I never thought a 3D printer could be designed so cleanly until I met the AnkerMake M5. My first impression of it was that this is the kind of design that the end consumer wants: clean and simple, with a superb look. The AnkerMake M5 is a gantry 3D printer, similar to the Prusa I3 3D printer, which is easier and cheaper to maintain than the CoreXY 3D printer.
I took the AnkerMake M5 and ran a series of tests on it, and I found the performance to be good. Given its user-friendliness, I would probably define it as the best printer tailored for 3D printer beginners! First of all, you need to be clear that the AnkerMake M5 has a print volume of 235 x 235 x 250 mm³ and a maximum print speed of 500 mm/s. The 7×7 auto-leveling requires no manual adjustments. In addition, you can print anytime, anywhere, with the AnkerMake Studio software and app. The AnkerMake is equipped with an AI camera, which means that you can monitor your prints and record time-lapse remotely at any time. Furthermore, the AI camera can detect printing errors to ensure good layer printing.
Super easy to start and very friendly for 3D printer beginners
The installation of the AnkerMake M5 is very easy, you can finish it in 15 minutes as it only requires you to tighten the screws and plug in a few cables. After unpacking the AnkerMake M5, you will find the main unit, a filament holder, a power cord, screws, a toolbox, a quick start guide in 7 languages, and 150g PLA. The AnkerMake M5 3D printer is already mostly assembled, so it’s really user-friendly for 3D printer beginners, with no frustrating assembly process.
After a simple installation, I needed to download the AnkerMake APP to configure AnkerMake for the first time. The whole process was a no-brainer, just open the AnkerMake APP and follow the first-time user guide to set up the device, and add the device information to your AnkerMake account. I would say it’s close to ready to use out of the box for anyone, and so far I’m happy with it because it’s really easy to assemble and configure for first-time use, which is friendly for 3D printer beginners.
Start printing easily anywhere, anytime, with AnkerMake Studio and App
When we use AnkerMake M5 3D printing for the first time, we need to download the AnkerMake APP on our phone, then register an account and search for AnkerMake M5 via Bluetooth to add the device to our account. After that, you can print through the app or the AnkerMake studio. The whole device startup setup is very easy and convenient.
I pretended I was a 3D printer beginner to try out the AnkerMake APP to control print printing. Honestly, it’s really convenient for newbies, and the AnkerMake APP provides a lot of ready-to-use model files to get you familiar with the printer. Since the AnkerMake M5 is equipped with an AI camera, I can monitor the entire printing process from my phone instead of having to be at the printer. If there is a problem with a print, I can stop the print directly from your phone.
To test the print quality of the AnkerMake APP, I selected a hinged skull toy model to print on the app. In Normal mode, the maximum print speed is 250mm/s, it took me 2 hours and 21 minutes to finish the print. As you can see in the picture below, the print quality is quite good, the bone joints turn smoothly, and it was a happy experience for me. AnkerMake App controlled printing is so easy and I think it will be what a beginner to 3D printer is looking for.
I prefer to use AnkerMake Studio for printing because it offers more features than the AnkerMake App and also provides better print quality. However, AnkerMake Studio’s functionality seems to be not yet perfect, for example, it can’t produce supports automatically, and I need to add supports manually, which often doesn’t work. Therefore, I can only use PrusaSlicer to automatically generate supports to model files and then import them into AnkerMake Studio.
But this is acceptable to me, because as a 3D printing enthusiast, most of the printed model files are downloaded from the Internet, and I just need to quickly generate support in PrusaSlicer or other slicer software, but of course, not all models need support, like the Chinese dragon I printed.
The print quality of the AnkerMake M5 3D printer is acceptable to me, and the details of the printed Chinese dragon are well. So far, I have no complaints about the print quality.
7×7 auto-leveling: make sure the better printing
I’m pleased with the AnkerMake M5 7×7 auto-leveling feature, which eliminates the need for me to manually level the heat bed, a feature that both 3D printer beginners and old hands alike value. The 49-point leveling of the AnkerMake M5 will make the hotbed more level than other 36-point levelers, which will improve the quality of your prints. The waiting time for the whole leveling process is also acceptable, waiting for about 5 minutes.
AI camera: error detection and remote monitor
The AnkerMake M5 comes with an AI camera, a design I appreciate. Not only does the AI camera allow me to remotely monitor the printing process and thus self-generate time-lapse videos, but it also detects any anomalies during the printing process, and if there are any, the AI will report them to me.
I did encounter an active role for the AI while printing. Perhaps I had forgotten to do the auto-leveling or something else, so at the very beginning of the printing process, each layer appeared to be offset or less than perfect. the AI system seemed to notice something, stopped the printing process, and the print head was returned to its home position, readjusted, and then resumed the printing process.
I watched the whole process of the AI automatically adjusting the print, and the screen showed the message “Analyzing bottom layer”, the AnkerMake M5 readjusted it and went back to printing. Of course, the result was very satisfactory. The AI error detection of AnkerMake M5 is really helpful for 3D printing beginners.
