Anyone here have a Tronxy X5S?

(Michael K Johnson) #1

Anyone here have a Tronxy X5S? The initial reviews were pretty much unanimous that the corexy kinematics suffered a lot from non-parallel arrangement, but a few folks designed replacement parts to solve that problem, so I bought one.

I was pleasantly surprised that they took the review feedback and pretty much fixed the kinematics. They still call the motors “X” and “Y” but I didn’t see that they had swapped the names as early reviewers found.

The heated bed is still anemic with 12V. But I measured 4 Ohms, so a 20A 24V power supply should be OK. Rumors are that the board they ship can handle 24V, so no need for dual power supplies and a MOSFET board. They still include mostly philips-head screws in the kit. And sadly my copy shipped with a broken build manual, so I’ve asked for an update. (I think I’ve completed the build and am printing, but I’d like to cross-check against the full manual…)

(Michael Westbay (Westbaystars)) #2

@mcdanlj - I got a Tronxy X5S back in September of last year. I think they have made a number of improvements since then based on customer feedback. The main issue I had was that the X-axis printed a mirror image of everything I gave it. I tried swapping the X and Y connectors and other things to no avail. Oh, and home was to X-max instead of X-min, which I think was a related issue. Mirroring everything in the slicer before my first major upgrade worked, but was a bit annoying.

So the first major upgrade I made was changing from the board it came with to a GT-2560 Rev A controller board. I had asked for TronXY (and Gear Best) a number of times last year, but they only offered to take the printer back if it wasn’t functioning correctly. I got it because I wanted to tinker with it, not return it.

I couldn’t get the LCD panel that came with the X5S to connect to the GT-2560, so I also added a Raspberry Pi with Octoprint to control it all and leave my PC free.

I’ve put on a few other modifications, like the Mega Gantry Plates and some brackets on the corners to keep everything square. If you find that the X-axis isn’t moving perpendicular to the Y, it’s usually due to one of the belts being tighter than the other. The frame, otherwise, seems to keep everything at right angles.

I’ve put some insolation on the heat bed. That brings it up to 40℃ quickly, but I’m getting some sort of error when I try to go higher than that. It’s still a work in progress.

The other thing I’m working on is a part cooling fan that doesn’t take up too much space. The compact design ones on Thingiverse all seem to go to printers with much more space on the side or in the front. I like the large print volume, and don’t want to give up more space than I need.

There are a number of ideas on the Hypercube that I’m also interested in pursuing.

I’ve been having a great time learning with the X5S. That’s really the main purpose I got it, to tinker with something physical since most of the work I’ve done has been in software over the years.

Hope you enjoy it!

(Michael K Johnson) #3

@Michael_Westbay_West ​ A couple of years ago, I bought a cheap clone i3 kit with the same idea of learning by fixing what ailed it, and that was a success. This is mostly better so far.

I insulated the heat bed with R6.7 fiberglass backed with three layers of aluminum foil and taped to the sides of the bed brackets with aluminum tape, and with that I was able to heat the bed with the provided polycarbonate sheet to 65⁰ in just under 20 minutes. I plan to supplement the polycarbonate sheet with 330x330 glass sheets at least for printing PLA. (I noticed that here in the USA, store employees only seem to be able to cut glass in good ol’ imperial inches, but fortunately 330mm is 13 inches within their limit of accuracy so I don’t have to confuse them with this new-fangled metric system…:slight_smile:)

The axes as labeled now matched the firmware, and by being sure to connect the LCD ribbon cables right, the LCD worked fine. I was able to use that to print from the LCD.

I ordered corner braces at the same time as the printer, but they are on the slow boat. I have the M5 t-nuts and screws for attaching them when they arrive, though. I definitely want to stiffen the frame.

I’d like to do something different from the mega gantry plates. I was hoping that one of the milled plates from the open hardware parts store would work, but it doesn’t look like it. But the idea of an aluminum plate instead of acrylic is attractive. Clearly, I need to buy a CNC router! :wink:

After I bought the i3 clone, I had intended to build a dual-extruder corexy from scratch and started by buying a replicape and beaglebone to run it, but ran short on available time. I expect to switch to using the replicape to print, probably before I convert to a dual extruder.

