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Jun 26, 2018, 05:31 AM
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Build Log

Tevo Tornado - 3D Printer


I have made pretty good use of 3D printers and have stepped from the first Print-Rite 3D Printer I had, on to the Geeetech I3 which had more good features and better results, and now onto a Tevo Tornado which really stands out as a leap ahead in 3D Printing!!!

Firstly, the Tornado is (seemingly) a clone of the Creavity CR10 which was already well known as a great advance in cheap/home 3D Printers. Tevo just 'copied' but also improved some aspects. There are varying reviews on it, of which many say it is great.... and many say it is CRAP!!!
I am very technical... and have quite a bit of engineering knowledge.... rest aassured the Tevo Tornado is a GREAT 3D printer!!! All the nay-sayers are either morons, OR PAID to give them a bad name!

You may as well read about the CR10's..... to get all the basic info about what it is, and what is good/great about it.... then add on the Tevo improvements.
Note that they BOTH have some shortfalls and a lot of room for user 'upgrades', but you could also use them just as they come and get fantastic results still anyway!

But the mods/upgrades just make it even better... to use... and the 3D Printed outputs.

Being a 'clone' the Tornado tends to be about AU$50 lower in price than a CR10.... and then even has those better aspects too.
The biggest plus is a 240v heated bed. Not 12v... not 24v... but 240v, which means it has access to a lot of power and thus can heat up FAST. Heating the bed on a 3D printer is usually the slowest part, and thus biggest hold up! But the Tornado heats up FAST!

Many 3D printers do NOT have a Hotend Cooler - a fan that blows onto the extruded plastic to get it to cool and harden faster. Many do, but so many do not! And this cooler makes a MASSIVE difference to the quality of prints! Basically you 'MUST' have a Hotend Cooler on your 3D Printer.

There are plenty of mods around to add them to pretty well any 3D printer.

For AU$480 (delivered) it is not a lot more than I3's were a year or so ago, but you now get a 300mm x 300mm bed size (not sub 200mm), with a height ability of 400mm !! The frame is far more robust than I3's, and basically it is sort of a 'next generation' of 3D Printers. The quality of printed parts is clearly the next level.

I had a lot of parts for 'required mods' already made to go before I even had it delivered! I3 printed addons/mods and whilst you READ a lot to see what people make and say, so you can work out if it is really useful or required, and I ended up with quite a list! And after having done them pretty well all of those are worthwhile things to do! Some are sort of a 'must do' if you want the best 3D Printer, but as I had mentioned you could use it totally stock and it will still be great!

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Jun 26, 2018 at 06:01 AM.
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Jun 26, 2018, 06:00 AM
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Mirror Tile bed mod


One of the first things you work-out/learn about 3D printers is that GLASS is your best friend for a HeatBed surface! I say NOTHING beats glass!!
But the Tornado comes with a 'soft something' layer on top of its underlying glass bed(!) which is supposed to be a special surface good for adhesion of the first printed layer. Oh, note... GOOD adhesion of the first printed layer is the MOST IMPORTANT thing of all about 3D printing!
The problem with their idea is that it is SOFT and gets damaged over time.... the prints get 'stuck' to it and damage the surface bit by bit.... but you can buy more if need be.... Of course you need to BUY them... PAY for them.....
WHY!!!???? When GLASS is the truly best surface! And it never wears out either!

Another very IMPORTANT factor in 3D printing is to be able to CHANGE OUT the bed, so that the last print you made can COOL DOWN naturally - which can take 10mins to 20mins - whilst you can go on printing right away if you change the bed (glass) !!

So the first Mod of great use is to utilise nice CHEAP glass, which one of the easiest sources is the IKEA Lots Mirror Tile. It is 300mm x 300mm - just like the max limits of the Tornado. Note the BED of the Tornado is more like 325mm x 325mm.... a bit larger than the travels can do, thus the mirror tile suits it fine. A pack of 4 tiles is AU$15. Or you could probably go to some glass shop and get some pieces cut... for less???
MIRROR is also better as it has a coating/film on the back which makes it stronger.
One negative is the MIRROR aspect as that makes looking at a print's first layer deceptive.... or even for many layers. But that is not anything critical really. Though I would like to have plain glass with some plain backing.....

