Artillery Sidewinder had a baby and clothed in it Blue – the Artillery Genius is born!
Over the past year, Artillery / Evnovo has quickly made a name for itself by offering a competitor to the wildly popular CR-10, CR10S, CR10S Pro. Their spin? Artillery threw in several new tricks into the Genius without skyrocketing the price difference. Key upgrades include a filament runout sensor, power loss recovery mode, and a touch-screen. Then there’s the AC heated bed, synchronised dual Z motors, and a pre-installed LED attached to the hotend to name a few.
Artillery recognised fairly quickly that they had an opportunity to enter a more budget-friendly market space. They began developing what is now known as the Genius. So let’s run through the ins and outs and determine; is the Genius more idiot or savant?
Let’s Talk about Specs, baby!
In rapid-fire, bullet point efficiency, here’s what the Artillery Genius is all about:
- Framing = Aluminum extrusion and ABS
- Machine weight = 8.9kg
- Dimensions = 430mm X 390mm X 510mm (590mm with spool holder)
- Power Requirement = 110V or 220V
- Build Volume = 220mm X 220mm X 250mm
- Control Board = MKS Gen L
- Display = TFT touchscreen
- Speed = 150mm/s max for print, 250mm/s max for travel
- Hotend = Titan-style Direct Drive extruder with Volcano nozzle (0.4mm from factory)
- Temps = 240C hotend, 130C bed
- Connectivity = USB cable, USB stick, TF cards (Micro SD)
- Layer resolution – 0.1mm
- Material capability = ABS, PLA, PETG, TPU and other flexible filaments (1.75mm diameter)
First things first, clear the packaging!
I’ve un-boxed five different 3D printers in my short two-years foray into this fantastic hobby. The Artillery Genius was leaps and bounds more securely packaged than the other four. Foam padding at least 75mm thick was all around. Once all that was cleared away, what lay inside was a treasure-trove of goodies to go alongside the printer itself.
It comes with a kit that includes a plethora of tools. First, a quality control checklist, the thickest instruction manual I’ve ever seen, and a zippered pouch. Inside the bag were extra v-slot wheels, a flat ribbon cable, a replacement nozzle, another LED module for the print head, additional zip ties, and a 1GB USB stick. The stick was loaded with a digital copy of the manual and sample g-code files.
Artillery / Evnovo made the instructions clear and easy to follow. The Genius can be put together and actively printing in as little as fifteen minutes. I had to align the two aluminium extrusions that house the Z-axis motor assemblies to fit into the base and attach the four M4x45 screws. Next, I made a few cable connections. Finally, I installed the two pieces that make up the spool holder. At this point, it was ready to start producing prints that rivalled my Anet A8.
However, I found there were some quick, natural items to attend to get the Genius printing at its factory-design best. I had to adjust the tension on the X-axis belt, by cutting the zip-tie and pulling the belt, then re-zip-tying it. (Side note- 3DMaker Noob chose to reduce the plastic end cap and extend the tensioner beyond the channel of the X-axis rail. I recommend you follow my steps to keep the Genius pretty!)
The Y-axis needed two adjustments. A few quick turns of the eccentric nuts eliminated a small wobble coming from the heated bed gantry. The Y-belt also needed adjusting. That was a bit simpler, by loosening the two Allen screws holding the tensioner in place. Then it was just a matter of pulling it further out and re-tightening the screws. The bed was simple enough to level, using the software-assisted process and the large adjustment wheels.
Let’s get the Genius printing
I grabbed a relatively old roll of filament to print the test cube file from the USB stick. The filament would not go more than halfway through the runout sensor. Moisture absorption could be to blame. In order to bypass this problem, I cut off a short section of filament from another roll and placed it in the sensor. I had the Genius printing in less than thirty minutes from the time I sat down and opened the box – by far the fastest set up out of the five printers I’ve used.
Artillery Genius vs the Slicers
Many top You-Tubers have recently been discussing IdeaMaker, and it’s improvements. This gave me the perfect opportunity to test out the print quality differences of some of the most popular free slicing software out there today. I used the same model and same print settings for Cura 4.3, PrusaSlicer, and IdeaMaker. My conclusions matched what I have heard.
IdeaMaker produced the best quality and the least amount of waste. PrusaSlicer was a very close second, having used a bit more support material, which created more waste. Cura 4.3 was the loser in this test, with several points on the model showing failure. As you can see in the images below, overhangs were an issue. The hotend also decided to park itself in several spots before making its next move. This created dimples in the model.
Additional findings on the Artillery Genius
Unlike many Facebook postings about its big brother, the Sidewinder X1, the Genius’s management of cables – particularly the flat ribbon cables – is well thought out. My biggest wish for this printer is that it came standard with a removable, flexible build plate. One of the first things I always do with new filament or a new printer is calibrated the steps of the extruder. In the case of Genius, I found that it was over-extruding a bit. I wasn’t unable to locate a setting for e-steps in the menu. So, I adjusted the flow rate in my slicer settings.
The Artillery Genius is currently priced around $299. It’s available through AliExpress and BangGood at that price as of the publishing of this article. If we focus on build volume, this places it in competition with the Anet A8, Prusa i3, Ender 3, JGMaker Magic, and CR-20. If we focus on price, the Genius lands somewhere in about the middle of these choices. It’s not nearly as complicated to assemble as the Anet or Prusa and costs $100 less than the CR-20.
So… is the Artillery Genius more Idiot or Savant?
Keep in mind that Artillery sent me this printer at no cost, and I am under no obligation to provide you with anything other than my honest opinions and experience. I love this printer! I think about all the headaches I have experienced with my Anet A8 and JGMaker Magic, after the initial “rush” of owning new printers and being a relatively new maker myself.
Then, there are the countless hours I spent, replacing or upgrading parts in them to squeeze out just a little more quality in the prints. The Artillery Genius has all the benefits of both printers and none of the drawbacks. In the famous words of Reading Rainbow host, LeVar Burton….”but you don’t have to take my word for it”. The Artillery Genius is affordable enough for you to validate these findings on your own!
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