The da Vinci Pro aims to serve as a number of tools wrapped in a single, albeit large, box. I tested its 3D printing and laser engraving features, but some models also come with a 3D scanner. For a price of $899 ($699 base + $200 for the laser attachment) it probably seems like a good bargain, but there are a few caveats.
Da Vinci Pro runs on XYZPrinting’s XYZware software. The software comes on an included DVD, though if you want to download the software you have to create an account with XYZPrinting. Using XYZware isn’t too hard, but it lacks the polish or the speed of other slicing packages such as Cura. When trying to print our overnight test print, the problem wasn’t the print volume or the printer itself, it was that XYZware couldn’t manage to slice such a large print.
Once sliced the printer makes decent prints and printed most test without too much trouble. The da Vinci Pro won’t blow you away with print quality, but it prints without issue relatively quickly. It can print in either ABS or PLA. At $28 for 600g the proprietary filament is definitely more expensive than other sources but for those makers not worried about breaking warranties the da Vinci Pro will let you print with any filament.While the da Vinci Pro’s dimensions are somewhat large, it’s also self-contained with a filament spool slipping into a hole in the back of the printer. It has a relatively large bed size as well.
Setting up isn’t too difficult, although the instruction manual could be improved. It includes drawings, but it isn’t exactly clear how you load the filament at first. However once you know where to place the filament, it’s easy to load.
To level the bed the da Vinci Pro uses a manual assist, using a sensor to test if the bed is level and then prompting the user to turn knobs to change its height. While this works well on some printers, on the da Vinci Pro it’s clunky. The printer requires you to turn ticks (90 degree increments) but doesn’t actually have any physical tick when turning. It also requires turning the knobs in tiny increments that can be hard to measure by hand. It took me at least 6 tries to get the bed correctly leveled.
In addition to a fully functional 3D printer, the da Vinci Pro also can serve as a laser etcher. A separate laser etching head replaces the hot end. XYZPrinting has done a great job of making switching tools as simple and quick as possible. Unplug one cable and release the print head from the carriage and replace with the laser head and you’re all set. Once installed you should be able to use XYZware laser etching functions.
Those looking at this feature should remember this is definitely an etcher and not a cutter. The 350mW laser won’t make deep etches in surfaces, but will let you mark wood or leather surfaces. One downside is XYZware doesn’t work with any vector file formats, so you’re stuck working with JPGs. You can have it etch with different tones or an outline-only mode, which use edge detection filter to find the edges in your image.
Another nice feature of the da Vinci Pro is the Wi-fi mode. The instructions weren’t great, but it’s relatively painless to set up and you should be able to see your printer through XYZware on your local network.
Overall, the da Vinci Pro performed decently, but could improve some of the user interface both with the software and the on-board display. The fact the XYZware had such trouble with a large print also seemed like a waste of the printer’s big bed.