Tronxy X1 Review
Along with the now ubiquitous action cams, the market of the 3D printers also started to increase exponentially, tempting a lot of brands to follow this trend. Tronxy offers a lot of type of printers, both the bigger and the smaller ones. After many other brands have already been tested by our 3D printer guru Norm, we are now testing one of the smallest models made by Tronxy and notably one of the smallest 3D printers on the market nowadays. I like to think of it as a desktop printer. Conversely, from the most of other 3D printers, the X1 can be placed next to your PC without any particular problems.
Let’s take a look at this printer specifications:
Tronxy X1 Specifications
Model: Tronxy X1
Inside the Box
Most of the 3D printers come already partially assembled. Well, not this one! The Tronxy X1 comes fully taken apart. Thus, in the box, we find dozens of acrylic and aluminum pieces waiting to be assembled.
Everything will fit and stay together thanks to almost one hundred screws and nuts.
With all the pieces needed to build the printer, you also get a screwdriver and a little wrench that are fundamental to connect all the components.
In the box, there is also an SDcard reader with an unbranded 8GB SDcard. As the Fortune would have it, the SDcard was my first problem. My PC recognized it, but the printer didn’t. I circumvented the problem by using another SDcard. and from then on everything went great.
There are building instructions on this card that, honestly, I found extremely helpful. There was also a free version of the RepetierHost software and a test figure to be printed, in .STL and .Gcode format. Personally however, I’d recommend you use the CURA printing software because it is more complete while also easy to use.
I don’t want to hide from you that the assembling of this printer was a true nightmare. Truth is, the instructions are perfectly clear – but it takes a lot of time to screw everything together properly. There are a lot of screws and little pieces that require a lot of time – and precision.
After about 12 hours over the 3 days of assembling, I thought the worst part was over.
Let me gently and politely state – I was wrong!
When I finally finished the assemblage of the main structure, I started adding the electrical parts. I just want to say that this chapter is composed of a lot of long cables, and all of these twist and snake to the mainboard positioned behind the screen and controls. I’ll let the photos talk.
Long story short, the montage in total commanded my 20 hours. Ok, when it comes to building of 3D printers I’m not the fastest man on Earth, but 20 hours hints at a bit too much!
Components and Building Quality
All the components, both structural and electrical, are of good quality. Nothing seems cheap despite the overall price of this printer. All the aluminum structure is solid as well as the screws. The four motors are perfect, and so are the other, more fragile components.
The only two things I have to grumble about is that the PLA filament was of very poor quality, and it was all chopped in little pieces, thus nearly impossible to use.
The second thing is/was an issue with the heater. In my first test print it just quit working. After several tries I found out that the heater cylinder was set a little bit off its position. Nothing serious, but for a moment I thought the worst.
OK, all the components are pretty good, but all together – do they match? Obviously not. I checked all the structure a lot of times over. Everything is perfectly connected to the next piece, but the two main axes, X and Z were extremely wobbly. The main problem found was that the 3 axis wheels didn’t perfectly fit into their aluminum guides.
Having this problem, the bed will wobble badly on its sides.
I woke up the MacGyver in me and almost resolved this problem by adding a round of scotch tape around the bed wheels.
The Z axis had the same problem, but even with this modification it still wobbled badly and it was not perfectly straight, but tilted at 2-3°.
This problem revealed a strangely imperfect alignment between the bed and the arm of the printer, because everything seemed to be angled and twisted. Regulating the bed doesn’t help to fix this problem as it is completely manual. There are four screws under the fiberglass plate that are used to set the height of each corner.
I should warn you that every time you want to print something, you have to adjust these screws because they are always off their last setup.
My first print was a petty disaster. I tried to print the test object from the SD card but something went wrong. Probably the filament was not positioned perfectly, due its small dimensions.
The second attempt was better, or at least it was fully completed.
The little PLA drop on the side is a problem in the project, seeing that it is always present.
After several printings, I found out that the X1 has a big problem with the structures where it is required to retract the filament, it’s not done very sharply, so it creates an effect that is not pretty.
The wobble problem is responsible for a row of serious issues. The first one is that the printer can’t create perfectly symmetrical objects.
The second issue is that it can’t create neither circles nor tiny empty spaces, like SDcard holders.
Things are getting better with linear objects without particular retraction zones. The perfect example is this little creeper.
As you can see, it is almost perfect. For a creeper…
Another problem that pissed me off is the infinite number of adjustments that you are forced to make, due to bad alignments. Half a turn to the left, and it’s too much, half a turn to the right and it’s not enough; every printing is a nightmare to set up, and every print starts like this:
… or it ends like this:
It’s a weeping pity, since this printer is beautiful to look at and easy to accomodate in your house, but half of its components wobble and the printouts are… far from good.
I tried to also print some objects using the cable provided with the printer, and things went from bad to worse. One and the same object printed from the SDcard is OK – but via the cable directly out of your PC, it is a veritable mess. After the first steps the printer decides to make its own moves which absolutely make no sense, as it goes on creating futuristic flying structures.
Honestly, I don’t know what causes this problem.
You can try to modify some parts of this printer using info from this website:
In that sense, I tried to print a Z axis stabilizer but… I don’t think I can use it.
Summary of the Tronxy X1
The idea of producing a small 3D printer was big, but it was built extremely sloppily. The quality of the components is high, true, however, the assemblage is poor and not sufficiently precise at all. All the wobbling issues ruin the entire printer experience, making it impossible to print something within the minimal accuracy. Moreover, as the printer is fully manual, the eternal adjustments are time-consuming and frequent. I think it is a good printer for folks to understand how 3D printers work, but if you can barely print some simple and linear object, it is then too limited.
I don’t want to completely bash this 3D printer because I want to upgrade it in foreseeable future, believing that there is a margin for improvements. I surely intend to update this review when I find quality solutions for all the problems mentioned.
- It is a pretty, tiny 3D printer, one of the smallest on the market.
- Easy to place in an office or at home.
- Very affordably priced.
- Good to understand how the 3D printers works, though limited.
- It’s nigh nerve-racking to build (took me almost 20 hours).
- Printer structure wobbles (too much).
- The printouts are not at all precise.
- Enclosed SDcard doesn’t work, and neither does the PC-to-printer cable.