Today's da Vinci miniMaker 3D printer review looks at one of the only printers made for kids. This colorful machine sure looks the part, but is it more than just a toy? Keep reading to find out if the da Vinci miniMaker makes the grade or comes up short.
da Vinci miniMaker 3D Printer Review Basics
As you may expect, this affordable printer’s specs aren’t groundbreaking. In fact, it has similar specs to its XYZprinting brother, the da Vinci Mini. This includes a 6”x6”x6” print area and unheated aluminum print bed. Print at speeds up to 120mm/s, with realistic speeds running around 50mm/s. Resolution options are limited between 100-400 microns. The da Vinci miniMaker is also limited to PLA filaments offered by XYZprinting.
You need a USB connection to a computer in order to use the da Vinci miniMaker. This is a smart move which requires that children spend as little time as possible touching the actual printer, keeping both the children and the printer safe.
da Vinci miniMaker 3D Printer Review Pros
The da Vinci miniMaker’s biggest selling point is its ease of use. Designed for school-aged children to learn and experiment with this new technology, the da Vinci miniMaker has several user-friendly features.
The included XYZware and XYZmaker software makes printing easy. Choose a model from the XYZprinting 3D Gallery, or even build your own models using these apps. This is also where you adjust print settings like layer resolution. Educators and parents will be interested in the included XYZprinting STEAM Educational Curriculum. This is a surprisingly comprehensive resource for 3D printing novices. All XYZprinting software is kid-friendly and simple to learn.
The da Vinci miniMaker also comes with auto-calibration, filament detection, and automatic filament feeding. These are time saving features which leave less room for error and more time for 3D printing.
Good Print Quality
Obviously, results from the miniMaker aren’t as sharp as those from a more expensive printer. Layers are visible at any resolution and you shouldn’t use the miniMaker for models with tight tolerances (like nuts and screws). That said, fine details like those found in facial expressions, or in the Eiffel Tower’s lattice, are no problem for this hearty little 3D printer. Models with sharp points and smooth edges don’t pose a challenge for this printer, either. Considering the da Vinci miniMaker’s rock bottom price, its consistent print quality pleasantly surprised us.
da Vinci miniMaker 3D Printer Review Cons
The most obvious and frustrating problem with the da Vinci miniMaker is its reliance on proprietary filament. XZYprinting sells the idea that their filaments are non-toxic and safe for children, but this is true of all PLA filament. In fact, PLA is always made from safe, plant-based materials.
Another problem is that this printer only prints in PLA filaments. This isn’t necessarily a problem for children or educators, but it does mean that this printer isn’t suitable for adult hobbiests who want to experiment with different materials.
da Vinci miniMaker 3D Printer Review Verdict
The da Vinci miniMaker is a safe choice for parents and educators who want to encourage their children’s curiosity and creativity. The included software is specially designed for young learners of any age. Older kids get the freedom to build their own 3D models and learn advanced techniques, while younger children are guided with easy steps to print pre-built models.
For its price, the da Vinci Mini also comes with an awesome variety of features that help make 3D printing easier. That makes this printer a great value on top of everything else. For these reasons, we can overlook the fact that XYZprinting forces users to buy their filament replacements.