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Review: Tevo Tornado

Tevo Tornado

Dylan Miller @io3dprint

Easy to Setup
Easy to Use
Print Quality
Value For Money
Features

Summary

The Tevo Tornado is one of, if not the best affordable 3D printers currently on the market. Even at this low price point, the printer comes with a range of impressive features that are only found in high-end printers. In particular, the build volume is sufficient to print even bigger models

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Last update on 2020-12-03 at 04:20

If you are looking for an affordable 3D printer that is larger in size than its competitors, you’d be wise to consider the Tevo Tornado. This printer sets itself apart from the rest, with its AC-powered heated bed and a custom-designed Titan extruder. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the construction and some features of the Tornado closely resemble the Creality CR-10 3D printer.

But can the Tornado match up to its competitors? Priced lower than the CR-10, is it really good value for your money? Let’s explore what the Tornado has to offer.

Specifications

  • Brand- Tevo
  • Technology- FDM
  • Layer resolution- 50 microns
  • Build volume- 300 x 300x 400mm
  • Filament size- 1.75mm
  • Printing material- PLA, ABS, PETG, Wood, PV and flexibles
  • Nozzle dimeter- 0.4mm
  • Extruder temperature- 210-260°C
  • Heating bed temperature- 60-110°C
  • Connectivity- TF card and USB
  • Max print speed- 150mm/s
  • Weight- 14Kg

Features

One of the most appealing features of the Tevo Tornado is the large build volume of 300 x 300 x 400mm. This size is rare in printers under $500. It also has a 50 microns minimum layer thickness and a print speed of 150mm/s. By now, you’ll be realizing that some of the features in the Tevo Tornado can only be matched with high-end printers.

There are other features that make the Tevo Tornado one of the most popular 3D printers on the market. For instance, the printer comes fully equipped with a custom Titan Extruder. This is a high-end accessory that is mostly used as an upgradable option in 3D printers.

However, Tevo has decided to include it in the stock kit. The extruder also features a constrained filament path making it easier to print using TPU and other flexibles.

Another prominent feature in the Tevo Tornado is the AC heated bed. This enables the print area to heat up to high temperatures in under a few minutes. It is definitely, a step in the right direction in terms of budget 3D printers. However, there are certain issues with the heated bed that will be addressed later.

Unboxing

Due to its modest size, the printer is shipped in a huge box filled with Styrofoam for protection. The box is very minimalistic, with only import/export labeling and a Tevo Tornado emblem.

Although the Tevo Tornado is shipped as a kit, most parts are already assembled. There are only three parts that are nestled in the Styrofoam for protection; the gantry, the base with the print bed, and the control box.

In addition, you will find a handful of labeled plastic packages that contain screws, nuts, and other accessories and tools to assemble the printer. Also, you will find a spatula, SD card with free test prints, USB cables, and a power cord.

While most components appear in fine condition, some customers have complained about slight scuffs, dinks, and paint scratches on the printer. Some people have even claimed that they may have received a refurbished printer, due to the imperfect condition.

Assembly

Since most components are already assembled, it will only take you a few minutes to set up the printer. The instruction manual is very understandable and straightforward, making the set-up process even easier. There have been several improvements to this instruction manual compared to other printers like the Tevo Tarantula.

On the downside, the instruction manual does not include instructions on the process of attaching the heated bed to the Y-axis carriage. This might not be an issue with those familiar with 3D printers but might well be a challenging task to a complete novice. Nevertheless, it is not entirely complicated because most parts are conveniently preassembled.

Although you will be involved in the assembly process, don’t expect to get a deeper understanding of how the 3D printer works and the mechanisms involved. This is because you will only need to connect the few components included in the package, then power and calibrate.

The first component that is included is the standing part of the frame. It comes assembled with the lead screw and motor, the X-axis carriage, hot-end and belt, and the custom Titan extruder. The second component is the AC heated bed and cables. The third component is the base unit that is already attached to the Y-axis stepper motor, heat bed carriage, and the belt. The last part is the control and power unit.

