The new Da Vinci all-in-one 3D scanner/printer
Start-up XYZPrinting today released its first all-in-one 3D printer, which uses a 3D laser scanner to replicate objects placed inside the machine.
While other 3D printing companies sell handheld scanners or separate scanning tables, XYZPrinting is the first to incorporate scanning into a consumer-grade product.
The da Vinci 1.0 AiO all-in-one 3D printer plus scanner is shipping for $799 in US, setting this multi-featured printer virtually alone in a marketplace where even the most basic 3D printers can run over $1,000. It's not out in the UK yet. London-based PrintME 3D – who sell the older printer-only model, the da Vinci 1.0 – say that they're likely to be carrying it soon, so we'll update this review when they set a price and release date.
That's Taiwan-based XYZPrinting's business model – low priced, yet sophisticated, consumer-grade printers. For example, the da Vinci 1.0 costs just £407.50 plus VAT. That compares to a MakerBot's Replicator 3D printer, which costs £1,970 and has roughly the same build capability.
A more moderately priced 3D printer, the UP Mini costs £549, but it can't print objects as large as the da Vinci, nor does it have a 3D scanner.
Right away, the AiO 3D printer grabs your eye with its refined appearance. The mechanics – the printing head, two laser scanning/camera pods and turntable, and the motorized print table – are fully enclosed in a sleek-looking blue and white cube with a large transparent, hinged-front door.
The advantage of a fully enclosed 3D printer is three-fold: it reduces noise created by the robotic print head moving back and forth, it protects the machinery inside and it can reduce the smell when using thermoplastics such as ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), which is notorious for its bad odor.
The printer is about around 55-70cm in each dimension and weighs 27.5kg. While this is a desktop printer, it takes up a sizeable amount of room on your desk.
The da Vinci 1.0 AiO can print only one colour at a time, but it can use either ABS or PLA (Polylactic acid), which is a plastic derived from organic products, such as cornstarch and sugar cane; PLA is cheaper, but less durable than ABS. ABS and PLA are the two most popular thermoplastics on the market today.
Like other consumer-grade 3D printers in the £400 to £1,500 price range, the da Vinci 1.0 AiO builds objects using fused filament fabrication, where layer upon layer of thermoplastic is extruded from a heated nozzle. The build platform is also heated, ensuring the bottom of a printed object remains attached and doesn't become deformed.
The printer offers multiple resolutions in which to print (resolution refers to the thickness of the layers used to construct an object). Those resolutions include .1mm, .2mm, .3mm and .4mm.
The da Vinci has the ability to print objects as large as 7.8-in. x 7.8-in. x 7.8-in. in size, which compares favorably with other consumer machines both in its price range and far above it.
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.
Next section: Setting up the 3D printer