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Artillery sidewinder X1 to Switchwire conversion


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So I started my 3d printing journey with a sidewinder X1. It was a great starting printer with a large print bed, but around the time I was completing my v0.1 build it started to have electrical issues. The ribbon cables they used are aesthetically nice but not very robust, so I'd been expecting it. On top of that the v-slot wheels are showing signs of wear and need to be replaced, and when I upgraded the controller board I never updated the display. So lots of little issues all over meant it's in need of an overhaul. 

After a good deal of internal debate I decided to convert it to an over-sized switchwire-ish build. I can relatively easily convert the X and Z axes to the switchwire as specified. The Y axis is a little trickier because I don't have a good way of converting the bed holder. So, for now, I'm just going to leave it as is. In the future I'd like to also convert Y to a linear rail but I think that will entail drilling holes in the existing aluminum carriage or sourcing a new one. I'm planning to keep the base mostly as-is but I'll reorganize and put together cables into neater bundles with better management. I don't think the power supply or SSR have any issues so I'm keeping them around. The frame and base are pretty solid but I might add some diagonal bracing of the uprights. I'd already replaced the stock glass bed with a nice cast aluminum one from fulament so I'll be keeping that as is also.

I've sourced a new x extrusion because the existing one is a 20x60mm extrusion. I got hopefully all of the XZ motion system hardware and belts now delivered. I'm expecting the rest of the missing screws and fasteners in a day or so. And parts are printing.

Probably this weekend I'll start working in earnest so hopefully more to come soon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The SwitchWinder

Well it's been a little longer than I'd hoped but I'm here with an update. I decided to call this a SwitchWinder because it's not fully a switchwire, it will still have the sidewinder base. I'm not planning on converting the base fully. The base of the machine is pretty stable with all the folded sheet metal so why change it? At some point I would like to work out how to put it on linear rails and I think I'd like to further brace the upright frame -- possibly using the threaded rods that came with it.

Getting Started

It started with a great disassembly and clean-out of all the dust and cat hair. 



I printed all the parts for the switchwire XZ motion frame and X gantry. You can also see the assembled X-axis in the image above with a freshly lubed honey badger rail. I put together the Stealthburner I'll be using on this with a rapido hotend and an omron probe for now, though a clicky probe is probably in the cards before I'm done with it. Here you can see the stealthburner next to the franken-struder I'd created previously.


One thing I hadn't expected was that the stepper motors actually have 6 pins. I assume there are stepper drivers that can take advantage of extra capabilities or drive these in a different manner. If anyone knows more about these I'd love to hear it. The connectors though only use 4 of these pins so I'll just stick with that configuration. 

IMG_20220321_164247.thumb.jpg.817cef401baf18a17a415ac497118cd5.jpg IMG_20220321_164256.thumb.jpg.41f3a01e8aaec8a7e2b9b778bb79877f.jpg


There have been two redesigns so far. The first part is the part of the upper idler support that attaches to the frame. In the switchwire the horizontal beam at the top of the frame extends the full distance across and sits atop the uprights. In the sidewinder this is reversed, the uprights go all the way up and they sandwich the horizontal between them. The stock part is incompatible with the hole spacing in the 2040 extrusion, plus the registration bumps on the back go in the wrong direction.

I wound up redesigning the part and adjusting the holes to fit the grooves in the extrusion. It took a few tries to get the registration grooves in the front which mesh with the part of the idler support that actually holds the idlers together. So here's my the original part and several iterations of the redesign.






IMG_20220321_164103.thumb.jpg.cdf6916b15f34a12e4c176f1acaf85eb.jpg IMG_20220321_164116.thumb.jpg.8630ced1261375114057f258e95b7282.jpg


The next redesign I just finished today. The X/Z motor mounts in the switchwire attach to the base on the outside of the extrusion with screws and a tension hook. The Sidewinder has a horizontal 4040 extrusion that would be great to hook onto -- BUT it's hidden underneath the sheet metal base cover. My original plan had been to just cut through the cover to allow access for this. 

