The Anycubic Kobra Max is the company’s second attempt at manufacturing a very large format FDM 3D printer. As what is essentially a scaled-up version of their popular Kobra line of 3D printers, the Kobra Max has many modern features like automatic bed leveling, upgraded extruder design, and a color touchscreen.
However, our tests revealed that the Kobra Max has poor to average print quality and reliability. In fact, compared to competitors like the Elegoo Neptune 3 Max and Creality M4, the Kobra Max falls short in terms of print quality and overall value.
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The very large format 3D printer space has been underserved by the majority of consumer 3D printer manufacturers. For every very large format 3D printer designed, there are at least six or seven medium or large format 3D printers made. One only needs to look at the dizzying array of Creality Ender 3 variants and clones to know that most 3D printer manufacturers put 95% of their focus on serving the medium and large-format 3D printer market.
However, with the growing popularity of projects like armored cosplays (think Marvel’s Iron Man or Star Wars Mandolarian), which require large prints, the demand for very large 3D printers is on the rise. This is where printers like the Anycubic Kobra Max shine, offering the capacity to create prints that common 3D printers cannot handle.
The Anycubic Kobra Max belongs to a growing family of very large cartesian 3D printers like the Creality M4 and Elegoo Neptune 3 Max. All of these 3D printers are essentially scaled-up versions of their smaller siblings. They typically keep the same internal electronics, hotend, heated bed, and mechanical components but increase the build volume to an enormous 400mm on all axes.
Anycubic’s Kobra Max is not the manufacturer’s first attempt at a very large 3D printer. Previously, they released the Anycubic Chiron, which had a similar build volume. However, it was poorly received due to many of its features not working, unacceptable print quality, and very poor reliability. We once echoed the same sentiments in our Anycubic Chiron review and hoped that Anycubic learned from their mistakes with Kobra Max.
The Kobra Max does offer an impressive feature set on paper with its large build volume, cloned BMG extruder, volcano-style hotend, and automatic bed leveling using its nozzle. And with a launch price tag of $599, it is quite affordable for such a large machine, sitting in the middle of its competitors—the Elegoo Neptune 3 Max at $469 and the Creality M4 at $1099.
But has Anycubic improved enough to redeem its tarnished reputation after the disaster of its first very large format FDM printer? Or are you still better off going with more consistent players in the market, like Creality and Elegoo? Find out in this in-depth review of the Anycubic Kobra Max.
The very large format FDM 3D printer market has been underserved by the industry for quite some time now, and the release of Anycubic Kobra Max would make any enthusiast excited. However, there are a number of things that users should consider before making the purchase.
For example, the first thing you need to look at before buying your first printer is print quality. Our evaluation of the Anycubic Kobra Max gave it a score of 6/10 here due to several reasons.
When we conducted tests on dimensional accuracy, print repeatability, detail resolution, and z layer alignment, unfortunately, the Kobra Max delivered only average to poor results. The inaccurate temperature readings made the unit unusable without tweaking the print profiles. Moreover, the printer exhibited stringing, blobbing, and ghosting artifacts, which are not issues that modern 3D printers should have.
Users should also consider the simplicity of the assembly process. The Kobra Max ships in three major components: bottom, top, and LCD module. On paper, it seems like a straightforward assembly, requiring just four bolts to join the components and connect cables to the electronics. However, due to the sheer size of Kobra Max, it proved to be a daunting task without the help of at least two people.
Last but not least, you want to make sure it’s easy to maintain and find replacement parts for. With the Anycubic Kobra, you’re in luck—virtually all the components can be found and replaced from Anycubic directly or Amazon, thanks to the manufacturer’s well-established supply chain.
The Anycubic Kobra Max belongs to the very large format cartesian FDM printer family. This very small group of printers excels in printing enormous objects that other 3D printers can only dream of. They specialize in cosplay props, armor, life-size statues, and industrial tools.
Anycubic has always been a well-respected name in the resin 3D printer space and has recently earned a good reputation for its Kobra line of FDM 3D printers. The Kobra Max aims to be the big brother of the Kobra line. They aim to take the best features of the Kobra series, such as strain gauge automatic bed leveling and a Bondtech BMG style extruder, and elevate it to a larger scale, offering a bigger and more powerful 3D printing experience.
We put the Kobra Max through a large number of specialized test prints to push it to its limits and more. Additionally, we traveled all across the internet to get a gauge of what kind of community the Kobra Max has. To see how it stacks up against its competition, we pitted the Kobra Max against its competitors, the Elegoo Neptune Max and the Creality M4.
These large format 3D printers can easily get users to dream of big props, big armor, and big prints. But at the same time, they can be a user’s worst nightmare with potentially terrible build qualities and unreliability. To help you make the best decision, we dedicated countless hours testing the Anycubic Kobra Max, ensuring you have all the necessary information for a confident 3D printer purchase.
