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Anet A8 monolith frame plus new braces and all printer parts refined

by tzahov, published

Anet A8 monolith frame plus new braces and all printer parts refined by tzahov Feb 8, 2017
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Published files are fully usable, but some new improvements are coming...

This started as an idea to make one piece main frame for Ane A8 to replace the two pieces wobbling stock frame, but in the dimensions verifying process I realized that it would be much better to model all the printer parts. Apart from the obvious main improvement - the new front frame, some errors In the original stock version has been fixed and some further improvements were made. All parts should be backwards compatible, meaning they should be capable of mixing with the stock parts.

Update 20.02.2017

The frame and the other printer parts should be pretty finished. I will be laser cutting it in the next days, will post the result.

Few words about the frame versions.

The first frame version is a one piece version of the stock design. The display mount inside the frame. I added two columns of extra slots at the top on the sides of the display for mounting optional accessories (spool holders, filament guides, etc...). If cutting this version it is a good idea to use the two fixers as shown on one of the enclosed pictures to fix the middle section of the vertical trapezoid stock braces to the frame. These fixers are included in the "minimal cut" dxf file. In this file there are some other parts included. Cutting those should minimally increase the cost as they are positioned inside the main frame.

The second design differs from the first in the top. The top of the frame is used for slots for accessories and option. In this case the display is mounted on top of the frame (or anywhere else) using the enclosed mounting plate and holder. There is a freedom where to put it - from the left to the right side of the frame. There are two versions of this mount, use whichever you like more. I think the slimmer one looks better and is more flexible, leaving more of the accessories slots available. This version is included in the "full_set" file. This file includes all printer parts. If you do not want to print those, just delete what you don't need.

One tricky detail. The original stock "walls" of the z-motors cages are cut of 5mm acrylic. Supposedly nobody would cut those from 5mm, bu will do everything in one pass of 8mm. This is the reason why there is 8mm slots version of the frame and 5 mm slots version of the frame. The difference is at the slots for the z-motor cage. Respectively there are two versions of the z-motor mounting plates. Please pay attention and use what you need. I designed some simple inserts in case 8mm slots would be used with 5mm thick walls. The "full set" file includes 8mm versions.

For now, that's it. Hope you enjoy it.

Below is the older text:

This is first version of the one-part front Anet A8 frame. This should replace the two front frame parts, thus fully stabilizing the z-axis and completely eliminating the wobble. This part is to be cut from 8mm thick acrylic plate or similar material. The idea is to be fully compatible with the other parts. There are tho small braces to fit and stabilize the middle points of the perpendicular trapezoid braces. These small braces differ for the left and the right side. The holes should fit exactly above the holes in the trapezoid braces, so bolting there should not require drilling.
Please remember this is the very first version, and should be improved further.

I enclosed an stl file just to get the thing viewable within thigiverse, but of course it cannot be printed at least due to its size. Please, do not critisize ;-).

Another note to the FreeCad file - it is not cleaned up, so a bit messy inside, will fix it soon.

The fixation of the braces is shown on the picture with the orange and light blue braces above. There are 2 pairs of square slots for fixing the middle section of improved future version of the trapezoid braces. This are the light blue braces in the picture. The fixing of the stock braces (orange in the picture) goes through the slots pair which is not in line with the others using the additional fixers (coloured red).

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I appreciate your work and Thanks for sharing. Can this be made in thickness 5 mm steel?
Any changes to be made? Please help.

These drawings are for 8mm sheets. If you want to use 5mm steel some changes would be needed as there are dimensions which will differ.

I have a Z axis misalignment problem. The one part that i need is the Z axis motor fixed plate. Can I 3D print that?.

Sure, you can pick it from the drawings and make it 3d printable.

what size sheet would i need to cut the full replacement frame with detached screen as seen in the 3rd picture, also what thickness should the material be?

This particular design is for 8mm acrylic. The sheet size can be seen from the included dxf file, but generally something like 80x50 cm. should fit. There will be some improvements coming in the next week, so you would choose from more design options

Hi, I want to make this frame out of plywood. The only problem is i want to use 0.205 in plywood. If you work with me to make a version to meet this thickness i can laser cut it at my school and let you know how it all fits together and upload "Made" photos

Sorry for being late answering. Sure I would help you to make it.

I found some suitable plywood and made the modifications.

Ah, OK, nice work then :-).

Very cool project, thanks for your work. I have tried to uploadthe full file to a laser cutting service for a price quote in Germany, but get a "double contour" error. Does anyone know this and how to fix this?

I am not aware about such error. What software do you use?

The error was from an online shop upload portal. Another online shop had an upload that worked so I guess your file is ok for some /most programs. Unfortunately the quote that worked was more than 150€ for 8mm acrylic - I will have to look a bit further.

Just stay tuned as I will organize a non-for-profit mass cutting here in Bulgaria very soon. The costs are pretty affordable.

