The other week we wrote a piece on the major factors to consider when deciding on purchasing a 3D printer. While we stand by our list, a readers suggested another key factor.
Operating System: One reader suggested the ability to run the printer’s software on Linux would be a deciding factor for him. We agree - platform availability is a key factor. Most software for personal 3D printers these days is multi-platform, but sometimes it is not. Almost always you’ll find Windows compatibility and often Macintosh - but not always. Linux is more frequently left off the list. The moral of the story is: check out the software compatibility with your own equipment before you proceed, or you’ll be in for a surprise.
The CubeX 3D printer from Cubify, for example, falls into this situation. Cubify offers only Windows software to drive it; if you have a Mac or run Linux, you’re out of luck unless you resort to PC emulators or reboot your machine with a copy of Windows. If you don’t happen to have a licensed copy of Windows handy, this actually could cost you extra money to be able to print, raising the effective cost of the machine.