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BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

Since I found out about the BMG Wind, I wanted to test it because it looked like a really nice compact extruder. The BMG Wind is an excellent Sidewinder X1 upgrade which should improve thermal performance and flexible filament print speed.

So, without further ado, let’s see if the BMG Wind from Mellow delivers and if the performance is worth the cost of the upgrade.

BMG Wind

The BMG Wind extruder is a combination between a regular plastic BMG and the Hemera extruder. It’s made from the heatsink part machined from aluminum and the second half made from translucent plastic which is probably the same used in the NF-BMG extruder.

The machining quality is good and everything fits well. I was surprised by the weight. It’s only 107 grams by itself. If you also add the motor, heatblock and heat break the weight is 260 grams which is excellent for a complete extruder setup.

Because the BMG Wind uses its metal body as a heatsink, the footprint is much smaller compared to a BMG + V6 combo. It’s similar in size with a Titan Aero but with dual-gears allowing more control over the filament and better pull force.

Unfortunately, on the bottom there’s some space between the metal side and the plastic one. This confirms my guess that it’s using the Mellow BMG plastic back side. But that doesn’t have any kind of impact on the extruder and it makes it lighter.

Because of the low distance from the gears to the nozzle, and the constrained filament path, the extruder can control filament a bit better and improve overall print speed and accuracy.

To better understand the machining quality, I also took some close ups of the gears. As you can see, they are well machined and will have an excellent grip on the filament. Nothing to complain here.

Next under the microscope is the Mellow Bi-Metal heat break which comes with the BMG Wind. It looks good but it’s under the the Trianglelab version.

There’s a small issue I found with both the Trianglelab and Mellow bi-metal heat breaks. The inside section where the cold side meets the stainless tube is machined flat. The Slice version has a small angle which helps when feeding new filament in. Because of this, you need to use a piece of PTFE tube to better guide the filament straight.

I used a small 10 mm piece of PTFE which perfectly mates the end of the heat break with the BMG Aero. Please note that this might be different for you, depending on what type of heat break you use. Some people used smaller pieces of PTFE (0.5mm to 0.7mm).

PTFE Tube inside the heat break | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

Unfortunately, after a few prints I noticed some molten filament on the top of the heatblock. After further inspection I found out that the bi-metal heat break was leaking between the copper thread and the tube. When I tried to remove it, the tube separated and I was left with what you can see in the images. Failure.

To be honest, I was expecting more from this bi-metal heat break considering that the Trianglelab version worked well for me. But it seems that the Mellow version is not as good so I can’t recommend it. Get the Copperhead heat break or the Trianglelab version.

I replaced it with a spare titanium heat break and the setup seems to work well. I can feel more heat reaching the heatsink and it’s noticeable warmer compared to the bi-metal heat break. I still recommend buying this setup with a bi-metal heat break but not the Mellow version.

BMG Wind on the Sidewinder X1

Prerequisites

In order to install the BMG Wind on Sidewinder X1, you need the following:

  1. The BMG Wind extruder – I recommend buying SET 1 + bi-metal heat break and use the rest of your stock hardware.
  2. 2x M2x10 mm screws
  3. 3x M3x10 mm screws
  4. Printed mounts (BMGAero_4020_fan_mount and BMGAero_mount_adapter)
  5. Air duct with support for BLTouch or ABL Mod

Before you begin

Before you begin

Please note that in order to install the BMG Wind on Sidewinder X1 you need some experience with 3D printers and hardware. This is not a trivial task for beginners and you may break your printer during the process.

Read the full guide carefully and install BMG Wind on Sidewinder X1 only after you properly understood all the steps involved. If you have questions before starting, leave a comment and wait for a reply.

I am not responsible for any damage you may cause to your printer by following this guide. You are doing this on your own responsibility.

Installation steps for Sidewinder X1

Disassemble the old extruder setup

The BMG Wind installation on the Sidewinder X1 is relatively easy. First, you need to completely remove the stock extruder setup, including the metal bracket. You should be left with a bunch of parts.

Stock Sidewinder X1 removed | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

From this huge pile of parts, I kept the stock motor and stock fans. If you want, you can also keep the heatblock including the heater cartridge and thermistor but I upgraded mine a while ago so that’s what I am using now. It’s the plated copper heatblock with the bi-metal heat break.

Install the printed mount

I installed the printed motor mount replacing the old metal mount. Easy process so I won’t go in much detail for this step. Now we are ready to install the extruder, but first we need to install the heatblock to the extruder.

Sidewinder X1 BMG Wind Upgrade | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

Prepare the BMG Wind for installation

Install the heatbreak and the nozzle and make sure you leave a bit of space between the heatblock and the nozzle. This will allow you to further tighten the nozzle when hot. It’s important to make sure the nozzle and the heat break “meet” in the middle of the heatblock, then finger tight everything.

