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Review reloaded: The da Vinci all-in-one 3D printer disappoints

Lucas Mearian | Nov. 6, 2014
A week of use shows that first impressions can be wrong.

The more intricate the design of an object, the less capable the da Vinci 1.0 AiO all-in-one printer was able to create it. A diamond-patterned napkin holder came out perfectly, but a turkey cookie cutter had breaks in its pattern.

An attempt to print a model of the Eifel Tower failed miserably. It started out with four legs and deteriorated into a twisted mesh of material higher up to the spire.

The 3D scanner also cannot capture appendages thinner than two-inches in diameter, severely limiting what you can recreate on this machine.

The scanner
To be fair, XYZprinting's user guide does explain that there are limitations to what the scanner can pick up, including fuzzy objects or ones with fine spikes, objects with deep holes and shiny surfaces. The sheen reflects the red laser back at the camera, fouling the image.

This can be frustrating for a user who is attempting to get a scan completed by adding, say, corn starch to the outside of a shiny object to take off the plastic or metal sheen. Even after attempting to dull the sheen, the scanner wouldn't pick up the object.

What I found most disconcerting was that even non-shiny objects larger than two inches in diameter with thick appendages also didn't scan properly.

For example, I attempted to scan a six-inch tall replica of Rodin's "The Thinker", but only a sliver of the object would appear in the virtual view. I made several attempts to scan it, and the printer simply could not capture the statue's outline.

Next, I turned off the "auto" scanner setting and instead adjusted it for "dark" and "light" specific objects, but that also had no affect on improving the quality of the scan.

I attempted recalibrating the 3D scanner several times with a handy checkered plate that the company provides, but it didn't affect the outcome of previously unsuccessful scans. The odd thing is that as the lasers scanned an object, it appeared to be capturing most of the details in XZYware CAD software screen. But the resulting virtual 3D image didn't include those details. So this may be a software rather than an optics issue.

Pro tips
I spoke with an XYZprinting technician who was helpful in resolving some of the issues I ran into.

For shiny objects, the instruction manual recommends powdering them with cornstarch (a messy prospect at best); the technician recommended fairly low-tech solution - buy a can of Plasti Dip Spray. The latex spray gives objects a white matt surface that the scanner can pick up, thereby solving any sheen issues. You simply peel the latex off the object when you're done scanning it.

 

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