One minute review
The Anycubic Kobra is a brilliant FDM (fusion deposition modeling) printer for anyone looking to get into the DIY world or looking to upgrade an older model.
It’s priced quite affordably at just $300 / £270 / AU$470 on the Anycubic website. For that, you’ll get a printer with an automatic bed leveling system (which is sure to delight both novice and experienced printers) as well as intuitive touchscreen controls that give you easy access to all the features and printer settings.
Plus, outdoors, it produces high-quality prints. Sure, there are areas for improvement, but if you’re looking for a setup that will work out of the box – and won’t require you to tinker with settings you don’t yet fully understand – then this is what the Anycubic Kobra offers .
However, before you get too excited, you might want to think about your printer usage.
If you’re looking to create quick prototypes or larger, less complex models, then this is the type of system you want (thanks to its large 9.8 x 8.7 x 8.7 inch build space ( 220 x 220 x 250mm)). But if you’re instead hoping to create intricate miniatures for tabletop play or highly detailed statuettes to adorn your desk, you’ll want to get a resin printer instead.
Price and availability
The Kobra Anycubic can be had for $300 / £270 / AU$470 on the Anycubic website, Amazon US and Amazon UK.
At this price, it’s not quite the cheapest option, but it’s still affordable enough for someone looking to buy their very first 3D printer. It will also suit someone looking to upgrade from a cheaper model.
This matches the Anycubic Vyper, an older FDM printer from the brand that was also budget-friendly and offered decent features for its price.
The black aluminum alloy frame of the Anycubic Kobra is accented with navy blue and dark red plastic housings. Its utilitarian design won’t win any beauty contests, but it ensures that the Kobra does the best job it can when printing your 3D models.
Anycubic Kobra Key Specs
Printing technology: FDM
Supported Filaments: PLA, TPU, ABS, PETG
Build volume: 9.8 x 8.7 x 8.7 inch / 220 x 220 x 250mm
Print resolution: 0.05mm – 0.3mm
Positioning accuracy: X/Y 0.0125mm; Z 0.002mm
Extruder number: Alone; Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
Print speed: 20 – 100 mm/s (recommended 80 mm/s)
Operating ambient temperature: 8°C – 40°C
Nozzle operating temperature: 500°F / 260°C
Hot Bed Operating Temperature: 230°F / 110°C
Connection mode: SD card
Device size: 19.1 x 16.9 x 19.2 inch / 486 x 430 x 487mm
Mass: Device weight: ~7 kg
The Anycubic Kobra comes in parts that need to be assembled like IKEA kit furniture. The build isn’t too complex – and with the instructions you should have a clear idea of what to do – but if you can we recommend getting someone to help you.
The metal parts have a heavy weight and the screws must be inserted through the base of the machine. As such, it can be difficult to hold everything in place while tightening the screws with just two hands. But with the help of another person, you should have the Anycubic Kobra together in less than 30 minutes.
Building is particularly easy as all the tools and screws you need are packed in the box – so there’s no need to go out and buy specialist hardware.
That said, another thing to watch out for when installing is to make sure the metal build plate hasn’t come loose from the packaging (like ours). The gold plate should snap back into place very easily thanks to the base’s magnetic field, but you need to make sure it’s secure before self-leveling the printer.
If you don’t, the sensor that detects the plate to prevent the nozzle from going down too far won’t work properly and your nozzle could become embedded in your printer and cause serious damage.
As for the build plate, it’s pretty neat. This is because it has a slightly rough texture that won’t affect your prints, but is designed to make them very easy to remove once they’ve cooled down a bit.
According to our tests, this feature works exactly as expected. Even though there’s a plastic scraper in the box, we never needed it to remove what we printed from the build plate – provided we were happy to wait a few minutes for everything to cool .
The only design issue we had was the Anycubic Kobra’s reliance on a microSD card to transfer files from your PC to the printer. Although the printer includes one in its box – and also comes with a USB adapter so you can plug it into your PC – we’re just not fans of these little little storage devices.
Not only are they much easier to lose than a regular USB drive as they’re smaller, you’re less likely to have a spare microSD lying around – so when you inevitably lose the included one you’ll have to go out and buy some another or wait for one to be delivered.