With a glass tile you need some way to HOLD a tile in place and on many printers people will use metal CLIPS (like pegs) to do that, but on the larger Tornado bed they will not make it in far enough to reach the glass. So this 'mod' to use glass needs some 'holders' made up.
There is a nice benefit in using 'holders'.... it means you do not need to UNCLIP and RE-CLIP some clips at all, to change the glass. You just lift it up out of the holder/frame... and drop in the next piece.

In the Mod I used for the Tornado the design included a cable management extension to the rear left holder piece and this is a MUST DO as the stock wiring just hangs off the end there and it moves a lot, seeing the bed moves back and forth, and one day it will wear out and break! So this glass holder/frame mod also fixes that shortfall of the Tornado (and the CR10 has the same issue).

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Jun 26, 2018, 06:05 AM
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Bed Adjuster KNOBS


The Tornado bed uses bolts and springs to support the heated bed, and this allows you to adjust the four corners individually so that you can get the bed leveled in the 'four' directions. One minor shortfall is that the KNOBS (threaded round nuts) that you need to turn to adjust the spring compression are relatively small in diameter, which makes them a little bit difficult to adjust easily and accurately.
Solution... Mod.... add some LARGER 3D printed knobs!
They make adjusting the bed VERY easy!


You can see the front two knobs in this pic below.

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Jun 26, 2018, 06:07 AM
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X-Axis cabling support


Another cabling area that is not very well done... errr, poorly done(!)... are the two cables that go from the control unit up to the X-Axis (moving) carriage assembly. So another 3D printed item to add to the frame so that you can zip tie the cabling in a proper manner.


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Jun 26, 2018, 06:14 AM
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Adjustable Z-Axis End Stop


The stock Tornado has a fixed position micro switch for the Z-Axis End Stop detection. This is actually not really a problem to be like that, but it has a shortfall....
Firstly, when you add a 3mm glass plate to the bed you will need to 'compress' the support springs by a further 3mm to get the bed down that 3mm lower. So you may as well do the End Stop Mod which then allow the TRIGGER POINT to be altered at any time, not linked to the bed height then.
It also makes it very easy to adjust/tweak the nozzle height to be Distance X from the bed surface. With a leveled bed all you need to do is alter ONE item to adjust that height. Otherwise you would have to adjust all four corners, whilst getting them all to match that intended height you want.
Altering ONE item is a lot easier and more accurate too!

So I consider this a worthwhile mod really, even though it needs quite a few parts to make it all up.

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Jun 26, 2018, 06:23 AM
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Spool Holder mod


Where does the filament spool go???
Well 'nowhere' as the Tornado comes.... they give you the FILES to 3D print a holder system, which is a bit large and waste of plastic/filament really. And it is not even that great an idea of how to set up a spool anyway.

I decided to add an aluminium square tube 'rail' to the top rail of the Tornado, so that the spool is out one end of the printer and the filament comes DOWN from the spool.
To make it a QUICK and EASY method of spool holding and removal/changing, I designed and printed some CONES for the spool hubs. This is because various brands of spools have different inner hole diameters, and a cone can 'adapt' to them all.
The cones also have 16mm x 8mm x 5mm ball bearing races in them so that they have extremely low resistance to turning, which makes the filament feed very free for the extruder to pull in. The 8mm part is the diameter of the threaded shaft I used.

You only need to use a clothes peg to keep the outer cone in place, so to change a spool you only need to unclip a peg = fast, then slid eoff the outer cone and spool, and put on the next one. All very easy and fast!!!

Seeing the spool ARM has X length I decided to print a holder for SD Cards to clip onto it up there. If you use SD cards you tend to 'need' TWO so that one can be in the printer printing something, and the other can be used in a PC for storing the next new print item onto it so it is ready to go when the other print completes.

