Following the success of the, the new improves upon the previous model at a slightly higher cost. Are these upgrades worth it?
Over the last few years, the desktop FDM 3D printing market has become deluged with more affordable hardware, making it much easier for makers on a budget to purchase their own machine. Still, with a plethora of options to sift through, it can be difficult deciding which 3D printer is the ideal choice for your need.
The Anycubic i3 Mega is one of the few FDM machines to emerge at the very top of the ever-growing pyramid of budget 3D printers. Typically priced under $300, this Chinese-manufactured machine has been widely recognized as a great entry-level 3D printer for beginners and frugally-minded makers.
More recently, the Anycubic team decided to bolster its popular 3D printer line with the new and improved Anycubic Mega-S. Released at the tail end of 2017, this refined model has the same look and build volume as its predecessor, but also boasts some features that are not found on the original i3 Mega.
So, what exactly has Anycubic changed between the two iterations? To be honest, it would be difficult to immediately notice a distinction between the Anycubic i3 Mega and Anycubic Mega-S. In fact, outside of a few intriguing advancements, even a closer look at the features and specifications doesn’t reveal much of a divergence.
As expected, these upgrades do come at a slight price increase, which begs the question, is it worth spending more on the Mega-S or sticking with the original i3 Mega? Here’s a 3D printer shootout to help you sort out the similarities and differences between the i3 Mega and Mega-S, ultimately steering you toward the right direction when it comes time to buy one.
As we briefly touched upon in the introduction, what makes the Anycubic i3 Mega such a sought-after 3D printer is its incredibly low price and surprisingly sturdy design.
One of the highlights of this machine is the Anycubic Ultrabase, a heated bed that improves adhesion and makes it easier to pluck prints off once the job is complete. There are other features worth mentioning, such as the print resume function and mechanical filament sensor.
Another interesting note about the design is the Iron Man look-a-like mascot that is featured on the printer’s base, which were positive was not approved by Marvel Comics.
But onto more important matters… like how this 3D printer actually performs. When we reviewed this machine at the All3DP office, we were also impressed with the print quality and overall compatibility with most 3D printing materials.
The Anycubic i3 Mega comes partially assembled, enabling users to build and calibrate the 3D printer in under an hour. There’s also a touchscreen display that is surprisingly responsive considering the product’s sub-$300 price point.
Here are the general specs for the original Anycubic i3 Mega 3D printer:
At a glance, there doesn’t seem to be much separating the Anycubic Mega-S from its predecessor. It has the same exact design and all-metal frame, only immediately distinguishable by the new name that is etched into the top.
The base of the Anycubic Mega-S 3D printer is equipped with same type of full-color touchscreen, along with the robotic mascot that shares an uncanny resemblance to the superhero Iron Man. Like its predecessor, the Anycubic Mega-S still boasts a 210 x 210 x 205 mm build volume. Each print begins upon the same Anycubic Ultrabase heated bed, which is designed to help prints stick to the bed and pop right off after the job is done.
So, aside from the new moniker, how exactly is the Anycubic Mega-S different from its forebearer?
Well, to start, Anycubic has added a few features that are regularly found among the budget 3D printers of today, including power recovery loss and filament run-out detection. The manufacturer has also added a suspended spool holder to the side of the 3D printer, while also changing the placement of the filament sensor to improve overall usability.
According to Anycubic, the extruder on the Anycubic Mega-S has been upgraded to be more compatible with flexible filaments like TPU. This is perhaps the most essential enhancement of them all, as the other upgrades are either strictly cosmetic or improve usability but not print quality.
Here are the general specs for the original Anycubic Mega-S 3D printer, which as you’ll see, are essentially identical to the Anycubic i3 Mega 3D printer:
At the end of the day, the Anycubic Mega-S isn’t very much different from the original i3 Mega. But, to be fair, the manufacturer has admitted as much when we asked them about what changes they made to the newer model.
“You may see no huge difference between Mega and Mega-S. We just wish to offer different options to the customers,” the company states. “By the way, a few new products will be coming to the market soon, specifically, a huge delta, a Photon-S version, and the 4Max Pro version,” Anycubic previously told All3DP.
If you’re trying to decide between the two, you’ll ultimately have to weigh whether or not the few improvements are worth the slight increase in price. For instance, a beginner or even an experienced maker who may prefer to have a spool holder and an improved filament sensor would likely find the Anycubic Mega-S to be more appealing.
From what we can tall, it appears that the updated extruder is the most important update performance-wise. And so, for intermediate or advanced users that want to experiment more with flexible filaments like TPU, the Anycubic Mega-S could also be worth the extra $30-$50.
Despite the upgrades, original owners of the original Anycubic i3 Mega don’t seem to be missing out on too much. And, considering that these upgrades can be added to the stock Anycubic i3 Mega without much effort or investment, that’s really no surprise.
To conclude, we would wager that owners of the original Anycubic i3 Mega don’t really need to worry about buying the Mega-S, as it doesn’t offer anything that can’t be added to the older model. Even newbies who want to save a bit of cash should be satisfied with the first iteration.
However, if you’re in need of a new 3D printer and want to spend a little extra to obtain slightly better printing performance and features, perhaps the Anycubic Mega-S is worth a look.
License: The text of "Anycubic i3 Mega vs. Anycubic Mega-S – 3D Printer Shootout" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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