Assembling the Printer
The Anycubic Kobra Max comes shipped in three major components: the bottom assembly, the top assembly, and the LCD module. On paper, assembling the Kobra Max is relatively easy, as it just requires the user to insert four bolts from the bottom assembly into the top assembly, securing the two major pieces. Afterward, you will only need to connect a few cables from each assembly and plug in the LCD module. Anycubic claims the entire assembly process can be done in less than 10 minutes.
In practice, however, it is significantly harder to assemble the Kobra Max because of its sheer size. We strongly recommend having at least two people assemble the Kobra Max, as its weight and size can be overwhelming for a single user.
Additionally, the assembly manual lacks clarity about the numerous zip ties and foam pieces that require cutting and removal before use. With our practical knowledge of 3D printers, we were able to quickly assess what needed to be cut. However, many newcomers might not know the zip ties and foam pieces that need to be removed.
Leveling the Bed
Anycubic has chosen to fix the heated bed to the bottom assembly, eliminating the need for users to manually adjust bed leveling. This is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, users are no longer required to mess around with any knobs to dial in the bed level. However, many might prefer the option to physically trim the bed to ensure the best chance of print success.
The automatic bed leveling of the Anycubic Kobra Max can also be extremely finicky. When it works, the Kobra Max is capable of producing extremely good first layers. However, we determined through testing that the strain gauge is extremely sensitive to anything that touches the gantry, including the Bowden tube and hotend cables. This can sometimes produce errors in the automatic bed leveling. As a result, we had to watch every start of a print like a hawk to make sure that the Bowden tube or cables did not get in the way of the strain gauge sensor.
The Kobra Max is geared towards extremely large 3D prints, offering a generous build volume of 400mm (l) x 400mm (w) x 450mm (h). We were eager to print large armor pieces alongside our usual gamut of test prints like calibration cubes, towers, and Mandalorian figures.
Initially, we were not able to test the machine’s ability to print small or large objects at the beginning due to the printer constantly jamming or clogging. It appears that the temperature readings from the hotend were inaccurate, with the actual temperature being 20-30 degrees Celsius higher than what was reported by the printer. This would cause our PLA filament to overheat and jam within the Kobra Max’s hotend. To overcome this problem, we adjusted the printing temperature to 180 degrees Celsius instead of the default 200 degrees Celsius, which allowed us to successfully complete our test prints.
We tested the Kobra in four major areas: the ability to resolve details, z-layer alignment, dimensional accuracy, and print repeatability. For the tests, we used stock 0.2mm layer height settings in the shipped Cura 4.2.
Basic test prints
Our basic tests involve printing a large variety of models to analyze the Anycubic Kobra Max’s ability to resolve large and small details. This involved printing models like the calibration cube, Benchy, and the Mandalorian figure. Unfortunately, we observed issues such as blobs, stringing, ringing, and inconsistent extrusion across all these models. As a result of our tests, it became evident that the Kobra Max falls short in terms of print quality, displaying subpar performance.
Anycubic has also equipped the Kobra Max with a volcano-style hotend, which offers the advantage of higher filament melt rates and the potential for faster printing or larger layer heights. On paper, this sounds great. However, the massive moving build plate of the Kobra Max limits the overall speed of the printer.
This highlights one of the major downsides of a volcano-style hotend: slow speeds can lead to decreased print quality. When the hotend doesn’t move fast enough, molten plastic can ooze out, causing issues like stringing and blobs at sharp corners or intricate details in the print. While this is bad for anything that requires sharp details, this is even worse for prints that require high dimensional accuracy.
To prove this, we printed around ten 20mm calibration cubes. Due to excessive blobbing on the corners, the machine produced some of the most inaccurate calibration cubes we have ever printed. At 20.4mm (l) x 20.6mm (w), the Kobra Max struggled to print objects that required any sort of dimensional accuracy. For comparison, most modern 3D printers are capable of producing calibration cubes at a much more accurate 20.2mm (l) x 20.2mm (w).
Large test prints
One unique print that we tried on the Kobra Max was a piece of Star Wars armor. Given the printer’s large format, it seemed like an ideal fit for such a project. But while we were able to complete the armor print, we encountered similar issues with print quality, including stringing, blobs, and ghosting.
We tested the z-layer alignment consistency of the Kobra Max by printing an extremely massive 430mm tall tube. This test allows us to assess the quality control and design of the z-axis assembly, which plays a crucial role in ensuring consistent z-axis movement. If the lead screw in the z-axis is off or bent by even a fraction of a degree, ribbing artifacts (known as “z wobble”) will appear on the 3D print. Tall and smooth objects like a tube will highlight any z inconsistencies on a print and will reveal quality control or assembly issues of a 3D printer.
