Pros *Almost Ink Jet simplicity
*Mainstream design and appeal
*Cartridge filament system
*Software is simple
*Encapsulated design almost eliminates chance of burns
*NO assembly or hacking skills needed
*Cool 'glue' instead of heated bed
Cons *Cost ($1299 is about twice where it needs to be for mainstream)
*Cartridges cost more than bulk filament rolls
*Software is too simple for power users
*Print size and resolution could be better at this price point
*NO heated bed option (glue only)
Summary I recently acquired a 3D Systems Cube printer for some work projects. We had talked about getting into 3D printing but had run into trouble selecting which direction. Reprap, Makerbot, and all the other 'DIY' printers seemed more like a hobby than a serious 'get the parts out the door' solution. The true 'industrial' 3D printers were a $ignificantly more costly and, in a way, just as complicated. We use both Autocad Inventor and Solidworks so programming the model wasn't the real problem. Then 3D systems started showing off their Cube home 3D printer. The Cube's entry price of $1299 ($1399 for the print pack with 3 extra filament cartridges and Cube Invent software).
Pros Aesthetically pleasing form factor, low cost of purchase.
Cons Poor z-layer resolution, use of a hot plate to compensate for poor heat nozzle implementation. All parts and materials are proprietary, translating to high cost of ownership compared to similarly priced offerings in this industry segment.
Summary Looks like a Fisher-Price toy and and unfortunately... functions like one. While the competitors in this price bracket may not be as pleasing to the eye, they surpass the quality of output by far when compared to this offering from 3D Systems. Since this is a first offering at this price level from 3D Systems, they win some style points , but it feels a lot like a marketing ploy predicated on generating revenue from the industry buzz than a functional piece of equipment.