I reviewed the Tevo Black Widow and it is my favorite printer to date, you can read that review here. So, naturally reviewing the newer Tevo Tornado got me excited. Spoiler, it did not disappoint! The Tevo Tornado is Tevo’s response to the ever popular Creality CR10. Creality beat Anet to the punch and did a much better job. I didn’t review the CR10, a friend did, but you can read that here. I had fun reviewing this printer because the lack of issues. So lets get to the Tevo Tornado 3D printer review, we start with the printer specifications.
Specs are important but do not tell the whole story. A printer can have the best specs and cost a pretty penny, but still have many print issues. This printer is practically the CR10’s twin with few notable differences. The heatbed uses AC voltage meaning current flows through a voltage regulator and not the main board which causes the bed to heat extremely quickly. By comparison, the Anet E12 bed of the same size heats up in 34 minutes, whereas the Tornado reaches the same temperature in under 3 minutes. Also, the insulation under the heat bed saves energy.
There aren’t many tools, but then again there isn’t much to assemble. Tools include a few allen wrenches and a sharpened scrapper. I didn’t like the scrapper because the bed is covered in buildtack type surface and I was concerned it would cut into this. The bed came with a pre-tested print on it with the Tevo logo. I’m not sure if they built this printer, tested it, and then un-assembled it for shipping, or tested the bed on a standard test rig. There is also a spare sheet of buildtack for the bed included in the box.
The files on the included SD card are pretty standard. A couple of printer parts are in stl and Gcode format. Also included, is a copy of the Free Repetier Host which I personally don’t like since most of the time software like this is out of date. Cura 14 is often included with printers, however it is very out of date. The guide gives the buyer URLs to free software, it even includes the Tornado config for the Slic3r software. Last, but not least, is the user manual in pdf format.
The Tornado is easy to assemble, like the Anet E10 and E12, with the exception of a few more screws – 12 in total. The printer comes in three large pieces: the base, the upper X and Z axis, and the control box.
The first four screws are supposed to be inserted into the base from the bottom up, to mount the upper gantry to the printer. There are two screws on each side. The other eight screws are used to mount the gantry to the base from the sides. The plates provided give the printer stability and are held on with the T-nuts (aka Hammer nuts), which can be put into the slots of the frame and then tighten to grip the frame. The screw on the left has the Z endstop on it. The endstop is a switch that tells the printer when to stop and then marks that point as 0 on that axis. When you tell the printer to go home from the menu or through code at the beginning of each print, it moves each axis to those switches and counts that as point 0,0,0. When you place the object to print at z0, x100, y100 on the platform in the slicer program, the printer homes to z0,x0,y0 then the print head moves over 100mm then forward 100mm to start the print. These numbers are defaulted in millimeters. You can change them to inches; most don’t because if you ask for help online everyone else talks in millimeters.
Next, you need to connect the wire harnesses to the back of the control box. They have different pin sets and only go in one way so you can’t get it wrong. Then, insert and tighten.
Next, you need to plug the remaining wires into the motors and endstops. Each wire has a sticker to tell you where each wire goes. These only go in one way, but can be forced in wrong. If it’s not going in don’t force it! The X endstop is in a tough location and I had to use needle nose pliers to plug it in. Again, be gentle and don’t force it.
The last thing you need to do is adjust the eccentric nuts on the roller bearings. These are on one side of the three extrusion guides. Two on the Z to raise and lower the X axis and one under the bed to make the bed glide. Mine were okay and didn’t need to be adjusted.
What can I say about the quality? Being a Tevo my expectations were high, and I have to say I wasn’t let down. Below are the different types of filament I tested and the results. Each type has their own strengths and weaknesses. So, depending on what you are printing and where it will be used, you will choose a specific type.
PLA+ has the ease of use as PLA, but extrudes at higher temps with added strength. I only recently started using PLA+ and with the cost comparable to regular PLA, there is no reason not to use it. The first print I did was the spool holder on the SD card in Gcode format. That holder had too much infill and the Y axis shifted about 70% through the print. I wasn’t around to catch the shift so it was a waste of filament, but the part it printed was gorgeous.
