Over the past few years the shootout team has seen some emerging trends come to fruition, with the continued expansion of “all-in-one” machines and the huge burst in multi-extrusion machines. While multi-extrusion can mean many things, for the vast majority of users that means multi-color, and XYZ Printing steps up to the plate with the world’s first full color fused filament fabrication 3D printer. The DaVinci Color is a brand new machine with a unique combination of FDM and inkjet technologies which combine to bring the full color palette to your 3D prints, without all of the hassles and limitations additional extruders can bring.
Most of you will be well acquainted with the XYZ Printing Family, as their DaVinci series has become a mainstay in the community over the last few years. As of 2016 they were the world leading printer brand, with a stable of printers that includes the Nobel, an SLA resin printer, as well as a large variety of FDM printers, including some with scan as well as print capabilities. With the DaVinci color, they’ve taken another step in solidifying their place, bringing a technology usually seen only in expensive industrial machines to the home user.
Using a single extruder, and a proprietary PLA blend made for inkjet printing, you can now print in “full color spectrum accuracy” according to Simon Chen, XYZ Printing’s CEO. This is thanks to the addition of a CMYK inkjet technology that will customize the filament color on the fly, up to 16 million of them, lending to some great looking prints. Maybe even more impressive is what we don’t see, the usual purge tower, which will make those worried about consumable price a little happier.
Yes, there are some increased costs, as the Color-Inkjet PLA is priced at roughly $35 for a 600g spool, and a color inkjet cartridge will run the end user $64.95. This may scare off some, but for a machine that can crank out full color prints ready to go, saving the user a lot of the post processing time, it can be money well spent. As for the rest of the printer, it’s almost exactly what you would expect. The DaVinci Color build area is average, at 200x200x150mm, with layer heights of 100-400 microns and a standard .4mm nozzle. The auto-leveling bed is removable, although not heated, and the machine itself features a 5 inch color touchscreen and wireless as well as wired printing.
For those wondering about what the end product looks like, it is a step up from what you are expecting. The colors certainly look good, and there were tons on display in the DaVinci Color’s demo prints. From dinosaur prints to superheroes, the photos show just how much difference the color makes to the finished product. Those of you who have seen our testing team member Josh Ajima’s inking tutorials will notice that the traditional capillary action is still there, leaving a charming grain to the color, although a lot of work has been done to make this much smoother. We also expect that as XYZ Printing releases this new workhorse, that the software can be tweaked to help eliminate some of the other color issues that highlight some of the usual printing artifacts, such as ringing and other surface finish issues.
One thing we didn’t expect to see was just how much better the prints would pop visually with a little bit of shading and color printed on, adding a whole layer of depth. This will likely make some of our prop and model making fans a bit of time, as some of the weathering could be printed in, saving a few washes. We haven’t seen the software itself in action yet, so just how easy it is to create these color prints remains to be seen, but this is definitely a case where we can see the cell phone scans and photogrammetry come together to make an easy end to end solution. We should also note that it will be interesting to see how this method of coloring stands up to the usual finishing processes we put our prints through. Even though the coloration is done, things like print smoothing and cleaning will still need done.
XYZ Printing has come a long way since the DaVinci 1.0 days, and with the DaVinci Color it brings something entirely new and exciting to the home users desktop. Available now for the preorder price of $2999 (MSRP $3499), we expect to see a bunch of these ending up the hands of some very happy 3D printing enthusiasts and businesses.