Update: Cura 4.5 has been released and I will install it as soon as it is available in the Arch Linux Repository.
I use the following profile settings for my Artillery Sidewinder X1 when slicing with Cura 4.4 under Linux. But before Cura sees my printer, a few steps have to be taken which I will outline now.
Cura 4.4 has no profile for the Artillery Sidewinder X1.
Before I can print, I must first add the printer and then import the Artillery factory profile. To add the 3D printer, I click the drop-down icon and selected “Add printer”. This opens a big list of available printers but there is no Sidewinder X1. That’s OK because I can add it manually. Here is how.
Adding the Artillery Sidewinder X1 3D printer to Cura 4.4
First, I add a “non networked printer” and select “Custom“. To be specific, I click on Add Custom FFF Printer and then I click the Add button. So far so good. I can now name my printer in the text field. I called “Artillery Sidewinder X1“.
Download the Cura profile from the artillery website
Update! The artillery website seems to be down which is not unusual considering what is happening with the Corona virus. If you can’t find one online, then go to the “Downloads” second (top menu), read the red text and follow the instructions. Click links to download.
To do so, I pointed Firefox to this web address: http://www.artillery3d.com/
The Support tab has two options of which one is the Download option.
I find the line that says “Sidewinder X1 profile for Cura 4” and click on it to start the download. Once downloaded, I extract the zip file which will give me the two needed files.
- Cura 4.0 Profile Pdf
- SWX1 Fine.curaprofile
After I read the PDF, I loaded Cura 4.4 and selected the Preferences settings from the top menu. Again, clicking “Configure Cura” opens a pop-up window.
The Profiles entry is in the left hand table and once Profiles is highlighted, I select “Import” from the top menu options. I then navigate to the SWX1 Fine.curaprofile which I just downloaded and load it. Once loaded, I click “Activate” and feel a lot better.
I now have my 3D printer configured to work with Ultimaker Cura which is a fantastic slicer. I am especially amazed that the software is available for Linux.
The image below shows a sample setting that I just used to print a very small part that is maybe 60 millimeters (about 2 inches) by 20 millimeters (less than 1 inch) and very thin.
If you are new to Cura then take a good look at the very top portion of the above image. The profile section is where I needed to select my printer. Once selected, all the settings will be adjusted for the Artillery Sidewinder X1.
Cura 4.4 most important settings
There are two kinds of parts. Solid ones and hollow ones. If a part needs to be solid, then we don’t have to worry about the “Infill” setting. If I don’t need a very strong part, and have a model that is big (more than one cubic inch or 25 by 25 millimeters) then I use infill.
Cura is complex and 3D printing is a complex process so complex is good. To learn all I could, I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos which helped me to understand each of the settings I wanted to learn about. The above image is meant to provide a starting point as well as the proper terms such as Combing Mode or Generate Support. Knowing those terms makes searching a lot more efficient.
I am still tweaking my print nozzle and hotplate heat settings and adjust them according to what kind of part I need to print.
I don’t think that there is a one size fits all profile. Think of a car and a truck. They both function the same way but one is more useful if you buy a washing machine while the other is great to zip around town. In time, you will become very familiar with tweaking Cura and to be honest, there are only a few settings that really matter. Besides the heat which is tied into the filament type, there is wall thickness and infill patterns etc. Again, those depend on how strong a part needs to be.
Don’t be afraid of using just 10% infill for larger parts. 3D printed parts are surprisingly strong. The other day I printed a smartphone holder and during printing, the part became lose because I didn’t chose an ideal build plate temperature. Later, tried to break that half-finished part but could not. Besides PLA filament, there are even stronger ones but I really want to become comfortable with PLA before printing with more demanding materials.
What is infill?
Infill creates a waffle-like pattern on the inside of the model. This saves a lot of filament and speeds up the print time considerable. There are many different infill patterns available. I just use the default one since it seems to work nicely.
We all learn by doing so don’t be afraid to experiment. I recommend that you start by downloading small models from thingiverse.com unless you know how to design your own models and parts.
What is a good CAD design software?
There are a few. If you work in an professional environment, then you surely heard of and maybe even use SolidWorks. If you are freelancing like I do, then SolidWorks is way out of reach because it costs several thousand Dollars.
I use FreeCAD which gives me all the tools I need. There are plenty of YouTube videos that teach the basics of designing with FreeCAD and if that program is not what you feel comfortable working with, then there are plenty more. Autodesk has student versions which might be worth reading up on.
What is the best help page for new users?
If you are new to 3D printing and have bought the amazing Artillery Sidewinder X1 3D printer then I recommend that you join the Artillery Sidewinder X1 Facebook Group
There are many users helping each other out and the information is of good use for everyone. I have learned a lot and am still learning. 3D printing is amazing and once you start creating your own parts, you will gain skill that can take you down some very exciting paths. Enjoy your Artillery Sidewinder X1 3D printer and have fun learning and creating.
Thank you for reading.