Over the summer of 2014, I tried out the DaVinci 3D printer from XYZ printing. The DaVinci uses the FDM or Fused Deposition Modeling method of printing. This method uses a print head that deposits thin layers of material to build up the surface of the print.
I sliced (a process that reduces the digital model into digital layers that the printer can read) up the model at left using XYZPrint, the included proprietary software and sent it to the printer. (The model is used photos of a mask from the Baluba tribe in Africa.)
The image below shows three attempts to print the above file. I found that without significant support material under the mask, the layers tended to offset as shown in the far left image. The second attempt (middle)did not even finish.
The image below shows a successful print, however I had to trade layer height to make it work. The inset detail shows how pronounced those layers actually can be. This is the default setting where the mask above printed with the fine setting. Clearly, the printer cannot handle the fine setting without significant supports being printed under the model. This makes printing the inside of the mask impossible.
The mask at left is character bust I attempted to print. After significant layer offset occured at the beginning of the process(see bottom image), the print actually finished which was a surprise.
Nevertheless, there are some issues that rendered the final print unacceptable. There is significant layer separation on the shoulder and head as shown in the middle image.
Also, the top image shows a slight layer offset (where a layer prints out of alignment with the layers before) in the forehead.
Of course the bottom layer offset is the most disheartening. But it also reveals the type of support structures the printer must print to support the volume of this type of character bust.
These three models are a good representation of my experience across a range of attempts to print using this printer. Unfortunately, after trying to print other models, I realized I would not be able to make it work, and I sent the printer back.