Open Source Firmware of Anet ET4 & ET5 3D Printers

Open source is a buzz word in 3D printing. And for some enthusiasts, it’s a must-have feature to allow free modification and upgrades on a 3D printer for more complicated functions and purposes. As a result, the demand for open source Anet ET4 and ET5 3D printers is increasing. And we’re lucky, both of them are now open sourced and able to upgrade to Marlin firmware.

What is an Open-Sourced 3D printer?

An open source 3D printer is one for which the hardware designs, the firmware and the software designs are all available under an open source license (e.g. GPL, Apache or MIT).

And among them, the most important factor is the 3D printer firmware. Let’s check out the details.

Pros of an open source 3D printer

An open source 3D printer provides many benefits. It guarantees free modification. You have vast access to open source hardware and software to update your printer without regard to the manufacturer.


What is 3D Printer Firmware?

3D printer firmware usually indicates firmware for the mainboard. It’s the bridge between the hardware and software to perform out 3D printing.

A 3D printer firmware is responsible for translating gcode file created by slicing software like Cura, Simplify 3D or Repetier into electronic commands to the hardware of a 3D printer to execute.

There are two kinds of firmware formats, the hex and bin files.

Flashing .hex firmware file into a 3d printer can be a little complicated. You must connect your 3D printer mainboard to a PC, and using certain software, for example Cura, to do the flashing.

Flashing .bin firmware file is much easier. You only need to put the .bin file into a SD card and put the card into the card slot, and power on the printer and click on upgrade button to complete the process.

Quite lucky, Anet.ET4 and ET5 accept the .bin format firmware.


Is it necessary to flash open source firmware on ET4 or ET5 3D printer?

Though flashing to open source firmware on ET4 or ET5 3D printer will bring you more access for free modification and upgrades, it’s still a tricky process to go especially for both a novice, and even an experienced user.

If your printer is running quite well and you’re not quite sure what an open source 3D printer will bring to you, it’s not recommended to do so.


Common Procedures to flash Open Source Firmware to a 3D Printer

To flash open source firmware to your 3D printer, you should follow below common procedures.

Step 1 Identify motherboard specification and firmware features.

Step 2 Check motherboard compatibility on the new firmware you want to update.

Step 3 Navigate to find the specific configurations of your 3D printer and migrate these setups to the new firmware. 

  1. Step values of X, Y and Z-axis
  2. Max travel distances of X, Y and Z-xis
  3. Maximum speed and acceleration of X, Y, Z-axis and extruder motors
  4. Thermistor types of heat bed and hot end
  5. PID values of hot end and heat bed

Step 4 Download the firmware you want to upgrade and change configuration setups with above parameters.

Github download link of Anet ET4 Open Souce Firmware (currently in beta test version).

Step 5 Flash the new firmware into your 3D printer.


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Jose Ignacvio - July 14, 2021

They can’t make firmware that allows direct loading of marlin without tampering with the motherboard

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