As I was taping off the area for cutting though, I realized that it's quite a lot of area, I'd almost be cutting through the whole vertical height of both sides to make this work. I got nervous that these cuts would weaken the rigidity of the base overly much. So off to CAD up a solution. After several iterations, I came up with a solution where the tensioner attaches to the outside of the vertical extrusions.

Here's the CAD


And mounted...


The motor cage has two M5 screws to keep it from twisting and that can be snugged down once the tension is adjusted. The tension anchor on the side should be mounted so there is about 10mm of vertical travel between the two components. The screw that joins the two parts should let you adjust the tension on the drive belt.

That's the theory anyway. I'll have to see how well it holds up in practice.

I think that's it for now since I'm out of pictures and the left motor mount assembly is just finishing printing. Hopefully next time I'll be able to post a much more assembled machine. Once this all comes together I'll release STLs of all the modified parts in case anyone else wants to do this.

Happy printing!

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Interesting. Following along... I started with an Artillery Genius Pro, which really does fantastic prints out of the box. Did some minor upgrades to it. Pei plate, metal heatbreak, and installed Klipper. I think its a lot better option for beginners to 3d printing than trying to modify the dated Ender 3. I personally love the FFC cables on my Artillery, and I see many people doing FFC mods to their Vorons now. They are cheap and easy to replace if you need to. I actually may pick up a Sidewinder just so I have a printer with some extra Z if I ever need it. However, the Sovol SV04 sounds more tempting for not too much more money. Then Id have extra Z AND IDEX!

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Definitely agree that Artillery makes great first printers!

I'm not totally against the flat flex cables but one other objection of mine is that you are stuck with a set number of conductors. I like the flexibility of a cable chain to add and remove things as I want to. They do make for a really clean look though, I'll give them that!

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6 hours ago, DangerBit said:

Definitely agree that Artillery makes great first printers!

I'm not totally against the flat flex cables but one other objection of mine is that you are stuck with a set number of conductors. I like the flexibility of a cable chain to add and remove things as I want to. They do make for a really clean look though, I'll give them that!

yes true, and that is why I'm not doing it on my Voron. Would be nice if they included extra conductors for that purpose. Maybe they do?

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A lot of exciting progress since last update!


Accomplishments in somewhat chronological order

  • Cut holes for the wiring to come up through the base
  • Replaced the stock Y belt with an extra length of Gates branded belt leftover from another build
  • Greased and mounted the Z rails
  • Put the base back together
  • Attached and squared the upright frame
  • Cut and attached the belts
  • Squared the X axis
  • Attached the counter weight (keyback)
  • Attached the X cable chain (not pictured)

Speedbump number 1: How to get the wiring up from the base

The switchwire has holes cut in the deck paneling to allow wiring to come up and enter cable chains. The sidewinder has similar holes but not in useful places/sizes. So, through a not at all haphazard combination of drills, jigsaws, hacksaws, rotary cutting tools, and files, a pair of precision-cut holes were expertly machined into the deck paneling. Despite the clean and smooth edges of the cuts, I thought it best to line use EVA foam to protect the wires from the metal.


That's totally not a stray tool-mark.

Speedbump the second: Belt paths are a little off


I was able to adjust the belt path on the right to be pretty straight up and down. The left side though was just not working out. It still looked as though it would rub on parts of the gantry. I just needed to scoot the toothed pully forward a few more mm. So I extended the legs on the motor mount by another 10mm and swapped out the m3x30s for m3x40s.

It kinda helped but I've since decided the main problem is the upper idlers need to come out a few more mm, so that'll go on the redesign pile.

Tertiary Speedbump: The counterbalance idler must go where it can't

This is yet another issue caused by the difference in the top horizontal extrusions. Here's the spec idler and the best option I had to mount it, where the ideal position is straddling the joint of the extrusions.


This position results in the cord rubbing against parts of the counterbalance anchor and even slipping behind it at high Z positions:


The solution to this was easy though. A spare idler and mount from the sidewinder itself!


With this in place the keyback lines were much closer to parallel to one another and no rubbing occurs.

The final speedbump: Big Bed Problems

The bed passes very closely by the uprights, and so the location of the cable chains collides with the bed.