Sidewinder X1 Heatblock installation 1 | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

Next, apply some thermal paste on the cool side of the heat break like shown in the image. This is done to increase the thermal transfer between the heat break an the heatsink. Don’t apply too much.

Sidewinder X1 Heatblock installation 2 | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

Finally, screw the heatblock assembly in the extruder’s heatsink. In the end you should have something that looks like in the picture below. Don’t forget the 10 mm PTFE tube I mentioned before.

Sidewinder X1 Heatblock installation 3 | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

To align the tube with the extruder hole I used a piece of filament. That way, when you tighten everything up you will ensure that the filament path is straight and you won’t have any kind of issues in the future when changing the filament.

Align the BMG Wind Gears

Remove the old gear from the stock motor and install the second gear you received with your BMG Wind. The small screw from the gear needs to be tightened on the flat section of the motor shaft. Don’t over tighten this screw because you can easily strip it and it will make removal a pain.

Install the BMG Wind on the printer

With the extruder now ready, we can install it on the mount. Align the extruder with the motor then use the two bottom screw holes on the BMG Wind to connect it to the motor. Now is the time to check the alignment of the BMG Wind gears. Open the lever and check if the filament section is aligned on both gears.

When connecting the ribbon cable board, “sandwitch” the black plastic piece from the stock extruder between the motor and the board. I also added two M3 washers on each screw to make sure I don’t damage the board and to make everything fit together nicely.

If everything is installed correctly, you can proceed with wiring the thermistor and heating cartridge. Don’t forget to also install the ribbon cable. It’s probably the right time to also do the Sidewinder X1 Ribbon Cable mod to ensure good connection. If you are using an ABL sensor or the LED light, you can also connect that now.

Ribbon Cable installed | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

For installing the second printed mount onto the BMG Wind you will need two 10 mm M2 screws. But before you install it make sure you add two M3 nuts behind the mount. These will be later used to screw the fan assembly on.

After you install the mount, you are ready to add the part cooling fan assembly. Use two 20mm M3 screws to bolt the fan assembly on the mount and make sure the duct is not touching the head block. If everything is set, you can now connect the fan to the daughter board.

In the end, connect the extruder fan to the board and install it on the heatsink with the two top screws. Use the long 50mm screw on the left, and a small 10mm screw on the right.

Firmware changes for BMG Wind

In order to use the BMG Wind, you also need a small change in the firmware. The extruder motor direction needs to be reversed. for this, you just need to edit the #define INVERT_E0_DIR section in configuration.h then re-compile the firmware.

Invert E0 direction Sidewinder X1 BMG | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

To make things easier, I already compiled the firmware for the Sidewinder X1 with the motor direction changed. This is made for a Stock Sidewinder X1 with the ABL mod and the BMG Wind. Download the firmware and follow this guide to install it.

Sidewinder X1 (stock with ABL + BMG)

If you are using RepRap firmware, you just need to edit the config.g file and change the S0 value to S1 on your extruder motor then restart the printer.

RepRap Firmware config for BMG | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

Test your new setup

BMG Wind on Sidewinder X1 | BMG Wind Review: Sidewinder X1 Upgrade Guide

That’s it! You can now power up the printer and heat your hotend to 270C then do the final tightening of the nozzle. Don’t overtighten it. If you need a better way to tighten your nozzle, I recommend using a torque wrench like instructed in the Nozzle Change guide.

Torque Wrench - How to Change 3D Printer Nozzle

It’s recommended to perform a PID tune to make sure the temperatures are stable. You can follow PID Tuning Guide to do this.

Before your first print it’s important to also set your offset again. For ABL users this is easy. You can follow 3DMN’s video. If you still use manual bed leveling you will need to carefully re-position the Z endstop so the nozzle stops just above the bed. The distance between the nozzle and the bed should be about 0.1 mm, so you can use a piece of paper for this.

Pro tip – When changing the filament, always heat up the nozzle to the corresponding temperature then manually feed ~1cm of filament before quickly pulling the filament out of the extruder. If you don’t do this, you can easily clog the heat break. This happens because when you pull the filament you will drag some molten plastic with the filament and that can quickly solidify inside the heat break.

Test prints with BMG Wind on Sidewinder X1

Kif Kroker

The first print after calibration was the Kif Kroker model. I managed to break its legs so now he lives in a box, but otherwise the print is good. Extrusion is consistent and considering no retraction was used, the results are great.

  • Material: Gembird Silk Green PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.12mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 205C
  • Bed Temperature: 50C
  • Print Speed: 50mm/s

Fluffy the Unicorn

The second print was Fluffy the Unicorn to test PETG performance. I the same IdeaMaker profile I shared a few weeks ago for the stock extruder and as you can see the quality is great.

  • Material: Devil Design Galaxy Purple PETG
  • Layer Height: 0.15mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 235C
  • Bed Temperature: 70C
  • Print Speed: 60mm/s

More test prints will show up soon including TPU which needs a bit of tweaking to produce consistent results. I will follow up with an updated profile on IdeaMaker soon.

