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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.

While printing, the machine's robotic head produces a techno trill sound that's surprisingly pleasing. I've not heard this sound with any other 3D printer. Whether this was the intention of XYZprinting or not, it makes you feel as if you're in command of something truly high tech.

For my first attempt at replicating an object, I chose 5-in. model of a Porche 911 turbo sports car. Unfortunately, the 3D scan of it failed, as did several other attempts to scan various other objects. XYZ's technical support told me that objects whose X, Y or Z axis is smaller than two inches, will not scan. Also difficult to scan are objects that contain high contrast colors, shiny or clear objects -- all of which will foul the laser scanner. The maximum size of an object that can be scanned is 6-in. x 6-in.

Disappointed but not disillusioned, next I attempted to scan a larger model -- the lower portion of a spinal cord. That model was cylindrical and roughly 4-in. x 4.75-in. x 3.25-in. This time, the scan was successful and I was left with a 3D image that could be rotated and seen from any direction on the CAD software XYZPrinting provided with the printer.

I chose the highest resolution (.1mm) to test whether it could match another printer I'd reviewed with similar capabilities. The estimated print time leapt to almost 25 hours. At .4mm resolution, it would have taken about 10 hours. That, however, is not uncommon in 3D printing. It's a slow process, and watching something print is like watching paint dry.

The duplicate of the spinal cord model that the da Vinci created was impressive, capturing nearly every feature of the original. Like other 3D printers, the da Vinci gives the user or "maker" the option to fill a printed object with internal support material, which looks like a honeycomb, or to keep it hollow. I chose to have additional support filler.

The XYZ da Vinci all-in-one printer also allows you to adjust the size of an object, shrinking it or enlarging it.

What I liked most about this 3D printer were the intuitive controls and software. Someone with no experience could learn to use this machine skillfully in a short time. While the software isn't as sophisticated as that used in some other printers, that's not what XYZPrinting is going for. It's targeting the mass market and usability; it hit the bull's eye.

One of the obvious uses for a printer with a 3D scanner is to create original objects from clay or other malleable materials and then replicate them in plastic.

While I only had a few days to review this printer prior to its release, I can say without hesitation it is the most sophisticated machine I've seen for the money.

XYZ, a company that was only founded in 2011, has come out of the swinging in a very competitive market. This printer, while not perfect, certainly offers makers a powerful tool to create.


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