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Review: The new Da Vinci all-in-one 3D scanner/printer

Lucas Mearian | Oct. 29, 2014
Even without the 3D scanner, this printer is impressive.

The front of the printer has a simple push button keypad for traversing a menu on a 2.6-in LCD black-and-white display. It also has a convenient "home" button that will return a user back to the main menu.

The machine ships with XYZware and XYZscan, a 3D object scanning software that creates previews of files and output files for printing via XYZware management software. Unfortunately, XYZscan is only compatible with Windows XP and Window 7 machines. The printer itself and its XYZware software is compatible with Windows XP, 7 and Mac OS X 10.8 or earlier. That means you can print with Windows or Mac machines, but you can only scan in objects using Windows.

Printer set up
Setting up the da Vinci AiO 1.0 could not be simpler. Other than removing protective Styrofoam and cardboard, the printer comes ready to use. I had it out of the shipping box and ready to print in less than a half hour; the only assembly consists of dropping a cartridge containing a spool of thermoplastic filament into the top of the machine and threading it into the print head.

The machine connects to your desktop or laptop computer via a USB 2.0 cable; I had hoped for a USB 3.0 connection, which is 10 times faster.

You can upload .stl (stereolithography) 3D printing files from the Internet or use ones you've created yourself using CAD software. Or, of course, you can use the laser scanner on this machine to replicate objects inside of the printer.

One cool feature of the printer is that when you choose to scan an object, the glass-topped build platform elevates to the top of the enclosure, exposing the 3D scanner turntable at the bottom. That is where you place the object to be scanned.

3D scanning an object takes about five minutes. During a scan, the object on a turntable revolves in a counterclockwise direction. Throughout the process, the laser modules on either side of the turntable project a linear beam at the object while the camera on the module films a complete image sequence of the rotating object.

When the scan is finished, the XYZscan software then converts the images captured into a .stl file, the standard throughout the industry. Prior to printing, slicing software converts the object into something that can be constructed in layers. That can take several minutes for smaller objects, or in the case of one 5-in. tall object I scanned, as much as eight to 10 minutes.

Objects are scanned with a .5mm resolution.

A convenient feature of the da Vinci 3D printer, though not uncommon to other printers, is an estimated build time. Once an .stl file is uploaded to the printer, the software estimates how long it will take to print. Throughout the build, the LCD screen displays total build time, time elapsed, and what percentage of a print job has been completed.

 

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