I bought a cheap chinese printer to have a play with. In my price range there were 2 that got good reviews, the Anet A8 and the Tevo Tarantula. After reading a few reviews I went for the Tevo.
It cost me £156 off Aliexpress and £40.32 import duty. I ordered March 29th, order was sent April 11th and I received it April 18th.
As it is a kit I had to assemble it before I could use it. It took around 6 hours to build and was relatively hassle free. The manual shows the Y axis stepper motor on the right. I put it on the right and when I tried to home the print head it tried going through the front of the Y pulley mount. After 15 mins of faffing I moved it to the left and managed to home the printer successfully. I also broke one of the limit switch mounts but was able to glue it back together. The extruder stepper motor was missing the thread on one of the holes by about 3mm and didn't have enough for the bolt to catch so for now I have used a bigger bolt. Tevo are sending me a replacement stepper motor after me drawing them a diagram explaining the issue
Here it is and yes I know the wires are a mess, I'm going to rewire it with thicker gauge wire all round, as well as a mosfet for the heated bed.
So on to my first print which was a 20mm calibration cube and turned out shit but at least I'm printing something.
Following some advice I printed a fan shroud and fitted 2 blower fans, printed a spool arm and whilst I was there I added some LEDs to the top and the X axis. Also did some calibration at this point and tried the cube again which came out much better although the bottom was a tiny bit warped.
After that success it was time to try a 3d benchy which is supposed to test your printer. It came out OK, it had a bit of stringing when the head moved.
Not bad but I thought it could get better so I pissed about with some settings in simplify3d and tried again. I used some better quality PLA as the "1kg" free filament that was supposed to come with the printer turned out to be two 330gram rolls, one of PLA and the other ABS and I had run out of their PLA. It was also multi colour so if you printed a bigger part the colour would change half way through the part. This one turned out much better
And here's a potato cam image of it with the lights, spool arm, fan shroud attached. I printed the orange spool holder too. I added some glass I took from an old picture frame, it just about fits the bed and works well.