The Cube is a new consumer level 3D printer from 3D Systems that costs from $1299 and gets you everything you need to start printing your own stuff at home. 3D Systems are one of the pioneers of the industry and the Cube is their latest attempt to bring their professional level technology to the masses. In the video Tony Hoffman, Pcmag.com’s Printer,Scanner & Projector Analyst, demonstrates the Cube by printing a simple cup.
The Cube is a single head machine that’s able to print in either ABS or PLA plastic filament that is supplied in an easy to load cartridge, which gets you about 13 to 14 prints. The filament is available in 16 colors including glow-in-the-dark neon green and blue. A single cartridge costs $49, with discounted 3, 5 and 7 color packs.
The Cube weighs 9.5lb and can print a maximum model size of 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches with a layer thickness of 0.2 mm (200 microns). Models can be loaded into the Cube by a USB memory stick (supplied with the printer) or via 8.2b/g wireless connectivity. You also get the Windows / MAC software to create the CUBE print files.
If the Cube isn’t quite up to the task of printing the bigger models that you need then 3D Systems also offers the CubeX, for $2,499, which is a fully enclosed printer which has a 9 x 10.75 x 9.5 inch build volume. The CubeX is a triple print head machine which allows it to print multi-color models. The CubeX won c|net’s Best of CES 2013 award.
Several of the major professional level manufacturers are now producing prosumer level 3D printers to take on the likes of the RapMan and Replicator 2. With a higher price, but with better features, it remains to be seen if they can grab market share away from the smaller start-ups.