Davinci Meets ColorFabb

Davinci Meets ColorFabb

The following is a guest blog written by Kyle Mohr.  Credits at the end.  

Kyle had approached me through a friend of a friend (said friend being a SeeMeCNC Rostock Max V2 owner and the one who printed Kyle the awesome MIDI box) about wanting to try some of the colorFabb wood filaments on his new Davinci printer.  I have some personal experience with the Davinci printers and know that there are some nuances with the way that the machines I had tried operated, particularly their startup routine which lets the filament sit hot in the nozzle for an unusually long period of time during some long cleaning motions and bed heatup.    

So, I encouraged him to start out with some samples, be prepared for some nozzle maintenance, and asked if he would be willing to write about his experience.  I was very surprised to hear some of the details from the XYZ customer support call, particularly that the nozzle couldn't be removed for cleaning!  

 Here is Kyle's writeup.  

DaVinci XYZ Pro meets colorFabb

As a musician, DJ, father and homeowner, I’ve had my fair share of DIY projects ranging from building DJ MIDI controllers to refinishing wood furniture.  As a natural progression it only seemed that 3D printing was next on the list.  Almost a year ago I built a 16 button MIDI controller with help from my friend who 3D printed the wood enclosure (made with colorFabb BambooFill from Printed Solid).

After sanding, staining, soldering, and tediously programming, this thing looked, felt, and smelled like I hollowed out a block of wood.  To say the least, this is when my obsession began.  I started customizing other gear, relying on friends to make me prints with STL files I emailed them the day before.  I knew it was time to make the dive and purchase a 3D printer myself.

When it came down to it, I did not have $1,500 to $2,000 to shell out for something legit, and being a complete stranger to the 3D printing world I looked into the daunting world of cheap, unreliable, low-grade printers, just to get the job done, for now.  Then it happened; upon looking into the recommended XYZ DaVinci 1.0 and JRs which seemed to be the best low-price all-in-once printers I could find, XYZ announced a pro version open to 3rd party filaments, and it had a laser engraving option…meaning I could print in wood and laser engrave it, I was sold. 

Black Friday hit and that sucker was mine for something close to $550.  Quite the steal, at least I believed.  I purchased it through amazon, since every gift card helps!  I waited patiently and it finally arrived, I unwrapped the beast and got to work, with my bright magenta (pink) ABS filament which was packaged with it.  Not my choice color to work with, but I didn’t feel as bad wasting it on test prints.

After a few months of tests, random deice knobs, and an Apple TV mount, I was ready to graduate to some non-XYZ filament.  I contacted Printed Solid who set me up with some Cork, Bamboo and WoodFill from colorFabb.  I wasn’t sure how much I could push the pro with 3rd party filament, but it seemed that quality colorFabb was a good place to start.

The first filament I tried was the CorkFill from colorFabb.  I set it up at an extruder temperature of 210, a bed temperature of 55, and a 0.3 layer height.  I additionally used rubbing alcohol (instead of glue stick) on blue painters tape.  There was great adhesion and no problems what so ever.

The CorkFill not only smelled great (better than ABS), it printed very smoothly and looked just like chocolate.  While it is definitely not edible, it did prove to be a very nice texture that offered an interesting cross between what you would expect from a wood, PLA and ABS somewhat mixed together.  And while you think cork would mean flexible or flimsy it is anything but.  It may have little give but is in no way brittle.

PiGRRL Buttons

My only regret and downside of CorkFill was that I didn’t have enough to keep printing!  I was able to print some buttons for a PiGRRL 2  and half of a shave brush stand.  While my supply ran out, I certainly look forward to utilizing CorkFill for many future projects.

Half Finished Shave Stand

Half Complete Printed CorkFill Shave Stand

Next I tried printing the case for the PiGRRL 2 (portable video game system/ GameBoy clone) with the BambooFill.  After my quick read up on the material, since it was PLA based I used the same temperature setup as the cork.  I was just over an hour into the print and it happened…the BambooFill clogged the printer!  It was just short of a disaster.

Incomplete PiGrrl Case

Luckily over the course of a few days and XYZ Helpdesk tickets I received an answer…but not the one I had hoped for.  I prepared to use a torch and some acetone (separately) to clear the nozzle and get back to work.  However with all the hardwired parts I was advised in order to remove filament I would need to shove a large paperclip down the top of the nozzle repeatedly while using the load filament function at 200 (editors note:  Don't use a paperclip to try to clear a clog.  You'll probably just make it worse and might damage the inside of your nozzle.  Try a cold pull instead.).  Much to my dismay and frustration with their customer service, this surprisingly worked!  I re-calibrated the bed and loaded back in some ABS and got back to normal.  The calibration did wonders, even though it comes “pre-calibrated” you should make sure to utilize the calibration as it will really help the quality of your prints immensely.

It appears while the DaVinci 1.0 Pro can use 3rd party filaments, you definitely need to take your nozzle size into consideration and experiment with different heating and retracting issues.  This issue and my days spent trying to fix it put my cork and wood filament experiment to an end.  The cork was a win and certainly a filament I will be using again.  The bamboo I may even attempt again if I can get my hands on a larger nozzle or some specific heating example that worked for someone else.  The WoodFill however will not be tackled by myself or the DaVinci Pro.  If someone can prove it to work I would love to hear their feedback and process, but as for myself I will tread lightly with the bamboo and not push this budget machine further than I know it can go, especially when my maintenance time to fix it is very limited.


Kyle Mohr

KM Productions


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