In this review, I will take a look at popular Tevo Black Widow 3D printer. In our earlier article, we compared all Tevo models. Here, I will test out this larger volume 3D printer and guide you through an entire process from unboxing, assembly to printing out with various materials.
The Black Widow is the coolest name for almost anything – including a 3D printer. Taking from the spider the design of this printer is the coolest printer on the market. I’m not much for bland things and I try to spruce up my things with cool stickers or paint.
This printer has the coolest heat bed I’ve seen so far. Too bad it gets marked up with molten plastic. There is the option of using glass but I didn’t have time to order a piece and it was too late after my first print anyway.
The bed is covered with the popular buildtak type surface. Which can be a bad thing. Well, it is for me anyway. Some like it but I find the prints stick to well at times. I did learn a trick but it was too late. My first print was a PLA power supply cover for another printer.
The print turned out great but stuck so bad it left the first layer or two on the bed. To clean it I had to turn the heat up to 120 and scrape off as much as I could with razor blades.
So after this, I started to use Hairspray as a separation layer and so far it has been working. It’s too bad because a glass would have kept it nice. I may still order one.
Black Widow Technical Specification
The Black widow has a nice look as well as a fair size build volume. So far my experience with consumer level printers has been around a 200X200X200mm build volume. This printer has a 250X362X250mm build volume. Personally, the larger volume was great for cosplay models I print. It means a lot less gluing pieces which never fit together 100%.
- Printer model
- Printing Volume
- Printer Dimensions
- Printer Weight
- Max Print speed
- Layer resolution
- Axis positioning accuracy
- Material diameter
- Printer Frame Material
- Platform board material
- Extruder type
- Heated Bed
- Auto leveling sensor
- Layer Fan Cooling
- Retail price
- Tevo Black Widow
370 X 250 X 300mm
600 X 600 X 600mm
- 0.05 mm
0.012mm - X
- MKS GEN V1.4
- Geared extruder (Tevo design)
The packaging of this printer has been the best I have seen for all the printers I have. The boxes are well designed and well laid out. They are not just plain boxes they have nice branding. Each piece to be assembled is clearly marked and accompanied with all screws and parts needed in separate bags. No need to sort one big bag of screws. The extruder comes preassembled and packed separately in foam.
The one thing that did bother me is there is no included test filament. So if your printer arrives before your filament order you are out of luck for trying your shiny new toy. It wouldn’t cost much to include even 10 meters of PLA.
Although it’s nice to include the 8GB SD card it comes empty. Every other printer I have reviewed has included the free software as well as STL files and even Pre-sliced Gcode files for test printing. It’s not hard to copy these files although the pre-sliced files could have settings not well for the filament you have.
My 10-year-old daughter wanted to (and did) help me build my previous Anet E10. We waned together to assemble this one as well. The problem was there isn’t much to assemble there. It does come nearly fully assembled, like the Creality CR-10 and the Anycubic i3 Mega we already reviewed on the blog. It is, however, easier to build it from scratch compared to the Anet A8 for instance.
So I let her help me build this printer when it arrived. I’m happy to my kids taking interest in the things I do and want to build things with their hands and not just in Minecraft and other games.
This printer is made with 40X80MM extruded aluminum and building it was fun. It uses proper T-nuts. Assembly when pretty smooth. The included build manual is detailed and informative. But the Cable chain and endstops are missing a lot of detail so I turned to Youtube for the answers. This video was extremely helpful while building it.
The control box is flimsy acrylic but looks very cool with the included LED strips.
As always, I try to test the printing quality by using a different type of filaments. Below are results for each type of printing material I tried.
PLA is the easiest 3D printer material you can print with. But it does require a part cooling fan which this printer is currently lacking. I’m not sure why any printer company today would design a printer without one.
So my first print being a cover for a power supply of another printer I own was a hard lesson learned. Not because the print turned out badly but because it stuck to the bed as mentioned previously. Even without the fan, this print turned out pretty good. Although it could be better with a fan.
My next print is the very popular Benchmark boat aptly named Benchy. This turned out pretty awesome without a fan. The bow is a large overhang that printed better than any other printer I owned. But it’s not without its flaws. The house and the smokestack has signs of no fan.
So I added the part cooling fan and it did improve the print but could be better and with a second fan, it probably will.
I then printed my favorite tolerance test. This test was created by the 3D printer youtuber Makers Muse. He offered the files for free for a limited time. This tests the gaps between parts ranging from 0.05 to 0.5. This printer did ok but not great. The .5, .4, and .3 were movable with no effort. The .2 took a lot of persuading. There was no getting .15 to .05 to move at all.
