3D Printer HardwareReviews

Trianglelab Matrix Extruder Review: Hemera Alternative?

Since I found out that Trianglelab will make a new extruder, I was anxious to get my hand on it. The Trianglelab Matrix Extruder is somewhat of an E3D Hemera Clone but with some differences in design and materials.

I tried a couple of times to buy a Hemera from E3D even though it’s pricier, but I was unsuccessful. I tried a couple of times, but stock availability was an issue and I refused to place and order from other sellers and pay a premium for this opportunity.

In this article, I will share my experience with the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder after installing it on the Artillery Genius.

Packaging

The Trianglelab Matrix Extruder comes in a carboard box with foam protection on all sides. Not that much to say about it. It’s like a solid block of metal, so there’s not much it can happen to it during shipping.

I got the 24V version and inside the package I got the following:

  • Trianglelab Matrix Extruder
  • 24V 40W Heater Cartridge
  • Semitec 104NT-4-R025H42G thermistor
  • 24V 4010 ball-bearing fan
  • Brass V6 Heatblock with silicone sock
  • Bag of screws and square nuts for the extruder
  • Thermal paste
  • Stepper motor wires
  • Hex wrenches
  • Zip ties

Trianglelab Matrix Extruder

As I previously mentioned, the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder looks quite like the popular Hemera Extruder made by E3D. It uses a similar customized NEMA17 1.8 stepper motor, and the size is the same.

As you would expect from Trianglelab, the machining of the gears is really well made. I took some close-up shots of the gears where you can see this.

Because the Trianglelab Matrix uses a dual-gear setup, the hobbed gears will have excellent grip to the filament allowing for accurate control.

This is not something new. As you might know, the BMG Wind uses the same type of dual-gear setup which works just as good, but the Matrix has them closer to the nozzle.

Benefits of using the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder

All-in-One Design

The Trianglelab Matrix Extrude is contained in a single unit which has the extruder and also the stepper motor. This makes a bit more compact and also gives you access to a few mounting solutions.

Short filament path

Another attractive feature of the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder is the short filament path. It’s only about 28mm from when the filament is leaving the gears and reaches the nozzle.

Trianglelab Matrix Short filament Path

This is especially important for flexible filaments because it allows for better control of the filament. What does this mean?
Better retractions, more accurate extrusions, and improved performance with linear advance (if you use this feature).

For example, I lowered my 0.13 linear advance value used with the stock Artillery extruder to 0.05 with the Trianglelab Matrix.

Compatibility with Hemera designs

The compatibility with the mounts and designs made for the Trianglelab Matrix is another attractive feature of the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder.

This means that you can print any mount made for the Hemera and fit your Matrix without any modifications. And if you also use the stock V6 heatblock, then it’s possible to use the same designs made for the Hemera.

Bi-metal heat break

One of the attractive features of the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder is the use of a bi-metal heat break. It has a long metal tube which goes right up to the extruder gears. This will ensure maximum performance with flexible filaments ensuring a constrained path from the gears to the nozzle.

It’s important to note that the stainless tube is held in place by a machined bracket so the contact with the heatsink is better, and there won’t be any damage made to the tube.

Trianglelab-Matrix-Extruder-Heatbreak

Because of how the bi-metal heat break is designed, it has excellent thermal performance. I already reviewed the regular bi-metal heat break from Trianglelab. With the included heat break, the thermal performance of the Matrix is comparable to other bi-metal heat breaks.

Trianglelab-Matrix-Extruder-Heatbreak-tip

The threaded part which screws into the heatblock is made from copper which will improve the melt zone. Heat will be conducted better from the heater cartridge to the filament so you should get a bit more flow rate from this compared to a titanium heat break.

Drawbacks of the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder

Heavier than most extruders currently available

All these features come at a cost which is weight. The Trianglelab Matrix Extruder is heavier than most extruders currently available on the market.

The weight of the fully equipped extruder (extruder including mouns, fans and duct) can reach close to 500 grams. Compared to the BMG Wind, which weighs around 320 grams fully equipped, the Matrix Extruder is heavy even for a direct-drive extruder.

This might be an issue if you plan to print faster than ~60 mm/s because the added weight will increase ringing and print quality will get worse as you increase speed.

In my testing, the extruder performed well on regular speeds, but you might get skipped steps if your jerk and acceleration values are too high.

Heatsink design could be better

Another small drawback for the Matrix Extruder is the heatsink design. While it does its job removing the little heat you get through the bi-metal heat break, the airflow could be a bit better.

But if you compare it with the terrible stock heatsink present on the Artillery extruder, this can be looked at as a big improvement.

For extreme users, there’s also a Trianglelab Matrix LC Extruder Water Cooling Heatblock which is made for enclosed printers and high-temp filament.

Trianglelab Matrix Extruder vs BIQU BX H2 Extruder

Because I also had the BIQU BX H2 extruder at hand, I thought it would be a good idea to take some comparison shots. As you can see, the BIQU BX H2 is much smaller than the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder.

Besides the size difference, there’s also a hefty difference in weight. The BIQU BX H2 is only 220g compared to the ~400g of the Trianglelab Matrix.