So this is another redesign. I modified the design of the gantry mounting block and redesigned the deck cable chain mount -- moving things over by 15mm to let it clear the bed. I should have the parts by morning and hopefully I'll get a chance to work on it more tomorrow.

I'll have to wait for new cable chains to come in too -- when I ordered these I forgot my Z was 400mm.

And I haven't even really thought of how to mount the new screen so that's on the list of things to figure out as well.

Hope some of y'all find this interesting! Until next time...

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi @Atelier De JB Yes I plan to share the models soon. I plan to give at least one more update to bring this saga to a close. I have basically completed the project -- at least to a point where any custom parts were required. I just got busy with various extra responsibilities and now summer traveling is eating my time. But keep a watch, I'll throw the CAD files up on github and post a final build log soon.

For now here is a teaser of the mostly working machine.


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  • 3 weeks later...

The Conclusion?

Well, it's been a minute, but I am finally getting around to posting a conclusion to the build log. First off, for those interested, I put all the STL's for the new and modified parts here.

Cable Chain


I needed a very long cable chain for the vertical motion. I wound up getting 2 V2 drag chain kits and combining them to make one long enough, and then I had a few extra chains for other projects. Measuring it now, it's just about 2 feet long. The attachments also had to be modified since the alignment is a little different than the switchwire. The bottom attachment has to go further back and uses existing tapped holes in the 40x40 extrusion with some slightly longer screws.

bottom atachment

The upper attachment uses a modified part which extends the attachment point further left so it is aligned with the center of the 40mm extrusion. The picture below shows the original part sitting atop the new part which is installed.


And an after shot of the wires running through though this doesn't come until many steps later.



XZ Motor Mounts

I think I may have neglected to mention a modification to my original motor mounts, at one point I extended the posts by a bit to improve alignment. In any case here's a shot of one in finished condition.



Y Axis Endstop

This is a new part, it's just a way to mount the y endstop. It's a bit tricky to get in place. I wound up using some T-nuts and some M5 screws with a few washers for spacing.




I was very excited to get an updated lcd screen finally working again on this printer. I got a mini 12864 LCD panel and designed an enclosure for it. If you want to use this, you'll need to expand the existing opening in the metal case. I did this with a dremel, hand file, and sand paper.


Once that's done you can snap the panel into the bottom of the screen holder. The bottom of the assembly should be pushed through the back of the hole and the front should be added from the outside of the case. The front of the holder has a division that lets it flex around the knob and fits snugly around the base of the knob. M3 screws then go in from the front to hold the two halves together and the edges of the metal case are held between them.



Sadly, I haven't managed to get the panel to do any more than light up. I accidentally got a BTT version of the screen and a Fysetc main board and the communication between the two is less than ideal.


I'm not an electrician, so y'know follow my example at your own risk. In fact don't follow my example -- especially not the bit where you stay up far too late finishing the wiring and then want to try it out and don't notice that you've wired the SSR backwards until the magic blue smoke is released and then have to order a new one.

That said here's an awful and blurry picture of my main board.


And the overall wiring in the base.



That's basically it for the build. I put klipper and mainsail on it and have gotten through some basic calibration prints. I ran into one problem where I'd probe the Z at any position just fine, but when running a mesh probe it would think it was gaining about 0.5mm in elevation at each successive point. I think maybe the steppers are not up to the XZ configuration at this size, but I was able to solve the problem by just slowing accelerations and movements down. Perhaps at some point I'll swap out the stepper motors for some beefier ones.

The other issue I'm currently trying to deal with is that the bed I have is a very nice aluminum one with integrated magnets. The magnets certainly interfere with the bed probe I'm using but I've managed to work around this with 'faulty_region' definitions in my config. At some point I may swap out for a clicky probe or something.

I hope you've enjoyed reading along and hope this helps some of you. Please feel free to reach out for help or feedback if you're trying to overhaul your own Sidewinder. I'm sure there's lots that can be improved.


Edited by DangerBit
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Yep! It's a little hard to measure and I can't find the original order details, but I believe I ordered a 385mm 20x20 extrusion. I might suggest a 390mm though, the printed parts at the ends of my y-axis are at the very edge.

