the way.
At least until you set up OctoPrint, you'll be interacting a lot with the Mega X's touchscreen to control your printer and start prints.
Overall, I give the screen and user interface a C+. Don't get me wrong—it works correctly and doesn't crash. The 3.5" color display's viewing angles are ample (unlike many non-IPS displays), so you won't need to crane your neck over and over again. The touch digitizer is responsive and the menu items are large enough to easily tap without the need for finger-sniping.
Overall, I give the screen and user interface a C+.
My problem with the interface is that the menu system is confusing. You really have to navigate through it to understand where I'm coming from. Basically, there are several menus, and each menu item is comprised of a button with an icon. The problem is that tapping some menu items will bring up an additional menu while tapping others will perform some action.
For example, tapping the “temperature” icon brings up a temperature menu, but tapping the “cooling” icon toggles all heaters off—rather than bringing up a “cooling” menu. Navigating forward and backward is a bit confusing too.
Prepare yourself for a teeth-chattering PLINK noise every time you tap the screen—and a startup animation and audio clip that will drive you mad. Thankfully this can be disabled in Setup by unchecking "Voice," which I recommend doing immediately. Throw caution to the wind and never look back.
Overall, the menu does work properly, and I'm sure the interface will be improved with future firmware updates. Either way, crappy 3D printer user interfaces are certainly "par for the course" and the reason that libraries like OctoPrint exist.
Printing on the Anycubic Mega X is similar to any other FDM printer.
For slicing your models, I recommend using Cura—as does the manufacturer. However, because the Anycubic Mega X is so new, you'll have to configure everything manually. I wrote an Anycubic Mega X Cura guide to help you with this.
Printing is straightforward–just put your
.gcode file in any directory on the SD card and insert it into your computer. An SD to USB adapter is included with the printer, making this process easy. Unfortunately, wireless printing isn't available (at least until you set up OctoPrint).
After inserting the SD card, a few taps of the print menu will start your print.
One big issue with loading prints is that the printer recursively searches the SD card for any
.gcode file. This means that if you delete a file and it ends up in the SD card's
.Trashes directory, the file still appears on the print screen. For this reason, I recommend you delete the
.Trashes directory regularly, or choose a new name each time you save a file. This is super annoying, especially when macOS might move an old file to the
.Trashes directory when you replace it with a new file of the same name.
Supported print materials
Unsurprisingly, the Mega X supports printing in the following 3D print materials:
The Mega X auto-pauses on power loss and filament runout, which is super handy.