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Anycubic Kobra Max 3D Printer Review: Make 3D Printing Fun Again

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It can be a mistake to think a 3D printer is great for beginners just because it doesn’t cost a lot. Sure, it’s possible to buy a 3D printer for as little as $180, and it will work, after a fashion. Most likely, though, a beginner will buy it, spend too long trying to get one good print, then give up because they think it’s too tough or not worth their effort. The lesson: Even at those very low prices, if something is frustrating to use, it’s not a good investment. 

The Anycubic Kobra Max is not $180; it’s closer to $650, but I still think it’s a great entry point to 3D printing. Yes, this is a $650 3D printer, but it feels like it should be a $1,000 printer. In that sense, it’s a good deal.

Like

  • Giant print area
  • Auto leveling out of the box
  • Filament run-out sensor
  • Surprisingly stable
  • Print quality is excellent

Don’t Like

  • Requires a lot of space
  • Included software is not great
  • The weak cooling fan can ruin prints if you’re not careful
  • No removable bed

Setting up the Kobra Max was difficult because of its sheer size. At 400 by 400 by 450mm, it’s one of the biggest printers I’ve ever used, and the construction was a little unwieldy, especially once you realize it’s bigger than it looks. Because the bed moves backward and forward, there needs to be space behind the printer; it can’t be flush against the wall. It wouldn’t fit in my two-foot-deep shelves, so I had to build an extension that now sticks out. Not ideal.

Once past the initial setup, things become smooth sailing. If you’ve read Dan Ackerman’s review of the Anycubic Vyper, you’ll know how much difference having auto bed leveling, or ABL, really makes to a hobbyist or beginner. Anycubic calls its leveling system LeviQ and so far it’s working excellently to keep the bed level throughout the print. I cannot understate how nice the experience of turning the Kobra Max on and having an almost perfect first layer in a few easy steps truly is.

Read more: Best 3D Printers of 2022

Close-up of the Kobra Max extruder

Setup was quick and easy, even though it is massive.


James Bricknell/CNET

The printer itself refreshes the company’s older Chiron line of printers but wrapped up with the extruder and hot end from the popular Vyper. While there are a lot of plastic parts in the Kobra Max, it doesn’t feel cheap. Instead, the entire machine, including the support rods, feels solid as it prints. The special CNET test print below shows very little ringing — often caused by a wobbly machine —  and only showed issues with cooling, something that can be fixed with some software tweaks.

Overall, the design works well, which isn’t always the case with larger printers. I was disappointed that the print bed is not removable — it’s a glass plate that’s clipped down — but I think we will likely see that fixed later down the road. The glass works well enough, but trying to get a full-size printed helmet off of it was a trial.

A special CNET test print

There were some cooling issues, but overall a decent print.


James Bricknell/CNET

Print quality on the Kobra Max has been surprisingly good. With previous large-scale printers, getting a good print took days to get right. Endlessly trying to level four corners of a large bed is a nightmare. Almost every print I tried on the Max came out as expected, mainly thanks to the auto bed leveling. Let me say this again, having good ABL takes this machine from one where you’d need at least intermediate 3D-printing skills to one almost anyone can use on Day 1. 

The only issue I had with the print quality was cooling. The cooling fan is a little smaller than I would like, and when I was printing larger models like the Mandalorian Knight from Wekster, there was some definite curling where the material couldn’t cool fast enough. The CNET test print also showed the tell-tale signs of too much heat. Some of that is down to bad software settings, but most of it comes from a lack of airflow.

A medieval helm in the shape of the Mandalorian

It’s so cool to be able to print a full-size helmet.


James Bricknell/CNET

The real joy of printing on the Kobra Max comes from the size. Having enough room to print a model like the Mando helmet in one piece is a gift I am grateful for. Cosplayers worldwide face the same struggles when it comes to helmets; printing them in pieces and gluing them together is time-consuming and often leaves scars. The Max eliminates that issue and lets you print one continuous file with no seams. It’s a joyful experience.

To give you an idea of how much fun it is, I printed this stunning articulated snake model by McGybeer as big as the printer would let me. Normally the model is about 18 inches long. I managed to get it to print 82 inches long! It may be one of the best things I’ve ever printed, and I’ve been doing this for nearly a decade.

A giant blue snake

This is one of my favorite prints ever.


James Bricknell/CNET

It’s not just large-scale models the Max can print. My daughter’s preschool letter of the week was P, so I made all the kids a printed pink plastic pig — four P’s for the price of one — and the Max did a pretty good job of printing them. 

Of the 30 that started printing, only five didn’t make it, which is good for this kind of mini mass production. They failed because of bad bed adhesion, which I think was caused by my oily fingers on the glass. Still, there was plenty to go around for the kids.

Lots of plastic pigs in rows

Look at all the pretty pink piggies.


James Bricknell/CNET

My biggest issue with the Max is not the cooling or that some pigs became plastic bacon; it’s the software. Like many companies, Anycubic doesn’t seem to spend the time it should on creating proper profiles for the most popular slicers out there. Although the Max came with both a copy of Cura (a common 3D file-slicing app for preparing files to print) and a profile for this specific machine, neither of them were all that great. I had to build myself a profile on PrusaSlicer — my favorite slicer program — to really get the most out of the machine.

Having to build your profiles can deter newcomers faster than even print failures. If you’ve never used a slicer before, how are you supposed to know how to make a good profile? Other companies get around this by making their versions of open-source slicers, but the best solution is for Anycubic to invest more in creating profiles for leading slicers. Being able to print the test print is fine, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t get your own models to print.

Different models printed on the Max

So many of these models made me happy.


James Bricknell/CNET

Joy is my biggest takeaway from the Kobra Max. I do a lot of 3D printing, and a lot of it is printing the same kind of models over and over again on very similar 3D printers. It can get repetitive, and any task done often can become dull. The Kobra Max has injected a lot of fun back into 3D printing and reminded me why I love the hobby in the first place.

The Max isn’t the cheapest option out there, and it may be daunting to spend $600 on your first 3D printer, but the Max will help future-proof your workshop. Starting small is fine, but so is starting really big and giggling at the amazing things that come off the print bed. I know I did more giggling than I have in a long time.



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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect

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Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Blizzard

Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


Blizzard

For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.



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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists

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Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.





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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor

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Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More



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