5 things I did wrong with my DaVinci Pro 1.0 (first print)

A while back I mentioned that in March I purchased a DaVinci 1.0 Pro by XYZprinting. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a 3D printer. After reading the manual and setting everything up, I thought I was ready to begin. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong …. Get comfy this is a long one.

So this printer, which I have a love hate relationship with arrived. I carefully removed it from its packaging and a began setting up. Here is where I paused and decided to read the manual from front to back (several times).IMG_3480

When I finally felt comfortable with the printer and I was confident I had set everything up correctly, it was time to print.

I opened XYZ’s print studio software (it’s terrible), and imported my first STL file. What’s an STL file? Great question…

STL stands for Stereolithography, it also has some backronym such as; “Standard Triangle Language” and “Standard Tessellation Language”.IMG_2974

Basically it is a file format native to CAD software.

Okay back to the process. I imported the STL file. It was boat, technically it was a little battle ship. Yep, that battle ship. Came out great! At this point I thought to myself,  how difficult could this 3D printing thing actually be?


Turns out, it is very difficult…

Reason 1. (I got cocky)

I randomly selected an STL file from some website imported it and it resulted in a perfect print. This happened because someone who knew what they were doing, created that STL file and had tested it countless times before it was ready for public release.

Reason 2. (Bit off more than I could chew)

By this time the word had spread across my campus that I had purchased a 3D printer. I learned this when a colleague stopped in and said;

“I heard you have a 3D printer, is this true?”

This was great! I was so excited, the word had traveled so quickly. Further more, he wanted to utilize this for his class. This printer was in my office less than 24 hours before I had a request for class use.

Naturally I blindly agreed to help him create this object for his project. The project seemed simple, create eight (yeah, that’s correct, eight) pods that would be used in a hydroponic system. The goal of the project was to support eight plants within a hydroponic system, for his Elements of Food Science class.

The class designed a self-containing system that utilized common materials. With exception of the seed pods that we would be creating. The teacher and I sat down one afternoon and quickly (and I mean quickly) worked out a sketch that we thought would IMG_3496work.

This is that sketch … I know. But it led to us learning how to use Autodesk Fusion 360. I should note, it’s free for educators and students!

After a bit of a crash course in CAD, we set out to create the ultimate seed pod for our hydroponics system. To shorten a long-winded story here is the result of that hard work.

The cups you see below are the result of about five hours of working on the design. These are now fully rendered forms.IMG_3174

The print parameters are all set up. That was not an easy task and took me a combined eight hours to figure out. These parameters included things like filament thickness, print bed dimensions, temperature settings per layer, print bed temperature, and the trickiest of all, what kind of software my printer was using.

There is good reason why some of these parameters were so difficult to set up. The DaVinci 1.0 Pro only works with the native print studio software that is provided. Unlike other printers, you cannot use a 3rd party print software.

I will post my printer software work around at a later date, for now let the story continue. The first few print tries didn’t work very well. It was interesting, I created the form in Fusion 360, and when I dropped the STL into DaVinci’s print utility it altered the hollow form to a solid. That resulted in a failed print.

But, I pressed on. After about 15 hours of failed print jobs, alterations, minor successes this happened…  The finished product, the sweet taste of success! IMG_3339

Reason 3. (Wrong Tape)

Oops, this one is on me. I completely destroyed the tape sheets XYZprinting provided. I tried and successfully applied one sheet to the print bed. But, upon removing the aforementioned battle ship from the bed, I ripped the tape to shreds.

So what am I supposed to do now?

I know I will simply go to XYZprinting’s website and purchase more. Wrong, they don’t sell it. You did in fact read that last sentence correctly, they do NOT sell it, nor can you buy it on Amazon.

So I took to Google, and did some research. Kapton tape, that is what everyone said I should be using. Without hesitation I purchased some 2″ wide Kapton tape. I had no idea what it was, all I knew is that I needed.