This difference is made by the use of a smaller stepper motor in the for of a NEMA 14 stepper driver in a 7:1 ratio compared to the ~3:1 ratio we have on the Trianglelab Matrix.

But more will be revealed in the BIQU BX H2 Extruder review, so check back soon for that.

Printing experience with the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder

After installing the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder on my good old Artillery Genius, I first calibrated the extruder steps. I came up with a value of 320 which worked well for me.

I printed a few challenging prints, and I didn’t have any kind of issues. Extrusion was consistent, retraction worked well, and the stepper motor was just warm to the touch.

Feel free to judge the quality you can get with the Trianglelab Matrix extruder from the test prints below.

Test prints with the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder

3D Benchy

First test print was the 3D Benchy. This took 80 minutes to print and the results are excellent. Consistent extrusion on the bow, small features are printed accurately and no signs of stringing.

  • Material: Sunlu Gray PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 60C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Lattice cube

I wanted to give the retraction a run for its money, so I printed a torture test in the form of this lattice cube. It’s a demanding print because the extrusion needs to be accurate to avoid curling on the thin beams.

Other than a few small wisps (which I think were caused by Z-hop) the print looks well. All the steep overhangs were printed with no issues.

  • Material: Sunlu Gray PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 210C
  • Bed Temperature: 60C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Golden Frieza

Alsamen’s Golden Frieza model was printed a bit faster, and in silk filament. I did this to test the heatblock capacity to melt filament efficiently. If silk filament is not properly melted, the layers will not adhere properly but this wasn’t the case with the Matrix Extruder.

  • Material: Devil Design Silk Gold PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.15mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 220C
  • Bed Temperature: 60C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Old paddlewheel steamboat

This model has a lot of small features which will put any printer to work. And as you can see, the print quality is excellent, and the small features were easily reproduced by the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder.

  • Material: Devil Design Red PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 210C
  • Bed Temperature: 60C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

TPU 3D Benchy

Because the filament path short and constrained, the Matrix Extruder can print TPU with the same speeds as PLA.
To test this, I printed the same G-code but with TPU filament, and as you can see the extrusion quality is great.

There are issues with the print, but they are caused by the lack of cooling. I will re-do the test after I upgrade to a 5015 fan. You can see the Matrix Extruder in action here:

  • Material: Devil Design Pink TPU
  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 60C
  • Print Speed: 60 mm/s

Conclusions: Is the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder worth it?

If this is the only question, then yes, the Matrix Extruder is worth getting. But this is more complicated. Let me explain.

The Trianglelab Matrix Extruder is currently available for around 85$ which is pretty steep in the world of AliExpress extruders. But you get what you pay for. A complete package which will provide you excellent extrusion and print quality for a fair price.

But when you think about the other variants currently available, like the BMG Wind, the situation changes a bit. For around 60$ you can get the BMG Wind I reviewed a while ago which can produce similar print quality for a lower price.

Filament is a bit harder to load (like with any BMG), compatible mounts are harder to find for less popular printers, the stepper motor has lower torque making it hotter and it’s a bit more work to install. But the BMG Wind compensates with a lower weight and cheaper price.

In the end, the question of “What’s the best extruder for me?” should be answered by the potential buyer. Think about how fast you want to print, how much money you want to spend and how much time you need to spend to install it on your machine.

Both extruders are good, and if you already have the Wind installed, then I don’t think too much will change in terms of print quality by upgrading to the Matrix.

But if you have some money to spend, wanted to get a Hemera but couldn’t because of the lack of stock, then the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder is an excellent upgrade for your 3D printer.

Where to buy the Trianglelab Matrix Extruder?

The Trianglelab Matrix Extruder can be purchased from the following websites:

AliExpress
Banggood

Trianglelab Matrix Extruder Installation Guide

If you are looking to install the Matrix on the Artillery Sidewinder X1 or Artillery Genius, you’re in luck! Check out my Trianglelab Matrix Extruder Installation Guide.

The Trianglelab Matrix Extruder was provided by Trianglelab for the purpose of this review. While the article includes affiliate links, all opinions are my own.

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Plankl
Plankl
2 months ago

You failed to mention that you needed to replace the heat break on the BMG Wind which greatly changes its value proposition v the triangle labs.

NoobOfPrinting
NoobOfPrinting
4 months ago

You mentioned getting the bmg wind as an alternative. Could I still print at PLA printing speed with TPU using the wind? Or should I consider a Hemera/H2/Matrix if this my main interest.

Captain_Sandwich
Captain_Sandwich
8 months ago

The Matrix isn’t an exact clone of the Hemera. See below overlays of the E3D provided CAD of the Hemera (Green) and Trianglelab CAD of the Matrix (Orange)comment image

There’s an offset of the following between the two nozzles;
X: 2.58mm
Y: 0.32mm
Z: 1.0mm

Not huge, but enough to be problematic in some scenarios. I used Oceany’s Hemera with ‘stealth’ BLTouch mount ( https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4033595 ) and the Z offset is enough for the nozzle to hit the bed just before the (genuine) BLTouch triggers. Worth keeping in mind before disassembling your previous extruder.

