If you were looking for Sidewinder X1 upgrades to do on your printer, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I will share my recommended Sidewinder X1 upgrades with some feedback. This should make the decision easier when thinking about what Sidewinder X1 upgrades you can do to your printer
Sidewinder X1 Upgrades – Why do it?
While there are a lot of people who say that the Sidewinder X1 is a good machine in its stock configuration, there will always be others who are looking to squeeze every amount of performance from their printer.
I somewhat agree that the X1 can run great in stock configuration. My Artillery Genius (X1’s little brother) is currently in stock configuration and prints beautifully. But I decided to upgrade the X1 to fix some small issues I encountered, and also to write some guides on the website.
Before you start adding Sidewinder X1 upgrades, make sure you get accustomed with your printer and everything runs properly. This way, it’s easier to troubleshoot if any issue occurs after performing an upgrade.
Sidewinder X1 Paid Upgrades
TFT35 V3.0 Touchscreen Upgrade
The TFT35 V3.0 from BIGTREETECH is one of the most popular Sidewinder X1 upgrades. It allows users to switch between the touchscreen interface and the default Marlin Firmware click interface.
Besides that, the TFT35 V3.0 adds the M600 command support, which allows the Sidewinder X1 to do filament changes at specific height.
Another bonus is the possibility of buying the screen with a Wi-Fi module included, which allows you to upload G-Code files trough the network. You also get access to a terminal interface and basic printer controls made possible by ESP3D.
In my opinion, the TFT35 is one of the best Sidewinder X1 upgrades available currently.
You can test the TFT35 interface before buying the upgrade, by installing the Sidewinder X1 custom screen firmware I compiled. The interface is the same, but it has less functionality compared to the screen upgrade.
SKR V1.3 or SKR V1.4 Board Upgrade
A 32-Bit board is a recommended Sidewinder X1 upgrade. With a 32-Bit bit board like the SKR 1.3 or SKR 1.4, more functionality can be added in the future trough Marlin Firmware updates.
In the Sidewinder X1 SKR 1.3 upgrade article I covered all the PRO’s and CON’s for the board upgrade.
You can still use the stepper drivers included with the original board, or upgrade to newer drivers. I recommend buying the newer SKR 1.4 instead of the SKR 1.3 because it has some extra features and will probably be supported for a longer time.
Another good reason why you should upgrade to the SKR 1.3 / 1.4 is the possibility of running Duet Firmware on it. I covered some information about this topic in this article.
Polycarbonate V-Slot Wheels
I noticed that my Sidewinder X1 bed wheels were not moving smoothly and started to disintegrate. This issue was causing some layer inconsistencies on the prints. I ordered a 10 pack Polycarbonate V-Slot wheels and replaced the stock wheels. After doing the upgrade, the bed is moving a lot smoother.
This Sidewinder X1 upgrade can probably help if you have layer inconsistencies caused by rough movement and considering the low price, I’d say it’s worth the trouble.
A Titan Aero clone extruder is used on the Sidewinder X1. The extruder does its job just fine, but it has some drawbacks which can be fixed with a BMG extruder.
In the case of the BMG, the filament path is a bit more constricted, and there are two gears that grip the filament from both sides. There’s also the benefit of not needing to deal with broken extruder levers.
I am running BMG extruders on most of my machines, I can totally recommend them for any printer.
Please note that when using a regular BMG extruder, you will also need to install a hotend. You can buy a simple V6 heatsink and use the stock Volcano heatblock with all its electrical components. In the following weeks I will test the BMG Aero, which should eliminate this issue and may be the best Sidewinder X1 upgrade for the extruder.
BMG Wind Extruder
Better Quality Nozzles
I mentioned this in my calibration guide and also in my review. The nozzles included with the Sidewinder X1 are not great. There are cheap alternatives for nozzles, with better quality when it comes to machining.
The NF-V6 Sharp Volcano and Trianglelab brass nozzles are my favorite cheap nozzles. They are cheap and do their job well. These are everyday nozzles, which can be easily replaced if they get damaged or clogged, without considering the cost.
If you want to get better nozzles with improved thermal transfer and protective coating, I recommend getting the T-Volcano Plated Copper or the NF-V6 Plated Copper nozzle from Mellow.
These plated nozzles are great for PETG and other “sticky” filaments and they are easy to clean. I used both, and they worked well for me. Please note that when using plated copper nozzles, you need to be gentler when changing nozzles, to avoid damage. I covered how to properly change nozzles in this article.
