The Sidewinder X1 is a great FDM choice for anyone looking to get into 3D printing. Its low cost (Under $500)makes it accessible to a wide range of users, while its weight class shows that it offers the same features and reliability as machines costing much more.
However, among all its promise and popularity, it also has its fair share of issues. One of the most common complaints is that the part cooling isn’t adequate enough, leading to uneven prints at times. Beyond this, there are also reports of faulty cable connectors and failing heat bed cables – two areas that can be incredibly troublesome if they become too problematic.
But now, with the helpful community of folks who have used it and come up with solutions, there can be further upgrades that can turn this machine into the ultimate printing master. If you’re looking to beef up your 3d printer without breaking your budget, then you’ll want to check out all the upgrades available for the Sidewinder X1.
Upgrading to a BLTouch is an ideal choice for beginners because of the extra user-friendliness it brings. Tramming, otherwise known as levelling the bed, becomes effortless and fast with this mod since the specially designed sensor can detect the build plate or nozzle tip height in just seconds. Rather than using difficult-to-navigate knobs, users benefit from an accurate automatic tramming process that takes out any guesswork that might come with making manual adjustments.
When it comes to printing on different surfaces the BLTouch is an incredibly helpful tool. Not only can it ensure that the nozzle stays the correct distance away from the bed for the layer height, but also automatically compensates when there is a change in surface type. For instance, you could go from printing PLA on a PEI sheet to nylon printing on a Garolite FR4 sheet in a matter of minutes, as the BLTouch will register and adjust to the different heights between these surfaces. This makes transitioning between materials much faster and easier and therefore increases productivity.
You will require a printed mount to install it. This mount from Remix is especially helpful since it not only facilitates BLTouch assembly but also helps improve fan ducting in the printer. If you plan to install a BLTouch for yourself, take a look at Waggster’s YouTube tutorial for all the details on what additional hardware you’ll need and how it all comes together.
- What does it improve? simplifies levelling and minimizes manual calibration when switching build surfaces
- Who designed it? 3dprintbeginnercom
- How popular/printable is it? This design has received four Makes, with three of the four printed in PLA.
- How much is it? A BLTouch costs between $35 and $50, depending on the retailer, but model files are free.
Ribbon Cable Relief Brackets
Artillery printers, such as the Sidewinder, use ribbon cables for connecting their components together which can provide a more streamlined and modern look. However, these wires are quite delicate and known to become disconnected during operation, potentially resulting in errors that can temporarily stop your printer or worse yet, cause it to continue working without one of its components.
To solve this problem, there’s an assortment of brackets that have been made to hold the cable in place. While each bracket may look different from one another, they all serve the same purpose: keeping your connection secure so that it doesn’t come undone or move around.
- What does it improve? prevents the printer from freezing or the cables from disconnecting mid-print.
- Who designed it? TheGooNie
- How popular/printable is it? This design has had 18 Makes, the majority of which have been in PLA.
- How much is it? Free model files are available.
- Where can I get it? Thingiverse
Side Spool Holder
One of the aspects of the Sidewinder X1 3D Printer which can be improved is its spool holder. While being adjustable, unlike fixed hanger designs such as those found in the Ender 3, it has a big downside due to its tendency to cause spools to fall off.
On top of that, adjusting the spool holder requires additional time invested in loosening t-nuts.
An effective, budget-friendly solution is available however: a bracket that moves the spool to the top of the Z-axis gantry and locks it in place more securely. This fix reduces the ringing and will only set you back around $20 – worth considering if your prints are being affected by problems with the original design.
- What does it improve? holds different-sized filament spools more quickly and easily, and prevents them from easily falling off.
- Who designed it? Nosocialife
- How popular/printable is it? Although it has been suggested on Reddit, this design has only ever been made by the creator.
- How much is it? Additional hardware should cost less than $20, and model files are free.
- Where can I get it? Thingiverse
Cable Chain Relief
One of the other problems with the Sidewinder X1 3D printer is its tendency for the heated bed cables to become loose or break. Not only does this mean that you need to replace the cable, but it also causes a lot of extra fuss.
However, there is an easy way to prevent this from happening. By incorporating a cable chain into your system setup, you can ensure that the heated bed cables are properly supported and don’t end up getting tangled in other components.
- What does it improve? the heated bed cables are supported and prevented from prematurely breaking.
- Who designed it? Skinah
- How popular/printable is it? In either PLA or PETG, there have been four makes of this design.
- How much is it? The model file is available for free.
