XYZ da Vinci 1 review
At £500, the XYZprinting da Vinci 1 3D printer looks like a bargain. It isn’t the cheapest 3D printer on the market: self-assembly kits from companies such as Aworldnet and Velleman can be found online for as little as £350. But while those are bare-frame designs that look like something you’d find in an industrial facility, the da Vinci looks and feels like a proper home appliance, with a tasteful smoked plastic exterior and a four-line LCD display. Thanks to ebuyer.com for supplying the review sample.
If you’re hoping to slot it onto your desktop, however, you’ll need to clear a big space: it’s an imposing cuboid, with a footprint of 470 x 560mm (enclosing a fairly large print volume of nearly 20cm3) and weighing 24kg. In use it’s not exactly noisy, but the plastic walls do nothing to quieten the whirring and grinding of the stepper motor.
XYZ da Vinci 1 review: print speed and quality
The da Vinci’s print engine is pretty speedy – although you may not initially think it. During printing, the LCD display ticks down an estimated time to completion, but we found its accuracy in the early stages of printing was a joke. A Lego-type brick that was at first pegged as a six-and-a-half-hour job actually completed in 17 minutes.
That’s distinctly faster than the 31 minutes the CEL Robox recently took to produce the same model – but sadly, print time doesn’t tell the whole story. Before the countdown began, we’d already had to wait nine long minutes for the printer to initialise and heat up. Since there’s no fan built into the enclosure, the post-print cool-down is even slower: a further 14 minutes elapsed before the printer decided that it was safe to remove our printed model. (Since the plastic door lacks a proper latch, however, there’s nothing stopping you from simply grabbing your model off the hot platform as soon as it’s finished.)
That fast printing process also comes with a quality trade-off. Although the da Vinci has a fairly fine 0.4mm nozzle and a standard resolution of 200μm, our default-quality model came out looking rough and visibly stratified; we tried printing a second brick at “Excellent” quality, but barely any difference was visible (although printing time was increased to 24 minutes). Both Lego bricks looked scrappy next to the ones produced by the Robox, and when we tried to snap them together we found that their overall shapes were far too ragged to fit together.
When it comes to the software, the interface is ugly and clunky, but XYZware happily imported all the STL-format model files we threw at it, showing a rendered preview and allowing us to perform basic scaling and rotation options before printing. You can choose the density of fill material, and whether or not to print a supporting raft – although when we tried this we found it fused to the finished model and was impossible to trim away. Even without a raft, we didn’t have any trouble with base layers lifting up during printing, perhaps thanks to the manufacturer’s low-tech recommendation that you apply a thin coating of Pritt Stick glue to the bed before printing.
XYZ da Vinci 1 review: Verdict
If you’re thinking that the da Vinci’s low price makes up for some foibles, note that it won’t take generic spools of filament, so you’ll have to pay for XYZ’s own chipped ABS filament cartridges. These currently sell on Amazon for £39 per 600g spool, which sticks in the throat a bit when generic filament can be had for £17.50 per kilogram.
For us, though, it’s print quality that’s the real showstopper. Regardless of what we printed, and of what settings we chose, our models came out looking tatty and uneven, to an extent that made it impossible to take any joy in the creative process. It’s a shame, because the prospect of a desktop 3D printer for less than £500 is a tempting one. Happily, now the da Vinci has shown the way, we doubt it will take long for someone to come along with a superior product at a similar price.
XYZ da Vinci 1 review: 3D Scanning
In addition to the regular 3D printer, XYZprinting also offers an “all-in-one” version of the da Vinci, priced at £695, which includes an optical scanner head – making the da Vinci effectively a 3D photocopier. We didn’t have an opportunity to try out the scanning model, but our hopes aren’t high. 3D scanning is even more in its infancy than 3D printing, and tends to struggle with fine detail, hollow objects and translucent materials. Couple those limitations with the da Vinci’s poor output quality and it’s unlikely to be a compelling proposition.
|Print technology||0.4mm extruder nozzle|
|Resolution||100-400µm horizontalr resolution|
|Supported filament types||ABS|
|Build volume (WDH)||190 x 200 x 200mm|
|Size (WDH)||468 x 558 x 510mm|
|Warranty||1yr RTB warranty|
|Price||£500 inc VAT|