Anycubic’s floating nut design on its z lead screws did the trick in eliminating z artifacts. This is one area that Anycubic should be given a lot of credit for.
As indicated by our tests, the Kobra Max suffers from poor print quality and experience. Despite its impressive features on paper, when scaled up to its size, the performance does not live up to expectations. Users looking at the Kobra Max as its one-stop solution for printing very large items will be very disappointed by its overall print performance.
Large format cartesian 3D printers are not known for their speed since they must sling around a heavy and massive print bed. The Anycubic Kobra Max is no exception to this, and its stock printing speeds are limited to 50mm/s. One major benefit to this is that movement of the Kobra Max is borderline silent. However, this is paired with a large number of fans that spin while the machine is in use.
The Anycubic Kobra Max is a truly gargantuan machine. Just the box itself was around 80 cm in length and width—we needed at least two people to carry it to the office and assemble the printer. Users considering the Anycubic Kobra Max should note that there is a good chance that the machine would take the entirety of whatever desk it will rest on.
Additionally, due to cartesian printers moving the bed while in motion, the Anycubic Kobra Max requires around 110cm of space along the Y axis. In our testing, we ended up placing the Kobra Max on the floor due to our 3D printer table space constraints and printing performance (we will get to it in a later section).
With overall dimensions of 720mm (l) x 715mm (w) x 665mm (h) and with a build volume of 400mm (l) x 400mm (w) x 450mm (h), the Kobra Max is big enough to print nearly anything a user might throw at it. However, users needing an even bigger print volume should look to the Elegoo Neptune 3 Max [420mm (l) x 420mm (w) x 500mm (h)] or Creality M4 [450mm (l) x 450mm (w) x 470mm (h)].
Constructed primarily out of 4040 and 2040 extrusions and with the top portion braced with additional supporting rods, the Anycubic Kobra Max is an extremely sturdy and heavy machine. The Kobra Max weighs in at nearly 17 kg since it is almost completely constructed out of metal. The few exceptions to this include the touch screen housing, hotend housing, corner covers, and belt tensioners, which are made out of plastic. Another large source of its weight is the extremely large carborundum glass bed the Kobra Max uses for a print surface.
One area of initial concern was the plastic belt tensioners. Since this part experiences a lot of strain, we felt that this is one component that Anycubic should have used metal for instead of plastic. Some users have even reported that the belt tensioners cracked while in use. Fortunately, in our several hours of testing the Kobra Max, we have not experienced any of this.
The Kobra Max is a pretty handsome machine—all its metal components consist of black anodized aluminum, and many of its cables are hidden within the bottom portion of the printer. The one exception is the large umbilical that connects the hotend assembly to the rest of the machine.
While the umbilical cord itself is of high quality and covered in a mesh sleeve, it is left to just dangle on the side of the printer, which is both ugly and can get caught in the moving bed. Printers like the Creality M4 and even Anycubic’s older Chiron make use of a cable chain to neatly route cables in a way that they won’t snag on the printer while it is in motion.
Thermal Runaway Protection
One of the biggest concerns of 3D printing is the heater potentially losing control and catching fire. Thermal runaway protection is a software that monitors the hotend to make sure it stays within an acceptable temperature range. The vast majority of 3D printers sold in 2023 have it enabled, and so does the Anycubic Kobra Max.
Cable Relief and Cable Management
Cartesian FDM 3D printers like the Anycubic Kobra Max have multiple moving parts, such as the hotend and heated bed, that need to be connected for power and communication. Many modern 3D printers include some form of cable management to organize the many cables printers use and include some form of strain relief to protect them while they are in motion.
The Kobra Max uses a nylon-sleeved cable bundle that terminates in a large push-fit connector for the hotend assembly. After trying out this product, however, we found that the push-fit connector became loose after several hundreds of hours of printing. Eventually, this can eventually become disconnected and result in a print failure. Thankfully, the heated bed is properly strain relieved and securely fastened at both ends.
PSU Powered Heated Bed
Anycubic’s previous Chiron used a mains-powered heated bed that drew power directly from the electrical outlet, resulting in very quick heat-up times. The trade-off is that it becomes extremely dangerous if there is an electrical short. In contrast, the Kobra Max drew power from its own internal PSU instead. This considerably lowered electrification risks at the cost of slower heat-up times.
Finding Replacement Parts
The Anycubic Kobra Max shares most of its parts with the rest of the Anycubic Kobra line of printers, benefiting from a well-established supply chain for replacement parts and accessories. Components like the hotend, extruder, stepper motors, control boards, and more can be found direct from Anycubic or Amazon for convenient replacements. Many of these parts are also clones of products from industry gold standards like E3D or Bondtech, allowing a quick and easy upgrade path if it’s to the user’s preference.
