Brightly-colored 3D printer takes additive manufacturing to school

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The da Vinci miniMaker 3D printer is designed with K-12 classroom learning in mind

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The da Vinci miniMaker is an education-focused 3D printer that's aimed at encouraging the next generation of designers and engineers to get to grips with additive manufacturing. XYZ Printing has married beginner-friendly features and ease of use with a bright, colorful and fun design.

Designed with K-12 classroom learning in mind, XYZ's new baby 3D printer has been designed to make making fun and appealing to younger generations. Despite its gaudy appearance and compact nature, the company insists that it can still be a potent manufacturing tool, with a build size of 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 in (15 x 15 x 15 cm). That's the same as the pricier da Vinci Jr. 1.0 printer (another beginner model), which is 30 percent larger than the new machine.

In keeping with its child-friendly focus, the da Vinci miniMaker sports a non-heated print bed and only prints with XYZ Printing's own non-toxic, bio-degradable PLA filament. The material has been tested extensively to confirm that it's free of both heavy metals and DEHP (a toxic compound).

The printer is also designed to be easy to use, with an auto-calibration system that provides the best possible prints without the need for any manual adjustments. The function carefully works out the distance and level of the print surface and the nozzle, and ensures that everything is correctly spaced, making sure that prints are completed as accurately as possible.

Alongside the hardware, the printer also comes with access to the company's "Educational Ecosystem," which provides a range of applications to help teachers and students get to grips with designing and manufacturing. This includes a 3D modeling application called XYZmaker, and a library of more than 4,500 3D models, ranging from toys and games to art designs.

The da Vinci miniMaker is set to ship in the third quarter of 2016, priced at a very reasonable US$230.

Source: XYZ Printing

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