My next print was to test the stability of the taller prints. I printed the classic rocket for the only boy in my wife’s daycare. It was printed in Vase mode, which means it prints the base and then prints the walls as one continuous spiral. I printed it with 0 infill and at a 0.12mm layer height. It turned out great, but you can see the dreaded salmon skin effect. You can purchase the TL smoother boards which go for about $3 and up, but there is a chance this will not correct the issue.
Next I printed the string test. This test is used to figure out which temperature and retraction settings give you the least amount of strings from oozing. Figure out what layer each block starts at and then you can change the temperature at that layer. This was printed at 0 infill and a 0.12mm layer height. One more test that is important and fared much better than the E12 was the tolerance test. This prints a block with holes and each hole has a peg inside. The size between the peg and the hole starts at 0.9mm then goes all the way to 0 or equal. This was printed with 20% infill and a 0.12mm layer height. The Tevo preformed ok, not as well as I had hoped, but not terrible. The pin only stuck to 0.3 and down. It’s important to know what tolerances your printer supports because when you start making your own items to print, you need to know how big of a gap is need in order to prevent sticking. For instance, I just printed hinges for a lid. They are printed all in one piece so the gaps had to be enough that the hinge works as expected.
At this point, I decided it was time to stop using the spool holder from another printer and print one for the Tornado. The spool holder I chose was a bit large, but it works and was printed at 70% infill and 0.12mm layer height.
PLA is the easiest filament to print. Although the prints are not as strong as other types, it is suitable for most household printer needs. When I say easiest, I mean it doesn’t shrink as much as other filaments as it cools. When a part shrinks before the print is done it can lift off the bed. The nozzle can then catch that lifted part and cause the x or y to shift, or knock the part off the bed completely. That isn’t what happened in my case above, since there was no lifting. My guess would be that the bed wire snagged the frame. PLA also doesn’t need a heated bed, but a heated bed can help.
PLA was fine for the bed screw knobs. The Tornado and most printers that have manual bed leveling use wing nuts or other nuts that can be turned by hand. The problem is that they can be hard to get to and sometimes hard to turn. So one of the first modifications made for these printers is bigger, easier to use knobs that house the original nuts. I chose these large flat knobs at a 45% infill and a 0.2mm layer height. They do the job until I add auto bed leveling.
I like to print the Benchi for every new printer. It can test many things like printing at angles, circles and overhangs. The Benchi is short for ‘benchmark’ and shaped like a boat, it’s a popular print among the printing community. The Tevo printed the Benchi great, but it couldn’t escape the salmon skin on the sides.
The last PLA print was the famous wrench that is fully 3D printed and fully working. NOT! While others manage to get this to work, I have not. In fact, it stuck to the bed so bad that the first layer didn’t come off with the print. The wrench even broke up as I pulled to remove it which is the same thing that happened on the Tevo Black Widow. I guess the nozzle is set too close to the bed and will now use glass to put over the bed so this doesn’t continue to happen. Like the Black Widow, I had to heat the bed and scrape it off with razor blades. I’m not a fan of these build surfaces but the graphics are awesome! The Tevo also includes a second red sheet to replace the warn out one. I printed this at a 30% infill and a 0.05mm layer height. I did small layers hoping it would work better.
PETG is becoming more and more popular. At least before PLA+. It has the ease (with the exception of excessive stringing) of PLA with a strength closer to ABS. I usually print the TARDIS from Doctor Who, but I have too many now. So I chose the Benchi to see how it compared to the PLA. It printed okay but not as good as the PLA Benchi. Like I said, stringing is hard to control with PETG and even harder with a bowden style extruder. Bowden means the motor and gears that feed the filament are separated by a long PTFE (Bowden) tube. Some prefer this since it is less weight for the X axis to move side to side. With a 15% infill and 0.2mm layer height it stuck to the bed almost as bad as the wrench. It’s hard to tell with these pictures, but it printed better than it looks.
