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Cubify 3D Printers Aren't Just for Squares (Video) 134

Posted by Roblimo
from the plastic-goodies-for-the-whole-world dept.
There are other 3D printers out there, but Cubify claims theirs is easier to use, has easier cartridge changes, and is all-around nicer and cooler than their competition. And Timothy Lord found them at Google I/O 2012, which means Google thinks they're cool, too. Wow. At only $1300 for their basic model (plus $50 each for the plastic "print" cartridges), every home should have one of these. Or maybe two or three. Or maybe Hackerspaces will buy all of them, and that's where we'll go to satisfy our lust for 3D printing.

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Cubify 3D Printers Aren't Just for Squares (Video)

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  • I wonder how durable and strong the material is, obviously strong enough to make that shoe, and flexible enough for that m.j. style glove worn by the guy in the video.

    #1 on my birthday wishlist!

    • by durrr (1316311)

      $50 for the cartridge sounds a bit expensive.
      You can probably find something equvalent for less than half the price from http://reprap.org/wiki/Printing_Material_Suppliers [reprap.org]

      • That's what I was thinking: Holy shit a fully decked out RepRap Mendel is cheaper than this, as is a spool of ABS feed stock.
        • by SomePgmr (2021234)

          Fair, but I can see the utility in a finished device like this where everything is pretty simple. My first thought was of the tech labs we had as kids in middle school.

          Also, can we please get a /. operating rule for video ads that says you can't immediately start with a annoying alarm clock going off? That little eye-opener damn near gave me a heart attack.

      • by skids (119237) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:15AM (#40516917) Homepage

        What I want to know is when will these things have a hopper where I can chuck all my old laundry detergent bottles as feedstock?

        • by Space cowboy (13680) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:51AM (#40517143) Journal

          It's a popular idea, but the materials science guys tell us that re-melted plastic has different properties than "fresh" plstic, and the more times you melt it, the worse it gets (more brittle, different melting temp. etc)

          If you want accurate prints, you're going to need fresh plstic. Sad but true.

          Simon

          • by tmosley (996283) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:11AM (#40517363)
            Seems to me that that is a function of the additives in the plastic. If you use all milk containers, the properties shouldn't change.

            Also, I never heard of the properties of plastic changing just from melting and re-extruding them. Maybe it is just a scale issue, where small scale reprocessing creates an inferior filament.
            • by Anonymous Coward

              how about you idiots spare us the mindless speculation and look up the properties of different plastics

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              It's a function of the plastic itself. Most plastics will depolymerize* at a much lower temperature than that at which they would theoretically melt (if they could reach it without depolymerization). When you melt and re-solidify it, it often isn't even a plastic anymore.

              3D printers use thermoplastics, which are the exception in that they become soft and workable at a temperature that's below depolymerization.

              *Alternatively, turn into a different plastic composed of the same building blocks. Proteins** are

            • Also, I never heard of the properties of plastic changing just from melting and re-extruding them. Maybe it is just a scale issue, where small scale reprocessing creates an inferior filament.

              Then you are not listening to the right people, those who know their stuff. Plastics are long chain molecules, and extrusion involves high shear forces at high temperatures, cracking those chains.

              Next, these molecules need stabilizers to protect them from UV light and oxygen radicals. Those are also damaged in the melting and re-extrusion process. Either you add more of them, or permanently degrade the material.

              The list goes on ...

          • by SomePgmr (2021234)

            I'm not up on this (and it sounds like you are), but could this be the sort of thing where a setting could quickly adjust for recycled stock? Is the temperature of the extruder something you can usually adjust with a pot or some such?

            I mean, assuming there are cases where slightly lesser print quality might still be acceptable, it does sound like a neat idea.

        • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:05AM (#40517275) Homepage Journal

          Unfortunately all plastics are different.

          No plastic is the same, plastics have different composition, additives, melting points, all sorts of different properties that really makes it impossible to melt them together and expect any sort of consistency.

          OTOH it instead of melting the plastics, your old bottles could be shredded somehow into powder and then mixed with something sticky, some glue or epoxy, but even then different behaviours of different plastics would be problematic.

