The company behind the printer, Anycubic, was founded in 2015 and since then it has become one of the most popular brands for 3D printers out there.
They initially started out selling component parts to customers who were using them to create their own DIY 3D printers.
Anycubic then realised the potential for actually producing printers themselves, so in 2016 their first baby was born in the form of the Anycubic Mega 3D printer.
This was a great success in the marketplace and quickly became their showpiece printer, with second and third generation versions arriving in quick succession.
The company quickly expanded on their early success and continued to research and develop both FDM and SLA printers for both the retail and professional markets.
Anycubic is now a well-established name in the 3D printing community and could be considered as one of the big hitters in the field.
One of Anycubic’s most popular FDM printers is the Chiron, which is a gantry style, open frame machine similar in style to many others of its type available today.
We’ll be looking at a few of its comparable competitors as you read on later.
But, focusing on the Chiron as we are, what are the key features and functions that we’ll be looking at?
Well, among other things the key features we’ll be covering are size and build volume, ease of use, print quality, extruder, bed levelling and User Interface (UI) controls.
These features will then lead us into discovering a bit more about the technical specifications of the Chiron and the pros and cons of how these all add up to make a useful 3D printer.
So, let’s first look at these key features so that we know a bit more about the Anycubic Chiron.
Primary Features of Anycubic Chiron
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to know a bit more about the functionality and the key components of the Chiron before we can provide an accurate account of its capabilities.
Its all very well having a list of tech specs to read from, but it’s much better to know what these actually mean and how they will affect the final outcome of your 3D print.
So, let’s take a look at the primary features of the Anycubic Chiron.
As you’ll know, an FDM printer works along three axes (X,Y,Z) to produce your 3D printed model.
These axes create a virtual cube area which provides us with the build volume of the printer.
The Chiron has an impressive build volume of 400 x 400 x 450 mm, which for a printer in this price category is huge.
An average FDM printer such as the Creality Ender 3 for example has a build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, so the Chiron is close to double that along each of the axis.
This will give you far more scope for printing larger models in one piece without the need for separate part files which need assembling in post-processing.
Extruder and Hotend
The Chiron has a single Bowden tube Titan extruder setup with a hot end capable of a maximum working temperature of 260 °C. This is enough to allow printing with PLA, ABS, HIPS, PETG, Wood and TPU filaments which gives you great choice of diversity within your model printing.
Although the Titan is a fairly good quality extruder, this combined with hot end do however seem a bit basic for this size and type of printer.
Instead of a Bowden tube setup the Chiron may have been better served with a direct drive extruder. There is however a filament sensor which not only detects filament run out but, in the case of the Chiron, also adds some extra support to the filament as it’s fed into the extruder.
Anycubic has its own Matrix bed levelling system, which is similar to the more common BLTouch automatic bed levelling sensor.
The Matrix sensor uses 25 points on the print bed to get an accurate level, and this is performed in real time as the print is in progress.
This allows for constant adjustment of the nozzle height, which will in turn produce more accurate and high quality prints.
The Z-axis has double drive motors, making for a more stable control over the vertical movement of the nozzle.
Added to this are dual limit switches, which means the limit stop detection is made on both the left and right side of the print bed.
This aids in the bed being level and helps to maintain consistent and accurate layer heights.
The print bed itself is Anycubic’s own branded Ultrabase Pro build surface, which is both flexible and magnetic.
This combined with the extra bed levelling measures makes for strong adhesion but also easy removal of the print.
Maximum heating temperature for the bed is 100 °C, which is why it’s suitable for use with a variety of different filament types.
UI and Mainboard
The UI or User Interface is controlled using a TFT touch screen attached to the side of the printer.
The UI itself is a fairly user-friendly, clear menu with easy to read and understand functions and settings.
These controls would be worth nothing though if they weren’t connected to a competent mainboard and the Chiron houses a 32-bit TriGorilla version which it uses for most of its FDM range.
The design of the mainboard follows a fairly standard layout for any FDM printer or CNC machine, so nothing really stands out as exceptional for the Chiron.
Having looked at reviews and online forums, it would appear that many users prefer to change the mainboard to other third-party boards, as this seems to be more reliable and provides smoother control.
Software and Firmware
The firmware for the Chiron is labelled as Anycubic’s V1.3.0 but, as with most FDM printers, this is in fact a customized version of the popular Marlin firmware used by most manufacturers.
There is nothing wrong with that, and at least makes troubleshooting of any issues fairly straightforward due to Marlin’s wide coverage.
Software input is recommended by Anycubic as the ever present Cura slicer, but you can use whichever slicer you find works best for you.
The Chiron supports file input types .STL, .OBJ, .JPG, PNG and the output print is in the G-Code format.
Input of files to the printer is by SD Card and there is a slot for this on the side of the printer.
The print quality is often down to the opinion of the user and what they’re expecting from the printer.
As the saying goes; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
However, this is only something that you’ll get to know once you’ve already used the printer.
Therefore, it’s worth looking at the tech specs for the Chiron to see what that shows us.
The Anycubic product information shows us that print accuracy is 0.05-0.3 mm with positioning accuracy of 0.0125 mm for X/Y and 0.0020 mm for the Z axis.
These are very tiny margins of error, so shows that the print accuracy is very good on the Chiron.
This accuracy will then lead on to better print quality, which is what we’re after.
The accuracy and quality of a print can also be affected by the layer height, wall thickness and speed, all of which can be adjusted using Cura before you slice your model for printing.
The maximum print speed for the Chiron is in fact 100 mm/s which is pretty fast but remember, high speed doesn’t always allow for high quality.
Ease of Use
The simplicity of the design of the Chiron makes access to all areas of the machine easy and the printer is suitable for both beginner and professional alike.
