Sovol SV03 : Test of the Direct Drive large format 3D printer, better than the Artillery X1?

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Sovol 3D’s 3D printer catalogue is enriched with the SV03, a new Direct Drive 3D printer with a large printing area of 350x350mm, the first of its kind?

You may have already read my review last year on the SV01 which is a direct drive 3D printer, one of my favourite printers but with a relatively small printing area (240x280x300) compared to the Artillery X1 which is also a very popular direct drive 3D printer with its 300x300x400mm printing area.

The SV03 completes the Sovol range but this time with a very large printing area of 350x350x400mm, equivalent to an Ender 5 plus.

This machine is sold for 379€ on their website Sovol SV03 (Official Store), a relatively interesting price for this size of printing, and the options proposed with this machine.

Main features of the SV03:
– Heated platen with 350x350mm ultrabase
– Direct Drive Extruder
– BL Touch self-levelling sensor
– Silent motherboard with TMC2208
– Belt tensioners for X and Y axis
– End of filament sensor

Direct drive 3D printers with such a large printing area are relatively rare, in fact this is the only 3D printer of this size that I know of so far (feel free to say in the comments if you know of other printers of the same type).

The direct drive extruder will allow you to print some flexible filaments (TPU for example) in a much simpler way, without any modification.

The machines equipped with direct drive are less widespread, Sovol seems to have specialized on this type of extruder, with the SV01 released in June 2019 and now the SV03.

Other manufacturers such as Artillery with the Sidewinder X1 also offer the same type of printer (with a 300x300mm plate), we will make a small comparison between these 2 machines at the end of the article.

On paper this SV03 looks very promising, I can’t wait to see what it has in store..

Unpacking the SV03 and assembling the machine

The box is quite big, it’s a big baby 🙂 The machine is well packed, and partially assembled. Several accessories are provided with the machine, a micro-sd card, spatula, 250g coil, spare nozzle… The pre-installed BL Touch is indeed an official product from Antclabs.
Generally speaking, the components seem to be of good quality.

Concerning the assembly, the instructions provided are in English, but easy to understand with the help of the different illustrations, the machine is partially assembled in 2 main parts, it will take about ten minutes to assemble it, no need to be a great handyman to assemble this machine.

You will need to follow the following steps :
– assemble the frame with 4 screws
– connect the different cables associated with the motors and limit sensors-
adjust the plate

Despite the presence of a self-levelling sensor, it is imperative to carry out an initial manual adjustment using a sheet of A4 paper, to adjust the 4 corners of the plate, in order to avoid too great a deviation, it is not necessary to be as precise as with a machine without a sensor, the BL Touch will adjust the difference. You will then have to find the right Z-offset value, there are several tutorial videos on Youtube about this, it is not very complicated.


First prints with the Sovol SV03

I advise you to print the test file provided on the micro-sd card of the machine, to make sure that everything works properly, you don’t have to print it all, but it will already allow you to check if your Z-offset is correct and if you have a good extrusion.

Here is the example file, a 40x40mm cube, it’s very clean, I got a good grip on the board and the extrusion looks good with no apparent defects.

Prusa Slicer profile for the Sovol SV03

I have been using Prusa Slicer as my main slicer for several months now, generally I have very good results with basic profiles without too much modification.

For the SV03, I simply added a Creality Ender3 type profile, changing the size of the plate and changing the shrinkage in the extruder configuration (1mm instead of 5mm), I did not make any other modification.

Prints made with the Sovol SV03

Here is my first print made with this profile, with a layer height of 0.20mm, Orange Sunlu PLA filament at 200°C.

The result is really clean for a first print!

We go on with the prints, this time with a Pikachu, still with a layer height of 0.20mm, it’s also clean, I have a few defects at the front related to the seam of the layer change, having forgotten to adjust it at the back under Prusa Slicer.

Being satisfied with these first impressions, I then embarked on a very large print, this Deadpool bust, full size, over 72 hours of printing in 0.20mm, PLA Black filament from Hiprecy.

The photo rendering of the black colour is not great, but the print is really clean, and very solid.

For the next print, we’re going to switch to TPU filament, from Sovol, while waiting for the previous print to cool down I’m using the tray from my Ender 5 Plus on the SV03, which has similar dimensions.

I reduced the speed to 30mm/sec for this TPU print, I didn’t try any faster… temperature at 220°C, and 10% filling.
The result is really clean! This TPU is easy to print and very flexible.

Here are some other prints made with the SV03, I’ll update the gallery when I have more prints.

A short video if you want to see the printer in action!

So that’s it for the SV03 test, but you might be hesitating to get an Artillery X1, so here’s a little comparison, the differences between these 2 machines in terms of features, the sound difference, and the difference in print quality 🙂

First of all you might have read my article about the Artillery X1 last year, it was a Beta version, but for this comparison I’m using an Artillery X1 V4 (the latest model).

Similar features between the SV03 and the Artillery X1:
– Silent motherboard
– Direct Drive Extruder type titan
– End of filament detector
– Pre-assembled 3D printer
– Dual motor for the Z axis

Additional features for the SV03:
– Larger removable/replaceable ultrabase platen 350×350 on the SV03 vs 300×300 on the Artillery (non-replaceable bonded platen)
– BL Touch auto-leveling sensor on the SV03, no sensor on the X1
– Belt tensioners for X and Y axis

Additional features for the Artillery Sidewinder X1:
– Synchronisation belt for the Z-axis motors
– Colour touch screen on the X1 (Ender3 type screen on the SV03)
– Quieter ventilation
– Micro SD card reader + USB key port on the X1 (only micro SD reader on the SV03)

Concerning the quieter ventilation of the Artillery X1, here is a sound measurement between the 2 machines, the difference is noticeable when you are next to the machine, you can’t hear the motors in both cases, the SV03 is however quieter than a Creality CR10 or an Ender3.

Concerning the print quality, on the left the X1, on the right the SV03, with a profile under Prusa Slicer, in 0,2mm, the print quality between these 2 machines is similar, we have an effect a little more brilliant with this filament on the SV03

I think that overall these 2 machines are equal, you will have good printing results with these 2 3D printers, we are on the same price range too.

An advantage for the SV03 with its large platen and original BL Touch, it will also be easier to modify/improve, like adding a belt synchronization system, or a touch screen.

On the X1 adding a BL Touch can be complex because of the wiring harnesses, and for me having the ultrabase tray glued on the X1 is not a good point, this type of tray is a consumable to be replaced in time, if you have a print that is difficult to peel off you won’t be able to remove the tray to put it under the cold.

To conclude

The Sovol SV03 is for me a good machine, easy to handle and perfectly adapted for a beginner, no fiddling required, the printer is ready to use. It’s a big baby, you’ll have to allow for space, but with a surface of 350x350mm you’ll be able to have fun!
If I were to make any improvements to this machine, I might install some Z-axis reinforcements, like those found on the CR10v2.

I really enjoyed this machine, even if I’m running out of space it’s a machine I will keep, it will take the place of the Ender 5 plus 🙂

To buy this machine, I strongly advise you to visit the official Sovol website, in order to get the best possible after sales service. This machine should also be available via Amazon soon

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