The printer has a small, backlit, monochromatic, LCD display that allows you to control the printer. You can even print a demo without hooking the printer up to a computer. When the printer gets ready to print, it shows the temperatures of the extruder and platform. There are many things you can do through the menu, like go into the utilities to build a sample, or perform maintenance.
When the printer is printing, it shows the amount of time that has passed, the estimated time left, and how much of the print is complete. You can also check the statistics of the cartridge. The stock cartridge is 120m, but the ones you buy afterward are 240m (600grams).
I actually decided to fiddle with the calibration. I didn't need to, but for the review, I decided to venture into every aspect of the printer. As long as the values are within 20mm of each other, it passes as a success.
You can also load the cartridge and unload it. The motor will actually push out the filament when unloading, which some other printers fail to do.
The printer shows lifetime statistics, but I think they are only measured from the time of the last firmware update. If you screw things up, you can always hit the "restore default" option in the menu.
The Da Vinci uses proprietary software named "XYZware." This software uses the standard .STL format, and you can download STL files from many sites around the web. I do recommend you use a free service from Microsoft to "fix" some complicated models. You can find that service here. The software is kind of basic, so it doesn't give the user total control of everything, but it's very easy to use, and provides a decent feature set.
Just double-click a STL file on your computer, and the software opens up. To place more than one object on the bed, you simply click "import," select the next STL file, and the software positions all objects automatically. Each of the objects in the image above was a separate STL file. In the software, you can manually position the objects, and change their size by percentages. After the software slices the object (change the object from computer code to 3D printer hardware code), and transmits the design to the printer, you can disconnect the computer.
The software has a real-time connection with the printer, and you can view the printer's stats while it is idling, or while it is printing. The software gives roughly the same time estimates as the printer display.
While the object is printing, you can access some basic information on it.
Before you print, you can specify the quality, and other aspects of the print. The standard quality is good, but I usually use excellent. The software gives you the ability to change everything from speed to layer height to 3D density. You can even add rafts and supports for hard to print objects; however, the customization of rafts and supports is limited.
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