The Y-axis has a 350mm linear rail and the Z are 400mm rails. They're MGN12H rails, and with some tweaking I was able to use basically the full length of the rails. The motion is limited to around 310mm of travel on the Y and something like 355mm of travel on the Z due to the size of the carriages. If you are able to get custom rails cut I bet you could get close to or exceed the original 400mm of Z travel though.

EDIT: Leaving the original text as-is but I misspoke. I meant X-axis not Y in this whole post.

Edited by DangerBit
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Awesome thanks!  I'll probably doing this build after/as I work on my Voron 2.4 build -- I may look at 450mm rails for Z then, if that was the limiting factor there.  I can for sure order some of those.  for the 350mm linear rail -- do you mean the X axis?


I'm doing this conversion for the y axis: https://3dprintbeginner.com/artillery-linear-rail-y-axis-mod/


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  • 4 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

@DangerBit Hey there! I own a TEVO Nereus (discontinued). It's quite similar to the sidewinder, but it's slightly larger. It's got a build volume of 320x320x400mm. After much debating on the Voron discord server, I'm going to try to recreate a Sidewinder conversion but for my printer. Any tips you got? I'm sure I'll need to redesign some parts, especially the grill and skirts. Any other parts I might want to be aware of? And any tips you got for me for doing this build?


I'm probably going to replace everything except for my motors as of right now. I was wondering, what hardware are you using? Also, how fast can your printer go assuming the motors are up to speed (pun intended)? It would be a good baseline for me to judge possible effective speeds. I'm aiming for 500mm/s but I don't know how doable that is, especially when you consider that I'm going to add a flexplate to the bed...

I'm going to try to add a linear rail to the y but I'm doubtful as to how well it'll work (referring to the guide Sap posted). Particularly because my CAD experience is limited and I don't own calipers, and drilling into the bed seems a bit dodgy.

Edited by i_like_trains72
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  • 5 months later...
On 7/17/2022 at 11:55 PM, DangerBit said:

The Y-axis has a 350mm linear rail

how did you placed it? i coul not find anywere in the post if you did so. i imagine you would have to drill the aluminium from the bed frame(or support, idk how i'ts called)

Edited by Billones142
he meant the x axis not y, i would like to delete the post
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  • 1 month later...

@i_like_trains72 I haven't really done a ton of high speed tuning with this one. The bed is a huge chunk of aluminum so that's a lot of mass to accelerate. I usually run it pretty conservatively around 100mm/s and it makes nice prints. It's not gonna win any speed benchy races. If you are wanting to use linear rails for the Y then you're gonna want to make sure you can adjust them to be parallel to one another and orthogonal to the X and Z. I haven't gotten around to it myself but I've seen a few mods out there that you may want to have a look at.


@Billones142 Sorry! I meant the X-axis in that post. I haven't done anything with the Y. Aside from the bed itself and new belts the motion system on the Y is still stock.

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  • 4 months later...

Thanks a lot for this! I'm converting my Anet ET4 and found a couple of snags like not having 4040s but metal sheet casing like the sidewinder does, so your take on the x and z motors will come really handy 😄

I have a question though, since I can't really see in the pictures: how did you install the y axis linear rails? The ET4 has a 2040 extrusion and mgn12Hs don't fit in the sides (thinking about either buying a 4040 for this or maybe just print a riser with ABS using 50% infill so it holds)


Edit: sorry, I didn't see your previous post where you said Y is still stock; I'm guessing you will put the linear rails in the top, since it's a 3060 extrusion?

Edited by Lusanagi
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13 hours ago, Lusanagi said:

how did you install the y axis linear rails?

This is a post from almost 2 years ago 😄 

But... He does not convert the Y axis. It remains the same. He also mentions this.

Anotherr user shares a y-axis mod for the artillery.


On 7/18/2022 at 5:26 AM, Sep said:

I'm doing this conversion for the y axis: https://3dprintbeginner.com/artillery-linear-rail-y-axis-mod/


On that page double rails are used on top of the Y extrusion.

A recent design I saw, where @atrushing has designed a seperate carriage for the plate and uses the rails on the side, which looks great. I would say: check that out too: 



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