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.
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.
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.