Generally if CNET reviews your product you’re doing something right. That certainly applies to the Cube by 3D Systems’ Cubify. The Cube is one of the easiest to use personal 3D printers, and according to CNET, this printer’s success depends upon that feature. What makes this printer comfortable to use are its cartridge spools, simplified design, and wifi capabilities. Its price is kind of in the middle; there are more expensive and more affordable units.
CNET went up and down throughout their review, and understandably so. The Cube’s appeal ends at its simplicity, which limits its abilities. The software that comes with the Cube is SO simple that the printer seems locked down; the hardware can’t be upgraded or easily modified. The marketing of this printer is very consumer driven, so hobbyists may get the impression that they’re working with Mega Blocks rather than an Erector Set. Configuring for specific prints is not an option; quality is hit and miss because of this. Larger models and the ones that come from Cubify (for a price) come out well, partly due to the proprietary bed adhesive (that you also have to pay for) that keeps your object from peeling and sliding. If your model doesn’t print well though, there’s little you can do besides redesigning it in your CAD software.
Unfortunately, I’ve saved the worst for last. The Cube eats money. Most 3D printers don’t have a need for a proprietary glue. I don’t really see how the filament cartridges are easier to handle than any other spool, yet they cost more. When you register your Cube online (mandatory), you’re met with ads to buy digital models, despite the fact that free models are offered from Thingiverse. These “features” seem more concerned with taking your cash than with giving you an improved experience.
While the Cube is user friendly, I’m not convinced it’s the most easy to use 3D printer, but there’s certainly a hefty convenience fee attached to it. Unless you’re quite overwhelmed by the technical aspects of 3D printing, I feel that this printer’s technical limitations will be a constraint. It is adorable though.
It’s good to see CNET reviewing 3D printers too, as they previously reviewed the MakerBot Replicator. Getting 3D printing into the mainstream will be furthered by the big tech firms shining their spotlights on the printers themselves.