Okay, two days later (thanks Amazon Prime) the tape arrived. I carefully applied this tape, it is incredibly thin. I fired up the printer and sat back and waited. I really went and got coffee, when I got back I was not happy. IMG_3484

Filament EVERYWHERE it didn’t stick to the tape! But why? This is what everyone recommend, this should be working.

Turns out after further research, what the forums were actually saying was: Use kapton tape and a UHU clue stick. Damn… missed that, this one is on me again.

So I went down the glue stick path for a little while. There is nothing wrong with it, in fact it works great! But it doesn’t look good. aesthetics are a big thing to me, and I was going to record this then I want it too look good.

250ml Acetone + 30cm Filament = ABS JUICE

This was the answer to all my problems. I had a student come in and tell me all about his little brothers 3D printing expertise. He told me he buys this stuff called ABS Juice. You can buy it on Amazon its $25 for TWO OUNCES, that’s nuts. That equation above is how to make your own.


This is what I made. It works wonders! No more tape, all I have to buy is Acetone.

Reason 4. (Orientation / Supports)

Did you know that how you orient your object on the print bed directly affects how the object is printed?

Yea, me either! Well, I do now. This was another painfully slow revelation. Something I wish I had figured out sooner. Unfortunately I was too enthralled with my new printer to actually use my brain (I feel like I can be honest with you).

It happened to me more times then I would like to count. I import my STL file, send it to the printer, and in a few short hours I wold have a fully rendered object. Here’s what happened. I had sent a filament holder to the printer, as I was preparing for the new filament spool I would be using when the useless print cartridge that XYZprinting provided ran out.IMG_3500

As the sides began to build up, it looked great. Everything was working great or so it seemed. That is when I realized towards the top of side one, there was a lot of filament drooping. I let the print job finish, as it was almost done. Upon completion, I took side one out of the printer and examined the underside where side one and two began to meet had failed to build a solid connection. I have NO clue how the object completed.

Here is another pic of the completed spool holder. Or should I say less than completed. Side two failed with a bit more style.IMG_3498



It couldn’t even build the second side! FRUSTRATION ensued.

Luckily my boss likes me and went out and bought some metal brackets to use for the new spool of filament, thanks Jason.

This sparked the idea; could I add supports to my forms so that this wouldn’t continue to happen? The answer in short yes, but not with the terrible program you have all come to know as XYZprinting’s Print Utility or XYZWare Pro.

So I took to the internet in search of the solution to my problem. I think at this point it is important to say XYZprinting’s customer service is USELESS. Don’t even bother.

Upon my searching I stumbled across a program called Print Studio (click this link to download) by … Autodesk 360! Thank you print gods for Autodesk!  This program revolutionized how I would print my forms. Using the PLA 1.75mm Type A Standard map, I was able to trick my DaVinci Pro 1.0 to print the STL files altered in this program.

Here is an example;

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 3.31.14 PM

This is a form without supports pictured above.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 3.31.34 PM











Now with supports this form will print with no issues. This solved my orientation issues and support issues. If you are 3D printing, Click the link above and download Autodesk’s Print Studio. 

5. Calibration Fail (A.K.A. Ennis’s Downfall)

Calibrating the DaVinci Pro 1.0 is like watching a Smart Car smashing into a concrete wall at 80 mph. It’s not fun! At all, I mean it is the worst thing ever. I am not really a complainer but WHY?!? Why would you make a product that is so fragile. It is terrible! I don’t even really want to talk about it. Just know if you see this message …  IMG_3503You are going to want to punch baby foxes in the face! Here are a few links that I found helpful when trying to save myself from going nuclear. I can’t promise this will help, my results varied each time I did this. Nevertheless here you go;

1. Calibration FailIMG_3304

2. First-time Printing


Please note I am not kidding about how bad XYZprinting’s customer service is. Each time I contacted them it took about 24 hours to get a response, and each time they referred me to links for videos about the wrong model printer.

Later this month I will be posting my review of the DaVinci Pro 1.0, so please stay tuned.

Thanks again for hanging in there for this post (those of you who did), I hope you found this somewhat helpful and informative.

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