AnkerMake M5 3d Printer & V6 Color Engine

Review: AnkerMake M5 3d Printer & V6 Color Engine | Vs Bambu Lab X1

AnkerMake is a new 3d printer brand by the giant company Anker is expected to shake the 3d printer market. The first 3d printer that AnkerMake launched is M5 which also offers a V6 color engine that gives you the freedom to use multiple filament colors without changing the nozzle or even filament roll.

Primarily the company has launched the M5 in Kinskstarter; which delivery has already begun. However, this is not yet confirmed the availability in retailers point.

In this article, we will bring the maximum possible information regarding the AnkerMake M5 & V6 color engine.

AnkerMake M5 | Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The 3d Printing market is huge. So many market participants are offering plenty of choices. A unique selling proposition or USP are key selling features that primarily engage its possible customer segment.

AnkerMake M5

For example,  Makerbot sells premium services along with noise cancellation. There are other premium 3d printer brands such as Phrosen which focuses on accuracy while printing action figures.

However, AnkerMake is hammering something else. if you look closely at their branding, these are key selling propositions that is expected to make AnkerMake M5 and V6 color engine special among the others.

  • 5 times faster printing (Explore what experts are commenting on this)
  • Accurate precision (but, this is not unique at all compared to this 3d printer)
  • Easy assemble (Takes 10-15 minutes but this is not a unique feature at all)
  • AI camera that monitors printing activities and sends alerts.
  • However, AnkerMake is trying to add value through its smartphone application which we will discuss later.

What is the V6 Color Engine?

V6 Color Engine is an addition to AnkerMake M5 3d printer that allows you to store multiple color filaments and simultaneously it synchronizes with the M5 Slicer. It means that the M5 3d printer would automatically switch between the different filaments without changing the nozzle or even the filament roll. Also, the V6 Color Engine would eliminate the need of using a purge tower.

This is a similar feature to what Bambu Lab’s X1 Carbon offered this year.

However, the V6 Color engine will be an addition which means you will need to pay a premium price for this.

AnkerMake V6 Color Engine

How V6 Color Engine Works!

In easy line, the V6 color engine is a filament station where you can store 6 different filament rolls. It is said that AnkerMake’s M5 will automatically feed itself exactly the length it requires for a particular print.

However, you will be needing different STLs for the different colors you choose.

In addition, the V6 color engine indirectly replaces the need for a humidity controller and filament storage.

About Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a platform where inventors place their innovations with the aim of targetting global crowdfunding. Like The Bambu Lab, AnkerMake has also gone to Kickstarter first.

If any company aims for crowdfunding through Kickstarter, there is no guarantee that your product will be delivered since you are not ordering the product but helping the company to grow with monetary assistance to its innovation. However, companies start delivering products once the target is reached based on a first come first serve basis.

What AnkerMake earned from Kickstarter?

Primarily AnkerMake pledged for 50 backers ($2299 each) which then rose to 11,313 Backers for a pledged amount of over USD 8 million! Unbelievable!

As of today, a few pledges are open which will probably close end of this week.

AnkerMake’s M5 was primarily pledged at $499 from each backer and then they have further pledged another $299 for their new V6 Color Engine.

This is not sure yet when both AnkerMake M5 & V6 color engines will be available at retailers’ point!

AnkerMake M5 Review

In this section, we will be covering AnkerMake M5’s specifications, positive sides, and other negative sides as well. Here’s a video on M5 which will help you in getting overall ideas about this 3d printer.

As said earlier, the M5 3d printer purely focuses on print speed and AI integration. But, there are much more.

 

Print Speed

From the beginning, ANkerMake M5 has been marketing its 3d printing speed. Anker claims that their M5 can print at 250 mm/s by default which is even under question by the experts!

We have observed that the printing speed does not work well at its default rate but, it’s really speedier than others such as Anycubic Kobra.

For now – We could not agree with their claim of 5 times higher speed though they have not cleared who are they comparing to!