- Where can I get it? Thingiverse
Extruder Idler Arm
The Sidewinder X1 frequently experiences issues with the idler or feeder arm. Without a properly functioning feeder arm – the part of the printer responsible for holding the filament against the extruder gear – the overall quality and accuracy of your prints will suffer greatly. Unfortunately, on the Sidewinder X1 model, this feeder arm is weak and can flex, reducing pressure on the filament.
Luckily though, this issue can be easily addressed with a simple purchase: a new metal feeder arm can be found online for less than $15 at Amazon and should fix any idler problems your printer may have.
- What does it improve? better holds the filament and prevents slipping
- Who designed it? Numerous
- How much is it? Under $15
E3D V6 Volcano Hot End
The Sidewinder X1 is unique in that it comes stock with a clone of the highly praised and trusted E3D Volcano. Though its clone hot end has numerous advantages, there are some drawbacks when comparing it to the genuine. One such limitation is the fact that the PTFE tube inside decreases its maximum temperature capabilities, which can be an issue for high-temperature filaments like polycarbonate. To prevent this, it is encouraged to not exceed 240 °C as the PTFE tube contains materials that can break down and emit dangerous fumes at higher temperatures.
This issue can easily be circumvented by upgrading and purchasing a genuine E3D Volcano hot end. Not only does it have a larger melt zone which can offer faster extrusion of material, but with its ability to heat up above 285 °C hot, you will be able to achieve excellent results at high speeds or with larger nozzles. And if that’s not enough, the E3D Volcano is also compatible with other E3D products including Titan Aero, Super Volcano and V6 nozzles so you can benefit from their superior reliability and quality as well.
If you choose this option, make sure to use the 24-V Volcano model because the 12-V model will not work with your X1.
- What does it improve? Enhances the maximum printing temperature as well as the dependability and quality of your hot end.
- Who designed it? E3D
- How much is it? Under $70 as a kit, and less than $90 assembled
Part Cooling Fan Duct
Poor airflow is an issue many printers face, and the Sidewinder X1 is no exception. Without proper airflow directed at the print and around the nozzle, printing defects can occur. Making sure part cooling is properly facilitated creates many benefits; it not only minimizes stringing but helps ensure each layer rests securely. The result being this allows for the next layer to adhere without warping, which is especially important when a model has bridging involved.
- What does it improve? Cooling of general parts and nozzles
- Who designed it? CarstenD
- How popular/printable is it? This design has received over 160 likes and two makes.
- How much is it? Although the model files are free, you’ll need some screws and nuts to install it.
- Where can you find it? Thingiverse
E3D Metal Nozzles
If you’re an avid 3D printer, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the size of nozzle that most 3D printers use. While coming with a 0.4-mm nozzle is standard, in the case of the Sidewinder X1, going even bigger can offer great benefits. Increasing to a 0.6-mm nozzle increases the amount of plastic extruded by one-third, ensuring your prints finish faster than ever before. This additional power could mean that projects are completed sooner than expected.
One more benefit is, While standard nozzles are more than sufficient for most basic filament types, such as ABS, PLA and PETG, hardened or steel nozzles will be required if you want to start printing with abrasive filament materials, such as nylon or glow-in-the-dark filament.
- What does it improve? Allows for faster printing and use of more abrasive filaments
- Who designed it? E3D
- How much is it? Price varies depending on the size and type of nozzle.
- What does it improve? This enables faster printing and the use of more abrasive filaments.
- Who designed it? E3D
- How much is it? The cost varies according to the size and type of nozzle.
Bed-slinger style printers, like the Sidewinder X1, can have print quality issues if not properly supported. This is where gantry supports come in – they improve rigidity in the z-axis and make a huge difference to overall print quality.
At higher speeds of over 80-100 mm/s, the positive influence of these supports really shines through; without them, you may find that speed comes at the expense of minor imperfections like ringing.
Upgrading your printer requires some additional hardware and step-by-step instructions can be found on the model’s page.
- What does it improve? enables faster print speeds by increasing the printer’s rigidity
- Who designed it? neophrema
- How popular/printable is it? This design has received eight Makes and three Remixes in both PLA and PETG.
- How much is it? The model files are free, but installing them requires some rods, nuts, and screws.
- Where can I find it? Thingiverse
I am Ganesh Divte. I work as a Quality Assurance Engineer at Dhruvtara WireTech PVT LTD. I have experience in SLS, DMSL, FDM, and SLA additive manufacturing processes. I am very enthusiastic about additive manufacturing and its potential to change the way we manufacture products. I believe that Additive Manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry and make it more efficient and sustainable.