Our first 3D printer – Da Vinci Jr.

After seeing the XYZ Da Vinci Jr. costing 400 euro we couldn’t resist, we bought it right away and boy did we know it… We started with some basic simple models and it didn’t matter what the thing printed or in what quality, we were amazed! Like everyone we loved printing everything we could think of, from handy little tools and brackets to the most useless little puppets of our favorite tv series. For almost a week… We bought the little bugger on Saturday only to return it on Friday. As luck would have it, the extruder, the part that actually heats up the plastic, jammed. So naturally we googled, tried heating it, poking it but nothing seemed to work. So we had to return it and did some more research on what actually was available on the market, instead of buying the first dirt cheap printer we came across.

Software

The XYZPrinting Da Vinci Jr. does have some nice advantages but it doesn’t outweigh the negatives, yes it is dummy proof, doesn’t require any calibration what soever and it simply works, but! the worst has yet to come. The quality simply sucks, not just the printed stuff but the software too. Most printers use GCode files, basically a text file with instructions for the extruder, x,y,z, axis location, heat, amount of plastic, that sort of thing. XYZPrinting has a special type of GCode crap that can only be generated with their software. It is possible to do it with Slic3r but only after a lot of configuring and tweaking to get it to. This means that you are fully dependent on their software which lacks a lot of features, crashes a lot and is mainly focused on Windows users.

 

Quality

Second, it delivers crap. It’s as simple as that, the quality of the prints aren’t great. The lack of precision and the borders of the prints aren’t neat at all. This isn’t a huge big deal for most models but we tried to print gears what resulted in not fitting. Somehow I don’t believe this is a hardware problem, the hardware of the Da Vinci Jr. seems just fine and of a decent quality but the software instructing it seems to be the issue. This is mainly based on a feeling, I would love to have tested it but I couldn’t without voiding the warranty, which in retrospect I’m glad we didn’t.

 

Filaments

Great stuff, easy to use, super expensive… Each spool has an RFID tag so the printer actually knows what you put into it. This seems like a great idea but it isn’t. The tag holds the temperature, type of filament, colour and the amount used. This means that you can’t print without the RFID tag since you can’t enter these values manually so you’re stuck which their filaments. These filaments are about 40% more expensive than regular. One would say, simply lay an rfid tag in the tray en feed it something different but sadly that will only work for so long. The machine actually tracks the progress on the RFID tag so when it says the spool is empty, even if it isn’t so, you need to provide it with a new RFID tag/spool of filament. Basically DRM on filament, although “handy” for settings, not 40% more expensive handy, I prefer to pay less and I’ll type in the values myself.

 

Sound

The sound isn’t that big of an issue but it is pretty loud. In the casing is a 80mm fan mounted in the rear which blows outwards, why it is there? I don’t know… I guess it’s to prevent heat building up in the casing since it’s closed but even then, an 80mm fan makes a lot of noise for something that can be fixed with a few ventilation holes in the casing.

 

TL;DR

The machine may appear cheap at first but it will cost you more in the long run, our advice is quite simple, spend a few bugs more and get a decent printer. More on that later!