Anyucubic Kobra vs. Kobra 2 (Spoiler: It’s Worth Upgrading)

Marcello De Lio

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An anycubic kobra 2 on the left beside an anycubic kobra 3d printer on the right sitting on a black table with a beige background

The original Anycubic Kobra earned acclaim for its beginner-friendly features and solid print quality at an affordable price. However, we found the printer struggled with details on miniature prints and found excessive stringing.

The Anycubic Kobra 2 fixed many of these issues, taking the Kobra family to new heights. It offered improved bed leveling, faster print speeds, an all-metal hotend, and better print quality. This Kobra vs. Kobra 2 comparison looks at the printers’ features and performance and explains why the Kobra 2 is our choice for beginners and hobbyists.

Our Pick

Overall

4.1 / 5

Print Speed

4 / 5

Print Quality

4 / 5

Ease of Use

4 / 5

Support

4.5 / 5

Features

Direct drive extruder

Auto bed leveling

Fast print speeds

Liniear rods on X and Y axis

All metal hotend

The fan is noisy

Smart Z-offset doesn’t work as expected

Runner Up

Overall

3.5 / 5

Print Speed

3 / 5

Print Quality

3 / 5

Ease of Use

3.5 / 5

Support

4.5 / 5

Features

Direct drive extruder

Auto bed leveling

Easy to assemble

Excessive Stringing

Struggles with details on small prints

The hotend isn’t all metal

Noisy fan

Anycubic Kobra vs. Kobra 2: At a Glance

The Kobra 2 from Anycubic emerges as the clear winner in a head-to-head comparison with its predecessor, building on the previous Kobra with several improvements.

With enhanced stability thanks to linear rods, a lighter printhead, and a dual lead screw design, the Kobra 2 significantly outperforms the Kobra’ with faster print speeds, better print quality, and easier-to-use features. The build quality sees a leap forward, addressing user feedback by incorporating a larger build volume and a faster heating bed, among other features.

Print Speed:

  • Original Kobra: This printer offers an average print speed of 80mm/s for entry-level printers. However, its heavier printhead and reliance on v-roller wheels limit stability and speed.
  • Kobra 2: Introduces significant upgrades with linear rods, a lighter printhead, and an additional Z-axis lead screw. These enhancements contribute to a more stable and faster printing experience, with speeds of up to 300mm/s.

Build Quality and Design Innovations:

  • Original Kobra: The Kobra’s design resembles many of the Ender 3 clones on the market. The printer has a sturdy frame, v-roller wheels, auto bed leveling, and a PEI textured bed.
  • Kobra 2: An improved build quality, a faster heating bed, a second lead screw for the Z axis, linear rods on the X and Y axes, auto bed leveling, and smart z offset.

Extruder and Hotend Upgrades:

  • Original Kobra: This extruder utilizes a dual-gear, direct-drive system capable of handling flexible filaments. However, its non-all-metal hotend and heavier design impact print quality.
  • Kobra 2: Uses an upgraded all-metal, direct drive hotend with a cooling fan and volcano-style nozzle for faster filament flow.

Auto Bed Leveling Systems:

  • Original Kobra: It is equipped with the LeviQ bed leveling system, which uses an induction probe at 25 points on the build plate.
  • Kobra 2: The LeviQ 2.0 system upgrades incorporate a smart Z offset feature. Despite inconsistencies with the smart Z-offset feature, the auto bed leveling system significantly improves the user experience.

Print Quality and Material Handling:

  • Original Kobra: Capable of producing quality prints with materials like PLA, ABS, PETG, and TPU, though it struggles with consistency, fine details, and stringing.
  • Kobra 2: Excellent print quality, with better consistency, detail, and minimal stringing.

Specifications

Having extensively tested the Anycubic Kobra and Kobra 2, I’ve seen firsthand how the latter’s superior technical specifications create a better 3D printer. These advancements streamline the printing process and significantly enhance the quality and reliability of prints.