I already bought a 20A 24V power supply. If 24V cooks the control board, that will accelerate my path to using the replicape! But I’ve heard that it will work.

For cooling, I’ve been thinking of remote cooling using a vacuum pump (hooked up in reverse) and soft silicon tubing, removing all fan mass from the print head. If I do go dual extruders—and I almost certainly will—then offsetting the new mass on the head sounds like a good idea. And it will allow better cooling without impinging on X or Y axes.

I already put Marlin 1.1.8 on my i3 clone, so going back to 1.1.7 for the x5s feels backwards. Also, the way the knob works feels backwards to me too. So I expect to build new firmware for it soon.

Like you, I have spent my life in software and am enjoying tinkering.

(Michael K Johnson) #4

I heard back from Tronxy: the blank pages in the manual I got were simply blank and not missing content. I never heard back from gearbest request, but Tronxy responded in a day. I’m pleased.

(Michael Westbay (Westbaystars)) #5

@mcdanlj - My experience with Gear Best and TronXY trying to get the Marlin settings they used was basically a standardized “send it back to us” from Gear Best. I think the TronXY reply said that flashing the board would invalidate the warrantee. At least they addressed the question.

You also mentioned that you got M5 T-nuts for the brackets. I’m pretty sure that mine are all M4 T-nuts. I ordered another bag of 100 from Ali-Express which I used for the brackets and RasPi case and camera rig. I plan on use them to enclose the frame a bit with insolation someday as well. This is the first I’ve ever seen T-nuts, but I love their concept. Learning so much!

(Michael K Johnson) #6

GearBest posted the firmware for download if you are logged in with a GB account. — Tronxy should have included the firmware on the sd card they shipped with the printer, but I didn’t ask about that when I emailed them because I forgot that I had downloaded it from gearbest before my printer arrived.

All the T-nuts that came with the printer are M4. I ordered 100 M5 drop-in T-nuts for my own purposes. M58 button head screws for the corner brackets, and M510 for mounting 5mm plywood and associated insulation to enclose it for printing ABS.

I have also ordered single-start T82 lead screws and nuts (2mm pitch, 2mm lead) to replace the four-start T88 (2mm pitch, 8mm lead) that was provided with the printer. I ordered 500mm pieces and will cut them down to size when they arrive. Hopefully they arrive straight! :slight_smile: That obviously requires rebuilding firmware to change steps per mm in Z from 1600 to 400.

I do my initial tramming by trimming the bed surface trammed to the bed support rails and rotating the Z axes independently until the bed is roughly trammed in X before I tram in Y and fine tram it in X with the bed level screws. But then I want to adjust the Z end stop, and I’ve found that while adjusting the Z end stop screw I have pushed down on the bed and the Z axis lead screw nearest the end stop screw has moved down slightly, pushing the bed out of tram in X. Ouch. So I plan to switch to T8*2 lead screw. I did that on my i3 and I’ve never had any Z creep on the i3. This is important to me because I want to be able to easily switch bed surfaces with different thicknesses.

I also ordered a pack of T20 6mm belt 5mm axis idlers to remove belt tooth chatter from running the belts over the smooth bearing idlers. I’ll see how that goes.

(Michael K Johnson) #7

The bed measured 4 ohms at room temperature, but 27.2V across it is consuming 15A so 1.8 ohms heated. I’m finding that with a sheet of glass on the bed with room temperature 19°C, I have to set 118° on my (insulated) bed temperature to hit 110° read with an infrared thermometer at the center of the glass, about 108° halfway to the edge, 105° at the middle of the edge, and 101° at the corners. That leads me to think a bed temperature of 120° will give me about the right bed temperature to print ABS.

