About the Artillery Hornet
The Artillery Hornet is the new cheapest 3D printer from Artillery. It is about $50-$100 cheaper than the Genius, and to achieve that price, Artillery have had to remove some features from their older printers.
As a result, the Hornet may seem like a downgrade from the Genius, but it actually also has a few new innovative features too.
Titan-style bowden extruder
Probably the most interesting technical feature is the bowden tube that doubles as power cable. This is a clever design that makes cable management much easier, but if it breaks it will be harder to replace it. Still, it's great that Artillery is thinking about these quality of life issues and trying to make 3D printers more well-rounded, mature products.
However, the fact that it uses a Bowden setup rather than a direct drive is a bit of a downgrade. It makes it more difficult to print certain filaments, especially flexible ones.
Quiet stepper motors and 32 bit board
Artillery has a name for producing relatively quiet printers. The Hornet is no different, as it sports quiet stepper motors driven by a custom 32 bit board. This makes it quieter than most similar entry-level 3D printers, although the first review did mention that the power supply fan was a bit noisy.
In contrast to the Genius, the Hornet does not support a USB stick. It only has space for a standard SD card, which comes with the printer. This isn't the best, because many people's laptops or computers lack SD card ports these days, so you might need a hub instead.
Monochrome screen with dial control
Another downgrade compared to the Genius and Sidewinder are the controls, which are done with a classic dial, as found on the Ender 3 and Prusa MK3S. It does not have a nice color touch screen, which seemed to become the standard these days.
Heated glass bed
The Hornet does have the same heated bed as the Genius and Sidewinder, which allows it to heat up very quickly because it is wired to the main (120 or 240V) power line. Some people have safety concerns about this practice, but it does make starting your print much faster.
Cooling fan design
Artillery have designed a completely integrated cover for the hot end that includes angled fans, which supposedly should cool the filament very evenly.
It will be interesting to see how well the Hornet will work in practice. They have downgraded a few things, which make the printer seem worse than some competitors on paper. But the attention to detail and overall simplicity and well-rounded design suggest an improved machine compared to for example the Genius.
If Artillery can deliver a printer that prints better and more consistently than the competition, it could be a winner. It will definitely need to do that to make up for its lack of features.
There is currently just one video review (see the video below) available online, and there are no 'normal' user reviews to be found. This is because Artillery has just shipped their first batch of Hornets, and so it will be a few weeks before proper user reviews start coming online.
The Hornet is relatively easy to assemble, as you simply need to attach the gantry and connect a few cables.
Artillery have released a short video showing you how to assemble the Hornet step by step.
Subsequent calibration might take another 30 to 60 minutes, depending on your experience and how well the printer came adjusted from the factory. This means you can get the printer up and running in less than an hour, which is considerably less than other printers in this price range, which require significantly more assembly. This makes it a good printer for beginners.
Because there aren't many owners of the Artillery Hornet yet, there are no good slicer profiles available either. But once they start popping up, I'll be sure to list the best ones here.
The Artillery Hornet isn't as popular (yet) as other printers like the Ender 3. This means there is less information to be found online. The easiest way to find answers to any problems with the Hornet is to join two Facebook groups.
There is the Artillery Sidewinder X1 and Genius Group, which is run by Artillery itself, so you might even be able to get some official responses from them.
The other group is the Artillery Genius Owner's Group, which is specifically about the Genius model, and not run by Artillery. This means there is a bit more freedom to post critical questions. You can discuss the Hornet there as well.
Where and how to buy
Currently the best place to get your Artillery Hornet is Banggood. It is currently only shipped from China, but hopefully in the future it will be sold from EU, US and other warehouses too, like is the case with the Sidewinder and Genius.
It is also for sale on AliExpress, but a bit harder to find. I haven't spotted it on Amazon yet.
The future of the Artillery Hornet
The Artillery Hornet has only just been released, so it seems a bit premature to start discussing its future. All we can really say is that Artillery has previously updated the Sidewinder and Genius with minor improvements. So if there any issues with the initial version of the Hornet, you can probably expect an upgraded V2 to hit the shelves sometime in 2021.
Our advice is to keep a tab on the 'Last Updated' tracker at the top of the page, to see if a machine has recently been updated, or if it's starting to get outdated.