          • by skids (119237)

            Laundry detergent bottles are emminently remeltable. Just don't breath the fumes, and expect the volume to shrink a bit. But the end product is relatively durable. That plastic is a bit less rigid than would be needed for some uses, though.

        • by ortholattice (175065) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:49AM (#40517673)

          Actually, I was wondering the opposite, which is how to recycle objects that you make. I would guess that typically there will be significant waste as prototypes are fine-tuned, as well as when whatever you make breaks or is no longer needed.

          I hope the design software will make it easy to incorporate the plastic's recycle number in a triangle embossed somewhere on the object, and even encourage it. My town's recycle service requires that all plastic objects have this number on them. In the past they have refused to pick up non-container plastic objects that don't have this number (when they notice it), such as a toy that stands out from the rest.

        • So, like this...

          http://filabot.com/ [filabot.com]
          http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:24583 [thingiverse.com]

          Work in progress obviously, but people are working on it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nighthawk243 (2557486)
        Most people are used to paying out the ass for inkjet/toner cartridges. Anyways, the RepRap is much cheaper and flexible, but it isn't something the mainstream users that Cubify is targeting will be able to build/use. Your average Slashdotter that likes to tinker with 3D printing will take the time to become proficient with the small details of getting everything to work; but the run of the mill engineer, doctor or whatever trying to prototype something via CAD just wants it to work without much effort.
      • by Phoghat (1288088)

        $50 for the cartridge sounds a bit expensive. You can probably find something equvalent for less than half the price from http://reprap.org/wiki/Printing_Material_Suppliers [reprap.org]

        Give them some credit for thinking out of the box ( at least as far as 3D printing boxes, anyway), Seems this is geared towards the same crowd tyhat would buy an iPad insyead of an Android tablet, because the Apple product is geared toward the person who just wants to say "I have one", and impress their friends.

    • I wonder how durable and strong the material is

      You could always print a mold, and use that to cast the desired shape in any material of your own liking.

      • You could always print a mold, and use that to cast the desired shape in any material of your own liking.

        Not really - only a material with a lower melting point and which does not bond to the plastic can be used. So you are probably limited to wax but that could lead to some interesting, asymmetric candle designs.

        • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:14AM (#40516909)

          SoI take it you have never heard of lost wax casting I take it?

          You print the item you want, you pack that in a material with a higher melting point than the desired material for the object, melt the end material and pour it in.

          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:19AM (#40516929)

            Clearly I need more caffeine.

            I meant to say:

            I take it you have never heard of lost wax casting?

            You print the item you want, you pack that in a material with a higher melting point than the desired material for the object, melt the end material and pour it in.

            This is how a lot of metal casting is/was done using wax as the model and sand as the form.

            • by sjames (1099)

              At that point, wouldn't it be cheaper to mill the wax model?

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          http://smooth-on.com/ [smooth-on.com]

          In case you'd like to learn how to do it.

        • Not really - only a material with a lower melting point and which does not bond to the plastic can be used.

          That's not universally true, due to materials like green sand and ceramics which can be molded at the low temperatures needed for the plastic, and yet still hold their shape after setting when exposed to molten metal.

          The lost wax casting method, which makes use of both green sand and ceramics, has already been mentioned; there have also been some promising experiments with the simpler "lost foam" process, using ultra-low-density plastic prints in place of foam. Low-temperature metals like pewter can also be

    • by jcochran (309950)

      Not so sure about that shoe. Since the cubify site itself claims that the build area is 5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5", I kind of doubt that the shoe was actually built on a cube. The maximum length in that cube is only 9.5" (assuming going from bottom corner, to opposite corner on top of cube. A more likely dimension would be from diagonal corners at the same level (so as to build shoe upright instead of canted diagonally) and that is only 7.75" kinda small for a foot..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2012 @09:40AM (#40516679)

    article needs a blue screen w/ 1800 number and steak knives.

    btw, who cares if google thinks it's "cool."

    where am i supposed to go to satisfy my lust for sanding? photocopying? or any of the other basic tools?!

    finally, a thermally-controlled 3d-printer without an enclosure to control ambient temperature is begging for trouble.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2012 @09:46AM (#40516717)

    Something closed-source, with proprietary consumables, and based on how it looks likely difficult to repair.

