Recent News in 3D Printing

3D Printing & Imaging
Recent News in 3D Printing


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.

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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.

2013 MAKE Ultimate Guide To 3D Printing

  • 3D Printers Buyer's Guide — 15 Reviewed
  • Getting Started in 3D
  • Learn the Software Toolchain
  • 3D Design for Beginners
  • 3D Printing without a Printer

Buy now!

Just Released! 2014 MAKE Ultimate Guide To 3D Printing

34 thoughts on “Recent News in 3D Printing

  1. Alexander Fedin says:

    I’ve heard about someone prints 3D objects in metal. Is that real?
    I want to print a camera sliding adapter.

    1. Eric Weinhoffer says:

      Yes, metal printers use a process called Selective Laser Sintering (, and are still outrageously expensive. However, you can design a part and get it printed in metal from Shapeways or Ponoko for a reasonable price.

  2. Joe Larson says:

    I feel compelled every time someone mentioned 3DSystem’s cube printers to point out that these machines are not as friendly to the consumer as Makerbot, lulzbot, afinia, Up! or nearly any other home 3D printer on the market. They are locked out so you can’t use them until you register on their website and their filament cartridges are chipped so you can’t buy filament from anyone but them, and they charge more than twice what you’ve pay for filament anywhere else, or rather they charge the same and give you less than half what others would. Not a fan.

    1. Eric Weinhoffer says:

      Yeah, that’s a good point. Thankfully, I think they realize that their machine won’t appeal to the people who want to hack a 3D Printer…they’re going after the consumer who’s never used one before and would be really stuck if you put a MakerBot or Lulzbot in front of them.

  3. Gina Häußge says:

    Just a little fyi: I’ve been working on a wireless 3d printing solution myself since before the holidays, which can also be found on Github: (name about to change soon once I can decide on the new one)

    I created it for use on my RaspberryPi (acting as the print host) and it provides a very responsive web interface (completely based on AJAX, soon also on offering real time monitoring of the printer’s state (including a temperature graph), uploading and printing gcode files (including print time estimation), jog controls, webcam livestream support (around 10 to 15fps) and automatic creation of timelapse movies.

    Some screenshots can be found here:

    Might be of interest :)

    1. Eric Weinhoffer says:


      Thanks for sharing. I love the fact that you can run this off your Pi, and the automatic timelapse creation. Well done!

      You should share it on the Make: Forum ( if you haven’t already. It’ll get a lot of attention that way :)


      1. foosel says:

        Thanks for the suggestion, Eric, I just did :)

        1. Eric Weinhoffer says:


  4. Andrew says:

    The machines are really starting to look good now too – that suggests a real level of refinement.
    But more importantly, multi-material and multi-colour printing will be a real turning point fort this technology. Oh and just read a story about 3D printing metal – exciting stuff, especially since most of the applications were in medical products.

    Printing ABS is an important step since it is a material that you can actually produce your component in when in production. Finally this will be real prototyping, where the component will closely represent your design intention in both fit and strength.


  5. Xan Faster says:

    I think that the real exciting secret that will be out soon is ORSTO technology.

    I have seen the results of this new rapid prototyping.

    Full football size models in under 20 minutes. Compared to Objet 5-12 Hours
    With a 1 micron finish accuracy. (that is Not a typo)

    Apparently to be crowd funded with industry insider estimates of reaching over £10 million.

  6. Xan says:

    Another crowd funding project/campaign etc.

    This one is about Free 3D Printing.

    Type in the word ‘motolab’ on indiegogo.
    That should get you there.

  7. Pete says:

    I have purchased the CubeX Duo, and I can tell you first hand that the process has not been pleasant from the start. I was suppose to receive the printer late Feb, ( one month after payment) never informed me that they have not finished with me printer until I called them to ask, and was told that I would have to wait another month for shipment. I was informed one week before the shipment was to be made that it would be shipped out on the 22nd of March, the 22nd comes along and still no shipment confirmation, I call them and was told that they have no idea of when the shipment will be sent. After threatening that I will cancel my order they finally ship the printer out the next day, I did receive the printer 2 days after it was shipped without the ABS cassette I ordered because they did not have it available. I tried to order there special glue for the print bed and was told they do not know when it will be made available. 2 weeks after receiving my printer and trying to adjust to the problems with the prints ( warping of the PLA, trying different application methods of the special glue, running out of PLA while printing I wake up to find the print job continuing whille there was no more PLA in the cassette) the printer lost power. I call there customer support and with there guidance figure out that the main board probably burned up, they were to order a new board for me and have it expedited to me, while playing around with the unit I saw a Micro SD Card on the board, I pulled out the SD card and the board lights came on. I figured that the SD card shorted out which caused the main board not to power up. I call there customer support to tell them if they can email me the firmware so I can flash a new SD card and get my unit up and running again which they said they can’t send me the firmware they have to send me a new SD card. It has been a week now and I still have not heard on when they are sending me the new SD card with the firmware on it. I call them and the people answering the phone have no Idea of when I will receive a simple SD card with the firmware on it. There Customer service SUCKS. I ordered this product because it received have praise at CES and because it has 3Dsystems as the mother company behind it. I would not recommend this printer to nobody. They do not have good customer service, basic material is not available (Glue, ABS, PLA) I did not buy this machine to have it sit on my desk, but they don’t give a damn about you after they receive your order.

  8. robger says:

    I am in the same boat. I have received my PLA order but have just cancelled my back order for ABS as there is no point as this printer isn’t capable of printing a decent part.
    The hardware looks sturdy but the software is very poor.
    Very disappointed with this printer.

    1. Pete says:

      Hey Rob,
      Is there any chance you can pull the sd card from the main board and copy the contents and send them to me, that would be much faster than waiting for them to send me a new SD Card.
      I figured out a way to bypass the cassette they use and use spools of ABS purchased from ebay. I am also working on a hot bed with a separate power supply and temp controller. when I am done and test it I will post everything for the people to get away from paying soo much for cassettes. You can contact me at dagrk67 at hotmail dot com.

      1. Eddie says:

        Hi Pete,

        I would like to know how you bypass the CubeX filament cartridge? I am having a hard time getting filament.. not to mention the high cost!

        email me at eddie at enccad dot com

      2. Pedro says:

        Hi Pete
        Can you send me info on how you bypassed the filament issue.

  9. RobGer says:

    Hi Pete,
    Sure. I will copy SD card for you.
    I think we should collaborate on this one. I have given up on 3D Systems support and am hacking my machine to run on Repetier Host. I will contact you via email to discuss. My email address is

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Eric is a Mechanical Engineer with interests in machining, mass manufacturing, product design and kinetic art. While not building things, he enjoys skiing, cycling, and juggling.

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