Accessing the Control Board
Like many modern-day FDM 3D printers, the electronics of the Kobra Max are enclosed at the bottom of the 3D printer. This setup provides a neat and tidy appearance and ensures safety by preventing direct contact with electrical components. However, this design choice also poses some challenges when dealing with a large 3D printer like the Kobra Max.
Based on our experience, accessing the control board on the Kobra Max was a hassle. Its size necessitated two people to lift and tilt the whole machine to its side to access the bottom panel covering the control board. This is not an issue with its smaller siblings. We would have much preferred a side-mounted electronics enclosure found on printers like the Prusa MK3S.
Anycubic Ultrabase Glass Bed
Like nearly all of their FDM 3D printers, Anycubic has equipped the Anycubic Kobra Max with their branded ceramic-coated glass bed. The company claims that this feature ensures a flat printing surface that adheres well to various filaments like PLA, PETG, TPU, and ABS when heated and releases them easily when cooled. We ourselves find this to be a valuable and reliable feature, and we welcome its return to the Anycubic Kobra Max.
Filament Runout Sensor
The Anycubic Kobra Max comes with a filament runout sensor, a common feature in modern 3D printers. This sensor detects when the printer runs out of filament, and it automatically pauses the print, giving users the chance to replace the filament before resuming the printing process. Given the Kobra Max’s large print volume, this feature is also a welcome addition.
Automatic Bed Leveling
The Anycubic Kobra Max is equipped with a strain gauge bed leveling sensor. This sensor utilizes the nozzle as a probing tool to check and level the bed before every print. Anycubic stands out as one of the few manufacturers employing nozzle probing, which, in our opinion, is the most accurate method of leveling the bed.
However, users do need to be aware that filament stuck to the tip of the nozzle may cause errors when probing. As such, ensure that the nozzle tip is clean before probing starts. Our findings show that Anycubic does command the nozzle to heat up to 150c to melt any leftover filament before probing.
3:1 Dual-Geared Extruder
The Anycubic Kobra Max comes with its version of the Bondtech BMG extruder, a well-regarded 3:1 dual-geared design. Known for their precise and consistent filament control, these extruders typically produce high-quality 3D prints and allow for the printing of flexible filaments like TPU. However, many clones suffer from poor quality control, and we will be testing the Kobra Max to see if its cloned extruder lives up to expectations.
Volcano Style Hotend
Printing large objects reasonably requires both an extruder that can push filament fast enough and a hotend that can melt it. The Kobra Max comes equipped with a volcano-style hotend that boasts higher flow rates many smaller 3D printers cannot compete with. This allows for the use of bigger nozzles, which in turn reduces the overall print times for the massive prints that the Kobra Max can handle.
4.3” Color Touchscreen
Like many modern 3D printers, the Kobra Max is equipped with a 4.3” color touchscreen. This makes setting up and monitoring 3D printers a much more pleasant experience compared to the monochromatic LCDs and click wheels from just a couple of years ago.
Double-Threaded Dual Z Lead Screws
Many 3D printers in 2023 are equipped with dual z-lead screws to increase the stability and rigidity of the machine when the gantry is moving. However, one major concern with lead screws is the amount of bending caused by low-quality screws or misalignment during assembly. This issue can lead to z-banding artifacts appearing on 3D prints. The Anycubic Kobra Max attempts to resolve these potential problems by having a floating nut that removes any slight deviation from misalignment or warped lead screws.
The Anycubic Kobra Max has a small but dedicated community that has come together to address the multiple shortcomings of this FDM 3D printer. For instance, Facebook has a dedicated Kobra Max group while Reddit and Thingiverse have more general Anycubic communities you can join:
Thingiverse Forum: https://www.thingiverse.com/groups/anycubic-kobra-ita
The Kobra Max is Anycubic’s modernized, very large format 3D printer. Taking a lot of what made its smaller siblings like the Kobra and Kobra Plus great, the Kobra Max was poised to be just as successful.
Unfortunately, our analysis of this product revealed that the great qualities of those smaller 3D printers did not translate well to its big brother. The Kobra Max suffers from poor print quality due to the combination of the Bowden extruder, volcano hotend, inaccurate temperature readings, and slow print speeds. Competitors like the Elegoo Neptune 3 Max and Creality M4 offer much better print quality due to their direct drive extruders.
The Elegoo Neptune 3 also beats the Kobra Max out in price at $469. Users looking for a budget-friendly, large-format 3D printer will be better served by the Elegoo Neptune Max 3. Look away from the Anycubic Kobra Max!
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1. Elegoo.com, “Elegoo, INC.” Accessed July 26, 2022.