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Unboxing the Artilery Hornet

Today we are looking at the Hornet, Artillery’s 3rd leap in the 3d printing market and certainly one in the right direction. The Hornet is an interesting outlier in the Artillery line with a sports car-like body and flashy new colour scheme, a unique bowden setup, new in house built mainboard, among other additions.

The unboxing experience:

The unboxing experience is typical of most printers; everything is snugly fit in thick foam and is secure except for the four bolts that connect the two halves of the printer, which were left in the base able to fall out and get lost in the box, so keep an eye out for those when removing the base half. All the tools and accessories are neatly sealed in a reusable zipper pouch.

The contents:

The printer comes assembled chiefly with two main parts, the gantry and the base. The hotend and spool holder come separately and are attached later. Also in the box comes

  • a standard power lead
  • the bowden/hotend power cable
  •  a spool holder
  • a wrench
  • 5 short hex keys
  • 2 spare m5 bolts
  • 4 m3 screws
  • 2 spare rollers
  • an extra 0.4 nozzle
  • a short spare length of PTFE tube
  • 2 zip ties
  • a USB-B type connection cable
  • and a micro SD card nested in a full-size SD adaptor
  • SD to USB converter 

The SD card contains 1 pre-sliced gcode test file and the STL of the test cube, a PDF version of the instructions, an installer for the newest version of Cura, 3 Cura profiles optimised for fast, normal and fine printing and the start and end gcode for importing the printer into Cura The parts list, construction, setup and Cura implementation are detailed in the included full-colour instruction booklet in great detail. Filament is not included, however, so you must purchase your own to get started.

The setup:

This printer’s building is as easy as it gets and can be completed in well under half an hour, even by less experienced users. The construction process goes as follows: 

  1. Screw the gantry to the base with the 4 m5 bolts.
  2. Clip on the spool holder.
  3. Connect the 3 keyed wires to the Z stepper, Z end stop and the main cable to the X carriage.
  4. Screw on the hotend assembly with 3 m3 bolts.
  5. Connect the extruder to the hotend with the new combined bowden/power connector.

The instructions also encourage you to adjust the eccentric nuts’ tension to tune up the printer’s movement. The next step is levelling and this is handled very well with 9 point manual mesh bed levelling which proves very effective for accuracy and consistency. The adjustments springs are also quite tight meaning the bed should hold a good level for quite a while. After this is complete, you can heat up the printer, load the filament, and start the test print, taking around 30-40 minutes. If this is all good, it’s time to set up Cura, load the profiles and start printing!

 

The printer:

This a very aesthetically pleasing printer with an interesting feature set. Starting with print volume, it sports your standard 220×220×250mm build volume, max 250ºc nozzle temp, heated bed, silent 32bit Artillery Ruby main board loaded with Marlin 2.0.7.2 firmware, titan clone extruder, a small LCD with click wheel encoder, inverted Z axis motor and fully custom hotend design with dual 4010 radial fans for part cooling which operate at a low noise level.

However, the most interesting feature of this printer is its unique approach to a bowden setup, something which Artillery have avoided in their previous printers. The extruders entrance path is facing downwards to accommodate the spool positioning and is connected to the hotend with a custom screw-on aviator cable with an embedded bowden tube.
The tube is not removable from the cable but as the main bowden tube does not extend into the hotend, the cable is rated to outlast the lifespan of the printer. The connectors on either side of the cable are keyed and screw in very securely. The easily removable cable and hotend assembly may hint to hot swapable addons being available in the future.

The rest of the cables are sheathed nicely in nylon and should be a big improvement in durability to the ribbon cables on previous Artillery machines. The breakout board on the X carriage also includes an extra port, presumably for a bl touch upgrade.

The glass bed also gets an upgrade, now being mounted on an aluminium plate but is glued down instead of being clipped on, as you might see on most other printers. On the underside of the bed is some insulation that will stabilise bed temps with the drawback of slowing down the bed cooling. The bed heats very fast being able to reach 60ºc in under 3 minutes.

The frame is very sturdy and the X axis includes a belt tensioner but the Y axis belt is adjusted with 2 bolts but should remain secure. The base is mostly constructed with a bright yellow plastic shell with the power supply and screen being openly accessible from the bottom and the mainboard being contained in its own compartment.

While the screen is small, it’s responsive and the interface allows you to adjust and tune most parts of the machine such as offsets, acceleration and Esteps.

It is almost certainly aimed at beginners with its easy setup and ease of use and wouldn’t look out of place in a classroom, although this isn’t to say a more experienced enthusiast wouldn’t also appreciate this nippy little beast in their arsenal.

In conclusion, this is a capable budget machine that does its job well and with ease and looks pretty nifty while doing so: Hornet, Artillery’s 3rd leap in the 3d printing market and certainly one in the right direction. The Hornet is an interesting outlier in the Artillery line with a sports car like body and flashy new colour scheme, a unique bowden setup, new in house built mainboard among other additions.