Author Topic: Getting Started with 3d Printing  (Read 465 times)


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Getting Started with 3d Printing
« on: July 10, 2020, 17:34:32 »
I got a 3d Printer for Father's Day. Now that I've had a little time with it, I figured I'd come back and write something about how it's been going.

First of all, I got the XYZprinting da Vinci mini W+. I'm really happy with it, for the most part. The machine came with 1 roll of yellow filament. The software is fairly intuitive to use (especially when compared to some alternatives that I tried). Being restricted to their specific bundle of filament has been my biggest hassle so far.

Prior to the 3d printer, I had started putting together a list of projects that I thought looked cool. Those can be found on Of those, I've successfully printed a few and added some more to the list.

I started off with the Roman Numeral Die ( When I opened up the XYZMaker software and imported the STL file to print, the program prompted an option to resize the model because it was very small. I figured I should give it a shot the way that it was initially and so I skipped the resizing and went to print it. Within a few minutes the printer had finished the job, revealing a small blob of plastic. Way too small! So the next time, I resized it to 10x10mm, which ended up a little better. For the 3rd attempt, when the prompt came up to resize, I opted to import it in inches instead of millimeters, which ended up producing a nearly palm-sized cube, which was pretty cool as the first real print that I did.

I also tried the Individual Hot Wheels Display Shelf ( which turned out fine, but I wanted to make some modifications because I wanted to included a backboard (card size) to put it into a display shelf that I had built before. I've tried a couple modifications since then and went through several tutorials from XYZprinting to get familiar with their software. Pretty good so far.

I went on to making the HeroScape Marro Drone ( along with a base for the figure. After one failed attempt, I found the setting to add supports and the figure turned out nicely. I painted it to look like one of the original figures. I'm very proud of how that painting turned out. It still needs some touch up, but it's close as-is.

From there, I jumped up to something that was much more difficult to get right - the Print-In-Place Spring Loaded Box ( I was so excited about this one that I got the family together to see it as soon as it came off the printer, but unfortunately, the gears were all bound up and the lid wouldn't even close. Obviously I have more to learn about all the options, settings and other potential things to get some of the more complex prints to turn out correctly. I'll eventually come back to this one, but that was quite a bit of filament to use on something that is now just a small storage box for scrap filament.

I was trying to print the wrench holder next, but for a couple days after that, any time I tried to print something, the 3d Printer was stuck trying to print the Spring Loaded Box. I have 3 or 4 of the gears started from that. Fortunately they were caught early on in the process, but it was really frustrating trying to get the machine to do something else. Eventually I just shut off the 3d printer for a couple days.

After turning it on again, I made a simple pyramid shape, sphere, and a ring before going on to making the wrench holder ( For that one, I was once again prompted to resize the model, even though it looked like it was fitting inside the lines for the print area. I resized it and started printing. I found out that the XYZMaker 3d Kit program had the lines set to a larger area than what my printer supports by default. It imported the file, but made it a little smaller, so some of the bigger wrenches are tight.

I printed a few other things, although not anything else that I had on my list, and eventually realized that I'd need some more filament soon. I was also getting a warning from my printer that I was running low and should order some. I checked online and found that the larger spools that were made by XYZPrinting were about the same price as some smaller spools by other companies. They were larger and cheaper than others and they were made by XYZPrinting, so I figured they'd be compatible, so I ordered 3 of them. When the larger spools came in, I realized that the spool was too big to fit on the side of the Da Vinci Mini W+ in the place where the original spool went, so I just set it off to the side and went to printing the larger spool holder that I found at Unfortunately, about half way through the first parts that I tried to print for it, the printer had an error and the printing stopped. I tried to restart the job after taking the filament out and putting it back in, but the light just turned red on the printer and it wouldn't go. Finally I saw an error message on the Dashboard of the XYZMaker Suite software that said the cartridge wasn't recognized.

The message gave Error Code 020A, so I checked their website for it. doesn't list any such error code though. I tried putting the larger spool onto the arm of the printer. It would recognize that there was plenty of filament available based on the new roll, but it wouldn't recognize it as an official XYZ cartridge.

Calling Customer Service resulted in hearing a voice message that due to current Covid-19 situations, they weren't taking calls right then and I'd need to check the website. Putting the first spool onto the printer would prompt me to buy more, but the button took me to a broken web page, so I couldn't even confirm that I was buying the specific bundle that would work. Endless loop at that point, so onto Google. I'd just be happy if I could get the printer to take the filament, even if it recognizes it as the wrong color, so I started looking into how to reset the counter for the original filament roll. That got me into quite a rabbit hole. Eventually I ended up using a mobile app to change some data on the NFC Tag that was in my original bundle of filament, but even with all of this, I couldn't get it to work, so I just ordered another smaller roll of filament from the company.

Here are links to some things that I read and watched in an effort to reset my counter for the filament. It might be impossible for that NFC tag because I fully depleted the filament on that roll (according to the digital counter, even though physically there's some left.) Maybe at some point these will be useful again, but I tried just about everything that I could understand and never got it going. Based on all of this, as soon as I get the next bundle in, I'm going to check the data that is on the NFC card to see if I can use that as a base point to go back to before it hits zero on the next roll. (or
"Hello IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again? ... OK, well, the button on the side. Is it glowing?... Yeah, you need to turn it on. Err, the button turns it on. Yeah, you do know how a button works, don't you? No, not on clothes." - Roy (The IT Crowd)