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On August 8th, the Artillery Genius Pro and Sidewinder X2 were officially revealed and released for sale. The official Artillery website artillery3d.com now offers both 2021 models. Special launch prices were available for a limited time.
In this article, we will be unboxing and reviewing the new Artillery Genius Pro FDM 3D printer. Component upgrades and alternative versions may be offered at some point. The prior generation of the Genius and Sidewinder could be upgraded with official metal extruders, all-metal hot-ends and hardened steels nozzles. Keep an eye out for these items in the coming months.
Genius Pro Highlighted and Updated Features
The Genius Pro is an FDM Cartesian “bed-slinger” 3D printer that has some upgrades compared to the original Artillery Genius. Below are some details.
|Printing Size||220mm x 220mm x 250mm|
|Main Board||32 Bit – With Quiet Drivers||Pro Upgrade|
|Z-Axis||Dual Motors||Belt Connected with using upgraded braces with Pro|
|Filament Runout||Sensor Included|
|Bed Leveling/Tramming||BLT Style Sensor||Pro Upgrade|
|Power Supply||Single Model for 100-240V||Pro Upgrade|
|Heated Bed||Silcone Pad using AC Mains||Pro upgraded wiring|
|User Interface||Touch Screen|
|Input||SD Micro or USB||Thumb drive Included|
|Feeder||Bowden Style||Plastic Titan Style|
|Nozzle||Volcano Style||0.4 Included|
Artillery Genius Pro Unpacking and Setup
The Genius Pro 3D printer was packaged securely in a company branded box. The box includes the model name, a drawing of the printer and Artillery packaging tape. Artillery secured the Hornet with multiple pieces of dense foam and zip ties to prevent shipping damage and movement. Unfortunately, the part cooling fan nozzle broke off inside the package. All the other components were intact, with no pieces missing. Reattaching the nozzle a tightening a loose eccentric nut are addressed below.
Genius Pro Unboxing was straightforward. Here are some pictures for those that love images of fresh-out-of-the-box printers.
Genius Pro Assembly
Putting the Artillery Genius Pro together was quick and simple. The upper X-Z gantry is pre-assembled and is attached with four screws. The Pro’s hotend wires now automatically lineup and insert their plug while placing the gantry. After a few more wire connections, all that is left is to assemble the filament holder with four more screws and then place it onto the top of the X-Z gantry. Cut a few zip ties on the X-Axis and plug in the 3D printer.
Assembly is now complete. However, be sure to check and adjust all the eccentric nuts, so that the axes move freely without wobbling. Below is a quick video explaining 3D printer’s eccentric nuts and how to properly adjust them. The Genius Pro’s Z-Axis nuts are adjusted with two small set/grub screws, yet the adjustment concept is the same.
NOTE: As mentioned above, my part cool fan’s nozzle fell off during assembly/shipping. It is normally attached with a few drops of super (CA) glue. I reattached mine temporarily with hot glue, just in case I want to add a different nozzle for improved overhang cooling. Thus my pictures show a messy blob of glue on my hotend assembly.
Print Bed Leveling with Sensor
After the quick assembly and eccentric nut adjustment, we can power up the printer. Next, we should check and adjust the level (tramming) of the bed and adjust the Z-offset. The Artillery Genius Pro now comes with a mechanical bed sensor (BLT style) pre-installed. Additionally, the on-screen menus and clearly written owner’s manual will allow novice or expert users adjust their bed and Z-offset.
Using the on-screen menu moves the nozzle to the four corners, in any desired order or number of times required. Preferences for setting your printer’s bed leveling (tramming) vary depend on who you ask. Hot vs. Cold bed; Paper vs feeler gage gapping; Tight fit vs minimal drag; Plus a few other techniques. Regardless, the Genius Pro’s manual suggests a HOT bed and Nozzle with a piece of paper to adjust the four corners.