    No thanks, I'll stick with a Makerbot or RepRap 3D printer.

    • by jythie (914043)
      Well, that is why market variety is a good thing. 'hackerspace' is a pretty broad group, with one hacker's tools being another hacker's toys. These more propriety devices will generally be better for people who want a device who's purpose is to produce parts for their actual interest as opposed to something that is a goal unto itself.

      Personally I have been considering things like the Makerbox, RepRap, Rapman, etc... but so far they are too in the 'toys unto themselves' category whereas what I want is an
      • by Smidge204 (605297)

        If you want a true out-of-the-box solution for 3D printing you can have it - at a premium price. ZCorp immediately jumps to mind but they are by no means the only source. A Reprap device will cost you a tenth or less of the commercial-ready machines, but the tradeoff is you will need to put in the time to assemble it and tinker to get top performance.

        =Smidge=

        • by jythie (914043)
          True, but ZCorp and other suppliers represent another end of the spectrum, high cost professional rigs that tend to require investment not only in money but time to learn and utilize the systems.
      • by faedle (114018)

        It would seem to me that anything that would deserve the moniker "hackerspace" will have problems with, at minimum, one of those.

    • by psergiu (67614) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:10AM (#40517341)

      Also, according to their site, the software needed to convert the "3d object" files in a format that this printer will understand is Windows-only.

  • Who is this for? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm lets look at this:
    The market for something this expensive would be people so deep into the hobby, that they would be able to get something cheaper, expandable and accepts a universal standard for input instead of something expensive and proprietary. Even in a hacker space you have to have the knowledge to get the model and then use the software to print it, you have to dive pretty deep in order to get involved.

    • by faedle (114018)

      Not necessarily. $1200 puts it into the reach of the kinds of people who bought the first generation Cricut. Plus, the cartridge-based consumables and the software makes it pretty user-friendly. My guess is that you can go from open-the-box to printing something off Thingiverse in a matter of minutes.

      This is the Apple ][ of the 3D printing world: the first completely assembled ready-to-go take-it-out-of-the-box-and-start-printing consumer 3D printer. Yes, it's likely going to have a fair share of early

      • Re:Who is this for? (Score:4, Informative)

        by wjsteele (255130) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:49AM (#40517125)
        It's most certaintly not the first. There are several 3D printer manufacturers (including MakerBot themselves) out there that have been doing this for quite a while now... but none of them are charging as much for their consumables. It seems that for $50, you get about a pound of material, which is roughly 3 times the normal cost.

        Bill
      • Re:Who is this for? (Score:4, Informative)

        by jasenj1 (575309) on Monday July 02, 2012 @05:52PM (#40521771)

        We have a Cricut and a Silhouette - electronic paper cutters.
        The home crafting market is one I think a 3D printer would do well in, and this one seems to be aiming in that direction. There are lots of moms & grandmas who sew, quilt, knit, make cards, scrapbook, etc. Many of those women are incorporating computer driven tools into their workflows. A 3D printer would let them print cutsie embellishments, cupcake holders, party favors, napkin rings, and "girlie" things that are completely off the radar of the "hacker space" boys club.

        - Jasen.

    • by mattr (78516)

      Schools?

    • The price is not much different from a decent SLR lens.

    • by ghostdoc (1235612)

      Wargamers.

      The average cost of a lead miniature is ridiculous. The cost of a full army is easily > $1500, so you could recoup the investment after just one army.
      You can 3-D scan existing miniatures to create the blueprint.

      So we just started pirating real physical objects. I wonder how long until there's a Manufacturer's *IAA demanding a levy on all 3d-printers because they're primarily being used to breach copyright?

  • by vlm (69642) on Monday July 02, 2012 @09:52AM (#40516761)

    (plus $50 each for the plastic "print" cartridges)

    Filament extruder plastic costs about $35 per kilo (talk about mixed measurements... but that's how its sold. Figure "fifteen bucks per pound")

    So a loaded $50 cartridge should weigh at least 4 pounds total. I can't figure out on the website how much a cartridge weighs, but just looking at it it seems like you're paying a pretty high premium for your plastic.

