2nd Printer: Core-XY, which cheap is OK?



I have recently changed my work day residence and like to have a 2nd printer for the 2nd place I live now. I have dreamt about a Core-XY now for some time, ideally the RailCore II 300ZL. Since the kit is not available in EU yet I was thinking of going cheap to learn a bit about Core-XY and how it works. The cheap option would also make it easier to "tinker" around. The main advantage of a Core-XY in my book would be the high speed and low mass moving parts, having that said I still prefer a direct drive over a bowden system and the cheap printers do not have a Duet controller. So I was looking around for CCC (Cheap Cheerful China) printers and found the Ender 4, Tronxy X5S and Flsun-G. There is also a T-Trees Gecko but I dislike the idea of the moving gantry on the Z axis.

On the other hand I have seen the Ender 5, that is also a damn good looking printer for the money and have seen some reasonably good reviews. I very much like the cube shape, that was the reason I looked for the Anycubic 4-max before I came across the 3 Core-XY printers and the Ender 5.

I am NOT looking for a Prusa, Ultimaker etc experience, I am fully aware I have to expect some tinkering and probably even broken/missing parts on arrival. I am pretty handy with electronics and mechanics, I can improvise and repair stuff.

So the motivation for the Ender 5 would be just to have a 2nd printer, The motivation for one of the Core-XY would be to get the thing working with Duet, Titan Aqua and some other nice things before I go full out for the RailCore kit, just as an inexpensive learning platform.

Any thoughts or definite no goes re the above printers ?


International shipping is availabe for the railcore ...


I have seen that but if it ships without CE cert of conformity or other required stuff it might be rejected in to the EU on my expense, plus I don't not want to have to deal with customs. Been there before and had only bad experiences.



I have an X5S and as shipped it makes a fine printer. With a few simple mods available on Thingiverse it has become a good printer. Additions such as an E3D V6 and Duet Wifi would make this a great printer. So if you are willing to tinker and do some upgrades the X5S would be my choice.


Thanks Goodeit,

meanwhile I have been reading a bit more elsewhere and watched some (also dubious) reviews and in addition checked availability in the EU. Yes it looks as if the X5S is the one I go for. It seems to be the one with the most available "improvements" out there but more importantly it also seems to be the only one available to ship from the EU right now. I have seen there are different models of the X5S on the website:


Apart from the size they have a different controller by the looks of it. I have to dig a bit deeper here. Mechanically they all seem to be the same except the difference in size and single or dual extrusion. Dual is definitely out of a question. I gonna replace the hotend anyway for E3D. So I am looking to find a X5ST-400 or X5ST-500 in the EU now.

I report back here once I have some hardware on my desk. BTW, the Prusa I3 MK3 enclosure has not progressed beyond the welded steel table I had made. Still using cardboard walls instead of Plexiglass. I may have to improve the table before I go any further cause it is still resonating to quick movements for example printing infill despite its weight of approx 50 kg.

Have FuN!


Thinking this a bit further, the X5ST model would be a waste of money since I replace the controller anyway with a Duet 2 Ethernet controller. So I think I stick with the normal X5S with 330x330x400mm build size. That size seems to be also better for potential print bed upgrades. So far I have only seen the E3d mains powered print bed at 300x300, not found anything bigger than that with promising specs.



I have and X5S-400 and for the most part am pleased with it. Just be aware, it is a typical far east 'kit'.
The first thing is check all the parts for swarf. I found quite a bit in the rail channels. Be prepared to replace bearings as I found a few that were gritty out of the box. Be sure to check the belt alignment in all directions as I found various inconsistencies on mine. I think they have now replaced that stupid use of flat and lock washers as guides for the idler pulleys, but if not you need to think about. that. As I was changing bearings, I found some with 11mm OD and printed my own 'tires' to go on them to make proper idlers.
Verify the pot settings on the stepper drivers if you use the original control board to be sure they are properly set. (mine weren't)
To alleviate the bed heating problem, I insulated the bed and powered with 24V. OH and change the wires going to the heated bed as the originals are undersized and got quite warm. I also read on one or more sites the mosfet for the heated bed was marginal so added a stand alone one with a big heat sink etc.
Overall, I still like the machine and plan on several "improvements" :sunglasses:



Yes what you say is pretty much what I have gathered on the internet from others that have that printer. I have low expectations and just want a low cost mechanical base for a Core-XY printer to play around with. The end goal is still a RailCore or a home-brew like RailCore.

