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Review: Artillery Sidewinder X1
Last update on 2021-04-01 at 14:31
Artillery Sidewinder X1
The Artillery Sidewinder X1 is an all-in-one cartesian style 3D printer. The Cartesian coordinate system, invented by Rene Descartes, means the printer functions on an X, Y coordinate system with the addition of a print head traveling linearly on both the X and Y-axis. Left to right, front to back, up and down, one axis at a time.
The moving parts of a cartesian printer can be quite heavy, sometimes the excessive jerking means that prints can work loose. This means the cartesian printer does not lend itself to taller structures. The printer cannot change direction in any hurry, this also adds to movement on the platform and build problems, so tall and intricate objects are not best suited to it.
On the plus side, a cartesian printer is often cheaper, easier to master, and consumer-friendly, and the Artillery Sidewinder X1 ticks all those boxes and more. A small but mighty machine at a more affordable price for the 3D printing hobbyist.
This machine is feature packed for the price, but from my research, it is definitely not the plug and play kind of item you purchase without doing your homework, seek out reliable sources to aid with set up, modification, troubleshooting, and general 3D print issues.
In general, I discovered there was very little for anyone to complain about, but when things did go wrong, the aftercare or lack of was a let-down for some. Hopefully, I can make this experience less painful with the contact links coming up.
What Support Is There for This Machine?
Artillery 3D have a Facebook group you can join and message the experts, they reply within a couple of hours. It does appear to be the best way to contact and communicate should you experience any problems with your new printer. It is also a good source if you are still at the buying stage and require advice.
The Facebook page, run by the Artillery social media team, is where you can also find links to various help documentation.
Artillery is a Shenzen Technology Company building consumer printers under the brand Evnovo (Artillery), you can contact them at the link below if the Facebook page doesn’t fit your requirements. They do state that response time can be very slow, more than a day, mostly due to the time difference, and they encourage consumers to use their Facebook page instead.
What’s in the Box?
1 3D Printer Kit
1 Power Cord
Accessories: USB cable, USB Flash Drive, 6 spare wheels, 5 hex bolts, tape, ribbon cable, LED chip, and assembly tools
Self-Assembly and Setup
The Artillery Sidewinder X1 arrives 95% pre-assembled, full aluminum frame, a rapid heating AC heat bed, and a glass-ceramic print surface. There is also a decent sized touch screen control, and if the noise bothers you, this one has an ultra-quiet stepper driver. The noise level overall is about the same as a normal conversation rather than a competitor for your vacuum cleaner. The fully assembled machine weighs 14kg and stands 87cm tall, including the spool holder.
There are special features listed for this machine, one being that it supports TPU, thermoplastic polyurethane, this type of material is often referred to as the bridge between rubber and plastic. The machine also has auto-detection and recovery to alert when the filament needs to be replaced, and power loss detection and recovery a very handy feature if you get frequent outages with the wild and wacky weather many of us experience from time to time.
The extruder, Titan, direct drive, is also quiet on this machine, no revving sounds, and the nozzle is volcano type, it heats up in around 3 minutes. You can also swap the nozzles for larger ones if you wish to have a faster print, but for precision, you are better off staying with the size .4 provided.
There is the option to go down to a .2 size for even more detail, but you will find your print cycles increase considerably. With the Titan direct drive extruder, you will be free of loading and unloading issues.
Some of the information out there references the print technology of this machine as FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication), which sometimes confuses, so before we go further, please note this is exactly the same as FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) there is absolutely no difference.
The Artillery Sidewinder X1 supports a variety of filament: PLA, FLEXIBLE PLA, ABS, TPU, PVA, Wood, and more. Filament diameter 1.75mm. You can do a lot with that, but note, the machine is not going to be cheap to run. The Artillery Sidewinder X1 can easily pull 600W. However, the trade-off is that you don’t have to wait forever for it to heat up!
While on the subject of filament, if you are new to this, there are no samples of filament provided with the machine. It is worth purchasing some mid-priced filament to test run, don’t go for the really cheap stuff as all too often they will fail. Remember to keep your filament stored correctly in airtight containers.
Calibration for this machine is manual, but don’t let that put you off purchasing, there are plenty of guides available to help you if you get stuck.
There are a few choices for software to use with this machine, and I am providing links below for design and slice to get you started.
Fusion 360 is free to design software to use and very popular with hobbyists, you can only use the free version for non-commercial purpose, though exemptions to this rule can be found, at the time of writing, due to the Covid19 pandemic and the fantastic work some 3D print people are producing to aid our health workers.
Cura is a top-rated slicing software in the free 3D print and hobbyist arena. Its page does boast that it is ‘The world’s most popular printing software.’ The software also has a decent community of experts accessible via the same link.
Something else missing from the box for this printer is a user guide, and while there may be many sources online, if you are new to this, it could be a minefield finding easy to understand information.
Along the way, I found a Facebook group for owners of this machine. The nice thing is that the group is private, so your best-laid development plans are not strewn around the internet. The group has more than 8,000 members, so if you have Facebook, why not look in on them.
Purchase and Customer Reviews
The reviews for this printer are mostly good, with the ease of setup and quietness especially popular.
The idea is that this article has given information filling all the gaps I came across from various negative reviews. All told the Artillery Sidewinder X1 would be one of my favorites so far in the machines that perform well without smashing the piggy bank. Below are some links you can explore for purchase and more customer reviews.
To summarise, Artillery has responded to the negative feedback they received in the early days of this particular machine. The company has been through several iterations, it would be well worth your while to ensure that what you purchase is the most recent one that being version 4.
In all, this looks like a fun machine, and your patience, beginner, or seasoned 3D printer will be well rewarded with beautiful, clean wobble-free print.
Happy 3D printing!