So far, I’m using a MOSFET board to give 27.2V to the bed, and 12V for everything else. If I dial the power supply down to 24V it takes only 13A (though it of course does not heat as fast) which would leave me 7A headroom for everything else if/when I switch to the replicape.

That encourages me to buy a 24V hot end…

(Michael K Johnson) #8

It looks like the firmware they provide is a fork off Marlin 1.0.2 from years ago. Since I’ve already ordered a second extruder and new hot end the chances I’ll keep using this board are pretty slim. I’ll consider this controller board a bootstrapping part. Unless I get current marlin running on it, in which case it might actually be fine for my i3 clone.

I realized that I don’t want to screw lots of plywood directly to the frame, because coefficient of expansion, of course. This leaves me thinking about how to construct a box that fits over the printer to print ABS better. Probably want to keep power supply/ies, controllers, and spool outside that box, while making the box removable.

I’m thinking that if I mount the extruder(s) at the middle of the top back extrusion, I can make the bowden tube(s) shorter. That would require a different extruder mount

(Michael K Johnson) #9

The provided firmware source, being GPL, I have no problem sharing, although honestly I have no idea whether it really corresponds to the firmware they shipped and haven’t tried to build or load it yet:

If I care enough, I may someday port the configuration on top of current stable Marlin. Given that I already ordered dual head and second extruder, that’s a big if. :slight_smile:

(Michael Westbay (Westbaystars)) #10


My plan to enclose the X5S is to use this roll of thermal insolation ( that I have, and connecting it with small printed brackets that use M4 T-nuts. I want hinges on one end to easily access the bed. It’s flexible, so problems that come with plywood expanding don’t come into play.

That’s the plan, anyway. I may not have the time until the summer.

(Michael K Johnson) #11

I have the same kind of insulation. I had intended to fasten it to the inside of the plywood. Your idea is intriguing. I have both the 24" and 48" widths.

I’m currently printing ABS, and even with the properly heated bed I’m seeing a little bit of corner lift. This might get me more quickly a working enclosure than designing plywood around extruders, electronics, etc.

(Michael Westbay (Westbaystars)) #12

It just seemed like an easier method. Putting it on cardboard is another idea, to give it a little more stiffness.

The problem I still see is all the heat escaping from the top. The truly enclosed machines that I’ve seen all have a dome of some kind on top.

(Michael K Johnson) #13

Oh, I totally intend to enclose the top! That’s part of how it becomes interesting. :slight_smile:

(Michael K Johnson) #14

I decided to prototype.

I cut one 6’ and two 2’ pieces of the 24" wide reflective bubble insulation. I cut four 30"-long wood scraps. I taped 24" of the scraps along the side ends of the 6’ long piece, with 6" sticking out. I taped the 2’ long pieces off the sides of the 6’ piece. This left me with a + shape, of which two opposite ends had 6" of scrap sticking out.

Then I taped edges together into five sides of a 2’ cube with 6" legs sticking out the bottom. I left one 2’x2’ panel only lightly taped as the front door, and I left a gap in the edge tape at the back near the extruder. I removed the annoying spool holder from the side of the printer and put the spool on a different holder.

Half an hour of scissors and blue tape later, and I’m doing a test ABS print to see if it changes warping behavior. I can feel heat coming through the top, and it’s obvious that it is hot only above the heat bed.

The prototype isn’t very convenient, but it will show me where I need access doors and where I want windows in something more permanent. It’s a little weird not watching it print though!

(Michael Westbay (Westbaystars)) #15

@mcdanlj - Wow! You’re coming along with this very quickly.

When all setup, I was thinking that all of the more sensitive electronics could easily be kept outside of the heated interior, with wires passing through the bubble insolation through small slits. From your description, I can’t tell if you wrapped the main board and LCD inside or outside.

I’m very interested in how this works out.

(Michael K Johnson) #16

The test print in the enclosure was not a success, but I don’t think the enclosure had anything to do with it.

I didn’t have the PTFE tube pushed far enough into the hot end, and got a plug between the PTFE tube and the nozzle.