Once you are satisfied with the bed leveling, you can use another on-screen menu to tweak the Z-offset. This will move the nozzle to the center of the bed. There you can adjust the nozzle up or down in small (0.025) increments, to get a better gap in the center and accommodate for the sensor’s Z-location on your specific machine. Again, the manual is very clear and easy to follow for this process. However, at this time, if you wish to see the actual Z-offset value, a USB connection and program like Pronterface will be required (using the M503 command).
Artillery Genius Pro Slicer Profile Setup
Surprisingly, the Genius Pro’s USB drive does not include any sample gcodes, STL files or slicer profiles. Thankfully setting up a slicing profile for the Artillery Genius Pro is a piece of cake with Cura, PrusaSlicer and Ideamaker. Cura and PrusaSlicer have the original Genius within their printer database. Ideamaker has a profile on their website. After adding and naming/renaming your printer, add few extra lines in the starting gcode to utilize the bed sensor and the surface mesh data.
NOTE: I currently do not have the means to verify if the firmware uses the mesh data by default.
Included with the Cura profile below, will be custom start and end gcodes for Marlin and Cura. The custom start code creates a fresh bed mesh before every print.
Cura 4.8.0 Profiles
Although I am constantly tinkering with my Cura settings, here is a link to some gathered profiles and a few specifically for the Artillery Genius Pro. Inov3D Profile Article 3D printer slicer profiles.
Genius Pro Testing and Calibrating
Several test prints were created using Cura 4.8.0. Other versions were causing some surface defects with my original trials. (Your results may vary). The Genius Pro gcodes can be created using any modern slicing software. Cura just happens to be the one I am most familiar with.
I performed basic calibration while preparing the gcodes. Useful guides such as Teaching Tech’s Calibration Github site are great for new or modified machines, as well as for determining new material settings. The Genius Pro’s extruder e-steps were calculated and both PID tuning were performed. Additional prints to improve surface quality, corners, ghosting and movement settings will be done in the near future.
Initial testing was done with layers between 0.20 and 0.08mm thick at 60mm/s. The blue PLA+ seemed to be a little damp. Meanwhile, the silver PLA exaggerates the smallest details and/or defects using the camera on a Samsung S10+. Drier filament, along with minor e-step and flow tweaks, will improve the print quality.
Further testing and calibration determined that the material flow percentage needed to be adjusted. Lowering the amount improved the outer wall surface quality. Typically, I do not want or need to modify this setting for my printers or material. However, now I will be making those adjustments to improve my project quality on all of my 15 FDM printers. Even “experienced” users should be willing to learn and re-learn new things with this 3D printing hobby!
Genius Pro Initial Impressions and Comments
Here are some brief comments about the various aspects and features available on the new Artillery Genius Pro.
- Bed Sensor – Good integration with hotend assembly – Works perfect out of the box – Artillery replacement parts hopefully will appear soon
- Leveling/Tramming & Z-Offset – On screen menus and owner’s manual are perfect for new and experienced users – Note: Z-Offset value is not visible on screen
- Bed Mesh – Creating with the menus is easy – An included slicer profile, gcodes and/or tips on adding mesh specific start codes would be useful for new users
- Micro-Texture Glass Print Surface – Great adhesion with easy release after cool down – Glass is glued to bed, which is great for stability but will make future replacement difficult and messy
- Heated Bed – Has an insulated silicone heat pad powered by electrical mains and a mosfet
- Medium-sized corner adjustment wheels and yellow upgraded springs
- Direct Drive Extruder – Easy to load and preferred for TPU – Plastic version may require replacement parts or upgraded metal versions over time
- Dual Z-Axis Motors – Linked belts are useful for left and right synchronization – Some users prefer belt-free independent motors and the Marlin G34 adjustment command
- Cooling Setup – Default part cooling appears excellent – Screwed attachment vs super glued nozzle assembly would allow for easier fan replacement or alternative nozzle experiments.
- Overall Noise Level – Is extremely low – This includes the main board fans, hotend fans and the motor drivers – New hobbyists may find the fans annoying, but this printer is NOT loud!!
