This week I got something special in the mail, the Neva Delta 3d printer from Dagoma. I was contacted by them a few weeks ago to get one in to make some videos on it and check it out. After viewing the Kickstarter and watching a teaser trailer on it, I knew that I wanted to get my hands on one. Earlier this week, I was thrilled to find the printer had been delivered. Now, prior to these past two weeks I had known nothing about this 3d printer or the company.
Dagoma has been making 3d printers in France for quite a while now as well as selling them throughout Europe. This Neva unit is their first entry into the US market with units being made at their new facility in California. The Neva machine is nothing like the other units they currently sell.
Initially the things I saw about this printer that I really liked where for starters the price; at $399 it is still within the budget range of 3d printers that I typically go for. The second was that it was not a kit 3d printer. I have built a TON of 3d printer kits and as much as I enjoy them I do realize they are not for everyone so it is refreshing seeing a price tag on a pre-assembled machine that is attractive for those looking to get into 3d printing. Next was the auto bed leveling. I recently talked about this saying that it was not an extremely important feature for a 3d printer to me, which I do still stand by. However, again for someone who is new to 3d printing that just wants something to work with minimal effort its a sweet feature.
One of the last main things I initially liked was its build area. At 7x7x8 in., it is just short of the pretty standard 8x8x8 in. build volume that allows you to print a nice variety of things both larger and smaller. Plus the machine just looked sweet from the fact that it was a delta to the overall design and colors used you cannot deny that it is a good looking unit.
Enough about my initial thoughts before I got it. The 3d printer came packaged very nicely in a sweet box surrounded by foam to avoid damage from shipping. I pulled the unit out of the box and placed it on my little printer table by my desk. Inside of the printer was a box that contained some sample filament, an sd card, usb cable, power supply, and the arms that move the hot end when printing. (NOTE: I am not sure whether anything will be different with the final units that are shipped out to Kickstarter backers. I imagine the psu you get will be US standard, and the paperwork will not be in French.)
As noted above the PSU had a European plug on it but at least I was supplied with a tiny adapter I was able to use to convert it to work with my power strip. There was a picture diagram that showed you how to install the hot end assembly arms. They connected with magnets which I thought was pretty neat and took no more than 2 minutes to put together. Once done with the arms, you need to remove three 3d printed wedges that are used to secure the 3d printer frame during transfer.
Before using the 3d printer you will need to run an initial calibration. To do this you hold the button down on the front of the printer, while plugging in the power cable. Once the hotend begins to move release the button and it will run a setup calibration that will take roughly three minutes. After this the printer is ready to print. I did not have really any instructions as there was no provided software and most of the guides where in French but I could not let that stop me.
I connected the 3d printer to repetier host with the given USB cable and sliced and object for printing. When I went to print it seemed like everything was going fine but after some layers I got communication errors in my software’s console and the print just stopped. As of now I think it is potentially an issue with me not knowing the correct baudrate (I tried two) I will have to contact the company and see about this. They did state to me that you would be able to use whatever slicer you normally use with this. Then I tried saving the file to the sd card they included, inserted it into my machine and pressed the button to print but nothing…
After doing some digging I was able to find a beta software that they had released which is a extremely slimmed down version of Cura. When I imported the model you only have a few options. They are temp, a choice of three layer heights, object size, and a choice of three different infill options. I get what they are going for again by trying to make it “dummy proof” but for me it is not a practical option to have such limited choices. I was able to save the file to the sd card with their software and print with no further problems.
I do plan to hook this unit up to octoprint so that I can send it files and print with it wireless. Some pretty cool features it has is a no filament sensor, if it runs out of filament the printer pauses until you insert more. It is all controlled with one button that will allow you to press during a print to instantly pause and raise the extruder for easy filament swapping which is intended to make using multiple filament colors for different layer simple. When you pause the printer if you double tap anywhere on the bed it will unfeed the filament all the way to make changing filament even easier.
One downfall for some may be the printer has no heated bed. This machine is only compatible with PLA variations. Dagoma says they are trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible and this is what they have in their goal for this printer. For me this is no big deal because I print with PLA 99% of the time, but for some this is a deal breaker. The bed is coated with Build Grip which seems like BuildTak and so far my prints have no issue sticking to it. The machines top, bottom, carriage and more are all 3d printed. I really like seeing 3d printers being used to make 3d printers and the machine seems very sturdy so I have no complaints with build.
I will be doing a live stream this Sunday which will be a hangout but we will be printing on this machine during it. Feel free to drop by and ask any questions or see it in action!