SpecificationAnycubic Kobra 2Anycubic Kobra
TechnologyFused Deposition Modeling (FDM)Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Build Volume250 x 220 x 220 mm (9.8 x 8.7 x 8.7 inches)220 x 220 x 250 mm (8.7 x 8.7 x 9.8 in)
Machine Footprint440 x 435 x 486 mm (17.3 x 17.1 x 19.1 inches)486 x 486 x 430 mm (19.1 x 19.1 x 16.9 in)
Materials SupportedPLA, ABS, PETG, TPUPLA, ABS, PETG, TPU
ExtruderDirect DriveDirect Drive
Max Nozzle Temperature260℃260℃
Max Build Plate Temperature110℃110℃
Print Bed MaterialTextured PEI Coated Spring Steel SheetTextured PEI Coated Spring Steel Sheet
Max Print Speed300mm/s80mm/s
Weight8.4kg (18.51 pounds)8.4kg (18.5 pounds)
Bed LevelingLeviQ 2.0 (Inductive Sensor with Smart Z-Offset)LeviQ
Filament Runout SensorYesNo
Year20232022
Nozzle.4mm Volcano style0.4mm

Winner: Kobra 2

Build Quality

An anycubic Kobra 3D printer with a direct drive exturder, lcd screen, knob tensioners, heated textured PEI build plate, and spool holder
(Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

Both printers build on Anycubic’s reputation for creating quality, budget-friendly 3D printers. When comparing the two printers, it’s clear that Anycubic listened to user feedback when designing the Kobra 2. They’ve fixed nearly every complaint we had with the original Kobra and added several additional features.

The Anycubic Kobra uses a traditional approach in its design with a sturdy frame to reduce vibrations and v-roller wheels for movement.

Close up of the direct drive extruder on the Anycubic Kobra
(Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

The Kobra’s dual-gear, direct-drive extruder can easily and precisely handle flexible filaments like TPU. The extruder is easy to load and performs reasonably well.

However, there are two significant drawbacks.

The Kobra’s print head is noticeably heavy. A heavy print head is more difficult for the printer to control, especially at higher speeds. The movement of a heavy extruder creates vibrations that translate, causing ringing and ghosting in your prints.

Additionally, the Kobra’s extruder doesn’t use an all-metal construction. I didn’t encounter any issues during my testing, but the plastic components will wear quicker and require replacement sooner than an all-metal hotend.

The LeviQ bed leveling is a great feature, eliminating the need to level your print bed manually.

Front view of the anycubic kobra 2 3d printer with a spool of purple tricolor filament
(Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

Conversely, the Kobra 2 introduces several design enhancements that signify a step forward in Anycubic’s product evolution.

The 3D printer retains the fundamental stability and reliability seen in the Kobra. Still, it incorporates features like a larger build volume and a faster heating bed, significantly reducing the time from start to print.

The X and Y axes feature linear rods, and Anycubic added a second lead screw on the Z axis. The linear rods and dual leadscrew design allow greater stability, especially at fast print speeds.

The new all metal direct drive extruder on an anycubic kobra 2 3d printer
(Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

The Kobra 2 uses Anycubic’s new LeviQ 2.0 auto bed leveling. The auto bed leveling process uses an induction probe to measure the build plate at 25 points across the build plate.

LeviQ 2.0 also includes a smart Z-offset feature to make bed leveling a hands-off process.

However, I found the smart Z-offset to be completely inaccurate.

I ran the smart Z-offset several times, with different results each time. None were close to being accurate. I eventually settled on manually setting the Z-offset.

I like that Anycubic is considering automating the Z-offset. However, it’s not quite ready yet.

Close up of the large fan on the front of the Kobra 2 direct drive extruder
(Photo Credit: Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

The Kobra 2’s new direct drive extruder is one of the most significant upgrades. The new, all-metal hotend is lighter and features a large cooling fan, giving it a distinct look.

Additionally, the print head uses a volcano-style nozzle. The nozzle is longer than the Kobra’s mk6 nozzle, providing a larger melt zone for faster filament flow rates.

Winner: Kobra 2

User Experience

A view of the textured PEI spring steel sheet and 4.3 inch led touchscreen display on the anycubic kobra
(Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

When comparing the user experience of the Anycubic Kobra and Kobra 2, it’s essential to consider the experience from assembling your 3D printer to removing your prints from the build plate. This comparison considers ease of assembly, slicing models, printing process, and post-print handling to give a comprehensive view.

Both Kobra 3D printers are easy to assemble. They both come partially assembled, allowing you to get up and running in 20 minutes or less. Assembling the printers is as easy as screwing the print gantry to the bed frame, attaching the hotend, and connecting some wires.

Close up of a properly calibrated 3D printed Z offset on an Anycubic Kobra 2
(Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

Anycubic recommends using its proprietary slicer software, Anycubic Slicer. However, both 3D printers work with various slicing programs, including Cura, PrusaSlicer, and OrcaSlicer.

The flexibility allows you to stick with the slicing software you’re used to using.

It’s important to note that, at the time of writing, Cura doesn’t provide a preset for the Kobra 2. You can download a slicing profile from Anycubic’s website and upload it to Cura, but Cura provides a preset slicing profile for the Kobra.

