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Da Vinci 1.0 Good to Great for under $200, original software
#1
Hi like everyone I've been searching and losing hair over how to make my printer give me high quality prints every time with "Any" filament, and after spending a year of scouring the interwebs and playing with settings and little mods I thought I would share what I have done to make my printer into an amazing machine without massive changes to the printer itself or the need for different firmware and software.

It all came about from wanting to print with brassfill and petg filaments and after 5 - 10 mins I would get clicking and jamming and a lot of wasted filament and lost sleep.
Now I did try other firmware and software with mixed results, but I always thought to myself that the printer itself is good, it's all there and setup for me already and I found the simple factory menu options to be easy and simple to follow and use. So I decided to just narrow down and fix just the issues that were causing me problems, and it has worked out to be cheap, easy and given me good results.

For those who aren't that tech savvy or good with computers and electronics, but can do simple soldering, drilling and minor mods, this is a great alternative to full-on brain surgery.

Ok, so the changes I've found that need to be done are extruder, bed heater, print carriage "bearing" tensioner and "xerocart" filament cartridge replacement.
Firstly the extruder in the davinci is fine for abs and with a bit of tweaking you can get good results, but to enable other types of filaments and better print quality it really needs another extruder.
What I did was bought a Mk8 hex head extruder online for $68 and found that with slight mods it will fit straight into the davinci extruder carriage and work perfectly.
You need to completely remove the davinci extruder from the carriage so it's just the bare plastic frame, then very carefully with a hammer a vice and a small bolt to push on the stepper motor shaft, you need to remove the original gear from the davinci extruder stepper motor so you can put the mk8 gear on the davinci stepper. This isn't that hard but you don't want to damage to stepper by hitting it too hard.
Then dismantle the mk8 unit and take the stepper gear and put it on the davinci stepper and place the stepper in the original position on the carriage, no need to tighten the gear screws yet as you will need to adjust the positioning of it along the shaft later.
You need to now remove the heater and the thermistor from the davinci print head, "carefully" is the operative word here you don't want to break the thermistor, and place them into the hex extruder head, you want the facing to the right side of the printer (looking front the front door), this will probably mean you have to remove the heat wrapping from the hex head and to mount the thermistor I just put it into one of the thermistor holes and very gently tightened the grub screw only enough to stop it coming out, Do Not over tighten it or you will crack it !!! Then replace the heat wrap, kapton tape is perfect to stick it back together.
Now you can mount the mk8 frame by using one of the shorter davinci screws and screwing it to the opposite side of the carriage upright and into the stepper. Now you can adjust the gear so that it is centred over the cold-end filament tube and lock it into place.
The mk8 tensioner arm can now be fitted but, you will first need to drill the pivot screw hole a bit deeper using a 6mm drill, so that it is long enough to screw into the stepper through the plastic carriage. You will only need to drill it about 2mm deeper and mount it, it doesn't need to be tight just solid.
Next you can assemble the rest of the mk8 taking note that you need to use the original fan rather than the mk8 fan and that will require you to drill the fan mounting holes a bit deeper also and just big enough to allow the long screw heads to fit inside. I think I used a 5mm drill but the trick I always use when drilling plastic and not wanting to go too deep is to run the drill backwards and let it grind the plastic away rather than biting in and going right through.
Now for the wiring, just remove the little board with the plugs for the fan etc. from the original extruder and mount it to the side of the carriage, I used double sided tape, then plug the fan and thermistor in, note that you will need to put some electrical tape between the optical sensor so it thinks there is always filament in there. Once you have all the plugs in for the stepper, fan and thermistor you can tie them neatly and it's ready to go.
To level the bed it's as easy as winding the bed down out of the way and choose something simple to print and set it to print. As soon as it starts to print switch the printer Off and then using something like a business card adjust the bed so that with the nozzle above each adjuster screw, the card is just fitting between the glass and the bed. You will need a clean glass bed and I used slic3r and set the first layer to 0.35 which was the thickness of the card. With digital verniers and access to printing from Gcode you could set the first layer to whatever the thickness of paper or card you have on hand. It pays to check each screw position a few times as adjusting one screw will also change the others.

The carriage needs a minor mod too, which I found after I had it ready to print, but it could be done while it's all apart to make life easier. You will need to remove the lower edge / overhang of plastic from the left side bottom of the carriage as it will hit the bed screw when it's doing its cleaning movements just before printing. A file and hobby knife will achieve this as the plastic is only 1mm thick ridge.