This spool holder system is the best I have had... made... so I even modded the older Geeetech I3 to have the same sort of thing now.

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Jun 26, 2018, 06:32 AM
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Dial Gauge mod


This SEEMED to be a great idea when I first saw it.....

A quick 3D print (item) to add onto the extruder assembly so that it can have a $10 Dial Gauge quickly added to it, so you can check bed leveling very accurately and very quickly! And it DOES that......
The problem with that great idea is that you can do it all faster, and accurately ENOUGH, another way anyway.....
So I used this for a while but now I can't be bothered (!!) getting the Dial Gauge OUT..... Clipping it on and USING it..... it is sort of a waste of time to aim to be so 'accurate' really.

Its base problem is that you need to know the distance from the NOZZLE to the BED, and whilst you can do this with the Dial Gauge it means you need to know the value the Dial Gauge will be at when it is fitted. It will not be 'zero'.. even if you zeroed it the last time... so you will need to use a piece of paper, or some gauge (feeler... test plate etc), to set that FIRST nozzle to bed gap. Then you can use the Dial Gauge readout to check the next three corners.
But if you had a test gauge, paper etc, under the nozzle for position ONE why not just move that WITH the carriage/nozzle for the next three corners anyway! There is one SMALL benefit of using a Dial Gauge.....
Using paper etc means you need to FEEL the friction.fit of it between the nozzle and the bed..... and that could vary a bit for each spot you do that. Error in your 'feel'. Whereas the Dial Gauge can get it close to 'perfect'.
But you do not need to be PERFECT..... the 'paper/feel error' is within a good enough margin that will not matter. So......

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Jun 26, 2018, 06:52 AM
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"Petsfang" Cooler Mod


I mentioned the NEED to have a plastic Cooler for better print quality, AND that the Tornado comes with one!
Well, some people have made BETTER ones. "Better" enough that it improves the printing quality even more!
This means you sort of 'need' to do this mod.....

The standard cooler blows one stream of air, roughly across the extrusion point. And it does a GREAT job of it too!
But much greater detail - of airflow - designs can do this even better. So the Petsfang is a well known 'high tech design' type.
You 3D print it yourself - of course.... and I made the three pieces it uses on the Tornado itself. And they came out AWESOME quality pieces! Which almost made me wonder WHY BOTHER with a 'better' cooler system!?

There is one key difference of importance.....
When you print across a VOID - an area with NOTHING under it - you might think the hot extruded filament might just 'fall into space'! And it surely can! On printers with NO cooler of the extruded plastic it remains hot and soft and WILL FALL. But with a cooler it hardens quickly and can form a BRIDGE across those voids. The better coolers can cool the extruded plastic faster and thus it forms a 'straighter' bridge. This means all following layers complete a 'true' straight bridge much sooner - like immediately. This the point of big difference between coolers... how well, and fast, they cool that extruded plastic.

This is such a nice design - though I found one small flaw/shortfall in it....
The three pieces you print fit together perfectly! The Tornado printed them with very high accuracy, and the design was made very well. It was originally made for the CR10 which uses slightly different bits/measurements than the Tornado, and thus the fit of the Petsfang is that fractionally different too. The designer made it 'adjustable' to do both, but it does not quite do enough for the Tornado. I had to alter the design a bit so that it can truly fit properly..... (that was the shortfall).

It uses a stronger, different fan (AU$3 to buy), but it also fixes up some wiring and extruder tube issues/shortfalls in the same time as it is fitted. It provides paths and support for those.
It all looks pretty cool too !!!

PS: The new 5015 size 'blower' fan (instead of the stock Radial fan type) NEEDS a capacitor added across its terminals. Anything 220uF to 470uF will do, of 16V value or more (AU 20c price region ?). This is because the 5015 type fans do not like the 'raw' PWM type waveform that the fan speed controller outputs. It will not run properly (or at all) without this added also.