Build Volume

It comes with a 235 x 235 x 250 mm build volume which is not expandible. However, considering the price of lower than $700 such build volume is acceptable. However, there are other 3d printers with a similar price range that are even offering higher print volume with better customer satisfaction.

Integrated AI Camera

The specialization that AnkerMake is claiming is that their AI camera can read the print objects even before it gets printed. Wait, what does that mean?

Primarily the camera at the X-axis gantry observes the 3d printing ad and sends you a push notification on your smartphone.

Here’s how the AI camera contributes to AnkerMake’s M5

  • Print monitoring & push alert
  • Error detection
  • Time prediction
  • Blocked nozzle detection
  • Spaghetti detection

However, the available information does not confirm whether the AI camera automatically turns the 3d printer off when any error occurs.

Direct Extruder

AnkerMake M5 is a comes with direct drive extrusion system that is so obvious when the 3d printing company is worried about printing time. The direct extruders eliminate extrusion head travel time and ensure better speed. Moreover, featuring a 9.37 reduction ratio also help in faster filament movement through the dual hobbed feeder.

The extruder can heat up to 260 ℃ and can handle PLA, ABS, PETG, and TPUs. This is a good sign when compared to price. There is also a double cooling fan at the extrusion end that allows the material to cool down faster. But, it can also negatively affect bridging parts.

AnkerMake has cleared about delivering all metal hot end in exchange for an additional pledge on Kickstarter however, they did not clear the matter about the retailers.

We are really surprised to find the dual Z-axis stepper motor that will surely ensure better stabilization.

AnkerMake M5

Smartphone Application

This is not confirmed yet what their smartphone app will look like but, some piloting experience suggests that AnkerMake is focusing on live monitoring at 30 frames per second, Printing control, slicer settings modification, and some tiny error handling.

However, there is no clarification on whether AnkerMake is thinking about workflow automation where many people can work on the same printer with its smart queue system like Makerbot.

Automatic Bed Levelling

Like other competitors, AnkerMake is offering its auto bed leveling system with a 49-point layer. But, already experts have identified some tiny issues and reported to Anker accordingly.

Print Bed

The M5 will offer PEI coated print bed which is easily removable and good for better heat.

Touch Screen Display

Yes, M5 does offer a touch screen display but there are some issues regarding functionality that are expected to be solved very soon.

Slicer

M5 will operate in AnkerMake Slicer with all its functionality. Moreover, there will also be an option to control remotely through Google assistance & Amazon Alexa. But, this is not sure yet to what extent you can control the 3d printing process.

Print Quality

We did a test run with AnkerMake M5 and here’s what we have got!

AnkerMake M5 Print Quality

The 3d model was for two small speakers. We have used the default 3d printing settings of AnkerMake M5. The print quality was truly amazing with no quality issues.

Here’s what Uncle Jessy (A Printing expert) printed with M5-

AnkerMake M5 Print Quality
AnkerMake test run by Uncle Jessy

Internal Build Strength

Earlier, we have seen a lot of 3d printers where the manufacturer struggled to ensure a solid internal build structure. But, ANkerMake seems to get the job so perfectly with a great finish.

Here’s what the lower side of M5 looks like:

AnkerMake M5

If you talk about the machine architecture, AnkerMake has ensured their best considering the price of around $700 they are expecting from retail.

Here are the build details:

The main material that they used was 7075 grade Aluminium for better strength. A 3 inches thickness with a thickness tolerance of -0.075 inches to 0.200 inches indicates that the printer can offer a pretty large life. The hot rolled fabrication with a Yield strength of 73,000 PSI also indicates the strength and longevity at its best. Overall, it can handle a temperature range of minus 320 degrees to 210 degrees Fahrenheit.

Assembly

AnkerMake has been highlighting that the setup time would be 15 minutes maximum and it really is. The printer comes at a semi-assembled so, attaching two or three parts makes it full.

