A few years ago, XYZprinting introduced the da Vinci Jr., a compact 3D printer intended for the entry-level market. Although it performed well, some shortcomings like the sole use of proprietary components and the reliance on glue made it less of a hit than the manufacturer hoped. They went back to redesign it and address the most pressing issues, and now we’ve got the Pro version to play around with.
Features of the XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 Pro
One of the most heavily advertised and biggest selling points of this da Vinci printer is its compatibility with nonproprietary spools of PLA filament. This means that you can experiment with filaments of different consistencies and at different price points, as long as they’re 1.75mm thick. There’s an auto-loading function in place that makes sure any filament you put in is fed properly. You’ll have to print out a stand for the non-standard filament yourself or buy one online though, which is either a minor inconvenience or a great idea for one of your earliest prints.
To get you straight into print mode, the Jr. Pro comes with auto-leveling. Its print head will automatically measure the distance from itself to the flatbed, making sure that everything is level and properly aligned.
Appearance wise, this 3D printer is very stylish and smooth. You may not like it if you’re a big fan of more expensive models which proudly show off their inner workings and metal parts, but even so its sleek look, that’s reminiscent of a normal printer, can blend well into a classroom or home environment.
Prints can be as big as 5.9 inches cubed, which is big enough to create miniatures, figurines and other creations intended for casual use. Depending on the settings and type of filament in use, printing proceeds at speeds of up to 250 mm/s, significantly cutting down on the time it takes to complete something.
It’s no slouch when resolution is concerned either. Starting off at 400 microns for rougher projects, it can be decreased all the way to 50 if you decide to spend a little extra and get the finer 0.3mm nozzle that helps create finer, smoother and more detailed prints. At such a fine size, even small warps can lead to very bad looking prints. There’s a built-in cooling fan that helps each layer solidify faster, decreasing the number of warps and strings you have to deal with.
Apart from having good hardware specs, the da Vinci Pro takes advantage of XYZware, a software that helps you fine-tune the printer’s performance by adjusting a number of options like its printing speed, extruder temperature and more. You also get access to an online print gallery with many pre-made models to print out. Connection options are limited to a USB and there’s an SD card slot if no computer is nearby. Having Wi-Fi connectivity would have been nice, but seeing as its price is outstanding for what you’re getting, this can easily be overlooked.
Since the printer only works with PLA, the print bed isn’t heated. Heating up would have been better not just because of use with ABS, but to ensure that the first layer sticks to its surface and reduce the chance of getting a stringy deformed mess instead of whatever you meant to print even more.
- Automated and easy setup process requires minimal experience and user input
- As long as it’s the right size and PLA, any kind of filament can be used with it
- XYZware gives one fine control over the printer’s performance
- Prints are very detailed, there are no issues with prolonged jobs and stopped ones can even be resumed in the event of a power outage
- The printer looks nice, takes up comparatively little space, and is reasonably quiet
- The print bed isn’t heated
- No ABS or flexible filaments are supported
- While the printer’s general finish is adequate, the buttons on its front panel feel cheaply made
This Pro version makes the da Vinci Jr. an entry-level printer even veterans will have use for which should definitely put it on your shortlist. The fact that it is already assembled takes little effort to get going and has a lot of customization options you can tinker with once you’ve made a successful print or two, makes it straightforward to use and great as both a learning tool and a 3D printer which produces respectable prints with whatever PLA filament you happen to have at hand.
Whether you were planning on using it for leisure or printing small objects you want to use for hobby or work-related projects, the da Vinci Jr. puts them out with confidence and speed. Couple all of this with its best feature – a price tag that comes very close to DIY kits without the hassle of it together, and you’ve got a 3D printer with genuinely great value.