    Not quite as bad as "precious metal cost" printer ink, but I bet by the time HP sells a 3-d printer they'll find a way to make the plastic cost more than, say, silver, on a weight basis.

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      Yup. I just setup a 3d printer from a kit, but the one I put together can be had, already set up, for $1200, which is $100 cheaper than they want.... plus, uses simple filiment rolles, and I am printing beautifully with those cheap $35/kg PLA rolls.

      Can't blame them, I guess, for trying to get people to agree to a lock in for convinenece.... especially since there is no real need for anyone with a normal 3d printer to ever pay the premium to support their vendor.

      That said, I will take a bit more manual work

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Do you have a link to the model you picked?

        I have been looking at this for ages now and would like one I can build without already owning an entire machine shop.

        • I helped a friend build his Makerbot kit, this thing came complete with all necessary parts and electronics. Required tools: just a soldering iron, screwdrivers and other small tools. No difficult cutting, sizing or sawing required. With that said, we've had no end of trouble getting the print head and feeder to work reliably, even a replacement assembly did not help. The feedstock would invariably get stuck in the print head after printing a few layers. I know there's plenty of other people who have h
          • by vlm (69642)

            I helped a friend build his Makerbot kit

            To the best of my knowledge they only sell the replicator model now.... the "good" news is they sell it fully assembled and tested just remove from box and plug in, the "bad" news is instead of a mere $1200 or whatever its more like $2K with dual extruders.

            Rapman product is the specified "about $1200", maybe thats what the original poster purchased.

            The printrbot is much cheaper around $500 but seemingly perpetually out of stock.

            build without already owning an entire machine shop.

            I own a full machine shop, and unfortunately there are no 3-d printer blueprints

        • by TheCarp (96830)

          I put together the MakrerGear kit: http://www.makergear.com/products/3d-printers [makergear.com]

          It is a bit expensive but a number of parts are upgraded from the cheap options that people say you can source for half the total cost. Brass bushings instead of PLA, linear rod instead of tool rod, Really nice compact extruder with a metal gear box on the stepper, pre-cut jig for checking the frame geometery.... and of course shielded wire for motor hookups.

          Its a great kit if you are willing to pay a bit more for the convinence

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "Yup. I just setup a 3d printer from a kit, but the one I put together can be had, already set up, for $1200, which is $100 cheaper than they want.... plus, uses simple filiment rolles, and I am printing beautifully with those cheap $35/kg PLA rolls."

        Well, you could just print those expensive Cubify cartridges and make a fortune.

    • by Grayhand (2610049)
      Cartridge cost is the one thing that would hold me back. If you have a serious need then it's a great thing but you have to be realistic because for a $50 cartridge you can probably make a handful of items that would cost a few bucks each. We're a long way from kids making their own toys to save money. Any part you make will be expensive. I've checked into some more industrial units that run off bulk stock and then you're talking something that costs the price of the plastic and electricity. It's a very hig
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Monday July 02, 2012 @09:53AM (#40516763)

    I guess they also copied the business model of 2D printers.

    • by vlm (69642)

      I wonder if they've "chipped" the cartridges to prevent people from home re filling.

      If not if might be an interesting technology to swap different colors in and out of the printer.

      Of course they've probably patented the idea of a filament cartridge, and patented the business method of overcharging for consumables, etc etc.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:43AM (#40517085) Journal
        Oh, you can refill the cartridge; but does your filament have the correct cryptographically-signed-and-timestamped anti-tamper code printed along its entire length?

        If the optical-verification scanner in the filament feed path encounters a missing section, or a section not signed with the private key corresponding to the public key QR-coded on the filament cartridge, it won't continue printing, now will it?

        And don't even think about a replay atttack... Each cartridge's key is reported to the Consumable License Activation Server upon first installation, and each Enciphered Consumable Subsection String is reported as consumed when it first passes through the optical-verification path. If a printer attempts to validate a previously validated cartridge key, or reports the consumption of filament with the same Enciphered Consumable Subsection String more than once, your printer will fail Cubify Genuine Advantage...

