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Da Vinci Post-Mortem: Read this before you buy!

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  • Da Vinci Post-Mortem: Read this before you buy!

    After about 10 months of ownership, I am now done with my XYZ Da Vinci 2.0 Duo, and am posting this to relay my experiences with the product and company as a whole. I have had a very negative experience, and would like to sum the entire thing up in four words:

    Do not buy this.

    Or really any of their printers, but let's delve into a bit more detail.

    Hardware-wise the Da Vinci is a solid machine. It looks beautiful and professionally made. Physically it is well-designed. In fact, I do not believe I actually had any real hardware failures. I'm not sure, but I believe.

    That's pretty much where anything good I have to say ends.

    A 3D Printer is my dream toy. When I was a kid I had no idea what they were called, but it was the toy I wanted more than anything else. It's taken several decades, a college education, huge leaps forward in technology, and me having a stable enough job to afford one, but now it's finally a reality. I'd be printing basically 24/7 if I could, is the point I am trying to make.

    So, in 10 months of Da Vinci ownership, I have managed less than 300 hours of printing. Why, you ask? Because the damned thing breaks down... constantly.

    Most of the problems were caused by bad calibration. That's not a big deal, except that da vinci's calibration routine consists of "run this, look at the numbers, **** with the knobs randomly, then run it again and see if the numbers have improved". That's it. If you badger their tech support enough they do have some slightly(just barely) better instructions, but it still all comes down to a tedious and time-consuming process that is thumb-up-the-***-stupid. You run the calibration routine, which you have to sit and watch because the numbers only stay up on the screen for a few minutes, then you adjust it and run them again. Repeat until you get the numbers right. One calibration run took me 30 hours over the course of a week. Another took 6. At one point I actually had to send the printer back to the factory mostly so they could calibrate it for me.

    Then there's da vinci's firmware. If you work with any kind of device that uses firmware, there is a process you are probably intimately familiar with wherein you erase the device's existing firmware and either load a new one or reload the old one. The process is typically called "flashing" and has sadly little to do with breasts. It's a pretty standard troubleshooting step and common to just about anything that can be hooked up to a computer or network. I deal with networking gear in my day job and we re-flash devices multiple times a day. Not the same device, we just cover a lot of devices.

    Da Vinci does not offer this capability. At once point, I had an issue I am 100% convinces could have been solved by wiping and re-loading the firmware. This was proven when they released a firmware update that temporarily fixed my problem. I pleaded with XYZ's support to give me the tools to do this. They could not, and I had to spend $65 sending the printer to them to be fixed, after which time it worked for maybe a week before developing new problems.

    Then their's the software. On the surface its not bad, a lot of people will complain because it's not as feature-rich as other software. I have absolutely nothing good to say about reprap and slic3r, so I liked da vinci's no nonsense attitude to software: all it does is import, position, and print, with a handful of other settings to control rafts, supports, etc.

    But, with so little communication between printer and PC, it does mean the software cannot help you calibrate or provide any insights into what may be wrong. It also can't read back progress, so if the printer is in another room, it's not telling you anything. Still, I liked da vinci's software until my printer started screwing up so consistently that I was forced to look for other options. I bought Simplify3D(fantastic software by the by) and that solved all my problems for another few weeks.

    After I started getting constant, instant jams, I contacted da vinci's support again, and they decided the extruder must have failed(after, I kid you not: less than 200 hours of printing at that point). After arguing with their support for a few days, they agreed to send me a new extruder if I paid the shipping, and that fixed the printer for another few weeks.

    Then there's the cartridges. Da Vinci's proprietary filament was originaly a selling point for me. The cartridges "talk" to the printer and report back how much has been used, which is read by the software. Since there's nothing more heart-wrenching than running out of filament mid-print, it was nice to have it tell me. The problem, here, is that in my experience the cartdiges have a failure rate of about 2 in 3. That is to say, for every 3 cartridges I bought, two had to shipped back to the vendor, usually because if a jam. I had another where the chip was bad. Basically, like everything else about this printer, it was a great idea that was ruined by it's inability to work.

    The straw that broke the camel's back, as it were, was when, after sending the printer in for repairs, buying new software, and replacing a part, the printer again started having really stupid problems(the current issue is that the right extruder refuses to heat). I'm done fighting with it and will be buying a different brand. If you want reliability, don't buy this piece of junk. If you want something that looks pretty, is easy to use, and will work for about 5 minutes when you first buy it, yeah...

    Any questions?

  • #2
    I think you need to quit sugar coating it and tell us how you really feel. After following your progress (or lack thereof) the last few weeks, I feel frustrated... and it's not even my printer.

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    • #3
      It's been an emotional rollercoaster to be sure.

      I wouldn't even complain if I had a nice checklist of potential problems; run a bed leveling script, clean the heads, etc, but the da vinci just keeps failing in unusual and exotic ways.

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      • #4
        Oh well ... I know how I felt when the inductive sensor on my printbot broke ... and that was just a minor thing ...

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        • #5
          Its kind of like the difference between buying an old car to restore and buying a used car to drive around in. If the project-car takes a lot of tinkering and repairing you don't care, because that was the point. I bought a printer to 3D print, darn it!

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          • #6
            This is not encouraging. I notice there are several software updates coming out on a regular basis. As I took out an extended warranty, I want to persist with them getting it right. New company (kickstarter) has its challenges. I'm hoping they reinvest in thier product line and retain thier customer base. They certainly need to improve thier tech support, manuals and software bug resolution between releases.

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            • #7
              They probably will not honor your extended warranty, fair warning. I even went to the Better Business Burea. After it became clear the unit was just defective, they basically offered me 3 months of extra warranty and I still had to pay for shipping for them to fix it A SECOND TIME.

              Basically I would not buy again.

              Comment


              • #8
                You sound like a capable person (despite your obvious frustrations).

                I would suggest that you re-appraise your opinion of RepRap machines. I don't like that term but there are some really good open source designs out there.

                It sounds, to me, that you actually would benefit from having the degree of control over the setup and usage these machines offer.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I bought Wanhao Duplicator 4S and could not be happier with the machine. Its pre-assembled but offers the same level of control as the open source machines(even uses open-source software and the sort of driver board you find). Worth every penny.

                  Comment

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