A lot has happened in the world of 3D printing over the last week and the start of CES brought on a wave of new products, as it always does.
3D Systems announced two new 3D printers to their growing lineup of machines and continue to focus on simplicity and ease of use. The Cube printer, which we reviewed for the Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing, is getting an upgrade in features. The bed is still 5.5″ cubed, but 3D Systems claims it will print twice as accurately, and up to 1.5 times as fast. The plastic, which can now be bought in a wider variety of colors, is still provided in easy-to-install cartridges, and the print head can detect whether ABS or PLA filament is inserted, so all extruder and print settings are adjusted automatically. By switching to a glass bed that doesn’t get hot, the Cube is the first 3D printer that’s officially certified for home use with IEC regulations (read about IEC 60950 standard here). The 2nd Generation Cube starts at $1299 and is shipping on January 21st.
3D Systems also announced the CubeX printer, a completely new model in their lineup. Like the 3D Touch, single, double, and triple-extruder models are available, priced at $2,499, $3,249, and $3,999, respectively. All three models have the massive print volume of 1,070 cubic inches (10.8″x10.45″x9.5″), so it’s capable of printing objects as large as a basketball. Like the standard Cube machine, the CubeX uses cartridges to hold the plastic filament, and comes with a touchscreen interface. The printing interface provides the user with a few preset options, like one of three print modes and fill densities, as well as the ability to automatically generate breakaway support material. Lots of colors are available in both PLA and ABS.
We like how the CubeX looks and appreciate the direction that 3D Systems has taken with their line of machines by focusing on simplicity and reliability. We’re excited to use a machine that combines the rock solid hardware of the 3D Touch and the sleek interface of the Cube, and look forward to providing you with a full review of this model, as well as the 2nd Generation Cube, once we get to spend some time with them. Head over to the Cubify website to see a great chart that compares the four different Cube printers. 3D Systems plans to start shipping the CubeX on February 8th.
Although it was briefly mentioned in September, MakerBot officially announced the Replicator 2X at CES this week. This new model, which is optimized for ABS plastic and will set you back $2,799, has all the great features of the Replicator 2, as well as an additional extruder and a heated build platform, so you can print two objects at once, with two different colors of plastic, or two different materials.
It’s worth noting that MakerBot doesn’t plan to sell a Replicator 2X upgrade kit, for those of you who have a Replicator 2 already, so you’ll have to purchase an additional extruder and driver for installation yourself if you want to experiment with dual extrusion. Although the 2X isn’t available for purchase through the MakerBot Store just yet, you can sign up to receive an email notification from them when it is by going here. MakerBot also announced a few new Thingiverse features, which Matt Richardson talked about in yesterday’s blog post.
In other news, GitHub has continued work on printing wirelessly with their MakerBot Replicator 2, which I wrote about a while back. The project, called “Make-me” is now Open Source on GitHub. GitHub makes it easy to report bugs, add code, and suggest new features for the project, so head over there and help it grow. You can read more about the project’s official launch and its features on the GitHub blog.