At just $799, the XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 AiO 3D Printer is one of the most affordable single-extruder 3D printers on the market. (The Da Vinci is available in the UK for £649; pricing and availability for Australia will be announced later.) Yet, it's a full-featured machine that can build large 3D objects and also doubles as a 3D scanner. In testing, it proved to be both reliable and easy to use, too.
There's one caveat, however. The 3D printer uses proprietary consumables that are comparatively more expensive than those used by other 3D printers. The printer also has a few other minor shortcomings, including a nonremovable print platform (which makes it hard to clean the printer's interior after a job) and the fact that you can't swap filaments during a print job to print in multiple colors.
But these are all small sacrifices for a great 3D printer at an amazingly low price. If you're interested in, or even just curious about, 3D printing, the Da Vinci 1.0 AiO is an easy recommendation.
Precalibrated, large print platform
Similar to the case of the, which costs $2,000, the Da Vinci 1.0 AiO doesn't require a lot of work to get it up and running.
Out of the box, the printer is preassembled and precalibrated. You need only to unpack it, which involves removing a lot of padding materials, tapes and plastic loops that keep the parts secure during transit. Though this takes process takes quite some time, it saves a lot of work later.
Why? Because the printer is well-packed for a reason: so that its parts won't shift during transit. This might cause you to have to re-calibrate it, a process that can take much longer than unpacking. Calibration is an important process where you make sure the print platform's entire surface is at a consistent and perfect distance from the print-head's nozzle. If you don't do it correctly, the printer can't produce an object that accurately reflects the 3D model. If you do need to manually calibrate it, the Da Vinci's print platform comes with three screws underneath. It's unlikely you'll need to re-calibrate it, however -- I didn't.
Measuring 18.4 x 20.1 x 22 inches (46.8 x 51 x 55.8cm), this printer is quite large for a single-extruder model (one that can print in only color at a time). The benefit of the Da Vinci's large physical size is that can accommodate a large print platform and indeed, it can build 3D objects of up to 7.8 x 7.8 x 7.8 -inches (about 20 x 20 x 20cm), much larger than what's possible on the DeeGreen. Below the print platform, there's another round turntable platform for the printer's scanning function. The Da Vinci can scan objects of up to 6 x 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15 x 15cm).
Proprietary filament cartridge
The only part that needs assembling before you can use the printer is the included ABS filament cartridge. Unlike other 3D printers that use open filament spools, the Da Vinci's spool is contained inside a cartridge. Similar to a laser printer's toner cartridge, you insert it into a slot at the back of printer (thealso uses a proprietary cartridge). At the bottom, the cartridge has a sensor contact port that allows the printer to automatically recognize the presence of the filament, its type (ABS or PLA) and how much is left.
Letting the sensor tell the printer when you're low on filament is more convenient than having to manually check a filament spool. In return, though, you have to buy an entire new cartridge when it's empty; you can't just add more filament to it. A cartridge, which sells for $28, holds 600g (1.3 pounds) of filament. By comparison, be3D sells DeeGreen filament at $30 for each 750g (1.7 pound) spool, and Monoprice sell its own at $35 for each 1kg (2.2 pound) spool, and you can use the Monoprice filaments for be3D 3D printers and vise versa. Note that for now, XYZPrinting doesn't take back its used plastic cartridges for recycling. You will need to discard them yourself.
Filaments are the raw material for 3D printing, just like ink cartridges in inkjet printers. They come in different colors and are basically easy-to-melt, quickly congealing plastic strings that are fed through the print head nozzles during a print job. In the case of the Da Vinci, each cartridge comes with the filament string protruding for you to grab on and feed into the printer's print-head.
As for how 3D printers work, during a print job, the print-head pulls the filament string, melts the plastic, and extrudes it onto the platform underneath through the nozzle. The platform lowers gradually depending on the height, and the print head moves around depending on the width and shape of the object being built. As the extruded plastic piles on top layer by layer, it congeals very quickly and after awhile it will slowly form the object. This process is called fused deposition modeling (FDM), and also known as fused filament fabrication (FFF). This is the current 3D printing technology used in all consumer-grade 3D printers.
As a single-extruder, the Da Vinci can work with only one filament cartridge at a time, and the printer doesn't allow for swapping out a cartridge during a print job. This means, you can only print objects of one color with the printer.This is not a big problem, however, since you can always paint the object after a job is done.
Da Vinci 1.0 AiO 3D Printer specs
|Extruder||0.015-inch nozzle single extruder|
|Print platform||Heated print plate|
|Print Technology||Fused Filament Fabrication|
|Build volume||7.8 x 7.8 x 7.8 in (20 x 20 x 20 cm)|
|Layer thickness||0.4 / 0.3 / 0.2 / 0.1mm|
|Nozzle diameter||0.015 in. (0.4mm)|
|Print speed||3.54 in/s (90 mm/s)|
|Scan volume||6 x 6 x 6 in. (15 x 15 x 15 cm)|
|Printer control||2.6-inch LCD|
|Printable materials||Proprietary cartridge containing PLA or ABS filaments (600g each)|
|Power source||230 V / 120 W|
|External dimensions||18.4 x 20.1 x 22 in. (46.8 x 51 x 55.8 cm)|
|OS support||Windows 7 (and later), Mac OS 10.9 (or later)|