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[Coupon Included] Artillery Sidewinder X1 Review

[Coupon Included] Artillery Sidewinder X1 Review

Best in mid-range!

Artillery was founded in October 2018, but it’s already released a worthy contender to Creality’s dominance in the budget 3D printing sector with its first printer, the Artillery Sidewinder X1. At $400 the printer offers an impressive set of features for its price tag.

The stock Artillery Sidewinder X1 already boasts a lot of features you would think of upgrading similar budget printers with. Be it the X1’s direct drive system, its AC heated bed, or its super silent motherboard and fans, the Sidewinder stands out amongst its budget competitors. Paired with its spacious 300 x 300 x 400mm build volume and sleek appearance, this 3D printer appeals to tinkerers and beginners alike. It’s a solid starting point capable of great prints.


Specifications

Mechanical: Cartesian-XY-Head
Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm
Layer height: 0.05 mm
Extruder type: Direct drive
Nozzle type: Volcano 0.4 mm
Max. extruder temperature: 240 °C
Max. heated bed temperature: 80 °C
Frame: Aluminum
Connectivity: SD, USB cable
Filament diameter: 1.75 mm
Materials: PLA, ABS, flexible PLA, TPU, wood, PVA, HIPS.
Operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux
Dimensions: 550 x 405 x 640 mm
Weight: 16.5 kg


Design and construction

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 is one of the countless Creality CR-10-style printers that surfaced after the immense success of the model. However, the Sidewinder X1 is not a mere clone, neither from the installed tech nor from the overall appearance.


One of the main reasons the Sidewinder differentiates itself from its competitors is the use of ribbon cables. And to be quite frank, this elevates the X1 from a design perspective right up there to the top. Unlike a great number of budget desktop printers, the Artillery Sidewinder X1 deviates itself with neatly arranged large ribbon cables.

Another welcomed and seldomly seen feature is the use of hefty 20 x 60 mm extrusions for the bed rail and x-axis on the X1. Having a sturdy Y-axis rail is somewhat common nowadays, even on budget printers. Still, the 60 x 20 mm extrusion on the X-axis is a rarity, as most printers make do with a 40 x 20 mm at best, even 3D printers with a direct drive setup – such as the Creality CR-10 V3. Now keep in mind that these notoriously need more rigidity on the X-axis due to the increased weight of the extruder.


The Z-axis is operated by a dual lead screw setup with anti-backlash nuts on the back, and to keep them synchronized, a connector belt with a pulley — a measure that addresses potential desyncing of the dual lead screw motors over time. 


The Z gantry itself is made of strong 20 x 40 mm extrusions held in place atop the base unit by four screws. Having a solid scaffold ensures less Z-wobble when using that tall build space.

The heart of every 3D printer is its print bed. In the Artillery Sidewinder X1’s case, the heart is comprised of a 300 x 300 sized porous ceramic coated glass surface.


The Sidewinder’s heated bed id heated from room temperature to 60°C in approximately 45 seconds due to mounting the heater directly to the underside of the glass sheet with no metal plate in between, and the bed being AC heated instead of the more commonly used DC-heated variant.

The print surface is a ceramic glass plate, much like the oft-copied Anycubic Ultrabase and its superb bed adhesion. In short, the textured surface expands when heated, providing the needed material adhesion and shrinks again when cooling down, resulting in the prints popping right off.
What about he print head? In the Sidewinder’s case, this is done by a direct Titan Aero-style extruder and a Volcano-style hot end.

Having a direct drive setup is something of a rarity in the Sidewinder’s price segment – here it performs well and we’re glad for its inclusion. 


The Sidewinder’s hot end is also rather speedy when it comes to heating (naught to 200°C in under one minute) and can go a high as 270°C. However, we would recommend staying within the consumer material temperature range of about 250°C for the most part as otherwise, the cold end of the extruder might become damaged.

As customary, the Artillery Sidewinder X1’s extruder is equipped with two fans. One to cool the extruder, which does a decent job, no complaints there, and the other one to cool the prints. From our experience, the 30 x 10mm part cooling fan is not completely useless, but by no means optimal.


To oversee the whole printing process, the Sidewinder X1 features a 3.5-inch color touchscreen. The interface is easy to use, with different colors for different submenus. Also, all the features are accessible, and we couldn’t find any of the bugs you sometimes find on similar budget firmware.


Installation and printing

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 comes snugly packed in a well-organized box and is very easy to set up. After mounting the gantry to the base with four screws, you plug in a couple very neatly arranged ribbon cables, bolt the filament holder to the top, and the printer is good to go.


The Sidewinder lacks bed leveling sensors, meaning you will have to fall back to the tried-and-true method of sliding a sheet of paper in between bed and nozzle, and turning the knobs under the bed until the bed is even. 


Artillery does not provide a proprietary slicer, which leaves you to choose from a bouquet of open-source slicers, such as Cura. 


First, we started with PLA filament, and gradually increased the difficulty with more demanding filaments.

When it comes to PLA, the Sidewinder X1 really is a more than solid choice.


During our review, we printed many and more PLA prints, and all of them turned out well. For the most part, we kept printing speed at around 50-60 mm/s, but even when we went for full throttle at 100 mm/s, the prints still turned out aesthetically pleasing (up to a certain height, where noticeable Z-wobbling occurs).

Astonishingly, the Sidewinder X1 did handle ABS rather well. Printing with ABS in an unenclosed printer is always tricky, but the Sidewinder did surprise us.


When we printed with PETG, we encountered one problem. The printer produced a lot of blobs.


This seems to be a recurring issue with volcano-style hot ends, as they tend to ooze a bit, even after we tried to adjust retraction settings and enable the coasting feature in Cura. We did manage some improvement, but overall the print quality of PETG leaves much to be desired.

When it comes to flexible filaments, the direct drive extruder had no problem with feeding it, and the print result was passable. All in all, the Sidewinder can print with a range of different materials, but it’s the everyday prints with PLA where it really reaches its full potential.


Conclusion

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 does bring innovation to budget Cartesian printers, especially the AC heated bed and the stable direct drive extruder, which sets it apart from similar printers in its price section. Out of the box, the printer convinces with a sleek look, almost silent operating noise levels, and decent print quality.

The printer is capable of stellar prints, albeit with a small time investment to find the optimum settings. 

PROS:
• Well-designed machine
• Superfast heating
• Whisper silent

CONS:
• Delicate wiring
• Uneven heat dissipation

You can also use a special coupon to get more discount: Y573BE9B17953000 - Price tag $385!








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