        (The above is sarcasm; but I suspect that it wouldn't exactly be rocket-surgery to implement such a system in the real world...)
        • by vlm (69642)

          Ah those are MBA level suggestions right there. I came up with another, create a certain specific color, then patent / copyright / trademark that specific shade of blue or whatever, and sue the heck out of anyone on the internet who dares to speak that specific precise wavelength. 476.242526 nm? You thief, you! File lawsuits against people who sell tee shirts with the number 476.242526 written on them, etc.

          • I suspect that the good folks at Pantone would be happy to collaborate with you on a line of co-branded and heavily licensed colors...

            Just kick out the offerings here [pantone.com] in filament rather than chip shape, add 75% for the service, and you are on your way.
    • Not quite; then you'd get the printer free with a two-year cartridge subscription. :P

    • by Issarlk (1429361)
      If they did it would be cheaper to buy a new printer everytime the cartridge is empty.
      • The cartridge included in the printer can be at half capacity like the ones on the 2d printers to prevent this.
  • people who buy these will eventually regret the proprietary cartridges.

  • by unixhero (1276774) on Monday July 02, 2012 @09:59AM (#40516803)
    What happened to sharing?
    I thought the most important part about the 3D printer revolution was that users were in fact able to get designs through a communal repository of designs, FOR FREE.

    What I see here is a bunch of super-fancy iPhone covers that sell at USD30.
    That is not going to help fuel the revolution that the other 3D printers started. The implications for the world are enormous when everyone can replicate items in their house for free. It is not impressive when you get an iPrinter- that increases the cost of using it significantly.

    Screw simplicity. I want to be free.
    • by jythie (914043)
      Simplicity is what jumps something from a niche geek toy to a mass market devices, which results in driving down the price not only for the 'simple' devices but also for the niche ones. If this takes off, you will still be able to get your community centric ideologically specced devices, but probably for a lot cheaper and powerful then today, just like computers.

      Though it should be noted, even the 'best' 3D printers today do not even come close to 'replicating themselves'. Yeah you can print out the plas
      • I remember seeing one claim that it could produce 90 percent of itself, which is true.

        If you go by weight; essentially it's the chassis.

        • by jythie (914043)
          *nods* a more specific claim like that I can see, but even then it is a little dishonest since that last 10% is rather important. It is like saying 'I can make 90% of my linux box out of wood!' simply because you can built the case. The 90% you can replicate doesn't get you 90% of the functionality, it doesn't even get you 9%.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:02AM (#40516821) Journal
    The thing that makes me nervous about this 'Cubify' business, though the hardware certainly has a more polished look than some of the DIY models, is that it appears to derive its attitude toward software and consumables from the same cesspool that consumer inkjets use...

    By the pictures, the 'cartridge' is a smallish reel of polymer filament('proprietary ABS' per the FAQ). ABS filament should set you back less than $20/lb, not $50/cartridge-of-unspecified-capacity-and-properties...

    And software? Ha, ha, ha. Even if you already have an STL object ready to roll, it's their fisher-price-meets-flash-game mutant bastard child of kiddo's first 3d modelling application/device-driver for you. But at least you get 25 free 'creations' if you buy one! Have they been poaching software guys from HP's consumer printers division or something?

    It's honestly somewhat baffling. Given economies of scale, mass production, experience, potentially useful patents, etc. it shouldn't be terribly difficult for commercial 3d-printer vendors to compete on hardware specs(along with fit-and-finish and easy availability of finished products rather than kits) with the various DIY contraptions, but these 'Cubify' fellows seem determined to undermine what might be promising hardware with usurious consumables pricing and cringe-worthy software...
    • by faedle (114018)

      I think you may be looking the wrong direction as to "who they're copying."

      They are looking directly at the Cricut. Call it a hunch, very soon there will be an online store where you can buy objects for printing: and those will be where the profit is made.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I predict very soon those will be pirated or copied by FREE plans.

        What I want, is something that can scan any 3d object and make a file to print it.

