Artillery Sidewinder X1 - This Printer Changes The Game...
Artillery's Sidewinder X1 is new to the market, but already it's demonstrating that a company can and does listen to what we in the 3D printing community need and want. Internally they arent new, employing people from other places, and it shows. We all learn from mistakes. We all strive to improve. It's in it's Gen III now, changes and improvements came well executed and at blinding speed.
Whatever magic brought these people together, it's impact over time will be nothing short of amazing if the printer we see right now is any indicator of things to come and other brands should take note- you just had your notice to step things up, ALOT.
Rather than introduce this with a generic "Hey, we unboxed and set this up, printed a few things and are going to give you some thoughts on it..." I'm going to cover some of the things you'd expect and some you usually don't until after you have it sitting in your own home or office, and theres good reason why.
You simply can't give a real review on a printer, or any product until you become intimate with it through use.
Some of us have been at this for quite some time and people look to knowledgeable people for guidance in making a decision, and thats great. Too often though it becomes hype, and printer manufacturers feel pressured to over extend themselves and market competitively in many ways by sensationalizing their printer instead of really making a kick-ass printer. Artillery came to the table this time with a printer that backs itself up without any hype, pure and simple.
15 Minutes Out Of The Box And Printing
Your first experience may vary, but shouldnt by much. The instructions are pretty straightforward and short- because the printer is almost completely assembled and theres really not much for you to do. Thats awesome for a change! Just some quick images:
Opening the box. Alot of care went into packing the printer. It takes a bit to impress us. This did...
And, unpacked. You'll be surprised to find extra wheel rollers, ribbon cables, bolts, and more.
A Few Notes on Assembly:
Attaching The Z Gantry to The Base
Instead of tilting the printer up on its side (and increasing the likelihood of cross threading the screws), move one side of the printer a few inches off the edge of your table or bench- it makes aligning and screwing in the bolts much easier. Repeat for the other side. Don't over tighten them, just snug until you have all 4 bolts in, then tighten them the rest of the way.
Along the way, check all wheel bearings. Doing this during assembly will save some troubleshooting later. This is especially true for the Y-Axis (under the printbed, see picture below). For easier access, do this before attaching the Z Gantry and Extruder section. Unscrew all 4 of the height adjustment wheels and lift the printbed off the printer, adjust the 3 on the right as needed (start with the center) and re-assemble. The instructions show how to tighten them, but doing so this way is easier and allows you to quickly adjust the Y-Belt if its also loose. You dont want any play when trying to shift the Y bed, but still be able to freely move forward and backward.
The others are on the (1) X-Axis (Extruder) and on both sides of the Z Gantry, (2 and 3). See Below.
Connections (Ribbon Cables)
Inspect them before inserting them into the slots because they can be slightly bent. The one at the base of the Z-Gantry is a little tricky and make sure you use the included cloth tape to hold its fold down after installing- BUT wait until you test the connections in the LCD menu by using the MOVE commands, in case you need to reseat it.
Before installing the Z-Stop sensor, tighten all 4 corners of the print bed by adjusting them so the springs are close to fully compressed. By doing so you are allowing yourself more adjustment and lessen the chance of the wheels loosening during normal use. Manually lower the X Gantry by turning the Z Rods (easiest is by way of turning the flex couplers) until the nozzle sits about a card height above the bed.
Then snug your Z-Stop sensor up until it touches the X Gantry rail and tighten.
Then proceed to go through the leveling process.
That's pretty much it.
No, really. The instructions are pretty clear, and might scare you that pretty much theres only a few bolts to tighten and just the short list of helpful hints above is about all you need to get rolling. I want to take time to do a in depth review, this printer deserves more than the common race-tracked run to a YouTube channel for hits. Our video libraries
(a feature of the community here) for it have a dynamic list of the current videos put out by various channels, so take the time to check those out too.
One final thought (now over 100 hours of printing with this machine and counting) - I want to say again, other printer manufacturers have been given notice: Artillery's Sidewinder X1 and their top notch customer support is going to require you to step your game up and leaves little room if any at all for excuses.