I don’t recommend getting hardened steel nozzles because they usually have lower thermal transfer and you need to go at least 10 to 15C higher compared to regular nozzles.
If you need to order from Amazon, the Micro Swiss Plated Nozzle and the E3D Nozzle-X are a good alternative. Either way, any of the mentioned nozzles are a worthy to be listed as Sidewinder X1 upgrades, and they will be an improvement over the stock nozzle.
If you want to learn more about the quality differences between nozzles, make sure you check my Ultimate 3D Printer Nozzle Comparison.
Bi-Metal Heat Break
On the list with Sidewinder X1 Upgrades we also need to add the Bi-Metalic heatbreak. As you probably know, the Sidewinder X1 extruder has a metal heat break with a PTFE insert. This allows the printer to safely print up to 240-250C. If you go higher for a long time, the PTFE insert gets damaged and can release toxic fumes. This issue is further amplified by the lower quality cooling solution included with the extruder.
My recommendation is to use a new Bi-Metal heat break. I covered this on my Bi-Metal heat break article where I also did some temperature measurements to test the thermal performance.
This new type of heat break has much better thermal performance compared to a regular heat break, and after editing the firmware, you will be able to print up to 300C without issues. A worthy Sidewinder X1 upgrade, if you ask me.
I tested the Trianglelab Bi-Metal threaded heat break and it performed well, but there are cheaper alternatives from Mellow and BIGTREETECH. Please note that if you decide to order the Bi-Metal heat break, you should first check if your Sidewinder X1 uses a threaded or smooth heat break.
Later Edit: I tested the Mellow bi-metal heat break and it failed. So I don’t recommend it. Get the original Slice Engineering Copperhead Heat Break or the Trianglelab version.
BLTouch for Auto Bed Leveling
While I was lucky enough to receive my Sidewinder X1 with a flat bed, others are not. There’s often reports of people receiving printers with a bowed heatbed. To avoid this, it’s recommended to loosen all the heatbed screws, heat the bed to around 70C and then tighten them back. This will lower the glass tension and hopefully get an even print surface.
If this trick does not work, your best bet is a BLTouch for Auto Bed Leveling. This sensor is installed on the extruder and then probes the bed multiple times for accurate measurements. Then, when a print starts, the Z screws move the hotend according to the mesh generated.
Sure, you can also achieve this with Manual Mesh Bed Leveling, but a BLTouch makes everything a lot easier. For best results, I recommend getting the Original Antclabs BLTouch sensor to avoid any issues, but a 3DTouch can also be used.
Please note that when using a BLTouch with the Sidewinder X1 you won’t be able to use the LEDs anymore.
Magnetic PEI Spring Steel Sheet
I can’t really complain about the stock Sidewinder X1 bed. I mostly print PLA with good results. If the surface is properly cleaned, prints have good adhesion.
After the bed cools, PLA can be easily removed. Because of the insulation and thermal mass of the printer heatbed, this can take a while.
That’s why I often use a magnetic PEI sprint steel sheet. I use the smooth PEI sheet mostly for PLA and PETG prints.
When I want to have a nicer finish on the print, I use the textured PEI sheet I reviewed a while back.
It’s really nice to be able to mix and match multiple sheets and use them between multiple printers.
In some cases, I need to use some Devil Design Adhesive when printing PETG on the textured PEI sheet just for extra piece of mind. I had a couple of failures where large PETG parts lifted from the textured PEI sheet. This PEI sheet is one of the best Sidewinder X1 upgrades I did.
My favorite plate is the ENERGETIC Double-Sided PEI Sheet which I reviewed.
Aluminum Extruder Idler Lever
One of the most common issues reported with the Sidewinder X1 is the extruder idler lever breaking. The cloned Titan extruder uses low-quality plastic for the lever, so it’s a matter of WHEN it breaks, not IF. The recommended fix is buying an aluminum idler lever that will fix the issue for good. There’s also the possibility of printing the idler lever using PETG or ABS. I did that and it works great.
While the aluminum idler lever can be bought for about 10$ from Aliexpress, I recommend you spend a bit more money and upgrade the whole extruder. A BMG will be a real Sidewinder X1 upgrade compared to the aluminum lever.
Jaw Couplers with Rubber Interface
I am still waiting for my Sidewinder X1 jaw couplers to arrive (5×8). These couplers could help with the Sidewinder X1 Z banding because they use a rubber interface between the coupler “jaws”. This interface removes any vibration from the stepper motors and they also allow for a bit of movement if the Z rods are not perfectly straight.
