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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 Plasti Dip Spray ($5.95 at your local hardware store) also solves another scanning issue: color contrast. The laser scanner has a tendency to lock onto a single color, whether dark or light. If the object you are scanning has stark color contrasts, the scanner will often lock onto one and misinterpret the others causing malformations. I tried this trick and it worked.

Additionally, if a scan misinterprets the shape of an object, users can save the scan and bring it up in a third-party computer-aided design (CAD) application such as SolidWorks or AutoCAD and manipulate it until the shape is accurate. The file can then be re-uploaded and printed.

One of the issues I ran into over and over was a "printer is busy" message. This occurred after running a scanning job that did not successfully capture an object. I would delete the image, but the printer would remain inaccessible, telling me that I needed to wait until after the printer finished the current task. It was either that, or my computer would throw up a "device not found" message. It turned out that the printer had to be reset after each use; you simply had to return the menu to the home page.

Another software issue I continued to experience was an "out of boundaries and resize" message that alerted me that an object I was attempting to print from a downloaded file was too large or needed to be moved to a different location on the print bed. The problem: You cannot resize or reposition an virtual object isn't there in the first place.

The XYZprinter technician explained that .stl files don't tell you whether the virtual object is scaled in inches or millimeters. The da Vinci printer's default is millimeters, but it allows for measurements in inches as well. Switching from "mm" to "in" in the menu can sometime solve the upload problem.

What I did like about this printer is the ease of use. Thermoplastic filaments, either ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PLA (Polylactic acid), typically come in spools like so much weed whacker string. With this printer, you simply install a cartridge by dropping it into the top of the machine.

The fact that the mechanics of the machine are encased reduces noise and the odor of melting plastic, and the print platform is particularly well made.

The print platform has a heated glass top that makes it easy to remove printed items. Many 3D printers use a "perf" or perforated board that is attached to the printer platform with clips before beginning a job. The many tiny holes in a perf board allow the thermoplastic to adhere firmly to the platform during printing. Once a print job is completed, the perf board, with the finished model on it, can be removed from the printer; the model can then be separated from the perf board. Unfortunately, perf boards also wear out rather quickly as they become clogged with thermoplastic. That also don't produce a smooth bottom on printed objects.

 

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