Upgrading Your Sidewinder X1 with the Hemera Extruder
Dual-geared extrusion has proven to be highly effective and reliable since at least 2017 with the release of BondTech’s BMG extruder. E3D’s answer to this is their Hemera Extruder, formerly known as Hermes. I’ve recently installed the Hemera on my second X1, and I must say, I’m impressed. The install was straight forward, and it works pretty much out of the box. I personally think my BMG extruder is better, but the Hemera is all-in-one and it costs a little less and that’s hard to compete with.
So why would you want to change extruders anyways?
Well, the stock extruder is great for printing relatively low temp stuff like PLA and some flexibles. When you start getting to the PETG type stuff that requires +230 C°, the stock extruder will start to struggle. You might be able to get away with this once or twice, but the PTFE inside the heat break will start to degrade exponentially each time you print at high temps. Sure, you can change the heat break to an all-metal one, then the problem is, the stock heatsink is subpar, to be frank, at cooling the heat break.
Therefore, if you want to print at higher temps reliably, it’s suggested you change your extruder. Lucky for you, you have options. Today, I will guide you through installing the Hemera extruder from E3D. Without further ado. Let’s get started.
What you’ll need:
- E3D Hemera Direct Kit (1.75mm)
- Mounting: Fulament E3D Hermes Sidewinder X1 Mount
- Part Cooling: See attached.
I’m suggesting copper heater blocks as optional items. If you’re going to change out your heater block, you might as well install the best. It’s what I use on my machines and I love them. For the Micro Swiss nozzle, I linked the v6 version, if you’re going volcano, make sure you get a volcano nozzle. Also, if you’re sticking with v6, don’t get any nozzle larger than .5mm. I tried and the quality was awful.
So, let’s start off with some pros to doing this upgrade vs the BMG.
- The Hemera extruder is all-in-one so there’s no need to piece together your extruder like you would with upgrading to BMG.
- It’s made by E3D which is one of the industry leaders in the 3D Printing World. For the most part, a lot of research and development goes into their products.
- It’s a little cheaper than the BMG extruder setup. While the BMG extruder on its own might be cheaper, you have to add many things to get it working with the X1.
- Finally, I haven’t weighed both extruders yet, but I’m assuming it’s lighter than the BMG setup. Since you’re removing the front bracket to install it, that’s a significant weight saving. The lighter your extruder, the less mass, meaning better prints.
Before removing your stock extruder, be sure you printed all the necessary parts. Make sure you have the Fulament mount and my parts cooler printed. The links are above. Once you have all the printed parts and the necessary parts, you can start the installation.
- Step 1: Your Hemera Extruder should come pre-assembled, the only thing you have to install is your heater block. So whether you went with v6 or volcano, now is the time to install it. Don’t forget to put a little of the heat paste on the heat break when you install it. If you need help installing the heater block, you can refer to E3D’s guide.
- Step 2: To connect the cartridge style thermistor and heater cartridge to the stock PCB I highly recommend that you crimp on the right connectors. I wrote a detailed guide on how to do this; you can find it here.
- Step 3: Before mounting your new extruder to your printer, mount it to Fulament’s mount. I wrote a detailed guide; you can find it here.
- Step 4: Once you have connected everything to the stock PCB and mounted the extruder to the Fulament Mount, you can now mount your new extruder to your printer.
- Step 5: Remove your stock extruder. Artillery has a video on how to do this; you can find it here.
- Step 6: Remove the front plate by removing these three bolts.
- Step 7: Remove these nuts holding the wheels.
- Step 8: These nuts will be used to secure the Fulament Mount to the printer. I’m calling these the securing nuts. The top two nuts you can tighten by hand fully. The bottom one is an eccentric nut, so tighten the securing nut till the wheel is secured, then with a thin wrench, turn the eccentric nut ¼ turn at a time till your extruder assembly doesn’t wobble. Some printers have the securing nut in front, and some have it in back, it doesn’t really matter where you put it, as long as everything is secured.
- Step 9: Once everything is mounted, it should look like this:
- Step 10: Now you’re ready to do some firmware changes. You can follow the guide that E3D put out. Here are the changes you need: 1. You need to update the thermistor type since we’re changing from stock to a cartridge style. Note, if you’re keeping the stock thermistor, you should skip this. 2. You need to reverse the direction of the extruder motor. 3. Finally, you need to update your esteps. The stock extruder extrudes at a different rate than this so you’ll need to calibrate that.
- Step 11: After this, you should be good to go! E3D says to adjust the VREF but I left mine stock and it’s been fine. If you want, you can lower the VREF to maybe 0.7 or 0.8v. I don’t really think this is necessary, but if your motor is running hot, this is an option.
Thoughts and Impressions
I’ve done some test prints with my BMG and my Hemera. I mirrored both machines so that the only difference was the extruders and they both performed nearly identically. So at the end of the day, it comes down to ease of installation, maintenance, and price. For the most part, this extruder was easy to install, pretty easy to maintain, and fairly cheap. So, it checks all the boxes.
I still like my BMG better but maybe I’m just biased. Kind of like your first love, it’s hard to forget them. The Hemera has been good so far, it’s hard to say anything bad about it. If you want to print reliably at a higher temp, the Hemera is a great option.
- Happy Printing!