XYZ Printing, makers of the popular da Vinci line of 3D printers, have just released one of the holy grails of desktop 3D printing. The da Vinci Color is a full-color, filament based printer. How does this work? A special filament (Color PLA, although this filament is white in color) is extruded through a nozzle like any other 3D printer. Color is then added layer by layer by a system of inkjets in the head of the printer. Yes, it’s a full-color 3D printer, and yes, people have been suggesting this type of setup for years. This is the first time it’s been made real.
The specs for this printer are about what you would expect from any other filament-based printer in 2017. The build volume is 200 x 200 x 150mmm, the print bed has auto-leveling (although strangely doesn’t have a heated bed), and the user interface is a 5-inch color LCD. The da Vinci Color is available for preorder right now for $2,999.
You can check out a few pics of samples printed on the da Vinci Color below:
In terms of brand recognition and XYZ Printing, their DaVinci is a somewhat surprising footnote in the history of desktop 3D printing. XYZ Printing’s da Vinci was one of the first cheap 3D printers with closed firmware, chipped filament, and a slightly terrible user interface. Nevertheless, the da Vinci was cheap and it could be hacked, turning it into a somewhat respectable printer.
As with any advancement in the state of desktop 3D printing, it must be mentioned that this is not. Color printing has been done before by members of the Open Source community. The exact same thing was done years ago with Sharpies, and I know RichRap experimented with markers and dye earlier than this, but I can’t find a reference. Full-color inkjets have been used in the past to create 3D prints, although these are powder-based printers, not filament printers. That doesn’t mean color printers can’t use filament; [Prusa]’s multicolor extruder is shipping soon, the Mosaic Palette splices filament to create multicolor prints (another RichRap invention circa 2011), and [Daren Schwenke]’s Arcus 3D has a mixing hot end that can create any color from CMYKW filament. There are many other solutions to full-color 3D printing that have been invented over the years, let us know your favorites in the comments below.