Unlike in other open-frame 3D printers, the experience of putting together the Tevo Tornado is very simple. The instruction manual is also very easy to follow, even for a first-timer. It will only take you a couple of minutes to get the printer up and running.

All the components are labeled with specific codes for easier assembly, especially for beginners. This is another feature that differentiates the Tevo printers from other brands. Some printers involve a very complicated process to assemble them.

The cables are engraved and secured away from the heated print bed. However, you might encounter some short cables that struggle to fit in their respective connections.  You can address this issue by partially extracting the affected cables and give them a slight slack to reach the intended ports. Generally, the Tevo Tornado 3D printer is not only affordable but also produces high-quality prints.

Design

Before we dive into the usual design of the printer, there is a very important component I would like to address: the AC powered heated bed. This is a main-powered heated bed, which makes the bed heat very rapidly. It is a unique bed compared to the beds used in other 3D printers.

Another major issue with the Tevo Tornado is that the cables from the power supply are directly soldered to the print bed. This is very dangerous for the user considering it is powered by mains electricity. Although unlikely (but possible), the uninsulated live cables may come into contact with the frame. Since there is no apparent grounding for the printer, any metal part of the printer may cause electrocution. Also, most of the cables only have one layer of insulation. A small scratch can easily expose the mains carrying the electricity.

The Tevo Tornado features one of the most useful components of an open frame printer; the aluminum extrusions. In addition, even though the frame style is inspired by the Creality CR-10, it has its own splash of colors that provides a distinctive and striking look.

The printing material is pushed by the custom Titan Extruder which features an open-source design. It is attached to the left side of the X-axis rod. Using a Bowden mechanism, the extruder pushes the printing material through the PTFE tube into the hot end. The extruder is custom made by the manufacturer using the E3D design.

There are certainly positive aspects of the printer that are worth noting. For instance, the lead screw is fixed on both ends, which provides more stability, especially considering the prints go up to a height of 400mm.

Another positive aspect of the Tevo Tornado is the easily adjustable X and Y axes belts. You will only need to loosen some nuts and pull the motors to achieve the desired tension and then retighten the nuts. However, adjustment knobs would have been a better option.

In all honesty, the manufacturer should figure out how to get rid of the control box in future upgrades. It unnecessarily increases the footprint of the printer and features a lot of cabling that may interfere with the bed as it moves during printing. Also, considering that the printer is an open frame, you will need to find a way of securing the cables.

Software

Unfortunately, the Tornado does not feature any specific print preparation software. Nevertheless, there is a huge selection of free and paid programs in the 3D printing community. On the bright side, the printer is compatible with third-party software applications.

The Ultimaker free slicer Cura and premium Simplify3D are some of the most popular programs. There are a lot of videos on the internet on how to install Cura in the Tevo Tornado.

In Use

After setting everything up, you will need to fine-level the print bed before you start printing. The leveling process is very easy. You will only need to home all the axes, place an A4 paper on the print bed. Then, lower the print bed head at different points on the print bed. The distance between the nozzle and the print bed should be equal on all points.

Some users have complained that the screen stops working after some time of use while others have complained it didn’t work at all. However, you can connect the printer to your PC via the USB cable. In fact, some users have indicated that the screen did start working after connecting the printer to the PC.

These issues aside, the Tevo Tornado produces very high-quality prints even at the basic settings. The SD card is loaded with free 3D models to test the printer. Since the print head is fixed on the X-axis rod, you would expect the printer to print slowly, however, the printer is fast enough.

Pros

  • Large build volume
  • Quick to set up and start printing
  • Impressive custom extruder
  • Affordable
  • Stylish design
  • Variety of printing material

Cons

  • Poor cable arrangement
  • Poor adhesiveness

Verdict

The Tevo Tornado is one of, if not the best affordable 3D printers currently on the market. Priced at below $400, the printer comes with a range of impressive features that are only found in high-end printers. In particular, the build volume is sufficient to print even bigger models. I would highly recommend you buy this printer since it is very affordable and has all the latest features to produce high-end 3D prints.

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