X Y Z Axis movement

The M5 has an X-axis movement of 42-40 engine * 1 & operates through a single belt. The Y-axis moves by 42-48 engine*1 with a double belt. And, the Z-axis can move 42-34 lead screw engine*2. Overall, if someone does not need a Core XY printer, can easily choose AnkerMake M5 for a regular job.

The Z-Axis cross-sectional area covers 4,133 mm(sq) (up to 2.5 times larger). Only only concern is whether the lead screw trouble automatic bed leveling like Prusa.

Noise Level

The reported noise level is 50 DB but we think this M% really generates a lot of noise compared to our top listed quiet 3d printers. The continuous double fan operation maximizes the sound and also no enclosure made the noise higher than expected.

What makes AnkerMake M5 different? The Positive Sides

These are the positive sides that will surely motivate you to buy an AnkerMake M5 along with a V6 Color Engine:

Positive Sides of AnkerMake M5

  • The M5 is really faster than other 3d printers under USD 1000
  • The print bed is scratch proof
  • Integrated AI camera and error detection really work great with push notification
  • Works with almost all 3d printing filaments
  • Direct extrusion makes the work smoother and faster
  • V6 color engine helps you to choose between different colors
  • Low assembly time
  • Magnetic heat bed
  • Comparably larger bed size
  • Automatic bed leveling
  • Responsive touch screen
  • Detects broken filament and spageties

Negative Sides of AnkerMake M5

These are the negative sides of AnkerMake M5. The main disadvantage that we have seen is:

  • Its filament purge tower is not big enough to hold the large filament rolls. If you are not aware of this, then might be a big problem. (See Picture)

AnkerMake M5 Problem

Earlier, Uncle Jessy figured out a list of problems with AnkerMake M5 and as per the latest update, this is confirmed that AnkerMake is working on these issues. The problems were as follows:

  • Fan Noise was high
  • No option to stop the fans
  • Files not displaying
  • There were some hidden files
  • No Pre-heat options
  • Bed grinding issue

AnkerMake M5 Vs Bambu Lab X1 Carbon

Both AnkerMake and Bambu Lab coming through Kickstarter and shaking the 3d printing market. People are really confused whether

  • They should buy AnkerMake M5 or build a Voron
  • They should Buy Bambu Lab X1 or Buy premium products like Prusa XL or Makerbot Replicator.
  • Or, whether they drop Bambu X1 and go with Budget friendly AnkerMake M5!

Before we make the conclusion, let’s have a 3d print comparison between AnkerMake M5 and Bambu Lab X1 Carbon:

AnkerMake M5 Vs Bambu Lab X1 Carbon

Though, it’s weird to compare a USD 700 product with a USD 1500 3d printer! But, people wanted to see to make their decision-making easier.

Head-to-Head Comparison AnkerMake M5 Vs Bambu X1 Carbon

Factors AnkerMake M5 Bambu Lab X1 Carbon
Core XY No Yes
Build Volume 235 x 235 x 250 mm 256*256*256 mm
Chasis Aluminium Steel
Max Hot end Temp 260 °C 300 °C
Nozzle Diameter 0.4 mm 0.4 mm
Print Bed PEI-Coated Soft Magnetic Steel Flexible Steel Plate
Support Multiple Color Filament Yes Yes
Camera Yes Yes
Enclosure No Yes

For more: Read our In-depth comparison of Bambu Lab X1 and its alternative.

A Twitter Survey on AnkerMake M5 Vs Bambu Lab

Even though you can save USD 800 on buying AnkerMake, people still prefer Bambu Lab X1 Carbon over the M5.

AnkerMake Vs Bambu Lab X1
Source: Twitter Survey

The reason could be:

  • Bambu Lab’s stainless steel enclosure
  • Better accuracy
  • AnkerMake’s product positioning isn’t premium
  • Bambu Lab’s market response was good

Final Thought

Undoubtedly, both AnkerMake M5 and Bambu Lab X1 are very good 3d printers. Different people may come with different thoughts. It’s your call what do you need and what would you be willing to pay for?

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