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Nov 19, 2018 at 05:46 PM.
Jun 26, 2018, 07:07 AM
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Dual Z-Axis mod


Because the FRAME of the Tornado (and CR10 etc) are extremely robust, they made them with just one Lead Screw (to the left side) which then only needs ONE Stepper Motor to drive that. Rather than many other designs use TWO Stepper motors and lead screws - one per side of the frame.
After looking at the design of the Tornado I decided ti is made VERY robustly and ONE Lead Screw will do the required job PERFECTLY FINE.
And prints that so many people have done and show from it PROVE that.
It has NO 'X Axis horizontal error at all'.

Having two Lead Screws and TWO Stepper motors actually causes a problem...... eg on the I3 types, and many others that have that.
You need to SYNCHRONISE the two sides to form a level X Axis. Doing that is quite easy, but it is another task to have to do. You just set one side to some position and measure it from the frame base, then check the other side and ROTATE its Stepper Motor by hand to get it to match the height of the first side. In theory this will REMAIN accurate ongoing/forever then.
A problem is that you can MOVE one sides Stepper Motor yourself inadvertently. It can happen if you move the printer and grab/knock it then.

The main issue is that CAN HAPPEN. So that means you need to CHECK it now and then.

Whilst the Tornado is made in a way that it will work perfectly fine from ONE Lead Screw and its one Stepper Motor, what if the systems ROLLERS wear a bit and become a BIT loose/sloppier? Firstly you can tighten that up more. Or if there surfaces wear a bit you can replace them. But what about UNTIL you notice that?
So adding a second Lead Screw means it has to remain accurate across the horizontal X Axis Rail.
But what about that issue with TWO Stepper Motors, as mentioned above?
Simple... DO NOT USE TWO.
Drive the second lead screw via the ONE Stepper Motor and then they MUST always be perfectly synchronised. Use a Drive BELT to get equal drive to BOTH sides at that same time.

So someone came up with that idea and all the required mods to add it. It works out at AU$30, and is certainly NOT a "Must Do" thing!! It is more of an academic thing to do.... technically 'better', but not truly required.
I made up all the parts (all 3D Printed) and bought all the 'bits' - belt, lead screw, pulleys, bearings etc - but have not fit it as of yet. But I will for sure!
I have only fit one of the new brackets so far....

Note. I found that the pulleys (two needed) cost a lot more for 8mm Bore versions than for 5mm Bore versions. So I bought the 5mm versions and drilled them out to 8mm myself!

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Nov 19, 2018 at 05:50 PM.
Jul 18, 2018, 04:46 AM
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'Gantry' Braces


I noted that when I was printing items that had a lot of 'angles' and 'direction changes' this meant the dramatic stopping, starting, re-direction, of the printhead would make the whole Tornado 'shake' quite a lot. A fair amount of that is the ENTIRE printer frame moving, which does not matter to it, but some in the Y direction (front to rear) means the frame 'gantry' (vertical framework) can shake/wobble.
If you were to only print something tall like a 'vase'... or something round, or with 'smooth' curves and paths.... then it would not shake. But if there are sudden direction changes when up higher in a build, then that gantry 'shake' is going to matter.
So I decided it would be best to add some Braces to the frame.

I designed and printed 'Brace Blocks' to put at some of the frame corners so that it would form TRIANGLES, which make for rock solid bracing seeing a triangle allows zero motion across its three end points.
Checking where these could be put and not interfere with printing motions meant that one had to go to the right hand front side and the other at the left rear side. That is not as good as having four - two per side - but it still adds a LOT of rigidity. Plenty really.

Re-testing the amount of 'top end shake' after adding the braces showed it was as good as zero. Pretty well immeasurable... negligible.
Though I am yet to print anything that is that tall, and that also has 'complex moves' up there!

This is not a 'Must Do' mod, but it is something that makes it robust and 'proper'.

