Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow...

"Tomorrow" has played a significant role in so many dramatic productions, from Shakespeare to "Annie".  But, today it's playing a significant role in the drama that is unfolding as the first true consumer focused 3D printer is released.  Tomorrow is the day that the Cube 3D printer is finally leaving the warehouses and being shipped to consumers all over the world.

So, what will be receiving when the delivery truck shows up at our doors?

First, we will be receiving one of the most precise and well designed 3D printers in the under $2,000 category... the new Cube 3D Printer.  This printer has something that most RepRap printers do NOT have... a heated bed!  This heated bed, along with something else that will be in the box, "Magic Glue", allows us to use tough ABS plastic instead of the PLA I've been using.  ABS has qualities that PLA just cannot match.

Cube 3D Printer

Secondly, we'll be getting the Cube software that turns any STL file into a printable CUBE "p-code" file that the printer understands.  It not only does the conversion. It allows you to re-size and re-orient the print object.  But, for me, the best news is that I understand that it also allows YOU to choose to print or not print raft and support.   That is a HUGE deal for me.

Cube 3D Printer Software
Thirdly, we will be getting a Wireless Interface built into our Cube that allows us to communicate from our computer without a wired connection.

Cube Wireless Connection
Fourthly, we receive an EZ load Cartridge, containing the ABS plastic filament needed to print your 3D objects.  I've already got a backup of items that I want to print, so in addition to the cartridge that comes with the printer I ordered a 3-Pack of additional cartridges in 3 different colors.

Cube EZ Load Cartridge

Fifthly, we will be getting a USB flash drive holding at least 4 printable objects so that we can begin using our Cube immediately after activating it!  But, that is not all.  Additionally, we will be receiving either files or links to 21 more print files.  I assume that these will be made available to us via the Cubify web site.  

And, of course, all the necessary power cables will be there for us to plug our new Cube in, turn it on, activate it and start printing!

So, to paraphrase Annie's famous song... 
Tomorrow, Tomorrow.  
I love you Tomorrow.  
You're ONLY a day away!
OK... maybe FEW days away when we take into account the time it takes to reach us.  But, tomorrow, for many of us, it will mean our Cube will be on its way to us.  And, THAT is GREAT news.


  1. Most repraps do have a heated bed and printing in ABS is much more common than printing in PLA. It's only been in the last year that PLA has become popular. PLA is more difficult to design an extruder to work reliably with, but there are now several reliable designs which is why PLA is now being adopted.

    I used to print in ABS exclusively, but in the last few months I have transitioned to mostly PLA printing. ABS definitely has its place and I still print with it when I need a part to withstand heat better, but I just prefer PLA for many reasons including PLA's less obnoxious fumes/smell during printing.

    I wonder if the "magic glue" is the common trick of using ABS dissolved in acetone to increase first layer adhesion. The "magic glue" still won't help with ABS's tendency to layer splitting further up the print.

  2. Hi Billy,

    I don't have a clue as to the chemical makeup of "Magic Glue".

    I like the look and feel of ABS a LOT. But, have not had much luck with it without a heated bed on the one I have.

    We'll have to see if upper level warping is going to be a problem.

    In the meantime, how is your own 3D printer design coming along.

  3. Hi Tom.

    I really like ABS too. If it was not for warping and fumes I'd use it for all my prints. Lower fumes is especially important for my Kid's printers and in the winter when we can't have a window open. The fumes are not bad, but they tend to accumulate without decent ventilation in a small room.

    I'm waiting for a bunch of parts in the mail so I have had some time for final tweaking. Mostly tweaks to make printing more user friendly and robust as well as making it easier to scale up manufacturing. The ease of manufacturing bit is important because demand has been crazy. My wait list is at 1100+ and I want to make it easy for a local manufacturer to build the parts so that I can move onto my next design/software using the lessons learned on this project.

  4. That's great news.

    Email me directly. I think I already told you that I'd like to follow up on my companion 3DPrinterUsers blog. Use the "Request" link in the too right "personalizing Help" to reach me directly.

    While I do know about the issues with fumes in the RepRap printers, that has, to my knowledge, never come up as an issue with the Cube. When I was down at the 3D Systems headquarters they were running about a dozen printers all day long without issue for the reception area.

    Remember, they are in control of the proprietary formulation of the ABS they are using.

    Of course, until we get some in homes we won't really know for sure. :)

  5. You're definitely right about the various ABS formulations. I hope 3DSystems figured it out. The home 3d printer market needs as many good material options as possible.

  6. I'm wondering if temperature is a key. The Cubify team traveled across the country with 5 Cube running as they drove and the Nissan Cube they were in is a pretty small car.

    If fumes were ANY issue at all, I doubt that they would have printed in a closed car for thousands of miles. It will be interesting to find out, won't it?