XYZPrinting_DaVinci-3626cmyk

da Vinci 3D Printer: Even China couldn’t build a 3D printer this cheap.
Image by Brian Kaldorf.

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DA VINCI
xyzprinting.com
Price as Tested $499
Build Volume 200×200×200mm
Bed Style Heated glass
Temperature Control? No
Materials XYZprinting ABS filament cartridges
Print Untethered? No
Onboard Controls? Limited
Host Software XYZWare
Slicer XYZWare
OS Mac, Windows
Open Software? No
Open Hardware? No

At $499, the da Vinci 1.0 by XYZ Printing is currently the best-selling printer on Amazon. It’s made in Thailand, an important distinction, because I’m certain even China couldn’t build a 3D printer this inexpensive.

The da Vinci’s spec sheet boasts features previously seen only on other company’s flagship models: an enclosed build volume, heated glass build plate, LCD Screen, assisted leveling, integrated nozzle cleaner, and front panel controls (although they are for changing filament and bed leveling only, not untethered printing). It’s packaged like a consumer product (no exposed wires) and the build volume is neatly enclosed behind translucent plastic. We tested the single extrusion version, but a dual has recently become available.

Microchipped, Proprietary Plastic

Our package clearly had some serious international miles on it, but everything
was well packed and in good order. Inside the box was a quick-start guide, basic toolkit, and one proprietary microchip-embedded cartridge of ABS filament (a 600g cartridge is $28, limited colors). Setup was easy, and the instructions for loading the filament are printed on the inside of the machine’s top cover.

da vinci copy

PRO TIPS
– Avoid playing with the leveling system, it’s easier to turn off the machine and level the platform by hand.
– The printer’s low price has inspired a community of hardware hackers who are modifying the machines, search for their tips and see makezine.com/da-vinci
WHY TO BUY
It’s cheap, fully enclosed, and a good value (price versus build volume). There’s an SD card and filament hack possible for those who want to tinker.

Print Like It’s 2010

XYZ’s software is geared toward novice users with intuitive controls, but the software has some quirks. Workflow is exclusively one-way. Once a model is sliced it cannot be adjusted — change anything and you’ll have to reload and start over. The software’s most glaring shortcoming is its slicer, which feels like an early prototype, indifferently laying down plastic with little regard to geometric conditions or input settings. Basic settings like layer height and infill didn’t seem to have any effect on the printed result.

The da Vinci’s print quality is roughly on par with what you would have seen from a kit-built machine in 2010. Its scores were consistently low in every category we tested. The immature slicing engine and low-quality gantry system make it difficult for the da Vinci to produce prints with fine detail or dimensional accuracy.

Conclusion

The da Vinci looks and prints exactly like the inexpensive consumer product it is. This is the disposable inkjet of 3D printing. It’s a cheap, (mostly) easy-to-use option for hobbyists and younger students.