Friday, 22 March 2019

Using Microsoft 3D Builder with the XYZPrinting da Vinci Mini

We've been using the Microsoft 3D Builder Windows app on with our XYZPrinting da Vinci Mini 3D printer and we're getting really good results so we thought we'd share.

XYZPrinting da Vinci Mini

We reviewed the XYZPrinting da Vinci Mini Maker 3D printer last year but that was a demo machine that had to be returned. We loved the printer and although we have access to plenty of 3D printers we thought it would be useful to have a simple one that we could use when working with children and making projects that families can recreate at home. The only thing we weren't so keen on about the Mini printer was it's bright primary colours (our young kids thought it looked too young) so we went for the next model up, the da Vinci Mini which is orange and has wifi support.

XYZPrinting have their own XYZMaker software for printing to the printer. Mostly this works well be we have found that it didn't correctly repair some models that we downloaded from Thingiverse.

When we started creating models using BlocksCAD (like our Arckit floors) we found this became more of a problem. There's lots of software that can fix repair (or attempt to repair) 3D models but I wanted to make the process as simple as possible.

Microsoft 3D Builder is installed on Windows 10 machines so I thought I'd try that. We got great results! Loading models into 3D Builder and then exporting them created models that printed correctly.

Even better, you can 3D print direct to the da Vinci Mini from 3D Builder without needing to load up the XYZWare software. This simplifies the workload a lot.

Once we started using 3D Builder for this purpose we started using it for other things. Both my 8 year old and my 10 year old have got on really well with it. It's somewhat limited, but it's simple. This is just what you need when getting started rather than being overwhelmed by lots of fancy features.

3D Builder has been added our 3D printing for families and kids toolkit.

We should also mention that Microsoft Paint 3D is currently in preview and allows you to sketch 3D models for a more freehand approach.

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