Though XYZprinting has long touted its da Vinci 3D printer as being extremely consumer-friendly, with a particularly friendly price of $499+, one issue related to the printer has been quite a sticking point for many Makers. Due to the totalitarian ink cartridge regime imposed by the 2D printer manufacturers, most consumers have had it with proprietary printing consumables and, in the case of XYZ and 3D Systems, they may be particularly hesitant about purchasing a printer with proprietary filament cartridges. Fortunately, XYZprinting has announced a change to its filament scheme.
Today, the company, a subsidiary of Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Kinpo Group, has opened up its filament cartridges and making them refillable. This will reduce the price of the company’s ABS filament and help reduce environmental waste, as users will no longer have to pay for new cartridges. da Vinci printers will notify users when filament is running low so that they may purchase a 600g refill for the cartridges through XYZ retailers for $24.99. The cartridges themselves can be purchased through Amazon for $27.99.
Along with the news of the cartridge system, the company has announced that it will also be selling PLA filaments. Having been unaware that the company did not previously sell PLA, this seems like an obvious and necessary option, given the ease of use and biodegradability of PLA filament. XYZprinting is beginning its PLA line with “Nature” and “Clear Yellow” colors, but plans to release seven more throughout the year: green, tangerine, red, purple, blue, white and black.
It’s difficult to tell whether or not the refillable cartridge system allows for the use of off-brand filaments, but from the filament refill video, it looks as though each refill comes with a chip, allowing the da Vinci printer to recognize the filament. This may allow the printer to more readily process the company’s filament, but also probably makes it more difficult to use filaments from other providers. Resourceful Makers, however, will always find a way to hack the cartridge system.
Still, this is a good first step for XYZ and will bring down costs for consumers and the environment. For this reason, and the company’s future-ready outlook, XYZprinting is becoming a more attractive manufacturer, as far as closed-source companies are concerned. They’ve already got a low-cost SLA machine, an all-in-one scanner/printer, plan to release two food printers later this year, and hope to work with Intel to somehow incorporate RealSense 3D cameras into their line somehow. It’s no wonder, then, that XYZ was chosen as a finalist in the Innovative 3DIY category of the 2015 SXSW Interactive Innovation awards. Still, I have to get my hands on one of their machines and explore some serious reviews before I can quite make up my mind.