Next, I printed something else this printer is missing and although solid they have rough edges from the missing part cooling fan. This is a spool holder. I found a nice top mounted spool holder.
PLA is not good for parts that need to be in high heat situations like in a Car on summer days or in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
ABS is the opposite of PLA in it doesn’t like part cooling fans and is one of the hardest materials to print with. It takes more heat from both the heated bed and the extruder. It also works best in an enclosure where the heat from the bed and extruder help keep the part from cooling so fast it warps and sometimes pops off the bed. Printing small parts are OK. Large flat parts, on the other hand, warp pretty easily.
I printed these two auto level sensor mounts so that I can add the auto level in the near future. I believe all printers should have auto level nowadays and the Bltouch is an option for this printer when you purchase it. The mounts came out OK but the top layer seems to be missing in spots. Simple to fix with extra top layers.
If you need parts that can handle the heat of the sun or the heat of the heat of the extruder and you can’t print it in ABS then PETG is the next best thing. It takes higher heat to melt and it doesn’t warp as easy as ABS. One downfall it’s stringy.
Proper retraction settings can minimize that. I printed a housing for a part cooling fan but I set the extruder temp to low and I had a split that broke the part in two. I glued it back together and going to give it a try to see if PLA prints better.
Next, I tried a phone case for my daughter’s galaxy S6. It didn’t fit but with the extra heat, the layers stuck well.
Flexible Filament (TPU)
Flexible filaments (TPU) are amazing and require precise extruder with little to no room for the filament to ooze out of. The extruder is well designed and enables printing flexible material right out of the box, which is great.
TPU is great for printing things like phone cases although they won’t offer a lot of protection in a fall. They are good for other things like the tires for RC vehicles and squishy toys. I print tires for the Open Formula RC project. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2123450
Cheap printers always come with free open source software. Cura comes on the SD card but there are others you can download such as Slic3r and Craftware. But if you want the best it will cost you $150 USD. That is called Simplify3D. It great because you can customize your support structure and it prints well.
Upgrades and Modifications
Here are a few other upgrades that may be of interest to you if you own one.
If you want to be creative and find the ways to improve Tevo Black Widow, you can either try to design your own parts and modify printers performance, or you can browse through the bunch of free upgrades Tevo users already added on Thingiverse.
Pros, cons, and evaluation
- This printer is heavy and that makes fewer artifacts from frame movements.
- The 5:1 gears and all metal hotend make this extruder precise great for lots of materials.
- Extruder aluminum frame uses wheels instead of bearing on smooth rods. Rod bends easy and bearings wear out.
- Easy to build. This printer is much simpler than most of the other kits I have built.
- Large build volume. The volume on this printer makes it easier to print larger things so you have less gluing of pieces and that in turn makes parts stronger.
- The bed is run through an external mosfet and can handle the current it needs for such a large bed.
- The bed is insulated and heats up pretty quickly.
- Gunner style power button. The button has a cover you have to flip up which is very cool.
- The black widow branding is a nice look for geeks like myself.
- Acrylic housing for the electronics. Feels like it could break easily.
- No part cooling fan. With the popularity of PLA all printers should have a part cooling fan. Especially one without an enclosure.
- No spool holder. Hard to print without a spool holder. You have to make a makeshift one until you can print one. I had one laying around from another printer.
Please understand that these ratings are just a personal opinion of the author. They are not comparable with other ratings or printers on our site since we have several reviewers. However, these ratings should be a guideline to understanding overall printer performance the author experienced.
PRINT QUALITY: 7/10
This printer can be 8 or 9 in print quality with a proper fan.
BUILD QUALITY: 10/10
This printer is built well and solid. I love not having to screw it down to prevent artifacts from vibrations.
USER INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION: 5/10
I give the interface and navigation a 50 because you can’t-do fine control for movement because each click of the dial moves 3-4 positions. So if you want to move the axis .1mm you can’t unless you control it over USB.
VALUE FOR THE MONEY: 9/10
The current cost of this printer is $389.99. That is a pretty good deal for the build volume and quality of this printer.
FINAL JUDGMENT: 8:/10
This is a nice printer and I recommend it to anyone on a budget that needs a reliable printer with a large build volume.
Where to buy Tevo Black Widow Printer?
We recommend several retailers where you can get this printer if you decided it’s the right choice for yourself.