We took a closer look at 3D Systems’ new CubePro 3D printer.
The CubePro was announced in May 2014, but has been shipping since August. We finally got a very close look at the new machine recently.
The CubePro is in fact the latest iteration in a long line of evolving 3D printer technology. The genesis of the CubePro was the BFB3000, made in around 2010 by the former Bits From Bytes company. That company and its technology was acquired by 3D Systems, who have been improving the technology ever since.
The BFB3000 led to the CubeX and eventually to today’s CubePro. While the internal frame is pretty much the same as the original BFB3000, practically everything else has changed inside this machine in the intervening years.
The CubePro’s main change is the case. It’s now entirely enclosed, creating a temperature controlled print volume. This is a critical feature for reliable 3D printing, as variations in ambient temperature – or even drafts – can cause issues. The controlled temperature permits more rapid printing – up to 2X as fast according to 3D Systems.
Interior heating is provided solely by the extruders, which obviously must be heated to melt the filament. This heat is captured within the chamber and regulated. How is it regulated? With this device shown above, placed within the build chamber at the back. According to 3D Systems’ Rajeev Kulkarni, it’s a control mechanism to vent heat when it becomes too hot.
To be clear, it is not a heater, as that might violate Stratasys’ patent on such features.
There’s a number of other minor improvements appearing in the CubePro, including a new filament cartridge that’s moisture sealed for reliability and “instant load”. A handy mobile app lets you control your CubePro remotely, or you can use the new color touchscreen.
Finally, we noticed 3D Systems now offers an OS/X version of the CubePro software. Previously, you had to have a Windows machine to use the CubeX and its predecessors.
The CubePro is available with up to three extruders, in the CubePro, CubePro Duo and CubePro Trio models, which range in price from USD$2,799 to USD$4,399.