On my Sapphire Plus I installed a pair and they work great. I didn’t need them, but I had them around and just used them. After installing I noticed a little improvement on the layer quality on the Z axis. Considering these are pretty cheap, I think the jaw couplers with rubber interface are a recommended Sidewinder X1 upgrade for anyone.
POM Anti-Backlash Nuts
Another cheap Sidewinder X1 upgrade is adding POM anti-backlash nuts. You can replace the “Artillery Z wobble” system with POM nuts installed directly on the aluminum brackets.
I successfully used the POM anti-backlash nuts on a couple printers like the BLV Cube, CR-10S Pro and the Sidewinder X1. Besides holding the gantry fixed and eliminating backlash, the POM nuts can also be used without greasing the Z rods.
Here you can see the anti-backlash POM nut installed on a 2mm Z screw with no lubrication.
The POM anti-backlash nuts are one of the cheapest Sidewinder X1 upgrades you can do.
Sidewinder X1 Free Upgrades
Dual-Head Fan Duct
The stock fan duct for the Sidewinder X1 can be upgraded to a dual-head version. If you print this upgraded Sidewinder X1 fan duct, make sure you use PETG or ABS because PLA can easily deform due to heat.
After installing this fan duct, I noticed improved bridging performance and better overhangs. Detailed prints are not cooled from both sides, improving the overall finish.
This fan duct cannot be used with a BLTouch. If you are looking for something compatible, you can try my remix.
Bed Cable Strain Relief
First printed upgrade for me was the bed cable strain relief from Thingiverse. While the wires are somewhat protected with the black insulation, I wanted some extra strain relief for the cable.
Considering the heatbed is powered with AC power straight from the wall, this is also a safety improvement for the printer.
Z Axis Brace
With a total build height of 400mm, the Sidewinder X1 can wobble when printing tall prints. Besides that, the heavy spool on top does not really help.
In order to fix this, I printed the Z brace from Thingiverse and improved the stiffness of the Z axis.
With this Sidewinder X1 upgrade I am able to do taller prints while maintaining a fast print speed.
Spool Holder Extension
I like the Sidewinder X1 spool holder, but not when I use different spools of filament. Two spool holder screws need to be loosened, then one of the sides can slide left or rights. While this workaround is fine for some, others chose to fix this once and for all. Enter the Filament Spool Holder from Thingiverse.
This printed Sidewinder X1 upgrade will allow the use of any kind of spool without any tinkering.
Custom Touchscreen Firmware
If you are looking to change the touchscreen interface on the Sidewinder X1 without spending any money, you can try the custom screen firmware for Sidewinder X1.
I covered the most of the functionality in the article, so I won’t go in much detail.
The upgrade is easy to do and if you ever decide you don’t like it, you can go back to stock in just a few minutes.
Printed Extruder Idler Lever
As I previously mentioned, the stock Sidewinder X1 extruder will fail at some point. So, you should prepare yourself in advance and print a spare extruder idler lever in PETG or ABS for extra durability.
I printed one for my X1 and it works great until the BMG Aero extruder will be installed.
Bed Leveling Mod
Most of the bed leveling systems included with the printers consist have springs. The bed sits on these springs and you can adjust the bed with the knobs underneath the bed and control the spring tension.
The Sidewinder X1 uses the same method, but this can be improved by following this bed leveling mod.
Sidewinder X1 Ribbon Cable Connection Fix
The Sidewinder X1 ribbon cable is really nice when it comes to wire management. It was introduced for both the Sidewinder X1 and Genius, and it makes the printer look a lot more polished compared to other printers.
Unfortunately, the connection is not great and because of the movement people are reporting issues with the contact between the pins and the ribbon cable.
Follow the guide to learn how to install the Sidewinder X1 Ribbon Cable Connection Fix.
Sidewinder X1 Auto Bed Leveling with Stock Sensor
If you already have a PEI Spring Steel Sheet installed, then this upgrade can be considered as free.
With the Sidewinder X1 Auto Bed Leveling Mod, you can achieve auto bed leveling on your Artillery printer. The process was covered for both the Sidewinder X1 and Genius.
Hopefully, after reaching the end of the article you found some worthy Sidewinder X1 upgrades to add to your printer.
If you have other upgrades in mind, leave a comment below. I’d love to see what else is possible with the Sidewinder X1.
While the article includes affiliate links, all opinions are my own.