The UI is straightforward and easy to use, and settings can be adjusted and controlled using both this and Cura to prepare your print.
The machine itself comes partially assembled, but it’s just a case of adding four bolts to erect the gantry frame part of the printer into position.
The appropriate firmware is already loaded, so the Chiron is good to go virtually straight from the box
Starts at $429
User Reviews and Support
User reviews and comments left on both the manufacturer’s product page and user forums are a good source of information.
Anycubic has its own user community with presence spread across Facebook, Reddit and Discord. The comments on these forums are mostly positive and praise the Chiron for its easy assembly and setup.
Some comments consider the Chiron to be lagging a bit behind its competitors and even other Anycubic printers by still having fairly basic parts and control systems.
Overall though, the Chiron has been well received within the 3D printing community.
As for support, Anycubic’s user community seems to be active and users can post questions and have problems answered either by other users or Anycubic themselves.
Some users have reported delays and issues when dealing directly with Anycubic, but this is quite common for a China based company whose customers mainly lie outside the country.
Pros and Cons of Using Anycubic Chiron
As is the case with any product, there are good points and bad points to note. We’ve covered a few of the pros and cons as we’ve discussed the Chiron in general, but let’s just summarize these.
- Large build volume: 400 x 400 x 450 mm is quite impressive for a printer of this type.
- Easy to use: The UI is basic but functional and its easy to get started with the printer straight from the box.
- Auto bed levelling: 25-point levelling with real time adjustment.
- Simple design: A standard gantry design common with FDM printers makes the partial assembly required very easy.
- Good print quality: Accuracy margins and settings allow for greater quality of print from the Chiron.
- Outdated parts and tech: Both the extruder and the hot end setup could have benefitted from being direct drive. The Titan extruder also has plastic gears which wear easily and the touch screen UI is fairly small for such a large printer.
- Basic operation: Nothing really stands out as being exceptional from the Chiron. Its functional and does its job well, but is still pretty basic.
- Bowden tube extruder: As mentioned above, you would expect there to be a direct drive, which is less likely to cause clogs and nozzle issues than a Bowden setup.
- Inferior mainboard: The mainboard is OK but as we’ve discussed, many users opt to change this out straight away for a more functional third-party model.
Comparison to Similar Models
The Anycubic Chiron is certainly not alone in the field of FDM printing, and has many comparable competitors out there.
Let’s then have a brief look at just a couple of those printers to see how they stack up against the Chiron.
Creality Ender 3 Max Neo
This is one of the latest additions to Creality’s fabled Ender range of printers and is based on the original best-selling Ender 3.
This machine has gone through several design changes and upgrades over the last few years. The new branding of “Neo” printers has arrived in the latter half of 2022.
Ender 3 Max Neo has all the core features of its smaller cousin but as the name suggests, it has a larger build volume of 300 x 300 x 320 mm.
This is still small in comparison to the Chiron, but still larger than many printers in this price range.
We won’t go into as much detail as with the Chiron, but here are the main features to note on the Ender 3 Max Neo:
- Build volume: 300 x 300 x 320 mm
- Print speed: 120 mm/s max
- Nozzle temperature: Up to 260 °C
- Bed temperature: Up to 100 °C
- Auto Bed Levelling: CR-Touch 25-point system
- Bowden tube extruder
- Filament run out sensor
- Flexible magnetic build plate
- 32-bit silent mainboard
- Colour knob-controlled UI control screen
- Dual drive Z axis
As you can see from those specs, the Ender 3 Max Neo matches the Chiron on everything except build volume.
The other things to note though are, although this still has a Bowden Tube extruder rather than direct drive, the extruder gear is all metal so less likely to wear quickly.
The screen is also bigger, but then is let down a bit by the fact that it’s not a touch screen.
Price: Starts at $369
Artillery Sidewinder SW-X2
Artillery are another pretty well-known 3D printer manufacturer, producing both FDM and SLA printers.
Their range of FDM printers is much smaller compared to their competitors, but the SW-X2 or Sidewinder is top of the range.
This is a gantry style designed 3D printer and like the Chiron and the Ender comes partially assembled.
The overall build volume is big, but still not as large as the Chiron at 300 x 300 x 400 mm; good value for the price range.
Let’s take a look at the SW-X2’s main features:
- Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm
- Print speed: 150mm/s max
- Nozzle temperature: Up to 260 °C
- Bed temperature: Up to 130 °C
- Auto Bed Levelling
- Titan direct drive extruder
- Filament run out sensor
- Tempered glass build plate
- 32-bit silent mainboard
- Colour touch screen UI control screen
- Dual drive Z axis
As you can see again, the Sidewinder X2 is very similar to both the Ender and the Chiron, but does lack the extra build volume of the latter.
The advantages it has over the other two are the direct drive extruder which, although it has plastic gearing, is still a bonus.
The Sidewinder X2 also has a full color touch screen which is clear and easy to navigate.
Price: starts at $419
The Anycubic Chiron in summary is a perfect printer and has the advantage of having a very large build volume compared to other similar printers.
The easy set up and ease of use of the Chiron make it ideal for beginners.
Professional users will also find benefits with the Chiron, but the lack of more advanced technology may leave it behind the others.
The two printers that have been compared to the Chiron are very similar, but just have a smaller build volume.
These are also just two of the dozens of similar printers that are available on the market, so it’s worth having a look around before you make your final decision.
In conclusion, the Anycubic Chiron is worth buying at the reasonable price of $429 simply because of its large build volume.
It’s nor the greatest 3D printer in a densely populated market but, if you can cope with the slightly outdated tech and the regular maintenance that will entail, then you’re onto a winner.