    • by jythie (914043)
      *shrug* geeks might lament the closed rip-off that is the inkjet printer market, but it did work quite well, resulting in low cost high quality printing in pretty much every livingroom. I still remember when 'high quality' printing was the exclusive domain of massive laser printer systems and plotters. You know what.. if one wants more open options they still exist. You have to pay more for them, but they have been driven down in cost over the decades.... in other words the open alternatives might not ha
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:03AM (#40517265) Journal
        Maybe the people that I know are unrepresentative(and I'm not just talking about my nerd friends, I include the family members and various other non-techies who end up informing me of their usage habits in the course of extracting tech support); but inkjets seem to have suffered pretty massively in popularity in the last 5-ish years.

        Photo printing seems to be nearly dead, with people either sending them to facebook and never printing them at all, or uploading them to some print service, which small-scale home inkjets can't touch on price or performance, and $100 laser printers have been a real kick in the teeth for inkjets when it comes to printing text/homework/online bank statements for paper filing/etc/etc.

        Back when laser printers were quite expensive, and 'online' was not a ubiquitous concept, inkjets were certainly all over the place; but the 'razor/blades' model that the vendors all chased seems to have earned them substantial enmity. Even complete technophobes have frequently have a sense of grievance about how much ink cartridges cost, and how often printers break.

        In the case of 3d printing, I definitely don't think that the future is a reprap in every household: DIY/Kit/OSS/etc 3d printers are geek toys, no question. However, the non-geek(and, in many cases, also useful to geeks) solution appears to be one of the 'upload 3d model, receive physical model by fedex' services that will sell you time on 20k+ printing gear a few bucks at a time, in the same way that the online photo printers do for 2d prints.

        That is why I have such doubts about an offering like this. It isn't a terribly good fit for the nerds and hackers demographic that is likely to actually want a 3D printer on site; but it is also too expensive(up front and in consumables) to compare favorably for nontechnical users with the online print-to-order outfits that are similarly simple and friendly but have much more sophisticated equipment, and it's attempt to hit a consumer price point makes it a bit too limited(in materials, model size, and toolchain) for the rapid-prototyping needs of business users.
        • by Smidge204 (605297)

          Except a photo-quality 2D printer is now something not uncommonly seen in someone's home. Rarer than a normal 2D printer but most people would not be surprised to see one and you can buy them off a shelf. I agree that the tech has a long way to go before it reaches that level of disposable consumer ware, but I'm not going to write off the possibility it will happen.

          There are three categories of people as I see it;

          The first are the hardcore tinkerers would have no problem buying a kit and spending the time a

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:03AM (#40516831)

    They're using the ink-jet business model by overcharging for the "cartridges". Except they are charging an arm and a leg for the printer too. So for $1300 you can buy the printer and a cartridge, and additional cartridges are $50 each. For that $50, you can print (according to their website) between 10 and 14 creations. That means each creation costs between $3.50 and $5.00 each without starting to think about paying for the machine itself and other costs (software, design, licenses, electricity, etc). Funny to think it's still cheaper to make something in China and have it shipped to the other side of the planet.

    When they are serious about this being more than just a toy, they'll drop the price on the cartridges to what it's really worth - like maybe $5.

  • Shapeways (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:08AM (#40516867) Homepage Journal

    I know this will sound like shilling, but all I can give is my personal assurances that I have no connection to the site.

    Shapeways.com is cool. I realized long ago that I won't personally 3d print very many items, and there are still economies of scale to 3d printing, even if a lot less than manufacturing. So shapeways has multiple varieties of 3d printer, and numerous materials of varying pricing, and open source models other users have printed you can use or modify and use. As a user, you only see the software(blender) and the finished product when it's shipped to you. Actually OWNING a 3d printer doesn't appeal to me much, but there are a couple things I'm working on to (eventually, some day) print.

    • Re:Shapeways (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:11AM (#40517351)

      Not sure why you're modded off-topic - considering that Shapeways or, and I guess I'll plug their 'competitor' here, i.materialise, are a great option for those who want high quality (much higher than what you get out of Makerbot etc.) for a low price (compared to buying a 3D printer (kit+assembly)) with practically zero hassle.

      I guess this Cube thing is somewhere between the Makerbots and the z-corp et al high end devices, but still more on the Makerbot end.

