As Easy as ABC…or XYZ!

The da Vinci miniMaker Inspires the Next Generation in a 3D World




Did you know that a new 3D print manufacturer is born every day? Kidding aside, the 3D market is a raging sea of players, from hundreds of startups to a handful of bigger names. One of the results of all this activity is that the price of desktop devices has come down, providing both businesses and the general public the opportunity to get their hands on the technology and see if it’s right for them.


That includes us. For the past year we’ve been experimenting with a variety of 3D printers in our U.S. lab. One of the devices we have is from XYZprinting—seeing as the da Vinci miniMaker retails for around $220 on Amazon, who wouldn’t want to test it out?! Like most 3D printers designed for home use, it utilizes a process known as fused deposition modeling (FDM), which melts plastic filament and extrudes it onto the print bed, a smooth surface that is lowered as the object is built layer by layer.


The miniMaker enables people of virtually any age to produce objects up to 5.9"x5.9"x5.9". It employs an auto-calibration system that adjusts the single-nozzle extruder and the print bed to render the best possible output—considering the device’s price, the quality of finished objects exceeded our expectations. Other features include four resolutions, biodegradable PLA filament, and compatibility with both Mac and Windows.


Above everything else, the miniMaker is simple to operate. To prove it, we decided to put the device to the test and invited some students to play around with it. During the time they spent in 3D land, they were all excited about the technology and were fully engaged. With very little instruction the kids picked up how to install filament no problem, while uploading a file to XYZware and working with the software, in which you can select the scale, infill density percentage, and more, were also no trouble at all.


We were equally as excited to watch true learning taking place. Although we helped when necessary, the enjoyment of seeing kids educate themselves and think out of the box is a feeling that’s second to none. And regardless of the object the kids printed, be it a character from pop culture or a vase, they all went home with something to think about.


Massimo Maceri was one of the youngsters who came to our headquarters in Fairfield, New Jersey, to learn about and experiment with 3D print technology.