Hey, Karl here. A lot of our readers know I do most, if not all of the 3D printer reviews for the site. I feel very fortunate to be able to review them. It does take quite a lot of time but sometimes a gem comes along. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to review and share with you a new printer from Kywoo. The Tycoon 3D printer ticks all the boxes I have been asking for.
- Easy assembly
- Direct Drive
- Linear motion (Rods and rails in this machine)
- Smooth filament holder
- Touch Screen
- Auto Bed leveling (Until now I didn’t know I wanted this…more on that later)
- Rock Solid frame
There are a few shortcomings and I hope what I am sharing is addressed before the final shipment. I will go into more detail later on. As far as the physical printer I am super happy with the one exception. The rest of the critiques are user experience.
- Documentation needs improvement
- Provide a Cura profile
- UI tweaks with the touchscreen
- Ability to easily tension x and y belts
This is a Kickstarter printer. This is very hard for me not to get behind because there have been so many bad 3D printer campaigns. I do have a very good feeling about this printer as you will see. I knew this was a good one after the first print.
- 240x240x240mm build volume
- Direct drive
- Auto bed level
- Power loss
- Filament runout sensor
- Touch screen
- 32-bit board MKS Robin
Assembly was easy. A handful of bolts. I let it hang off my desk to secure the bottom bolts. All the usual starter parts and tools. The printed manual needs some help. I did receive a preproduction model and for the most part, it is solid. There are some changes they are making to the final printer from reviewers’ feedback:
1) change the package to protect the two couplers of Z-Axis from stretching and protect from the wrong Z-axis home direction;
2) unscrew the Y-Axis end-stop to make the assembling easier;
3) change the socket of the thermistor cable below the hotbed to make the original two cables different;
4) change the air blow direction of the extruder fan;
5) use the power supply with protection;
6) make the manual easier for beginners to read and add slicer instruction to SD card;
7) add hotbed binder clip from two to four;
8) make the wheel of filament rock thicker to hold the filament steady, and we are also considering to change the holder shape;
9) add stickers on the footpads to make instruction about assembling.
10) change the shape of the feed-in knob to avoid glue and slip.
The Kywoo Tycoon printer itself is very good in my opinion. All of my gripes are around tweaking user experience. It really just needs a little refinement. Idiot proof the manual. Clean up the UI on the touch screen. Get rid of the icons that go nowhere. I would like to see the auto-level function on the main screen. The leveling process takes about 2 minutes to complete. When I am ready to print, as soon as I turn it on I go to auto-level. Then I go and slice whatever I’m printing. Additionally, it needs a couple of 1 button pre-heat options.
I would like to suggest a few changes to Marlin. Turn on fading for auto bed leveling. The way it is set up now is that the printer constantly adjusts the Z-axes for the entire print. If fading is turned on, it can be set up to stop after a few mm. It would also be nice to save a level into EEPROM and restore it so the user doesn’t have to level every single time. (Firmware can be found on Google Drive)
Two more items I would like changed. Adding a zip tie to act as a strain relief for the cables going to the bed. I added one. Finally, swap the Z stepper driver for a silent stepper driver. It really only matters when probing but I still hate stepper noise.
I have to admit I have never really used auto bed leveling. The couple times I tried it never really made sense. My thinking was just level the bed and avoid those steps. I have seen some cases where someone had a warped bed…but even if I were in that situation, I would rather fix the problem than try to mask it.
I did not notice in the pictures when we first started talking about this printer that the bed was fixed. After unboxing I panicked a little. How the heck am I supposed to level the bed. Kywoo’s instructions said to run the bed leveling routine after turning on the machine. I did and the first print came out perfect…. this was when I had an aha moment.
My eyes were opened to another perspective. Ease of use. The problem before was that the few times a printer came with an ABL (Auto Bed Leveling) sensor, the offset was not set from the factory. Sure, it had an ABL sensor, but you had to do the setup. I asked Kywoo if all printers would come factory calibrated and they said yes.
This is the first printer I have reviewed that I can say I pulled out of the box, assembled and it was immediately ready to print.
This is the way.
Yes, this is what we need. It seems like a small thing but for an inexperienced person wanting to get into printing, this removes one major step to be successful.
It is not all roses. I did have a minor issue with the ABL sensor. It seems like if I put the auto bed leveling in my start gcode that it would not work 100% of the time. I think maybe the sensor is getting interference from the hotend heating up. If I run as I described earlier when I turn on the printer. I had no problems.
I think the Kywoo Tycoon 3D printer will force other manufacturers to this next level. I will continue using this printer and do a follow-up after I get more time with it. I will break it down and go into the internals. I wanted to share my user experience with it so far before the Kickstarter ran out. I am super pleased with it. I will never suggest backing a Kickstarter but this one comes close to it for the simple fact of saving some money. It’s $279 on Kickstarter, but will retail for $439. I believe this printer will be the next CR-10. We will have to watch and see.
You can find their Kickstarter here. A huge thank you to Kywoo for sending the Tycoon over for review.