      There are also desktop 3D printers that cost a bit more but may be worth the bother if you need what they do. One site that comes to mind is http://desktopfactory.com/ [desktopfactory.com]

      It occurs to me, reading the page there, that 3D Systems may be on their way to trying to corner the consumer/prosumer market.

    • by tofarr (2467788)
      Why was this modded off topic? With the article about 3d printers, I too personally feel that renting the service makes more sense. Though I do not advocate any particular company, paying $1250 to print the few bits and pieces that would constitute the total usage of the device for most users seems excessive to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.makergear.com/products/m-series-3d-printers

    • by hirschma (187820)

      Well, for $1300 and weeks-to-months of waiting.

      FYI, I plunked down my cash on an M2; I was given a "fuzzy" ETA of 4 weeks, now passed. New guestimate of arrival is... 1st-2nd week of July.

      Has anyone received one yet? Any reviews?

  • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:33AM (#40517025)
    I don't see people going to a hackerspace to print something out. This tech will take off when it gets adopted by home improvement stores. Then you can get your printed plastic at the same place you get your cut glass and timber.
    • by WillAdams (45638)

      That's a very good point --- I've been surprised that 3D scanners, printers and CNC machines haven't showed up at hardware stores --- show up w/ a broken part --- the scanner scans it and if in stock, directs you to the correct aisle --- if not, it calculates a cost to either 3D print (if plastic) or mill (if wood or metal).

      William

      • by Smidge204 (605297)

        That's an interesting concept, but remember that some parts can take hours to finish. I can also envision a 3D model of some copyrighted thing causing problems with people coming in with their own models to print.

        What I can more readily see is some types of items not needing to be stocked anymore, or stocked in very small quantities. Things like flower pots and little plastic mounting brackets and spacers and stuff. Stock the plastic instead and print more as needed. If the customer is willing to order ahea

    • This would be a better fit at a high end copy center like Kinkos. The people working there have some technical ability, they are used to dealing with consumables, and they are already in the reproduction business. Fee schedule would be some setup cost say, $20, and a per minute print cost (say $0.20). That's fairly expensive per part, but cheaper than buying your own, and much less hassle.

      I'd guess a typical store would get a few customers a week printing for a few hours each. So somewhere around $5000

  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:00AM (#40517241)

    Title: Cubify 3D Printers Aren't Just for Squares
    Description: There are other 3D printers out there, but Cubify claims theirs is easier to use, has easier cartridge changes, and is all-around nicer and cooler than their competition.

    00:00 TITLE
    A shot of a 3D printer printing an object is shown, with the SlashdotTV logo bar reading "The Cubify 3-D Printer at Google I/O 2012"

    00:03 TITLE
    Timothy Lord is shown standing in a hallway

    00:03 Timothy
    Here's another intriguing product on display at Google I/O, mostly because it can be controlled from an Android tablet, although it can also be fed data from a wireless network or from a USB stick plugged into the side.

    00:12 TITLE
    Another shot of the 3D printer printing an object is shows.

    00:18 TITLE
    Back to the shot of Timothy

    00:18 Timothy
    It's a 3D printer that tries to emulate the easy-of-use of a laser printer, rather than a typical 3D printer where you have to feed it rolls of continuous stock.

    00:27 TITLE
    The view changes to Adam of cubify.com in front of their booth at Google I/O.
    At the booth there are 3 Cube printers set up that are shown behind Adam.

    00:27 Adam
    Hey, this is Adam with cubify.com , part of 3D Systems, and we're here with the Cube, just having an opportunity to take a quick little demo.
    Just finished printing up a little Android right now, so if you wanna take a look a little bit closer...

    00:42 TITLE
    The view zooms in on the Cube printer

    00:43 Adam
    There are a couple of things here that are actually unique to this particular 3D printer.
    Where there are several other printers that exist out there, at a similar price point, that are a little bit more open - instead what we opted to do was, rather than having to worry about "how hot does the extruder need to be?", "is my plastic gonna be too hot or too cold?", "If it's too cold is it gonna jam the head, possibly unhinge something?", "if my bed is too hot or too cold causing any kind of warping", "do I have to worry about in-fill pattern?", Support material designs?" - our 26 years of engineering experience have automated that for us.
    So this way all I need to do is to be able to hit 'build', and I'm able to get my parts.
    For our support materials, what we actually did was created some perforated supports, so this way [...]

