Shenzhen Tronxy Technology is a serious Chinese manufacturer popular for its high-quality printers. The Tronxy X5SA is an upgrade of the famous Tronxy X5S which got a fair amount of criticism after its release. Tronxy decided to address some of the issues then added a whole lot of convenient features. For a printing enthusiast and dedicated maker, the machine is a great starting point.
The X5SA doesn’t look so different from its predecessor as it has an equally generous build volume and CoreXY frame design. It only has a few tweaks on its hood and frame. The features are also much improved. Our in-depth Tronxy X5SA review highlights all the printer’s features and its worth.
The Tronxy X5SA is one of the 3D printers that offer a decent pennyworth. The CoreXY 3D printer sets itself apart with a DIY kit. The kit consists of different rods, nuts, and several washers for easy assembly of the unit. It is cube-shaped like every other CoreXY 3D printer. Its larger-than-usual build volume and semi-automatic bed leveling are some of the features that distinguish it from other printers within its price range.
The machine also has a stable structure owing to its double aluminum framing. The aluminum is much more reliable than acrylic and it is more compatible with large-size print models. Moreover, the printer has a design structure that eliminates vibrations during printing. This is because its stepper motor remains in a state of inertia hence the high-precision printing it is famous for. On top of the large build area, the X5SA boasts a smooth platform with a superb surface to print your models. Plus, you wouldn’t need to set up the printing bed with glue. The only downsides to this printer are difficult assembly, especially for new users and inefficient quality control. Some users have complained of quality inconsistency and missing parts. All in all, it’s a solid choice for the money, especially for beginners and intermediate users.
The Tronxy X5SA’s print head moves in the X and Y axes by employing 2 long-timing belts. Each of the belts is connected to a stepper motor. The print bed rides up and down the Z-axis on guide rods and lead screws hence the steady movement. It uses linear LM8UU bearings. The stable movement together with synchronized motors facilitate better printing precision.
There are times when the movement on the X and Y axes experiences hiccups. This happens when the x-carriage has a notching problem with the wheels. The notching problem can be persistent even after replacing the wheels.
Also, the 2 guide rods can get out of sync because they run independently. This is likely to happen when you are turning the printer off.
The Tronxy X5SA has the CoreXY 3D printer design with a cube-like shape. The design is much better than the standard Cartesian XY 3D printers design in multiple ways. First off, its motors are stationary. This means you get less vibrations and torque. Also, its two Z-axis lead rods increase its print bed’s stability which cancel all the vibrations that can jeopardize the quality of prints. Generally, the printer’s design structure facilitates high-precision printing.
The overall construction of the printer is superb. It owes its sturdiness to the aluminum double frame. Aluminum is more reliable than acrylic and is much more suitable for making large prints.
The printer’s cube shape is also an advantage as it facilitates its stability. What’s more, its appearance is more beautiful and concise thanks to its 30-pin cable design. You can say goodbye to chaotic and complicated electricity line.
The printer features a larger-than-usual build volume in its gantry. The print plate measures 330 x 330mm which is typical of the CoreXY design.
4 clippers hold the print bed in place but it is removable. Its Builtak-like surface has strong adhesive properties that ensure prints stick to it well. Though removing the prints can also be quite the hassle. You might require blunt force to succeed.
The printer features a nozzle that provides a layer of resolution ranging between 0.1 and 0.4mm. The resolution is pretty decent and you can rely on it for high-quality prints.
The Tronxy X5SA’s printing speed is pretty impressive. This is thanks to its sturdy cube-like frame. Even with standard drivers and board, the printer takes 100mm/s to print models which is way faster than many other printers within its range.
The printer has a decent resolution range that produces relatively good prints for most projects. Getting it to start printing is also a tad easier compared to its counterparts like the X3S.
The printer owes its accurate printing capabilities to its hybrid bearing setup. It uses pulley bearings for the X and Y axes and linear bearing for the Z-axis. The linear bearings are behind the precise prints but they tend to wear out fast.
One of the main drawbacks of this printer is that it has problems managing its heating system well.
The X5SA is fitted with a single extruder and it is moved by a Bowden extruder drive thus much lighter and faster. The Bowden extruder is fitted onto the backside of the printer’s frame. It is perfect for printing high-quality models, especially ones with a long, continuous design.
There is an old thought that flexible filament cannot be used with a Bowden extruder. It’s actually possible because a Bowden extruder has its cold-end with the drive placed at a fixed point on the printer. This provides no room for the filament to wiggle or move, thereby allowing it to move just fine through the tube into the hot-end.
The hot-end is pretty much similar to that of Ender 3 printers. It comes with a small heat sink and it’s highly prone to heat creep. Some users have complained that the extruder tube is inconveniently positioned as it interferes with the carriage pulley making it hard move around with the machine.
The printer features an MK2a heated bed that has V-slot aluminum extrusions. It dramatically improves the print quality by keeping the extruded plastic warm. It also prevents warping which is caused by plastic on the edges of the part of the model cooling down unevenly compared to the plastic on the inside of the model.
The printer comes with Tronxy’s Slicer software. The software is a proprietary skin of the Cura slicer and it is compatible with Mac OS, Windows and Linux operating systems. The software is pretty straightforward when it comes to altering print settings. Its simplicity explains its ease of use. It doesn’t offer much in terms of tools and function for modifying your 3D designs. You only get basic print control.
