To no one’s surprise, 3D Systems finally made their latest 3D printers available - for pre-order.
The two new machines were previewed at this year’s Consumer Electronics show in January and now, five months later, can actually be ordered. The Cube 3 (on their site referred to as “the Cube”) is priced at USD$999, but you may also select a “Power Package” that includes three proprietary filament cartridges for USD$1,549. Meanwhile the CubePro starts at USD$2,799 up to USD$4,399, depending on the options selected.
The Cube 3 is a very interesting (and attractive) machine, as we noted in January. It is definitely targeted at consumers, yet has the ability to print in PLA or ABS in two colors per object. It has a self leveling bed to reduce operational effort and consumer confusion. The one knock on this machine is its proprietary filament cartridges, which are somewhat more pricey than generic filament. However, 3D Systems would say that the sophisticated cartridges actually significantly simplify operational workflow and increase reliability, so the cost difference might be worth it for consumers. Nevertheless, USD$999 is a killer price for a machine with these capabilities.
The CubePro is the latest evolution in the original BFB line, acquired by 3D Systems a few years ago. It began with the BFB 3000, then 3D Touch, CubeX and now the CubePro. Our visual inspection of the machine in January revealed evolutionary rather than revolutionary enhancements. It’s certainly a more expensive machine, but it does have a lot more capabilities, including a new “controlled environment”, where heat is retained inside the build chamber. One previously unannounced feature is a new nylon material that can be 3D printed on the CubePro that should enable very strong prints.