Airwolf_HDx_3567 1cmyk

Airwolf HD, HDx and HD2x 3D Printer: Big volume, bigger price tag.
Image by Brian Kaldorf.

bla

AIRWOLF
airwolf3d.com
Price as Tested HD2x: $3,995; HDx: $3,495; HD: $2,995
Build Volume HD/HDx: 300×200×300mm, HD2x: 280×200×300mm
Bed Style Heated glass
Temperature Control? Yes
Materials PLA, ABS, nylon, polycarbonate, PVA, and more
Print Untethered? MicroSD Card
Onboard controls? Yes
Host Software MatterControl/Cura/Repetier-Host
Slicer CuraEngine / Slic3r
OS Mac, Windows, Linux
Open Software? Third-party software
Open Hardware? No

The AW3D HD, HDx, and HD2x are the latest additions to Airwolf 3D’s ever-growing printer portfolio, clearly targeted at buyers with (very) deep pockets looking to print big in a wide variety of materials.

High Temp Hot end

Thanks to Airwolf 3D’s new proprietary JRx hot end with a 0.5mm nozzle, the HDx and HD2x are not only capable of printing at temperatures up to 320°C but also with a vast array of materials including PLA, ABS, nylon, HIPS, and polycarbonate (for the HD, maximum temperature is only 260°C, so Airwolf 3D recommends to refrain from using nylon/PC). They also have a massive build volume of 18,000 cm3 (only the Type A and TAZ are larger). However, these features come with a hefty price tag, making the Airwolf machines the most expensive FFF machines we tested.

With an external footprint of 610×445×460mm, the first thing you’ll need for these behemoths is lots of dedicated space and a sturdy desk or workbench. Airwolf now uses clear, 6mm-thick acrylic enclosures, which contributes to the printers’ sturdiness, but brings the weight up to a whopping 40 pounds, rendering portability close to zero. Setting up these machines is easy due to clear and well-illustrated documentation. The initial calibration guide makes bed leveling a breeze, but loading/unloading the filament can prove tricky.

Solidly Built, But Some Major Flaws

The HDx’s overall print quality was in the lower middle of the pack (its siblings were near the bottom) and didn’t fare well on Overhangs, Bridging, or Surface Finish. However, all models scored well on the mechanical tests (XY, Z Resonance) and Backlash tests, a testament to its sturdy, well-constructed frame. Additionally, users with big fingers will undoubtedly have problems using the VIKI front panel wheel and its microSD slot; both can be extremely fiddly. The HDx also integrates many 3D-printed parts: the joints between the acrylic panels, the spool holders, the top of the hot end, the extruder, etc.

PRO TIPS   Slicing with CuraEngine produced much faster prints than MatterControl with equal print quality.  WHY TO BUY  Sturdy frame, huge build volume, high-temp nozzles.

PRO TIPS
Slicing with CuraEngine produced much faster prints than MatterControl with equal print quality.
WHY TO BUY
Sturdy frame, huge build volume, high-temp nozzles.

Conclusion

The AW3D HD line — with their remarkable heated glass print bed (PET coated), their large print volume, high-temp nozzles, and beefy frames — have a lot going for them. However, the below-average print quality and the absence of premium features like auto bed leveling, a magnetically fixed glass bed (instead of binder clips), onboard cameras, and wi-fi connectivity doesn’t justify their exorbitant price tags.