Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Short Survey Could Win You A Sense!

An email arrived today that announced a contest to win a Sense and the only entry requirement is to fill out a short survey.

This looks like a great opportunity to put you name in the hat to win a free Sense scanner.

The best part, aside from possibly winning the scanner, is that the survey is painless!  Answering a few questions is all it takes to throw your hat in the ring.

I have a Sense Scanner and have had a lot of fun with it.

I've designed and printed a bracket to hold a 2.5" HDMI monitor that works beautifully.  The monitor is battery powered and tied to the Sense and computer via an umbilical cord along with a USB cable extension.  It really enhances the ease of use for those not owning a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet.

This link to YouthQuest Foundation news takes you to a page having an image and video of  Youth ChallaNGe Cadets using the Sense with the monitor mounted at the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, DC, on April 25-27.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cube Pre-Order Announcement

Let me apologize in advance, because I am WAY behind on this one because the first Cube3 pre-order announcement arrived May 20 in my mailbox.  But, could have been up even earler on the Cubify web site.

Let me also apologize for not being more comprehensive. While I'm improving each day, I'm stll down to a single hand when it comes to typing!

I already knew that they had projected the price of the new Cube3 to be under $1,000.  But, what was new to me were the impressive bundles just announced!  So, let's examine the options.

Cube3 $999

The new Cube3 is selling for consderably less than the 1st and 2nd generation Cubes.  That would be good news on that basis alone.  And, when the larger build area and new 2 color capabilities are factored into the equation, it becomes very good news.  But, when a whole new approach to filament delivery is considered, that promises to do away with some of the earlier feed issues, then the whole price/performance formula makes it extremely good news.

The software gets a performance upgrade as well along with the new ability to print directly from phone apps!

While I have not, as yet, been able to work with the 3rd Generation Cube, I have seen it in action enough to know this printer is faster and the printed output is impressively improved.  Rest assured that I will break out my microscopes to closely examine the quality and accuracy of the prints.  But, I didn't need a microscope to be impressed at what my eyes have seen.  The benefits of 70 micron layers in combination with stellar accuracy is hard to miss, with or without a microscope!

Each 3rd Generation Cube is shipped with TWO cartridges (Neon green & White) and 25 free design files.
Power Pack for Cube Bundle $1,549.

The Power Pack Bundle includes...
  • 3rd Generation Cube with 2 cartridges and 25 free design files 
  • An additional 3 cartridges of your choice of colors
  • Cubify Invent
  • Cubify Sculpt
  • Cubify Mobile App
  • Sense 3D Scanner  

This bundle gives you not one; but, two different types of 3D Design software and the Sense 3D Scanner!  I am a fan of the Sense 3D scanner because I understand and accept the primary applications for which it is designed... which is to quickly be able to scan family and friends for printing on the Cube printer,  To be sure, it is not a professional scanner suitable for reverse engineering alien space craft parts.  But, it also doesn't cost $35,000!

It's designed for fun. And, I and the cadets in my 3D class have had a blast using it.  To me, this bundle is a winner in the price/performance category.

Design Print Pack for Cube Bundle $1,349.

The Design Print Pack Bundle includes...
  • 3rd Generation Cube with 2 cartridges and 25 free design files 
  • An additional 3 cartridges of your choice of colors
  • Cubify Invent
  • Cubify Sculpt
  • Cubify Design
  • Cubify Mobile App

The Sense 3D Scanner is not included with this bundle,  Instead, Cubify Design is added to the mix.

I wish I could be more helpful when it comes to evaluating Cubify Design; but, my lack of experience with it precludes me from offering an opinion.  I hope that readers with Cubify Design experience will post comments filling in that gap.

New Sense Value Pack Bundles

The 3rd Generation Cube is not the only hardware to have the benefit of bundled pricing.  There are two bundles for the Sense 3D scanner,  The Sculpt Sense Pack Bundle is $499.   But, what tells me that I am probably missing something by not having explored Cubify Design is the fact that it, too, is bundled with the Sense in the Design Sense Pack.  This, means, of course that Cubify Design is able to work with the output of the Sense scanner!  That's intriguing.

I can hardly wait to get my hands on the 3rd Generation Cube,  Not only does it continue to demonstrate 3D System's commitment to improve our printing experience; but, actually takes a huge leap forward in the price/performance category. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

From Want to NEED in an Instant

From the first time I saw the Cube 3D printer I was convinced that I NEEDED one.  Of course, the reality is that I WANTED one... a LOT!  :)

Now, for the first time, I TRULY NEED a Cube 3D Printer!

That change of status came about a week ago, today, on the second level of a parking garage in Washington, DC as I was headed to join some of the Youth Challenge cadets that I teach for the 3rd day of the  USA Science and Engineering Festival (USASEF).

The usual terminology is that one "suffers" a stroke.  But, in my case I "experienced" a stroke that resulted in weakness in my left side, some loss of control of my left hand and a new appreciation for God's incredible intervention in our lives for positive outcomes.

Two levels down in a virtually empty and unfamiliar parking garage, I had just pulled up to an elevator when the stroke hit.  The elevator turned out to be locked.  But, it had a large sign clearly identifying the elevator's location.  This allowed me to precisely let the 911operator know exactly where I was.  And, just as I dialed 911, a car pulled up.  It turned out that the wife in the car was a Physical Therapist for a hospital and took over the phone call as I sat down in my car as we waited for the medics, who miraculously arrived in minutes.  As the medics pulled me up and out via the steep garage ramp, she called my wife to tell her what was happening.

I certainly didn't know it at the time; but, God's hand was in the location of my stroke because the closest hospital was George Washington University Hospital which has an amazing stroke center and brilliant rehab therapists.

I am now home and doing very well with absolutely no cognitive affects and remarkable improvements in my ability to move my hand.   My hand and fingers are still weak, but, are improving by the minute.

This weakness is the very thing that changed my relationship with the Cube 3D printer from a WANT to a NEED!  I NEED some things to compensate for the control I've lost.  And, a primary example comes from the Cube itself.  My left hand does not have the strength, as yet, to hold the print plate while I apply the Cubestick glue!

It is the Cube, itself, that provides the solution.  I just needed to design a holder for the print plate that can be clamped to a table to solve the problem!

Print Table Holder for Single Handed Gluing

In just a few hours of printing, I can now apply the CubeStick perfectly!  And, this is just the beginning of creating tools to help me overcome any impediments that came from my stroke or help me in my therapeutic exercises.

I'm very thankful that my stroke was not more devastating.  I'm thankful that I was in the right place when the stroke occurred and that the right family pulled up next to me at precisely the right time,  But, I'm also thankful that I came home to a tool that can provide so much help to me as I recover so that my life can continue to be as normal as possible.

Little did I know, when I first saw the Cube 3D printer at 3D Systems 2+ years ago, just how important that wonderful 3D printer was going to be for me!  I appreciate the hard work of the Cubify team all the more and am thankful that the result of their hard work is making my life so much easier than it might be without it.