Read our Picaso 3D Designer XL 3D Printer review to find out the specs, features, and capabilities of the unit.
In 2016, PICASO 3D launched a line of X-series printers. The first printer in the series was the Designer X Pro dual-nozzle printer. After it, a single-nozzle version of the printer, Designer X, was released.
In 2018, PICASO 3D upgraded the two models, giving them the capability of large-scale printing. The upgraded large format 3D printer was the Designer XL. This is the printer which will be reviewing in this article.
Picaso 3D Designer XL 3D Printer Review
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The Designer XL comes in a 760 x 680 x 1190mm box.
The printer comes with a standard set of accessories for the series. These include:
- A pencil case with tools
- A USB flash drive
- A spare nozzle
- A 1.8m power cord
- A 250ml bottle of glue
For test printing, the manufacturer offers a FormaX X-line 2kg spool. This is an engineering refractory plastic that is based on ABS with an admixture of carbon fiber.
The printer’s X axis is securely fixed with plastic straps, and a set of accessories is located under the table in a foam pad.
The dimensions of the printer are 650 x 590 x 1000mm and its weight is 75kg.
The Designer XL is made of composite aluminum and the doors are made of heat-resistant plastic. Two of the doors are located on the front panel, while the the third is on the cover of the case. This third door enables easy access to the XY portal.
The Designer XL uses a proprietary control board based on a 32-bit ARM CORTEX M4 processor. The board is powerful enough to ensure the proper functioning of the printer and software extensions of new firmware versions
The printer’s works on the CoreXY kinematics. This system uses two belts on two motors. With the system, the X-axis movement of the print head occurs when both motors rotate in the same direction. When the motors rotate in different directions, the head moves only along the Y axis. And when only one motor rotates, the head moves diagonally.
The CoreXY system allows you to print at high speeds due to its lightweight design. With the system, there is no motor on the X-axis.
The Designer XL is shipped from the factory with a sufficiently-tight belt tension. Therefore, it does not have tensioners for additional adjustment.
The XY axes use steel rail guides.
However, PICASO 3D engineers have significantly modified the standard CoreXY kinematics that this printer uses. In particular, the XY portal and the Z axis with the printbed are fixed on a steel frame. Also, the printer body creates additional structural rigidity.
Given the Designer XL form factor, the standard Z-axis screw and two cylindrical rails are not enough for the printer to function correctly. Therefore, four ball screws located in the corners of the frame are responsible for the movement of the printbed. Each ball screw has a separate stepper motor, cylindrical shaft and encoder for auto-calibrating the printbed.
The Designer XL uses a Direct extruder. With this extruder, a feeder motor is installed in the print head, allowing for fast retract printing. The feeder is equipped with two gears to ensure that flexible Flex is fed evenly.
There is also a Flow Control encoder built into the printhead. This encoder allows you to track several types of possible malfunctions at once. The encoder can detect issues such as clogged nozzle, tangled material, uneven diameter and bar breakage.
The Designer XL comes with a 0.5mm nozzle. However, if needed, you can replace the 0.5mm nozzle with 0.2-0.8mm nozzles.
The hot end of the printer has a 400th heating block with an all-metal thermal barrier. The hotend heats up to 410°C. Therefore, the Designer XL can print not only with common materials such as ABS, PLA, PVA, HIPS, but also with super-melting engineering plastics like SBS, AEROTEX, FORMAX, ULTRAN and PEEK.
The printer’s build area is 360 x 360 x 610mm. The printbed also corresponds to the modes of operation with engineering plastics and can heat up to 150°C.
Like is the case with the previous models of the series, the printbed has a magnetized glass plate. The magnetized glass plate makes it easy to remove the printed model together with the plate, and then separate them.
The side panels of the printer have filament holder doors that also use magnetic mounts.
The Designer XL also has a tray where waste accumulates after the nozzle is cleaned.
The Designer XL comes with a monochrome display with an encoder. The printer menu is divided into the usual tabs: printing, filament loading/unloading, printbed and nozzle heating, calibration, etc.
However, there are also many unique features in the menu. These include encoder calibration, automatic print head cleaning mode, drying the filament spool on the table, and night printing mode.
Slicer Polygon X
PICASO 3D printers work with the proprietary Polygon X slicer, This slicer is available in the USB stick that is part of the printer package.
Polygon X has a simple design and is divided into 3 conditional tabs: “New Job”, “View Job” and “Monitoring”.
In the “New Job” tab, you can place, rotate and scale the model using the toolbar on the right.
After installing the model, click on “Job settings”. When you do so, a menu with 3 settings modes will appear. The modes are “Basic”, “Advanced” and “Professional”. These modes are aimed at users with different skill levels.
The Basic mode has tips and a minimal set of functions. On the other hand, Advanced and Professional modes have a more advanced settings.
After confirming the slicing settings, the Job Preview window opens. In this window, the print settings are displayed and the model is displayed in layers. The slicer will offer to save the sliced model in .plgx format to a USB flash drive or add it to the Polygon X database. If you save it to the Polygon X database, you will be able to send the print job via a LAN connection.
The third tab is named “Monitoring”. This tab displays information about the status of the printer and print readiness.
The Polygon X ecosystem supports multiple network connections. This means that you can combine multiple PICASO 3D printers into a full-fledged industrial park and monitor them remotely.
To see the quality of print of the Picaso 3D Designer XL, check the following print examples:
The main advantage of the first two models of the series (Designer X and Designer X Pro) was the ability to print with engineering refractory plastics in the budget segment of printers. Moreover, the Polygon X ecosystem made it possible to have an industrial print farm.
The Designer X Pro and Designer X have found applications in many areas of manufacturing. However, design constraints have prevented the full potential of the X platform in large-scale manufacturing. The Designer XL solves this problem. Now, all the functions of the single nozzle version of Designer X are available for printing large functional parts in the fields of mechanical engineering, instrumentation, aircraft construction, robotics, and more.