    01:24 TITLE
    Adam reaches over to the printed Android robot and pokes at some support structures

    01:24 Adam
    [...] they snap right off - no big deal at all, doesn't take any heavy lifting, doesn't damage the part.

    01:32 Adam
    Now, from what I heard, you guys were interested in changing out some cartridges.
    Before we go ahead and do that..
    You can take any STL format, pop it into our software, hit 'import', hit 'build' - from there you're ready to go.
    Everything is automated for you as far as support structures, everything is ready as far as build times and fill patterns.
    You can either do it via USB, or via WiFi, no problem at all.

    01:56 Adam
    We're gonna do a really quick demo right now as far as how to input and change out a cartridge, so come on over.

    02:00 TITLE
    Adam inputs a few commands on the control panel.

    02:03 Adam
    We have two screens between 'print' and 'setup'.
    We're just gonna go to 'setup', and our first option is to 'load cartridge'.
    So as we hit that, what's going on now is we're heating up the extruder, and we're actually gonna reverse out the plastic material right here.
    And in a matter of seconds what's gonna happen next minute, minute and a half, is the material is actually gonna eject.
    We're gonna pull it out, we're gonna pop in another cartridge, and from there we're just gonna feed it right back in.
    Really simple.
    Now it says right here to replace the cartridge and press the button.
    Hit that.
    Now I'm just gonna insert the filament right in here, like so, and right now you can see it pulling in.
    Now another 5, 10 seconds you're gonna see a little bit of excess material

  • Considering it costs thousands just to buy a standing army for a lot of these war games, I think these printers will make it much more cost effective just to have everyone print up their own guys. Need 10 tanks? $50 in plastic compared to $500 buying them in the store from some company.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There's an Open Source 3D printing wargame already out there! It's called Seej, and it looks pretty cool. http://www.s33j.net

      None of the nasty proprietary problems with Games Workshop designs.

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      For Games Workshop armies, it won't work unless you're just playing out of your basement. GW nerds are notoriously anal about the play-legality of models, and homegrown stuff certainly won't be welcome at store-based battle-tables or official tournament play sites.

      Other outfits are wising up about the ludicrous expense of model warfare, at least. I've seen two Kickstarters, one which was basically rules for LEGO mecha combat, and another offering its own line of related minis at a fraction of regular costs.

  • Once you have one, you should be able to make as many more as you want.

    It reminds me of Willy Wonka's Everlasting Gobstopper [wikipedia.org]. Nobody needs more than one.

  • and who is going to pay 1300 bucks for that little bitty toy which requires proprietary print material?

  • Since I don't have the $ just to try it out, can someone explain to me where the designs come from that the printer prints? Are the patterns printer specific? Are there standard formats used, like autocad or something? Everyone understands how a 2d printer works. 99% (grabbed out of thin air) of the net is 2d, but I'd love to print 3d objects. I play D&D. Even though it would be expensive, I'd to be able to print 3d versions of monsters mini's. I know it would kill wotc's miniture market, but I'm
  • I'd still put down $100 in Las Vegas that within 4 years (regardless if the prez election is rigged or not), 'open-source' 3D printers will be made illegal, justified by BS allegations of IP piracy.

    Of course, HP will be allowed to offer their tawdry wares with an average print cost somewhere around $500 per cubic centimeter...
  • Wow, you don't even try to pretend that these are articles anymore... features, price, everything... only thing missing is a "Click to buy" link.

  • Well, just ordered one. Says they're backed up for six weeks...but that's acceptable. Built in wi-fi support and the generally finished nature of the printer are certainly worth a good bit, and the print cartridges are somewhat cheaper if purchased in bulk. Overall, it seems like a decently polished gadget to actually use, as opposed to spending a comparable amount of cash and a great deal of time building one. Reprap and the like look wonderful for those inclined to tinker with such things, but frankly, ti
  • For the same price (or less) you get this beast
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2cgGTLMeCQ [youtube.com]

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.

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