One of the most user-friendly features of the Anycubic Kobra is its automatic bed leveling.
To print an object, the Kobra and other similar 3D printers extrude molten plastic through a nozzle onto the bed. If the distance between the nozzle and the bed is not consistent across the entire bed, your builds will have inconsistent quality for their layers.
Manual leveling is a tedious process that requires careful adjustment of screws while you constantly watch a spirit level. Automatic bed leveling takes all the hassle out of the way and the printer does it for you.
This feature won’t be present in some cheaper 3D printers, so if you can afford to spend a little more for the Kobra, we highly recommend doing it for auto-leveling only.
Another useful feature is the printer’s direct drive tool head. In simpler terms, this means that the Kobra’s extruder components are all packed into a single front-mounted object, with an easy-to-find port on top for you to insert filament.
The instruction manual walks you through the process, but it’s as easy as pushing a button and carefully feeding the plastic filament into the obvious hole. The only problem with this process is that there is a lot of initial stringing – where the newly melted plastic leaks through the nozzle.
It’s fairly easy to clean – and it hardens incredibly quickly – but you’ll have to wait about a minute before the printer calms down and the stringing stops.
Finally, there’s the Anycubic Kobra’s touchscreen. This intuitive interface lets you interact with printer settings and easily initiate prints. It is located on the front of the print and is angled slightly so you can easily read the display without having to bend over.
Beyond the printer itself, the included microSD card stores a copy of Ultimaker Cura that you’ll want to install on your PC. Once you have configured Ultimaker Cura for printer settings (Kobra’s instruction guide will walk you through this), you can start using it to slice STL files to prepare them for printing.
Whether you download a publicly available 3D model or use CAD software to create your own, it will likely exist as an STL file. The Kobra cannot do anything with this type of file however, it must be sliced first – literally sliced into several layers which are then printed one at a time by the Kobra.
Ultimaker Cura is what’s called slicing software – it can turn STL models into a format Kobra can use – and it’s pretty intuitive, if not a bit basic.
Thanks to its decent bed size, the Anycubic can produce prints up to 9.8 x 8.7 x 8.7 inches (220 x 220 x 250 mm). It also boasts an average print speed of 80mm/s – that’s pretty fast, but expect most important prints to take at least a few hours, if not a lot longer. In testing, we’ve had models printed for over 24 hours – although that’s common for 3D printers if you want to do something big.
To put this 3D printer through its paces, we used three benchmarks, or “torture tests,” to see its performance. We printed all of this using Kobra’s out-of-the-box settings, and were impressed with the results.
The classic 3DBenchy boat has been rendered incredibly well. The smooth sides might convince you it was made in one piece rather than using multiple layers of plastic, and the features of the boat have been expertly recreated. There were some minor pitting issues on the cabin walls, but these could be easily fixed with some smooth sandpaper.
We saw similarly impressive results when testing the all-in-one 3D printer. The many structures (which included tubes, holes, and bridges) were each recreated with relative ease. Our only concern was that there was a good amount of stringing and the overhang tests had a drop in quality at the 70 degree mark – although neither impression failed completely.
That said, for the out-of-the-box settings, we were impressed. If you’re confident enough to try changing the settings, you should be able to improve the Kobra’s performance, but if you’re a beginner who just wants to print without any problems, this Anycubic printer works more than well enough.
Of course, you don’t just want to print benchmarks with your printer. We also put the Anycubic Kobra through its paces by printing a few longer projects. This included a small storage box that looks like a book and cosplay accessories based on elements from one of our favorite games: Destiny 2.
Once again the Kobra performed admirably. The book-like box was sturdy, and the edge designed to be bent did so without breaking. Sci-fi gadgets also looked great.
After the 24+ hour print job was completed, we found that larger parts of our props (with only minor details) looked identical to their in-game counterparts – although smaller, more intricate parts were impossible to obtain even after several attempts.
This is however the standard for FDM 3D printers, with resin printers like the Anycubic Photon M3 being the preferred choice for small but complex prints – i.e. miniatures used in Dungeons and Dragons.