Very interesting! I am also wondering whether MDF or Melamine Faced MDF might be an even more stable and affordable solution (the looks of MDF may put some people off). Thanks for your great work.

I can't get acrylic cut for a low price, but I can get 9 mm MDF or 10 mm Populus plywood cut for a low price. Would either of these be a suitable material? (perhaps after filing the pegs a little so they fit?)

I think plywood should be better, but if it is 9mm, then these drawing would not work. I can prepare a 9mm and 100mm version, but it will take some time.

Thanks. I've actually started to learn how to draw in CAD programs and I'm considering making a frame which can accomodate the LCD12864 screen on top and an arduino on the side.

Very much inspired by your work, but a totally different design.

Thanks for the inspiration :)

Do you have the stl files for the design with the LCD inlaid in the frame and not on top (like in the first picture)?

Basically it is all in the FreeCAD file, note that some of the parts (solids) are hidden. E.g. unhide the solid of interest and export it to STEP and import it in whatever program you use to create STL files. I created all parts in Fusion 360 this way as I cannot get the hang of FreeCAD (yet, as it has been more than 20 years ago that I used CAD applications, somehow the Autodesk applications [Fusion 360 and 123D Design, the latter is obsolete] are much easier to learn).

Excellent, thank you!!

Where can i buy this on ebay?

Still not available there.

So how do i get it? Just take this design to a laser cutting shop? What sized/thickness material?

Yes, you can do that. The files published are meant for 8mm thickness. Dimensions in millimetres. A new, even better version is coming very soon, so my suggestion is to wait a bit. What do you exactly want to cut? Just a new main frame or a complete version?

Hello my anet a8 has a lot of piece acrylic break I wish to redo it is what this model is compatible with all the original piece of the anet a8?
thank you

Yes, it is compatible.

Nice concept.
Unfortunately I've been trying to find someone who's plotted the entire printer as is, but there are only mods everywhere. Did you happen to draw up the actual Anet A8 frame in AutoCAD before you modded this one? I'd really like all the original frame components, in order to test my mod designs on a virtual mock-up before printing them.
This is interesting though. I have access to a printer which can do this in one run.
Message me if you have CAD designs for the original frame pieces. I do have AutoCAD (& FreeCAD), but haven't learned much of either one yet.

I haven't done the stock two parts plate, but the minimal version here resembles it pretty closely and is fully usable for the purpose you mentioned. At some point later I could make the original two pieces, just for the completeness of the stock parts.

Very good and very precise your work.
I have made only the main frame,
But yesterday when I broke the front,
So I will have to cut that piece and the back.
That is where I have seen a modification:
The Y motor is on the other side. Is it symmetrical to its original position?
My congratulations for your work and thank you very much for sharing it.

It is symmetrical, no problem. I also noticed that I reversed the motor position on the picture, but it is not an issue.
I am about to publish a doubling front and back plates for strengthening. Maybe I will be able to publish those even today.

hi wie bekommt mann die teile einzeln oder als file

Was meinst du? Die Dateien für den Laserschneider sind als dxf hier hochgeladen weil du die dann direkt ner Firma geben kannst die nen Laserstrahlschneider hat geben kannst und die dir das dann so schneiden. An einzelnen Teilen wo dann nicht alle auf einmal drin sind arbeitet er noch.


Sure, I will include one, but the new one can freely replace the stock. It just has two set of extra stabilizing teeth.

Oops, I think I misunderstood the question. Do you mean to add a new brace for x-y stabilization?

Any chance of including a simple y axis brace. Perhaps a piece down the center

almost all parts are included in the "full" file. I will prepare few more combinations, so hopefully everyone can find what he looks for. The ideas are:

  1. Minimal stock based - that should be minimal cutting minimal additions to the stock, minimal upgrade - just the main frame, display mounted inside. This one is based on the stock parts and the frame will have 5mm slots for the z-motors cages walls (please read below and suggest).
  2. Minimal new frame - same as above, but display is detached and mounted on top. Again minimum necessary upgrade, but more flexibility. Z-motors cages walls slots are for 8mm thick walls. Inserts are provided for using the stock walls. This approach would allow further upgrades of the frame, changing the z-axis bottom and top parts (again, please suggest).
  3. Optimum upgrade - new frame, display on top, two pieces of the new (symmetrically fixed) front plate for double reinforcement, y-belt tension-er, new back plate plus a second reinforcing back plate, refined y-motor and stop switch holders, stock braces fixers and other small parts are included. The frame is as in 2. - cut for 8mm z-axis motors cages walls. Inserts included for using the stock walls.
  4. Full printer set. Includes complete set of parts for building the printer. I consider this the best option as it fixes all mistakes of the stock parts, which I detected. Most flexible, allows every kind of combination.

