Exploring the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D Printer: A Hands-on Review – Part 1

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The Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Our hands on review series this week looks at the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer.

This is part one of a three part series, please read parts two and three.

Sidewinder X3 Pro Background

Known in China as Shenzhen Yuntu Chuangzhi Technology Co. LTD, Artillery3D has carved a niche for itself in consumer-grade FFF 3D printers. Since beginning their journey in 2018, the company has persistently delivered creative 3D printer hardware, notably their standout Sidewinder series.

When launched in 2019, the Sidewinder X1 turned heads with its remarkable features for the time. Now in 2023, people are eagerly awaiting the release of the new Sidewinder X3 Pro. The tech community is keen to see how Artillery has developed the latest model, given the success and influence of its prior models.

Sidewinder X3 Pro Specifications and Features

The Sidewinder X3 Pro is a bed slinger-style 3D printer made from aluminum extrusions. It supports FFF technology and provides a significant build capacity of 240x240x260mm. The build platform includes a dual-sided PEI magnetic spring steel plate, supported by a segmented 100C heat bed. Four thumb screws assist in initial tramming, augmented by a complete 49-point auto bed leveling system. All axis movement is fluid, courtesy of dual z-axis lead screws, motors, and v-slot wheels.

This printer comes with a dual-gear, direct drive extruder and a high-temperature, all-metal hotend that can go up to 300°C. This means it’s compatible with a large selection of filaments. It features a STM32-bit motherboard that operates Marlin firmware, with the system components being linked via FFC cables. It’s also got a separable 4.3-inch full-color LCD touchscreen to make user interaction straightforward.

When we discuss performance, the Sidewinder X3 Pro can reach a top printing speed of 300mm/s. However, the best results are usually achieved within the range of 150-200mm/s. Transferring data to the printer is effortless, being supported by a MicroSD card and a Type-C USB cable. There’s also a filament detection sensor on the printer, along with a top-mounted spool holder to help manage filament in an efficient manner.

The Sidewinder X3 Pro also has several features that make it user-friendly. There’s a convenient LED light bar that brightens the build area and an automated nozzle cleaning station that reduces maintenance work. Together, these features create a more streamlined and efficient experience when 3D printing.

Sidewinder X3 Pro Unboxing and Assembly</h2

The X3 Pro’s arrival was in a solid cardboard box, typical for printer shipments, cushioned with tailored foam padding. This packaging was crucial, given that we detected a dented corner and a mysterious rattling sound coming from inside the box.

Upon opening the box, we discovered the user manual first, closely followed by neatly stacked pre-assembled components, an array of miscellaneous assembly items, and a bag of extra parts. Interestingly, the source of the rattling was found to be a small, cracked 3D printed piece, akin to a waste bin, which wasn’t documented in the user guide.

Key parts to assemble the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Laying out the X3 Pro’s components, we assessed the parts for assembly. The robust base included the Y-axis, build plate, internal power supply, and motherboard. The gantry featured the X-axis, carriage, and Z-axis. Other elements were an LCD touchscreen, spool holder, filament sensor, power cord, and a bag filled with a spare ribbon cable, “wipe case,” zip ties, screws, hex wrenches, side cutters, spatula, needle for nozzle care, an extra nozzle (minus wrench), Teflon tube for repairs, USB cable, microSD card and reader, a sample of HS-PLA filament, and a glue stick for bed adhesion. And, of course, the small, mysterious cracked piece.

Oddly worded instructions for the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Upon reviewing the X3 Pro’s manual, we encountered some confusing language, requiring multiple reads to grasp the assembly steps. Such issues, though minor for experienced users like us, are common in printer manuals but can perplex novices. Illustrations helped, but clearer instructions are crucial for first-time users.

Assembling the gantry on the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Assembly began with a challenge: attaching the gantry to the base. For shipping convenience, the Z-axis was lowered and secured with a zip tie, necessitating manual adjustment. The manual, showing the Z-axis mid-gantry, lacked guidance for this step. We cut the zip tie and manually raised the Z-axis to clear the build plate, then connected the gantry to the base, ensuring proper alignment of the X-axis power/data connector, secured by M5 bolts.

Further ambiguity arose with the spool holder and LCD bracket installation, as the manual repeated M5 instructions instead of specifying the correctly sized bolts. However, bolt bags were helpfully labeled.

A minor backtrack occurred during filament sensor installation, requiring us to reposition a spool holder screw to attach the sensor bracket.

Z-axis adjustment instructions for the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

The final assembly steps of the X3 Pro involved adjusting the Z-axis.

Adjusting the Z-axis on the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

The instructions to loosen and retighten bolts on the Z-axis side assemblies quickly resolved a wheel alignment issue, suggesting spring-loaded mechanisms.

Tightening the eccentric nuts on the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Next, we tackled the Y-axis wobble, which was quite pronounced due to shipping. Tightening the eccentric nuts fixed this, though the manual didn’t mention the need to do this. Also omitted were steps for using the zip ties and connecting data and power cables, which we addressed.

Mysterious broken part included with the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

Our attention then turned to the mysterious pre-printed bin.

Catch bin installed on the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

It fit perfectly into a hole in the printer’s base, likely serving as a nozzle wiper catch bin. Fortunately, the small crack it had didn’t affect its function.

Cabling up the Artillery Sidewinder X3 Pro 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

After ensuring the ribbon cable to the extruder was properly seated, we removed the LCD screen’s protective cover and checked for a hidden power voltage switch, finding none. Powering up the printer, it was ready for calibration, marking the end of our assembly journey.

This is part one of a three part series, please read parts two and three.

Via Artillery

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