We spent some time discussing the state of the universe with XYZPrinting.
The Taiwan-based company now sells their low-cost personal 3D printers worldwide, and they’ve proven to be quite popular, not only due to their inexpensive price, but also due to their reliability.
The company now markets three different personal 3D printers: the original da Vinci, the da Vinci Duo and the da Vinci AiO.
The original da Vinci provides a basic 3D printing experience with its 200 x 200 x 200mm build volume, whereas the Duo includes dual extruders for mixed colors or printing with support material. However, the Duo loses a little bit of build volume, dropping to 150 x 200 x 200mm.
The AiO is essentially a single-extruder 3D printer, but with the added feature of 3D laser scanning! Twin lasers shine on an object, slowly turned by a rotating turntabe, gradually reconstructing the 3D shape. XYZprinting says their software can produce a usable 3D model in as little as five minutes using the system. The AiO permits “copy and print” functionality, a workflow that could be important for some applications. We were told the AiO should be shipping “probably” in January.
These machines have been gradually replaced over the past year with new versions having slightly better performance and features. The 1.1 plus, for example, will include wireless networking and a mobile app for remote control and monitoring.
Another interesting feature is a touch screen permitting on-the-fly selection of 3D models from their gallery, first available on the 1.1 Plus machine. We expect this type of functionality to make its way into most personal 3D printers in the future, as it provides additional integration into the manufacturer’s ecosystem. They’re also integrating the gallery directly in their printing software, XYZware.
You may wonder why their website does not necessarily have the new models displayed. This is due to XYZprinting’s complex sales distribution system, where regional distributors may have different release dates for machines. However, the company does announce new machines and accepts pre-orders in anticipation of release.
They’ve just set up a “base” for European operations in the Netherlands, but are actively seeking another base for further expansion.
Coming soon will be PLA cartridges to add to XYZprinting’s existing ABS plastic filament cartridges. These are the only official material used by XYZprinting’s machines, thus creating a monopoly for the manufacturer. However, it’s a tradeoff: the machine is inexpensive, but you must purchase their filament.
We asked XYZprinting’s representatives about their use of proprietary filament and they explained it comes down to their market. They ignore the DIY community and wish to focus solely on the larger group of general consumers, who they described as “young people, educated, who enjoy gadgets”. The proprietary cartridges allow XYZprinting to provide a very consistent printing experience, which in turn ensures their support systems handle predictable situations. The cartridges are identical mechanically, as is the filament, both dimensionally and chemically - and their printing software matches those characteristics. Finally, the cartridges can monitor filament consumption to provide more information to the operator.