Now for the bed, I took chunks out of my glass after about 5 prints by doing a 14 hour print (t-rex skull) and when it came off the glass some bits of glass came with it. I noticed that obviously the glass was getting hot spots from the cheap stick-on heater element. So I took it out and with much agony, peeled the old heater off the glass and turned it over. I then bought a "Reprap mk2b" pcb heater for like $14, it was the closest size I could get to the davinci print bed, it is 214mm x 214mm and the bed is 210 x 210 mm. The pcb heater has a bit of an empty border around it so I just took a sanding block and a file and carefully removed to edges of the heater, being careful not to go deep enough to hit the circuit, until it fitted into the davinci bed. You can then remove and re-solder the wires from the old heater onto the new one, some pcb's need a little bridge to make them 12v, this is the case for the davinci. You will need to file a groove in the back of the plastic bed and cut a small clearance slot in the insulation mat to allow for the left hand wire to clear the bed and for the heater to sit flat, the right hand wire sits nicely in the old position. Then I just stuck the bed thermistor under the pcb with kapton so it fits nicely in the original wire recess in the bed. Replace the glass, screw it back in and away you go.
The cool thing with the pcb heater is it has a little LED on the back so you can see when the heater is on and off. I printed a little petg piece that I stuck over it and it lights up nicely when the heater is on.

Now the belt tensioner, if you look on this forum and thingiverse you will find it quite easily, I was lucky to have the exact bearings on hand from an rc helicopter, but they are easily obtained online. I printed my tensioner and 0.2 layer heights and solid infill, just for strength and accuracy. Although it's not a majorly noticeable change, I have noticed the belt runs nicer and my corners are printing a lot more accurately. I just hate moving parts without bearings anyway, I don't know why they don't put bearings from the factory as I'm sure we could all handle the extra $3 on price.

The last one is the Xerocart from Wctek, that is a little piece of magic and has taken away about 3 steps I had to do to use other filaments. What else can I say? Get it, Use it and print whatever the hell you want!!! I love it.
Obviously you will need Slic3r, Xyz openmod and whatever other software you like to make the most of it, but with these mods you can still use Xyzware and use it as factory. Good if the kids want a go or you just want to pump out something simple, quickly.
I have attached some pics of the extruder and the bed, but any questions feel free to ask.
This is designed for those who don't really want to dig right into the printer but just want the freedom to extract the best out of it.

Enjoy and happy printing!!![Image: IMAG0818.jpg][Image: IMAG0821.jpg][Image: IMAG0822.jpg][Image: IMAG0824.jpg][Image: IMAG0820.jpg][Image: IMAG0819.jpg]
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#2
Beauty! The bed heater is kinda sexy. Probably would make switching to a pyrex bed really easy, too. Good work.
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#3
Hi pcbman, yeah it would, I actually have a 3mm thick aluminum sheet I use with kapton as well. I was thinking about scuffing it right up and printing directly on it. Gets very even heat through it.
The other advantage of the pcb heater is that it makes the glass easy to remove and clean whenever you need to, just the 4 screws and its out.
I have only just done the extruder swap but without even playing with settings it works out of the box.
Here are some pics of brassfill and petg prints I did yesterday straight out of the printer. The petg needs a bit of a tweak as its very oozey filament to print with, but all in all I am very happy with it and I don't know why I put off changing the extruder untill now.[Image: IMAG0826.jpg]
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#4
For the money, you can't beat the Davinci. Especially after replacing the firmware.
I love the skull; it's pretty evil looking in that color. I wouldn't want that thing sneakin' around my house at night...;-)
As soon as I finally trash my glass, I'm going to look into that heater mod.
Thanks for the info.
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#5
For the glass, I found its easier to get the stick-on heater off if you use a heat gun and then just turn the glass over. I've been printing on the other side of my damaged glass for a year, I dont know if you can see it in the picture but there will be what looks like marks in the centre, thats actually chips out of the other side of the glass. To date it hasnt failed me since.

While we're on the subject of mods, there is another little trick I do with the filament rolls I will tell you about.
I tried using the roll holder from thiniverse that hooks onto the back where the lid opens, but I found that with it on I couldn't open the lid properly and it was annoying.
So I just drilled two holes lower down in the back panel, big enough for the hooks to go thru, 13mm I think and I drilled a smaller hole just below the lid opening, low enough that the lid doesnt interfere when open, and I put a small length of ptfe tube inside some silicone tube and pressed it into the hole so it was firm. It acts as a smooth filament guide and lets you run the filament through the factory tube and still be able to fully open the lid for loading and unloading etc.[Image: IMAG0827.jpg][Image: IMAG0828.jpg][Image: IMAG0829.jpg]
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