The user interface on both printers is nearly identical. The Anycubic FDM 3D printers feature an intuitive touchscreen interface with simple navigation.

Calibrating the Z offset using the display on the Anycubic Kobra 2 3D printer
(Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

The colored LCD display lets you access all the printer’s features with a few clicks. The menus are neatly organized, and all the printer’s functions are exactly where you’d expect to find them.

Loading and unloading filament is easy, thanks to the direct drive extruders.

The Kobra 2 uses a side-mounted spool that feeds filament through a Bowden tube to the print head. The longer filament path is a bit more challenging to load, but the printer compensates by adding a filament runout sensor.

The sensor detects when you run out of filament on the spool and pauses your print.

Filament runout sensors save you time and money by preventing failed prints.

Winner: Kobra 2

Print Quality

side view of a 3DBenchy printed in white pla on an anycubic kobra on a black background
3D Benchy printed on the Anycubic Kobra (Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

When evaluating the print quality between the Anycubic Kobra and Kobra 2, it’s essential to consider several factors, including consistency, stringing, material compatibility, details, layer adhesion, ringing, and warping.

Both printers are designed with the capacity to produce quality prints. After dozens of test prints, the Kobra 2’s upgrades offer higher print quality and greater consistency.

The print quality lived up to its popularity with smooth lines and sharp corners.

An all in one 3d print test printed on an anycuibc kobra
Lots of stringing on the All In One Calibration Test printed by a Kobra 3D printer (Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

However, we did notice issues with stringing and fine details. Despite tinkering with the slicer profile, our test prints continually exhibited signs of stringing. And the Kobra struggled to produce fine details on smaller 3D-printed objects.

The Kobra 2 produces noticeably higher-quality prints. The faster heating bed and enhanced leveling system improve bed adhesion for consistent first layers. Despite faster print speeds, we found that prints had a high level of detail, no ringing, and minimal stringing.

Close up of the 38 minute 3D benchy on the anycubic kobra 2 3D printer
A 3D Benchy printed in green PLA on a Kobra 2 (Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

Both the Kobra and Kobra 2 can handle multiple materials like PLA, ABS, PETG, and TPU. However, the Kobra 2’s all-metal extruder provides a slight edge in consistency and longevity.

Close up of a lioness printed in tri extrusion filament on an anycubic kobra 2
Lioness model printed in tri-extrusion filament on an Anycubic Kobra 2 (Photo by Marcello/3D Print Mentor)

Winner: Kobra 2

Which Should You Buy?

After looking at both 3D printers, it’s clear that you should buy the Kobra 2. The Anycubic Kobra 2 offers more features, faster print speeds, and better print quality.

With nearly identical prices, there’s no reason not to purchase the Kobra 2.

While the Kobra is an excellent entry-level 3D printer, the Kobra 2’s upgrades provide a more versatile solution for a broader range of projects.

Anycubic Kobra 2
$299.99



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04/03/2024 05:08 am GMT

Our Testing Process

To ensure a comprehensive evaluation of the Anycubic Kobra and Kobra 2, our testing process was meticulously designed to cover every aspect of the user experience and print quality.

Our testing process began with the assembly of each printer. We noted the ease of setup, clarity of instructions, and the time required to get from unboxing to ready-to-print status. We’ve become proficient at assembling 3D printers, but we looked at the setup from a beginner’s perspective.

The initial setup is crucial for assessing the user-friendly nature of each model.

Following assembly, we tested the slicing software compatibility, evaluating how each printer’s software handled various models, the intuitiveness of the user interface, and the range of customization options available for print settings.

We also ran auto bed leveling tests to compare the LeviQ and LeviQ 2.0 induction systems.

After calibrating the printers, we proceeded to a series of print tests. We used a range of models and filaments to test the printer’s output quality in various situations.

We examined the models for level of detail, overhangs, stringing, support structures, and the visibility of layer lines.

We also looked at secondary aspects like first-layer adhesion, warping, and the printer’s ability to handle complex geometries.

Both printers use identical build surfaces, so there was no need to test the build plate.

Throughout the testing process, we also paid close attention to the user interface on the printers themselves, assessing the clarity of the menus, the responsiveness of the controls, and how straightforward it was to adjust settings directly on the machine.

By carefully analyzing the outcomes of these tests, we could provide a detailed comparison of the Anycubic Kobra and Kobra 2, focusing on areas that matter most to users. This approach allowed us to offer insights based on real-life usage, aiming to guide readers toward making an informed decision on which printer best suits their needs and preferences.

Article by

Marcello De Lio

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