Cube 3 Printer and Cubify Online Store Make 3D Printing Easy

If you want an easy-to-use 3D printer with relatively high quality (for an entry-level device), you'll want to check out the Cube 3.

South Carolina-based company 3DSystems claims that the Cube 3, the latest in its line of Cube printers, comes fully assembled and is easier to use than ever.

The printer will cost less than $1000 — exact pricing is yet to be announced — and prints in PLA and ABS plastic, the two most common 3D printing materials. It can print in two colors with multiple materials, and users can preselect the consistency of these plastics during the printing.

The Cube 3 can print objects up to 6 inches x 6 inches x 6 inches in size, and features an auto-leveling printpad, which helps ensure that objects print successfully with a minimum of errors.

Through an accompanying mobile app for Android, iOS and Windows phones, the Cube 3's owners can also schedule prints remotely.

3DSystems asserts that replacing material in the Cube 3 is easier than replacing an ink cartridge on a 2D printer, and that the printer is safe for use by children as well as adults.

There are cheaper entry-level 3D printers, to be sure. The da Vinci 3D printer from XYZprinting costs just $499. However, the Cube 3 looks to make up the difference with high printing quality, ease of use and an app that lets users initiate and manage prints from their mobile devices.

Look for an update on the Cube 3 later this week when we go hands-on with the new printer at CES 2014 in Las Vegas.

At the same time that it announced the Cube 3, 3DSystems also announced the launch of Cubify2.0, an online store where users can browse 3D-printed products from professionals and major brands, and order customized prints.

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Jill Scharr is a creative writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. She's currently Project Lead Writer at the games studio Harebrained Schemes, and has also worked at Bungie. Prior to that she worked as a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide, covering video games, online security, 3D printing and tech innovation among many subjects. 

  • User64X
    Cubify forces users to buy Cubify filaments that cost as much as 4 times over the market value for filaments, making Cubify the most expensive 3D printer to operate. Ebay filaments can be bought for ~$25 /kg. Cubify filament cartridge cost about $50 for ~0.5kg.
  • bmwman91
    Nice! 75 micron Z-resolution is a big improvement over the Cube 2's 200 micron steps. This (or the Cube Pro) may be my first 3D printer purchase since it looks like the technology is really moving along now.

    While it is tempting to see what comes about when the patent on the SLS process expires later this year, it is a messy and expensive process so it will probably be a long time until there are hobbyist-friendly SLS printers out there.
  • alidan
    @bmwman91 considering build it yourself printers are reaching 20 micron with a 50 minimum, cube killing off the filament market, and the fact the printer will break and you need to know how to fix it, a build it yourself printer is the better option.
  • bmwman91
    Good point on the filament. The value proposition for the Cube 3 doesn't seem too compelling given the price premium on material. Filament quality is a big factor in printing results, but I have no idea if their filament is 4x the quality to go with their 4x price. $1k for a fully assembled, high resolution 3D printer is also a nice thing, but I suppose that they are expecting to cash in over time with their filament sales.

    There are so many options out there, that is for sure. Certainly, I would rather have the "problem" of having to choose from "too many" options than not having enough! A DIY one would be both fun to construct, and mechanical failures are probably fairly common, so knowing how to handle those is valuable as you mention.
  • alidan
    common enough that basically anything under 10k is a you have to fix it yourself deal, we will walk you through it.