Thanks for the heads up !!


Here's my CXY. It's based on the HEVO. Not cheap but it's been fun to slowwwwly build it up.


That looks VERY decent !!! I like the fact you have all the drive related mechanics inside the cubical frame. For my end goal I was thinking to use linear guides rail instead of rods. I would hope to use one rail on the X axis only. How about your entire x-gantry, is that ever getting out of alignment with the bed ? I mean does the left and right side always travel precise or have you had it askew for some reason ? That is one of my worries about Core-XY because I just have no experience.


PS: Looks like your hotend mount is a kind of "quick change" design, is that intended to be quick change or did your design just evolve that way ?


tedder42, how did you get the cuts in your aluminium extrusions square ? Did you get them cut in an engineering workshop or did you do that by hand with a precision square ? I see you have nice and plentiful 90 degree fasteners, what is under the cover in the corners ? Do you have corner fasteners similar to the RailCore there ?



I keep looking through the Internet regarding Core-XY kits and now came across the Rat Rig V-CORE kit. Anybody has experience with that ?


Also uses the "wheels in groove" design, no rails or rods but looks like a better build from a mechanical point of view and is shipped from the EU.



Me too. It's designed so I can put plexiglass on all sides (though probably not the top without some trickery). I've been designing parts (brain mount, power mount) to keep with that philosophy.

I'm still designing parts (like vanilla microswitch endstop mounts), really taking my time with the build.

TBD. But the way the belts move makes that very unlikely. It's not like the Z on most printers (including prusa and corexy) that can possibly get "jacked".

That's a HEVO design. It's nice because enough people use it that there are a zillion variations. I actually used a version of it with my first printer (more below).

I ordered them from Misumi USA in the precise lengths I wanted. It wasn't bad, costwise, about $100. Much more if I had it drilled and tapped, but it was really tempting. I have tools but not a metal bandsaw, and the only CNC metal bandsaw I could possibly access is over 1000 miles away :slight_smile:

The corners, where possible, have the "inside joints". Those top corners look like this underneath.

I really dislike "wheels in groove". My first printer was an Anet E10. It didn't have any provision for tensioning the wheels in the groove, and it had the wrong type of wheels (round, instead of v-shaped). I redesigned many parts, printed a million x carriages, and finally gave up on it. Part of what I designed for it used the HEVO style mount, which was the nicest part of the whole E10 by that point.


tedder42, thank you for your comprehensive feedback. Without having any experience in practical application, I would find the "wheels in groove" the only downside of the Rat Rig V-Core, its just a feeling. However the kit looks well done otherwise and by design it does not look too difficult to replace the wheels with rails and cart. I certainly would expect this Rat Rig kit to perform better out of the box than the CN types such as Tronxy X5S. Would not go for PLA parts, I rather print them in ABS or PC on my Prusa instead but the machined aluminium parts for motor mounts etc sound very good.

I play with that kit in my head for another couple of nights, if I am still feeling good about it next week I order it and a Duet 2 Ethernet as well. and take it from there. Not sure if I use Titan Aero or Aqua yet. For a prototype I think an Aero might be better cause less auxiliary parts but I need to give that more thought. My final design would be enclosed and for that the Aqua is definitely the way to go.

Thanks again tedder42 for your feedback.


The problem is whether you can remove the "play" in it well enough. Plenty of (low-end) printers use this system, so .. go with god :slight_smile:


I have checked the Fusion 360 design and cant really see any adjustment for the wheels. It might with the right choices of wheels not need it but bI have contacted them to find out more. By design the wheels on this printer have the load (weight) carried perpendicular to the wheels axis, that looks better than axial load where you have a lot more uncertainly of how the wheels behave in the grove.



Just got a response from Rat Rig:

"All carriages are configured via eccentric nuts which allow to tighten or loosen the wheel grip until all play is gone."

So that sounds promising, it has apparently been taken care of.



PS: also suggested to offer ABS or PC printed parts instead of PLA.......


I have ordered my kit and also hotend, steppers duet 2 etc....... I continue this in a more fitting forum since a Duet 2 controller is not really anything for Octoprint :wink:

So further info, pics and discussions over at Tom's place.

Have FuN!