The time-lapse video is also a fun feature. Since 3D printing takes hours to complete and my camera can’t hold out that long, the AI camera automatically records the print and generates a time-lapse video for me to enjoy.
First-layer consistency testing
I also did a first-layer consistency test on the AnkerMake M5 by printing the first layer 25 positions of the heat bed and measuring the thickness of each piece, resulting in the graph below. As you can see, the first layer consistency of the AnkerMake M5 is quite good, with a range of only 0.05mm, so the thickness of the first layer at each location of the heated bed is concentrated and uniform.
250mm/s VS 500mm/s print benchy testing
To verify the print quality of the AnkerMake M5 at a maximum speed of 500mm/s, I performed a comparison of normal(250mm/s) mode and fast(500mm/s) mode printing. When I used Normal Mode(250mm/s) to print the benchy, it took 40 minutes to print and as you can see on the left of the image below, the print quality is quite good. When I used Fast Mode(500mm/s), it took 33 minutes to print, which is 7 minutes faster than normal mode, but the print quality got worse. As shown on the right side of the image, the boat has a very noticeable bump.
I would say that while the print quality in fast mode is still acceptable to me, I don’t blindly go for fast if I want a more beautiful print, it’s worth the time I spend waiting for a beautiful piece to be printed.
Clearance testing: no complaints about the printing accuracy
To get an idea of the range of clearance required for the AnkerMake M5 to print slidable objects. I also did a clearance or tolerance test on the AnkerMake M5. I downloaded a file from the internet specifically for clearance testing and started printing. Clearance testing can know the accuracy of a 3D printer’s prints, and in this model, 7 different sets of clearance should be set, from 0.1mm to 0.5mm.
When printing in normal mode, the object turned easily with a clearance setting of 0.5mm, and just as easily with a clearance setting of 0.35mm, but when I tried to turn it with a clearance setting of 0.3mm, I was unable to turn it anymore. At this point, I already know that if I use the AnkerMake M5 to print an object with a clearance, I should probably set the clearance at 0.35mm or more so that the clearance is not non-existent due to tolerances.
Extruder retraction testing: very clean print
I also tried to print a honeycomb cylinder to test the extruder’s retraction to see if the AnkerMake M5 keeps printing well after so many iterations of extruder retraction. If the extruder of the 3D printer is not well designed or if the PLA filament is not good, the extruder is constantly moving between two points and there may be a lot of filamentary residue on the surface of the printed object.
To my surprise, I was satisfied with the AnkerMake M5 in this . I was very pleased with the final results, which showed that in the normal speed mode, despite the extruder keeps retracting, it still printed very well, with no trace of filament left behind.
Z-banding testing: acceptable layer printing
I then proceeded to Z-banding/wobble test for the AnkerMake M5 to see how well it would print in the Z direction. The print results showed that every layer at the flat surfaces printed very evenly, but at the corners, it would be a little worse than at the flat surfaces, but I can live with it, I’m not so hard on everything.
Noise testing: acceptable noise
The last noise test was done with a decibel meter and the decibel level fluctuated around 60 dB at a distance of 50 centimeters from the 3D printer, the noise level is acceptable to me.
Pros and Cons
Regarding the pros
- I like the design of AnkerMake M5, it truly combines the functions with the art and looks very premium compared to other 3D printers in the market.
- The print quality is quite good, 500mm/s print speed is doable, but it is not recommended to use it blindly, you should choose the right print speed to print your work with higher quality.
- AI camera is a great feature, it not only gives the user the ability to monitor the printing process remotely and generate the time-lapse video but also detects printing errors and gives feedback to the user at the same time, which is nice.
- 7×7 auto-leveling is a good idea for printing well.
- The screen interface is very user-friendly, simple, and easy to use. There are not too many function buttons to confuse the user which is friendly, especially for 3D printer beginners.
- User-friendly and good for beginners.
Regarding the cons
- The one thing I can think of to improve is the functionality of AnkeMake Studio, especially the generation support. Currently, it requires the user to manually portray the supports. It would be nice if in the future it could be updated to automatically generate support for the user.
- The first time you use it, you have to download the AnkerMake APP to connect and configure the printer on your phone before you can connect wirelessly, and I think it should also support laptops for the first connection and configuration.
- Some parts of the body are made of plastic, which doesn’t look too sturdy, and I don’t dare to push too hard when I need to disassemble it for maintenance, for fear of breaking it off.
Overall, the AnkerMake M5 is a nice 3D printer, and I’m impressed with its stylish looks and user-friendliness. Personally, it’s really good for 3D printing beginners to buy and use. The AnkerMake M5 is officially priced at $699, but currently, it will be discounted by $200, which means you can get it for $499.
Of course, AnkerMake also has a more affordable AnkerMake M5C, which saves money by sacrificing the touchscreen and AI Camera features. The M5C is officially priced at $399, but you can get it for less with the discount below.