- Pros Updated Filament Holder – Easy to assemble, rolls well and should hold most 1kg rolls regardless spool width and diameter
- Run-out Sensor – Functional and useful feature – Close proximity to filament spool makes inserting the plastic slightly awkward – Filament drag seems to be minimal
- Touch Screen – Good sensitivity and accuracy – Nice modern feature especially for new users
- On-Screen Menus – Functions are arranged well and similar to other printers using the same screen and similar firmware
- Pros Updated flat wires – Clean appearance with improved holders and strain relief – Replacements should be available soon if ever required
- Updated Spool Holder – Solid spinning rods are included now. This was a frequent upgrade for the original Genius – Either style may be an issue for inexpensive/deformed or damaged spool as well as slightly bound up filament windings.
- 32 Bit Board – Includes silent motor drivers, an empty driver slot plus, crimped power connectors, board wires with ferrules and the power supply is grounded to the frame
Artillery Genius Pro Print Quality
Out of the box print quality using factory and slicer defaults was initially sub-par. After performing PID tuning, e-step calibration and flow percentage adjustment print quality began to meet expectations. Additional tweaking of material temperature, extruder arm tension and retraction settings further improved outer surface quality. Currently my Artillery Genius Pro is sufficiently tuned to print scale figures. Future tweaking of acceleration, jerk and linear advance settings will improve all types of prints.
Below are some of the models were printed while setting up the Genius Pro. The list is mostly chronological order. Ideally readers will be able to see the quality improvements as the adjustments were made between each project.
Printed 3D Models
Here are some details about the models printed while reviewing the Artillery Genius Pro. The Light Blue PLA+ is from GST3D. While the Silver Metal PLA is from Solutech. Temperatures and quality varied, as I was still setting up my slicer settings and calibrating the machine.
Retired Superman & Retired Batman – Christos Fragoulias
- Older Models – Available from Christos on Cults3D
- 0.16 Layers – Prior to tuning
- Support Free models
- Retired Flash is now available as well
- Support Free models
Albert Einstein Bust & Gargoyle Remix- iczfirz
- Free models from iczfirz on Thingiverse #4655016 & #4709670
- 0.16 Layers – While still working on tuning
- Support Free models
Leonard Nimoy Memorial Salute – Geoffro (Hex3D)
- Older free model from Geoffro on Thingiverse #702374
- 0.12 layers
- Support Free model multiple bases available – Great tribute to the the Late Leonard Nimoy
- MANY more models available on Geoffro Hex3D Patreon – Access his FULL catalogue after only 3 months of patreon-age
Vader Bust – Eastman3D
- Free fan art from Eastman3D on Thingiverse #4543763
- 0.16 layers – Before tuning
- Support Free model with a separate base
- Fun and easy print with great details
Mathilda (The Professional) – StepanovSculpts
- Older Patreon Model also available on Cgtrader
- 0.12 Layers – Tuning was not quite done yet
- Resized to 140% for 1:6 scale printed model
- Plant leaves’ stems are very delicate for FDM printing
- Great cuts/pegs and incredible details on any scale
Mary Jane – Megha
- Recent model crowdfunded on fundrazr – Available soon directly on vx-labs.com
- Resized for 1:10 scale printed model
- Multiple options combined to make this exact figure
- Realistic facial recreation, highly detailed and well cut for printing
Genius Pro Conclusion
Artillery’s Genius Pro is a modern printer that is easy to use for new and experienced hobbyists. Assembly is quick and easy with a helpful user’s manual. The inclusion of a bed sensor, on screen tramming and Z-offset allow for excellent first layer quality with minimal effort.
Changes from the previous Genius model address most of the community’s concerns, complaints and personal upgrades. Upgrading with a metal extruder arm (or full metal assembly) and/or an all-metal hot end, is an option left up to the individual customer.
Artillery’s 32-bit main board, silent motor drivers, glass bed, touch screen, filament sensor, thumb drive port and direct drive setup make the Genius Pro worth the price premium compared to basic 3D printers. Overall, the printer is worth your consideration if you want and FDM printer with this print volume and ease-of-use.
When you get the Genius Pro (or any FDM printer) do some research about setup and maintenance. Be sure to calibrate and tune your machine and enjoy your 3D