The software is good but not perfect. It has its own issues. For instance, the tool path it creates seems a bit optimized to enhance stringing. It also tends to underestimate the length of a print job. Most of the times it estimates the printing time at almost half of the actual time the print job takes. In case you are not satisfied with the software, you can use a more versatile alternative like the Repetier-Host or Cura that has and X5SA profile.
When it comes to connectivity, you have 2 options; printing from an SD card or USB drive. You don’t get Wi-Fi connectivity. You first must use the Tronxy Slicer software to create the G-code for your model, after which you load it to your SD card or USB drive. You can then connect either to the printer to start the printing process from the onboard touchscreen.
Owing to its heated build plate and an extruder that can reach 270 degrees Celsius, the X5SA can print multiple kinds of materials. It supports myriads of filaments including; ABS, HIPS, and PLA. It also supports flexible materials like TPU.
Of all these materials, the printer works best with PLA. It might not give superb results with ABS and other materials that are super-sensitive to fluctuations in temperatures. Its open-frame design exposes its build area and print model to room temperature.
The Tronxy X5SA is one of the best easy to use 3D printers out there. It comes with a 3.5-inch full-color touch screen that is bright and clear. You’ll only wish it was a capacitive touch than a resistive touch as it’s a bit slow and requires hard pressing.
If you are a printing enthusiast, you will find the menu quite okay. Beginners will find the menu pretty unintuitive. Reading its texts is a bit of a hassle because they are tiny. Wrapping your head around the firmware to know what and how to adjust will also be a bit of a struggle. Also, if you are used to Marlin interfaces, you will find the printer’s interface a tad confusing. For example, you have to increase and decrease the temperatures manually because there are no preset options for preheating.
Another fatal flaw you will notice on the firmware is its tendency to reboot randomly in the middle of a print. It’s probably caused by bad memory on the printer’s control board or a software bug. Some users have complained that the controller can reset itself multiple times if it runs for more than 24 hours.
On the bright side, the printer features some convenient features like the filament run-out detection that ensures you are never caught off guard and the resume-print function that allows it to resume a print in case of a blackout or any other unexpected interruption.
Maintenance with the X5SA is just as complicated as it is with other 3D printers. There are several things you must do to keep the 3D printer running and performing perfectly for a long time. Here are a few maintenance tips you could use to increase your machine’s lifespan;
Some of the regular preventive maintenance measures you can take include:
Once you are done with the preventive maintenance, you can calibrate your printer. Once you are confident that everything is working fine, calibrate your printer to avoid low-quality prints, overheating and extrusion issues.
For planned maintenance you can do the following;
Tronxy offers a 1-year warranty and lifetime technical support for the X5SA. Their customer care is top-notch. They are responsive and helpful. If you encounter any trouble with the printer, you can always reach out to them on their website which is in English or get their contact information for direct calls and emails.
The company honors the warranty as many users have reported that they send replacement parts without any issues.
The Tronxy X5SA is quite affordable with a price point just under 300 dollars. Any 3D enthusiast can afford the printer. The price is one hell of a bargain given the printer has loads of impressive features like a large build area, heated print bed, and compatibility to a wide range of print materials.
The CoreXY design, DIY kit and sturdy frame also come as a surprise at such a price point. Very few printer will offer you such features within the price range. The Tronxy X5SA is therefore one of the best 3D printers with excellent value for money.
Other convenient features on the Tronxy X5SA include:
Filament run-out detection
You might think this is a standard feature but there are so many 3D printers that don’t come with it. It is an extremely handy feature because if you are printing models as large as the printer allows, you are bound to run out of filament quickly.
The filament run-out detection system has a sensor that can detect when your filament is low or finished. It alerts you by setting off a beeping alarm then automatically pauses the printing until you change the filament.
This is meant to take the hassle out of leveling the bed. All you are required to do is follow instructions once the machine has taken note of the print bed’s position.
However, many users have reported that the auto-leveling function doesn’t really make bed leveling easy. It has a sensor that measures 16 points across the bed and only shows relative height on each of the points instead of making adjustments on the build plate. The height shown on the 16 points will allow you to know the differences in levels so you can adjust to compensate.
The machine features 6 bed-leveling knobs that require manual adjustments for the bed to be even. It is not completely automatic as the manufacturer claims, but it is better than the entirely manual ones.
One challenge you might experience when bed leveling is the unevenness of the build plate. You might get a machine with uneven areas on its build plate which the sensor fails to pick up forcing you to print with rafts or fatter layers.
Also, you have to keep checking and re-leveling the bed before every print because the printer’s motors don’t feature an end-stop. In place of an end-stop. They have a leveling probe which is much more prone to errors compared to a physical end-stop.
|· Produces good quality prints
· Has a large build volume
· Sturdy frame
· Fast printing speed
· Excellent price point with good value for money
· 1-year warranty
|· Requires constant bed leveling
· Limited firmware
· Removing prints from the bed can be a challenge
· Cable chain rubs on belts
Our Tronxy X5SA review depicts the printer as a solid option for beginners and intermediate 3D printing enthusiasts. With the large build volume, you can experiment with both small and large print models. However, the machine needs a lot of tweaking to function reliably. Its print quality is also sub-par compared to that of high-end models. Though at its price point, everything does make sense.