Is the BMG Wind worth it?

In my opinion, the BMG Wind is an excellent direct drive extruder upgrade for any kind of printer. If you are looking for a compact extruder with excellent filament control, then this is the upgrade to get. It can improve print quality with a small cost.

Compared to the stock Sidewinder X1 extruder I was able to lower my retraction from 1.7 mm to about 0.5 mm. If you use Linear Advance (or Pressure Advance for RRF) you can even remove retractions completely (with proper calibration).

The BMG Wind will be my go-to direct drive extruder upgrade for any printer in the future because of the reduced weight, compact design and improved performance compared to other setups.

Unfortunately, I was not able to test the cooling performance of this setup because I can’t fit the thermal probe trough the filament path as with other setups. But my “Finger-O-Meter” tells me that it works well. The radiator is just a bit hot to the touch which means the cooling works well.

I was even able to print a test cube successfully with no fan cooling the heatsink (I forgot to plug the fan) but after it was finished the filament clogged the heat-break. The heatsink was hot to the touch. So, not a good idea.

You can also check out the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder which is capable of similar printing performance and it’s a good alternative to the Wind if you are looking for a Hemera-like extruder.

Where to buy the BMG Wind?

The BMG Wind can be bought from the following stores:

AliExpress

Wrapping up

Hopefully, this article was helpful to you and now you have the BMG Wind installed on your Sidewinder X1. If you have any issues along the way, feel free to post a comment.
You can also join the 3DPrintBeginner Discord server where you can receive help along the way.
I would also love to hear back from you with thoughts about the BMG Wind after you tested it for a while.

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Nicola D'Arcangelo
Nicola D'Arcangelo
10 months ago

Hi, good morning.
thanks for sharing guide. since I don’t have (and don’t wonna have ABL),
wondering if you can share firmware which has only stepper rotation inverted.

Thanks so much

lupoalberto65
lupoalberto65
10 months ago

But between the BMG Wind and the Areo, for which x1 is better, which one should you take the “left” or “right” version.

3dprintbeginner
3dprintbeginner
10 months ago
Reply to  lupoalberto65

Right

Hunter
Hunter
10 months ago

great guide my aero just came in the mail but i have one question could you attatch files of mounts for motor and fanduct. I will much appreciate it 😀

Gary DiFilippo
Gary DiFilippo
11 months ago

Great guide but, at least for me, using the hex file you provided results for some reason in the hotend fan never kicking on. If I just modify the firmware you’ve listed in other guides it works fine.

Jesus Lopez
Jesus Lopez
2 months ago
Reply to  Gary DiFilippo

I have the same problem, the hotend fan is not working, Did you find the solution?

Jeff Flanery
Jeff Flanery
11 months ago

I’ve loaded this firmware twice. On the ABL only firmware code, the extruder fan is enabled. In this combined firmware, the extruder fan appears to be disabled. I can power it on manual with M106 but it never comes on by itself from the firmware setting. Was that deliberate? I keep getting clogs from heat creep up into the heat break. Can we get your modified source before compile?

John Piccolo
John Piccolo
11 months ago

Hey @3dprintbeginner:disqus Great read / tutorial. Just printed and received all the parts needed to follow the guide. Upon installing everything I notice that I had to reverse the extruder like you stated on the guide. I tried modifying the current firmware I have with no success (3d-nexus 1.1.9) and then I tried to compile a new Marlin with no success (been at this for two week lol). I was wondering if you was able to compile a new marlin for the BMG wind with all the bell and whistle or point me in the right direction on how to make it work. I would be greatly appreciate it.

Ps. I have a titanium heat break and a 4020 fan hope that will change the game for the temps on the BMG wind (if that setup fails I should be getting a bi-metal heartbreak in mid October).

h2oz
h2oz
1 year ago

Hi @@3dprintbeginner:disqus , thank you very much for the feedback, it is really appreciated.

Do you see any clogs or the like with mono-metal heatbreak? In other words, do you think that the aluminium body of the BMG is effective to cold down a standard heatbreak?

Thank you again, cheers

3dprintbeginner
3dprintbeginner
1 year ago
Reply to  h2oz

As I mentioned in the review, if you’re using a bi-metal heat break, it’s all good. I also tested with a titanium heat break but the temperature is higher and might be problematic for PLA.

Also, I recommend you don’t use a lot of retraction. 0.5 mm should be more than enough if the extruder is calibrated.

JA
JA
1 year ago

Was it nessesary to remove stock bracket and make new, printed one?

assassin37
assassin37
1 year ago

i ordered the mellow nf bmg aero-v6, they look almost identical

Markworth
Markworth
1 year ago

Been waiting on this guide. I have two mellows on order. Praying they get here before Christmas