Wojciech
Wojciech
8 months ago

Ohh yeah I had to remodel Hemera mount to make it fit the Matrix bit of inconvienience as they said just google Hemera on thingieverse, but I think I did good and it works flawlessly now

Captain_Sandwich
Captain_Sandwich
8 months ago
Reply to  Wojciech

I’ve modified one of Oceany’s parts to fit the Matrix which I’ll put on thingiverse when it’s done. Just waiting on some new PETG to arrive before I can print it. In the meantime, I just cut up an Waggster BLTouch mount to create a 3mm spacer that offsets the sensor down. Works in a pinch. The Z offset is only juuuust less than 3mm with the mount + spacer, would’ve been nice if they found a way to remove these small variances.

Captain_Sandwich
Captain_Sandwich
8 months ago

Mount compatible with Oceany’s ‘StealthTouch’ baseplate is here; https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4721441

There is also a link to a modified part cooling fan duct mount in the part details.

Minwoo Jang
Minwoo Jang
9 months ago

I also bought it. And try to my sapphire plus.

James Hydra
James Hydra
8 months ago
Reply to  Minwoo Jang

How is that working for you? I am thinking of getting the Matrix for my Sapphire Pro.

didikiki45
didikiki45
9 months ago

hello, I read in the manual that “Max printing temperature: 285 ° C (upgradable to 450 ° C)”. Do you know with which option we can reach 450 ° C? Thank you

3dprintbeginner
3dprintbeginner
9 months ago
Reply to  didikiki45

You need to purchase a different thermistor, capable of higher temperature and also edit the firmware accordingly

https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_AmcqnH

didikiki45
didikiki45
9 months ago

Hi, in the manual, i read “Max printing temperature: 285°C (upgradable to 450°C)” . Do you know the option with that “matrix extruder” can print at 450°C ? Thanks

aloms
aloms
9 months ago

Hello
Very helpful review! Could you share fan shroud design from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RhhnIzJcto
Thanks!

3dprintbeginner
3dprintbeginner
9 months ago
Reply to  aloms

It’s linked in the article

M1K3D0
M1K3D0
9 months ago

Hello and thank you for the review.
I took advantage of the 11/11 discounts (cost me less than $ 70)
I bought it for my Sidewinder X1.
I was a little scared because the product was just released.
I installed it on a linear rail with a carriage 100% in PETG by completely removing aluminum carriage and I did not think of weighing everything mounted (I’ll try to think about it one day of big maintenance).
Unfortunately, I broke the turbine fan while removing the duct, so I haven’t been able to fully try it out yet.
Your review comforts me in my choice.
In the current state I have a calculated number of steps / mm which is 305.4 as the documentation (it seems strange to me but I did it 3 times again). My new K factor is 0.042.All I can say at the moment is that my first coat is much nicer and more acurate.
I mounted a nickel-plated copper volcano heater block and same for the nozzle.
I just had a small problem with the plastic connection of the heating cartridge which is touching the motor a little bit. I’ll probably this is from the STL file or maybe the size of the motor is 1mm larger than the hemera from which it is based.

I want to thank you for your work on your website which is a gold mine of information for me.

A quick question for the end: what changes have you made on your slicer other than limiting the speed to 60?

3dprintbeginner
3dprintbeginner
9 months ago
Reply to  M1K3D0

From the stock profile I tuned for IdeaMaker, I changed the following.
E-steps
Flow Rate
Retraction
Speed
Temperature

M1K3D0
M1K3D0
9 months ago

Thanks a lot!

jphr
jphr
9 months ago

Hello

Thanks for the review. In the conclusion you compare the matrix with the bmg wind. But what about to the artillery stock extruder (weight and quality) and the BIQU BX H2 ?

3dprintbeginner
3dprintbeginner
9 months ago
Reply to  jphr

The full Artillery Stock Extruder including the metal bracket is around 380 grams. The H2 weight is shared in the review, and I will compare it in more detail when I get to review it.

jphr
jphr
9 months ago

And is there a drawback in comparison with the E3D Hemera ? difficult to say without it in hand I guess..

3dprintbeginner
3dprintbeginner
9 months ago
Reply to  jphr

Can’t answer that question. But considering this one has a Bi-Metal heat break, I think it’s better.

Wojciech
Wojciech
8 months ago
Reply to  jphr

There is in the way hotend is mounted to the whole extruder assembly with just a tiny grubscrew, Hemera you screw taht in, I haqd an instance when my all hotend just fell of due to high pressure I caused by too much extrusion. But then I thightened the thing harder and so far no suprises but still dont like that mounting solution.

3dprintbeginner
3dprintbeginner
8 months ago
Reply to  Wojciech

The heat break is held in place by a portion of metal which is tightened with a grub screw. It applies uniform pressure on a bigger portion of the heat break.

If you cause so much pressure that the heat break is pushing itself out then your problem is elsewhere.

Wojciech
Wojciech
8 months ago

Oh yeah it was problem elsewhere, that just exposed my sloppy mounting, good to know there is a bigger part of metal behind grubscrew, not knowing that back then thats why I tightened it initially not strong enough worrying of any damage i could cause. So far its going super strong and issue free.