Using 3rd Party Filament With Da Vinci Jr.

About: bmlbytes

XYZ printing offers one of the cheapest 3D printers on the market. Part of the reason they can do this is because they restrict their printers to only using their own brand of PLA filament. This guide will show you how to use PLA filament from any company.

Step 1: 3D Print a Few Things

Hopefully you still have some of the original XYZ brand filament. You will need to print a couple of things to use 3rd party filaments.

1. Spool holder:
The 3rd party filaments will most likely come on a reel that is too big to fit inside the Da Vinci Jr. This spool holder will allow you to hang the spool on the outside of the machine. This will attach to the top of the machine, through the same hole that the filament tube comes out of the top.

2. NFC tag holder:
With the spool on the outside, your machine won't be able to read the NFC tag that it uses to determine which kind of plastic it is using. This will snap on to the bottom of the built in spool holder.

3. Case for NFC programmer (optional):
This will provide a protective case for the NFC programmer we will make in a later step. It's an optional step, but it will make it nice for future use.

Step 2: Drill a Hole

Drill a small hole in the left side of the Da Vinci printer. You want to be able to fit a small segment of irrigation tubing through the hole. Cut a small section of irrigation tubing and put it in the hole you just drilled, then fit it in the hole in the NFC card holder. This will prevent the filament from getting stuck as it is fed from the outside of the printer to the inside.

Step 3: Buy a Few Things

This will require purchasing a few items.

1. NTAG213 stickers:
These are the NFC stickers that the printer uses to determine which spool of plastic it is printing with. Each sticker can be used for 300 meters of filament, but then can not be used again. Don't worry though, these stickers are super cheap.

2. Arduino Nano (with ATMega328p):
This will be used to build the NFC programmer.

3. PN532:
This will also be used to build the NFC programmer.

Step 4: Build the NFC Programmer

Before we can start using other spools, we need to build the NFC programmer. You will need to wire your Arduino Nano to your PN532. Wire it up like this:

Arduino - PN532

13 - SCK
12 - MISO
11 - MOSI
10 - SS
5v - VCC

On the PN532, there are two very small switches. They are labelled 1 and 2. By default, both should be in the off position. Move switch 2 to the on position.Leave switch 1 off.

I have included a picture of an Arduino Uno instead of an Arduino Nano, but the process is the same. I would recommend using an Arduino Nano, just so it fits in the protective case we 3D printed earlier.

Step 5: Set Up the Programming Firmware

If you used the off-brand Arduino Nano that I linked in the "buy stuff" section, download and install the driver for it here:

1. Plug the Arduino into the computer with the USB cable.

2. Download the software found here:

3. Extract the zip file

4. Open Xloader.exe

5. Browse to the Nano-SPI-NTAG213.ino.hex file.

6. Under "Device", pick "Nano(AtMega328p)"

7. If you don't know which COM Port you need, start with 1, and work your way up until it is successful.

8. Click "Upload"

Step 6: Programming the NFC Chip

In the zip file we downloaded in the previous step there is a program called "Update NTAG213.exe". Run this program.

1. Click the "Connect" button in the upper left corner

2. Put one of the NTAG213 stickers over the PN523. Don't stick it to the device, leave it on the paper and put it on top of the PN523.

3. Click "Get Card Details"

4. Click the "Set Card Details" tab.

5. Leave it set to 300m and 210 degrees, unless your filament has different temperature requirements.

6. Click the "Set Data" button.

Step 7: Use the Printer

Put the NTAG213 sticker you just programmed into the NFC card holder that you attached to your printer's spool holder. The printer should now recognize that you have 300 meters of filament. Put the filament spool on the external spool holder, and feed it through the tube. Load the filament like you normally would.

Optional: Put the PN532 and the Arduino Nano into the box you printed for it. This will protect your programmer and make it available for you when you need to program a new sticker.



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    17 Discussions


    6 days ago

    This just works!! For once a recipe containing everything to actually replicate :-)
    I had to overcome a few minor "pitfalls":
    - Using Nano ATMEGA, the pin numbers given are the ones indicated at the outer rim (in blue) at this drawing:
    - To actually download the fex and exe files, you have to sign up as a member on Otherwise the zip files are not visible (took a while to realize that :-).
    - I am using a XYZ Mini (the orange one). The spool holder don't match that model, so don't print it.
    Apart from rocks. Big thanks t bmlbytes


    4 months ago

    I'm getting PN5xx detect error. Anyone know what happened?

    *edit* No problems with an Uno instead of the Nano. Works like a charm on printer firmware

    1 reply

    Reply 12 days ago

    I have tried the Nano and Uno and I still get that error. I am starting to think the PN 532 is faulty. Any advice or pointer would be greatly appreciated


    Question 2 months ago on Step 6

    no cards found what should i do now, im using ntag213


    Question 4 months ago

    Do anyone know if this process will work for the Da Vinci mini?


    4 months ago

    Instead of building a circuit, can I use my Nexus phone which has an NFC circuit built in?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 months ago

    There was a roundabout method that used phone apps, purchasing a code reader off e-bay and that sort of silly business, but honestly I think this is easier -pretty much just the cost of a DaVinci Filament spool. Ordered the parts and got it working in 2 1/2 hours (mostly driver issues because I installed my Uno Drivers a few years ago).


    5 months ago

    Have anybody used this recently and can confirm it works?


    Question 7 months ago

    I used the update NTAG program to refill the NFC chips that came with the XYZ filament rolls, according to the program, the rolls are full but when I try to use the refilled chips, the printer gives me an unidentified spool error. However, the chip from the roll that came with the printer works just fine. Is there something I can do to make all the other chips work or will I just have to stick with the one?


    Reply 8 months ago

    I don't. I built mine on the Arduino Uno. I recommended the Nano, so you could build a case for it and make it look nice.

    The pins on the Nano should be labelled the same though. Just connect it by using the same pin numbers.


    Answer 8 months ago

    I read somewhere that it was actually the new version of the software, and not the firmware that blocks them on the newest firmware. See if you can get a copy of XYZ Ware that isn't the latest one.


    Answer 8 months ago

    Oh, sorry, I don't know if this works on that firmware version. I bought it just a few weeks ago, updated the firmware then, and it updated to 2.2.7. I haven't updated since, and it works fine on mine.


    Answer 8 months ago

    Yes, this will work on the 2.2.7 firmware, which is the latest at this time.