Flexible Filament (TPU)
One of my favorite filaments is TPU. It’s flexible and made popular by the brand Ninja flex. The brand that I use is Sainsmart, which I purchased it to print RC tires. Recently I started printing Pokemon for my 11 year old daughter. This bulbasaur was printed with 10% infill and 0.2mm layer height. Important things to note with this filament is that you need to print extremely slow and your start height can’t be very close because its flexibility can cause it to bunch up. This one printed beautifully! This has been my best TPU print out of the entire roll, I was surprised to see the salmon skin on the TPU though.
The reason this printer prints TPU (and other) filaments so well is because of the Titan Extruder. It is a good extruder that leaves no gap for the filament to get wrapped around the extruder gear. You can see this where I circled in orange.
Last, but not least, is ABS. I don’t like printing with ABS for reasons I have stated above. but also the smell is almost intolerable. People online say to vent the fumes outside and enclose the printer because ABS is toxic.
I tried printing an adjustable Z endstop plate and a clip to hold the glass to the bed. They both failed pretty bad, warped due to the filament shrinking, and got knocked off the bed. Even a small piece shows how much it shrinks.
Because the ABS is purple, I printed another Benchi for the kids. I think my wife is tired of picking them up! I like them and I will build a display when I have the time. The ABS Benchi lifted slightly in the front but it didn’t hurt the print. The print did suffered from some stringing though.
The Repetier-Host software on the SD card is not my favorite program to use with printers. The software just “hosts” a slicer engine. A slicer is the program that slices the 3D object into layers, then turns it into instructions the printer can understand. If you need a free program then I would recommend Slic3r or Cura, but if you can afford it I would recommend Simplify3D.
Upgrades and Modifications
Here is a list of modifications I have done and/or plan to do:
(eBay link) TL Smoothers for the Salmon Skin
Auto Bed Level Sensor (eBay link) (Sensors are from $2 to $10 and are well worth the investment)
I didn’t have any dealings with Tevo customer service. If you have issues, please don’t hesitate to join one of the many Facebook groups. I am a moderator in the Anet 3D printer group and we help owners of any printer type. Just be sure to answer the questions asked with the request or you will be denied entry.
Pros, Cons, and Evaluation of the TEVO Tornado
• The Titan extruder works great and has little to no space after the gear. This makes printing with flexible filaments much better.
• Extruded aluminum frame uses wheels instead of bearing on smooth rods. Rods can bend easily and bearings wear out.
• Comes almost built. The build time is minutes instead of hours.
• Large build volume. The volume on this printer makes it easier to print larger objects so you have less gluing of pieces, in turn making parts stronger.
• The bed is run through AC current and heats ten times faster than DC beds of the same size.
• The bed is insulated which contributes to the quick heating.
• Branding. Tevo has done a great job making their printers look nice as well as print nice. The color, logos, and boot screens have been well executed.
• No spool holder. Hard to print without a spool holder, you have to make a makeshift one until you can print one.
• The Buildtak type surface works too well. If you get your print too close to the bed it doesn’t let go.
• Salmon Skin ripples on the surface.
• Onboard stepper drivers.
• Very slow boot time.
This is one of, if not the best, prints I have ever reviewed. Print quality can go bad with a simple change in the wrong setting, so it is best to make a backup of your slicer settings before making any modifications.
Like the Tevo Black Widow, the Tevo Tornado was well built and well thought out.
USER INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION:
I usually give the navigation a low score, but it appears Marlin is improving the navigation.
VALUE FOR THE MONEY:
At the low cost of $338 this printer is one of the best for under $400. In fact, it is the best printer under $400 I have reviewed so far.
The Tevo Tornado is what looks to be an exact clone of the Creality CR10 with some better features. The Tornado uses the V-Slot extrusion instead of the cheaper T-slot which is used on Anet printers. I love the 300X300X400 build volume. It has been fun reviewing this printer and it prints very well. You can’t go wrong with this printer, I would recommend the Tevo 100%! If you are still unsure, or if you purchase it and need advice, please feel free to ask in our comments.
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