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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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  • 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.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2012 @09:46AM (#40516719)

    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 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 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 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...
  • 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.

  • 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 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 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 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.

  • by nighthawk243 (2557486) on Monday July 02, 2012 @07:23PM (#40522509)
    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. Plus it appears to be more polished, which helps in regard to workplace safety. An exposed extruder isn't something you really want. While I love the RepRap project, 3D printing won't become mainstream if it remains a gearhead type of operation.

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