I feel like if the whole hot end had not come already assembled, I would have understood better how it went together and avoided the problem.

As it is, I am glad I have extra nozzles.

I’m changing things up and printing a different part right now. If I were a good scientist I would print the same thing, that failed, but that was actually a parts collection and right now I’m printing a single part. It’s the three wheel gantry plate from 3DFreezeMe, and I’m printing one at a time now until I get it right.

I’d like to have replacements for all the critical acrylic parts printed in ABS before the acrylic parts break or creep. :slight_smile:

(Michael K Johnson) #17

@Michael_Westbay_West The legs being 30" long but the box being 24" on a side means there’s six inches open at the bottom. All the sensitive electronics are below the open bottom of the box. Heat rises; there doesn’t seem to be any reason to enclose the bottom. The four sides and top are enclosed, and that’s enough.

I also started using a separate spool holder sitting next to the printer on the desk, and the filament just goes up into the bowden drive inside the box. I set everything up with the box off, and when everything is set up I just put the box over it. The front panel is only lightly taped so I can undo it and peek easily without letting too much of a draft across the part.

I’m getting corner lifting still. I don’t know whether reducing bed temperature to 110° after the first layer would help. It might actually be too hot inside the box for the 120° setting. Or it might be that I’m using hairspray for bed adhesion. Maybe it’s time for PVA gluestick instead when printing ABS. Or it might be that I’m printing too slowly because I slowed way down due to underextrusion when I didn’t understand that I was developing a plug in the heatbreak. I’m extruding only around 0.8-1.2mm³/s right now, which is crazy slow. I should be able to get at least 6mm³/s and maybe as much as 10mm³/s if I’m lucky. Need to spend some quality time with calibration cubes!

One of the points of going to corexy for me is with lower moving mass, I should be able to print thin layers quickly without exceeding reasonable volumetric speed. On the i3 clone, I get a lot of artifacts that I’m looking to avoid here.

(Michael K Johnson) #18

I haven’t yet added an 18b20 to the enclosure to log temperature, but that’s something I can do with replicape. However, I think it gets too hot. Apparently as hot as steppers get, over about 70°C isn’t good for them. I’m trying leaving the front gaps unsealed and then after a while I’ll measure the temperature of the frame.

I am also trying glue stick to see whether it works better than hairspray. And I sped up travel significantly.

That’s at least three changes at once, and the speed change is really lots of changes together.

I’m a terrible scientist. But maybe I’m a programmer. This feels more like git bisect. :wink:

(Michael Westbay (Westbaystars)) #19

@mcdanlj - One reason I wanted to go with the bubble insolation was so that I could put it on the inner part of the frame and leave the Z-axis stepper motors outside. Slits on the side will allow the bed frame to pass through the wall without too much heat loss. (At least, that’s how I image it, self closing around the moving bed frame.)

I haven’t thought things through to the dome and keeping the X and Y stepper motors outside. The belts would probably need to be inside the dome, so more slits would be needed leading to and from the steppers.

Handling one problem at a time and hope that one fix doesn’t cause a regression elsewhere. It really is like software development.

(Michael K Johnson) #20

With the front not sealed the frame is measuring between 40° and 45° so it’s not bad.

I could put insulation against the outside back of the frame and leave the steppers outside and have the belts pass through. I would also put insulation against the sides of the frame but bow it out away from the bed, but for it to continue across the top I would need standoffs to keep it away from the gantry wheels. I could bend aluminum strip into shape to do that. But every fixed bit of insulation gets in the way of access and makes printing PLA harder by interfering with cooling.

On the other hand for annealing PLA I could make a 300x300x300 five-sided box with bubble insulation and kaptan tape and set it on the heat bed and set 100° for a few hours, I suppose… :slight_smile:

Oh, and the temptation to try changing several factors at once when test cycles are long was my programming joke. Sometimes we can get away with it when we really understand what is going on. That’s not really the case for me with printing ABS, I’m just a tyro! :slight_smile: