3D printing has been around for years, but even though it still feels a lot like a hobby only for dedicated enthusiasts, there are some 3D printers that are practically fool-proof.
Anycubic’s new Vyper is one of them. It has many quality-of-life features that other 3D printers lack – the features you don’t even realise you need until you buy a printer that doesn’t have them.
Features such as automatic bed levelling, which happen at the touch of a button, eliminate the frustration of manual levelling, which can be a huge challenge if you’re new to 3D printing. The bed on any 3D printer has to be adjusted first to ensure it’s perfectly level before you can print anything.
Second, they Vyper has a touchscreen. Most 3D printer don’t. They have jog wheels which make it a laborious process to navigate through menus and adjust settings.
Better yet, the options are sensibly grouped which means there’s fast access to the settings you need most often, such as changing the filament and adjusting bed and hot end temperatures.
But before I get into too much detail, know this: the Vyper is the ideal first 3D printer. It prints reliably, is relatively quiet and not too expensive.
Just seven bolts & seven wires to connect
Takes around 15 minutes
When the box arrives and you unpack the printer it can be a little daunting. However, assembly is very easy and should take just a few minutes. What’s confusing is that, despite the printed warning that the two main pieces are joined with a cable (shown below), there’s no setup guide or manual.
That’s because it’s on an SD card in one of the plastic bags: you need to pop that (or the supplied USB reader) into your computer and open the PDF file. (Also, Anycubic now ships the printer without that cable connected, so it’s considerably easier to unpack and set up.)
This will explain step by step how to get up and running, which basically involved bolting the vertical part of the frame to the base, then attaching the touchscreen with a further three screws. Tools are provided in a little tray that lives in the base of the printer and after a total of seven bolts and screws and five cable connections and you’re ready to go.
There’s a test print – an owl – ready on the SD card so you can make a print as soon as you’ve used the auto-bed-levelling feature. Just note that the SD card should be inserted into the slot on the front of the printer upside down, with the label facing the floor.
Features & design
Build volume: 240x240x265mm
Dual z-axis screws
Removable magnetic build plate
The Vyper looks a lot like the Creality CR-6 SE, and no doubt that popular model provided some inspiration for the Vyper.
It’s no bad thing, but the Vyper isn’t a clone. It has quite a few similar features such as the dual z-axis screws. This means that there are two threaded rods, one on either side of the vertical frame, rather than just one, on one side, as many budget 3D printers have.
Two are better, as it means the horizontal beam that holds the print head can be kept perfectly level as it moves upwards during printing, and helps to ensure there are no errors in very tall prints. The rods are loosely held in place at the top and they do rattle around a bit, though it depends upon what you’re printing.
Another neat addition are dual sensors for the z-axis which help to compensate for changes in height when the bed is at different temperatures, again ensuring that the first layer is printed properly.
The bed itself is heated, which you’d expect at this price. A heated bed helps prints stick better, but the Vyper comes with a PEI sheet which makes life a lot easier. It’s a sheet of springy steel which is held in place by a huge magnet. When your print is finished, you simply lift off the sheet and bend it: the model simply peels off.
It has a textured surface, too, which helps the all-important first layer to adhere, and leaves a mottled finish on the underside of your print, unlike the shiny, smooth finish you get from a glass bed.
In theory, the PEI means you shouldn’t need to use a brim, but I found that very small sections such as the links in the cute octopus’ arms (above) wouldn’t reliably adhere. Brims are fiddly to remove on complex models like this, but after leveling the bed a second time, the Vyper did successfully print the octopus without a brim.
There are a few other nice touches, such as the transparent extruder mechanism that uses two gears to move the filament, rather than just the usual one. There’s a run-out sensor next to it, which will halt printing and allow you to feed in a new reel of filament, and avoid half-printed models.
The hot end itself is an all-metal V6 with a brass nozzle. This allows the Vyper to print faster without losing accuracy or compromise the strength of the model you’re printing.
Surrounding it are three fans, and the whole assembly is covered in a plastic housing, making it look nice and neat.
The tool tray houses the filament cutters, Allen keys, spanners and nozzle cleaner. Two spare nozzles are included as well.
A version of Ultimaker Cura is provided on the SD card, along with a profile for the Vyper. Cura is pretty much the go-to slicing software that turns 3D models into the code that the printer needs to build the model by printing one layer on top of another.
After levelling the bed, you can print an initial test using the small owl figure that’s included as .gcode on the SD card. This doesn’t use much filament and allows you to check everything is working properly before you print anything that does use a lot of PLA.
Next, I used Cura to slice a 3DBenchy, a small boat that’s a torture test for 3D printers. The result was impressively clean. Stringing was almost non-existent and aside from a little under-extrusion on the horizontal area at the rear (which meant there was gaps between the extruded filament), it was one of the best I’ve seen.
The only blot was a visible z-seam (not shown in the photo above but you can make it out on the octopus). This is what it sounds like: a vertical line on the print which looks like the point where the sides are joined, and is caused by the nozzle stopping at the same point on each layer. There are various ways to eliminate this, including the z-seam option in Cura under Shell settings – it would be good to see Anycubic optimise the Cura profile for this to get the best print quality.
Using the Vyper’s touchscreen you can adjust print speed and temperatures on the fly, including during printing, which can be useful if you spot something is wrong mid-print. Information and settings are kept to a minimum which is fine for beginners, but might feel a bit limited for experienced users.
The auto-resume feature works as advertised, but in order to use it you need to place your model near the rear of the bed and print from an SD card.
Prints generally adhered to the flexible bed well, and were easy to remove once printed.
A real plus is that the Vyper isn’t too noisy when it’s printing. The only thing you’ll hear are the cooling fans, which cool the filament as soon as it’s extruded.
This is an important point for longer prints which have to run overnight as it won’t stop you from sleeping, though you won’t want to be in the same room.
Price & Availability
You can buy a Vyper from Anycubic for US$359. If you’re in the US, shipping is free but will take 20-30 business days. You can buy a Vyper from Amazon and get it faster but it’s more expensive at $429.
As you can only pay in US dollars (and only via PayPal or Google Pay) the price has to be converted for other currencies. In UK pounds it works out to around £320 (including VAT and delivery). Anycubic says that if you order from the UK, printers will ship from a UK warehouse so you don’t have to pay an import fee. Unfortunately, there’s no way to see if it’s in stock and we’re told that it won’t be until the end of September 2021. Also, at the time of review, the website was showing a delivery cost of $120 to the UK. This is apparently an error and it should show $15.
The Vyper will be sold on Amazon UK where it will cost £429, a less-tempting price than ordering from Anycubic directly, especially when you can use a coupon code – VYPER20 – to get $20 off.
If you don’t want to wait, then Creality’s similar CR-6 SE is available immediately from Amazon UK (£386 at the time of writing) so if you’re after a less costly alternative, this is a good option.
If you’re after a budget 3D printer and are happy to pay a bit more than the absolute cheapest amount possible, then the Vyper is well worth your money. Its auto-levelling bed, great touchscreen and solid build quality make it excellent value and an ideal first 3D printer.
Anycubic Vyper: Specs
FDM 3D printer
requires 1.75mm PLA/TPU/ABS filament
Printer size: 508mm×457mm×516mm
Max print size: 240x240x265mm
USB-B port or prints from SD (card provided)
max travel speed 180mm/s
layer thickness 0.1-0.4mm
nozzle diameter 0.4mm
Positioning accuracy: X/Y 0.0125mm
max nozzle temperature 260°C
max bed temperature 110°C
AC 110-230V input
350W power consumption
machine weight 10kg
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