Starting to do it now, will need an hour or two to upload.

If you have further ideas I am open ;-)

Just to explain this 5mm or 8mm z-motors cages walls issue. The point is that in the stock version these walls are cut of 5mm acrylic sheet (same is used for the back of the display). So the slots in the stock main frame and in the stock z-motor mounting plates are 5mm wide (plus-minus tolerances). When cutting the parts for the new frame of 8mm acrylic sheet, nobody would be happy to cut just those walls from a different sheet. That would mean more costs and complications. That is why I made the new frame for 8mm cages walls. To make it stock cages walls compatible a small cap inserts are used to add 1.5mm on each side of the teeth of the stock walls 1.5 + 5 + 1.5 = 8mm.
So, my question is:

What do you thing is better - to keep the 5mm slots of the stock frame, or to use the inserts and go with 8mm slots?

For now, I think 8mm slots plus inserts is the better approach as it allows further upgrades with less complications and "unlocks" the design from the limitations of the stock version. Please, suggest.



i'm also think taht 8mm slots are better.

I've send you a message for a new idea ;)

Great work! That's what i'm looking for!

What file i must take for 8mm complete new Version Frame?

Man my rear y-axis piece broke yesterday and I was looking for something like that to print it. Thanks so much

Woah just what i was desperately looking for...!

Any news on how it comes togheter in real life?

Cut it today. Everything fits perfectly. New and old parts can be mixed freely, just pay attention on the slots for the z-motor cage. For using the stock walls alone cut the 5mm version, or 8mm version together with the small cap inserts to fill the gap between 5mm tooth and 8mm slot. Will post the photos tomorrow.

Great! I must find a laser cutting service that don't ask an arm and a leg... The ones I found here in Italy are dead expensive!

How much would they ask to cut the "economy" set? Here in Bulgaria it is about EUR 25, including the material.

I'm also Italian. I've been asked today 320 € for an aluminium cut (the full set). Yes, that's right. THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY. Ok, aluminium is more expensive than acrylic, but still...
Would you please be so kind to give us a contact to the people who did the cut for you? We're in Europe, there are no borders and import taxes, and I mean to take full advantage of that.

Hmm, this sounds crazy. Looks like these guys are multiplying the costs by 5. So greedy. I will organize cutting here for all those who do not have access to reasonably priced cutting services. Will check what can be achieved.

Thanks a lot, mate. That would be very much apreciated, and by that I mean that you can feel free to throw in a cut for yourself (afterall, you're doing all the work). Count me in!

great, interested in it too, i found a little less expensive but not much of a difference

Would just say "out of this world"...

You did it in 8mm thick acrylic?

Yes, they offered transparent 8mm acrylic and I accepted.

i wish i could have such a service...

we can, bro! that's what Europe is all about ;)

Hi Theodore, that is pretty cheap in your country! For that price I would order it also!

I'm looking into buying black Polyethylene of 8mm. It is supposed to be tougher than Acrylic. I'm very interested in laser cutting your designs so when I have found a laser cutting service I will report back.

edit 9 March 2017:
This week my material comes in, when Theo's last changes are ready I will start cutting as soon as possible.

yup, please report! :)

just wait a day or two. Will upload the final version of the frame and also all the other printer parts. Almost ready.
Most of the parts will have some improvements and design mistakes fixed (fixed non asymmetry of front plate i.e.) . It turns out that the Anet cut is not very precise.

hey, very nice design, do you happen to have other dxf files or 3d models of the other frame parts? want to lasercut all of them.

Oh hey just saw that it's already up on your profile! Awesome work. This is going to be a big improvement and I hope a lot of people are going to appreciate your work. Probably the best to cut this with a laser cutter right? Maybe I'm going to create a version without the display to clean up the top part and mount the screen somewhere in the front. So far so good I'm going to check measurements in a few days and maybe give it a try if you say the file is ready to use for cutting. Cheers

Btw: what are those 6 differen square mounting slots in the middle of the z axis for?
Edit: ok just understood your idea of creating a slot for the two big triangle frame parts to fit in and hold them in place not bad!

Hello Makeitright,
yes I think it would be best to laser or water jet cutting the frame. I will try cnc milling at first. The question is how will the deviations reflect the dimensions. This is about to be seen.
Cleaned up the FreeCad file and corrected a small mistake in one of the fixers. Those can be cut or printed.
FreeCad file still includes several identical copies of the parts. The copies just have different 3d space location needed to display the assemblies, without rotating and moving the parts. If changing the design it is best to first delete those copies to have a single starting point.
Dxf file is as plain as possible, ready for cutting.
I uploaded a picture which shows the idea of the fixing of the braces. Should be easy to understand. The point was to have a future proof frame, capable of accommodating future improved versions of the trapezoid braces without the need to cut the frame again. Kind of incremental approach.
Thank you for the good words :-)