3D Printing Gets More Colorful with Da Vinci Color

Senior Editor

BERLIN — Gary Shu, a senior manager with XYZPrinting, handed me a miniature mask and asked what I thought about its design. The multicolored mask featured ornate patterns, with gold swirls cutting through a red background, blue stars popping out of whites and intertwining blue and green flourishes laid out over yellow.

It looked like something that had been hand-painted over the course of many days. In reality, the mask had been printed out by XYZ's latest 3D printer in a matter of hours.
Credit: XYZ PrintingCredit: XYZ PrintingXYZ's new $3,499 da Vinci Color is a full-color 3D printer capable of producing prints that pop with every hue you can imagine. It's a trick the da Vinci pulls off using what XYZ bills as 3DColorJet Technology, which combines inkjet printing with the fused filament fabrication found in 3D printers.

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The da Vinci Color uses a single spool of PLA filament to create layers, turning to a CMYK cartridge to add color droplets that appear in the final print. All told, the da Vinci Color can reproduce 16 million colors on its prints. That's a vast improvement over the majority of 3D printers these days which either produce prints in a single color or include different colors with the help of multiple extruders.
Credit: Philip MichaelsCredit: Philip MichaelsThe end results can be pretty impressive. In addition to the Green Lightning-themed print, Shu also showed me a wide-eyed owl kitted out as Captain America, complete with stars and stripes ensemble.

The da Vinci color can produce 7.9 x 7.9 x 5.9-inch prints. The printer itself is slightly larger at 25.7 x 22.8 x 21.1 inches, though it can still fit on a desk without crowding you out.

The CMKY cartridge inside the da Vinci Color (Credit: Philip Michaels/Tom's Guide)The CMKY cartridge inside the da Vinci Color (Credit: Philip Michaels/Tom's Guide)You control prints from a 5-inch color touch screen on the da Vinci Color. The printer offers hands-free auto calibration and removable print bed — that latter feature making it easy to remove prints when they're finished.

Because the printer uses CMYK inks, you'll have to factor in the cost of consumables for the da Vinci Color. XYZ lists the cost of a 600g spool of PLA at $35, while a 4-ink cartridge is estimated at $65.

As for the printer itself, the da Vinci color debuts at $3,499, though you can save $500 by preordering for $2999. The printer should hit the market in October.