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Nov 19, 2018 at 05:51 PM.
Jul 18, 2018, 04:54 AM
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Tevo Tornado report


I have been using the Tornado a LOT!!!
And my 'rating' for it remains as AWESOME. Such great value for its cost.... and more importantly, it prints high quality items!

Another super plus is the HEATING SPEED..... the bed heating, and thus time to print, is FAST! 1mins to 2 mins from cold start. That is way faster than most other 3D printers. WAY faster.

My IKEA LOTS mirror 'bed/s' are also fantastic. I made a third corner mount for the bed and that makes it lock in each of two of the mirrors perfectly - a solid fit. With only two corner mounts only one mirror fit perfectly and others needs folded card 'shims' to lock them in place. And you only need two mirrors/plates to work - so that you can change one out for another if you want to print more right away.

The Petsfang cooler mod is also awesome and verges on a 'must do'. It makes the plastic bond and then set right away, which forms an extremely good finish. No 'bulgy' areas where the plastic was a bit too hot for a bit too long and thus dried a bit amiss.

I have all the parts for the Dual Z Axis Mod, and most are fitted, but I don't have it fully set up and thus I am not using that yet. I have printed some highly detailed, small, items, and they have come out perfect which shows the vertical tracking has no issues anyway. Technically driving both sides is 'best', but really there is no need to. Just if you want that 'technically perfect' machine....

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Nov 19, 2018 at 05:57 PM.
Jul 18, 2018, 05:04 AM
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Octoprint - Raspberry Pi3 printer interface/software


I came across information about Octoprint..... which uses a Raspberry Pi 'single board computer' to run it on, and it allows you to control a 3D Printer with some extra capabilities. Quite a few extra capabilities!
1. Wifi Connection to your printer
2. Streaming video support - allowing a camera to be set up to 'watch' your printing remotely.
3. Remote access/control from anywhere on the internet.
4. An alternate to dedicating a 'full PC' to the printer and more control abilities than using the printers SD Card system.

To make setting up a Pi and Octoprint very easy there is a special Linux system made up, named OctoPi.
So this is a definite 'use this!' method to get it all going!

So now I have a remotely controllable Tornado, so you can get it underway from any PC, anywhere (more or less), and also watch it on a web stream if you want to. Basically I use a notebook PC to do modeling, slicing (with Simplify3D) and then upload it to the OctoPi system and start that printing. I can turn off the notebook PC, if I am going out/away, and check on the printing video feed from my mobile phone, or another PC etc.

I 3D Printed a Raspberry Pi case, though have only used the bottom half so far (lazy!), and have that velcroed onto the Tornado power/control unit box.
The Tornado and Pi are powered up together when it is turned on, so the Pi is always connected and able to control it.
You can still use the Tornado's inbuilt system, with SD Card, if you ever wanted to again... but WHY ???

I can't truly say this is a 'must do' thing, but it really is something you will make great use of! Highly recommended.

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Last edited by PeterVRC; Jul 18, 2018 at 09:14 AM.
Jul 18, 2018, 05:10 AM
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Simplify 3D slicer


To convert a 3D Model into a 3D Print "Instruction set", so it can know how to build the item up, you need a "Slicer" program.
This breaks the item down into layers (of height) and also all the paths and filament feeds etc that it needs to do per layer.

I have used a few Slicers, and many are free, but the clear leader is Simplify3D - which costs money. But it does such a better job than the others that if you want the 'best' then you will have to get Simplify3D.

There are actually some quite highly detailed 'newer' Slicers around, which technically should be able to do the ultimate job of creating the pathing etc for a 3D Model to come out the best possible real world printer item, but I have not been able to make any of those actually DO that! You see what they can do in their 'programming' aspects, and it is awesome... but it is also 'too hard' and/or time consuming to get them to output that excellence they probably could! They show where things will go in the future.... but they also need some ways to help users a lot more!
So Simplify3D still leads the way.....
Last edited by PeterVRC; Jul 18, 2018 at 05:25 AM.


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