Saturday, October 18, 2014

Check out Eric Albert's "First Impressions" Review of the Cube 3.

This blog is not about being the "First" to review, it's about making sure that Cube owners and potential Cube owners have all the information they need to keep on printing!  So, here is the first substantive test review of the Cube 3 printer by Eric Albert.

Here is Eric Albert's "Early Impressions" review of the Cube 3.

I finally have a Cube 3 here.    But, due to intense deadlines for my YouthQuest 3D ThinkLink Lab training lesson preparation I have not had much time with it so far.

All I will say for now is that those who have one on order did the right thing.

You will not believe the feature set that this printer brings to the table.  I am in awe of the engineering and design.  And, even more in awe of the print quality.

This blog only focuses on Cube family products.  I could do a quick review raving about how good it is.  But, you'd just blow me off as a "fan boy"... for which I cheerfully plead guilty  But, more importantly, it wouldn't help you truly understand what a marvelous accomplishment this printer represents for the future of personal, consumer, educational 3D printing.

This is a different animal folks.

It's the kind of machine that makes you want to simply sit back and appreciate the brilliance of the engineers, designers and builders.  (Precision designs require equally precise builders.)  

Building the Cube 3 is no small task.  It's a marvel of engineering both inside and out.

I was at the factory yesterday with 20+ Youth Challenge cadets and saw, first hand, how much those charged with building your printer are committed to delivering your machine without compromising on quality one little bit.  I have always appreciated both the Cube engineering and manufacturing teams.  But, I now appreciate them a whole lot more.  Their combined efforts are going to put a truly remarkable machine into your hands.

This is SO new, that I would not be surprised if some tweaking here or there did not have to be done to reach the level of perfection that all parties want.  After all, so many systems are completely new.  But. I promise to tell you if I find or learn about a potential issue and/or ways to avoid them when possible.  But, for now, I am completely excited by the amazing quality of my prints I'm seeing through my trusty microscope at the .200mm setting... and, I have yet to try .07mm!


  1. Tom: agree on all points - just waiting to get some additional material options here to continue testing (ABS, other PLA colors). Will be updating my site you referenced as I get new details. And I'm sure you'll be doing some good demos once you get some time!

  2. Hi Tom, I'm a newbie about 3D printing in general and the cube 3 in particular.

    I received one a week ago as a birthday present and my only sucessful print is the in-built test print sofar...

    Do you have any link that could help me troubleshooting the many problems I'm experiencing with the cube software?

    Thank you.

    1. Be sure to let Cubify Support know about your issues. But, I want to know, too. As users, we can be great resources to help find and fix things by communicating what we see.

      Email me at

    2. Cubify Support page

    3. Already sent them a couple emails this week-end and expect an answer sometime this week.

      First one was about the printer unable to detect one of the 2 cartdriges that came with printer (the black one), even after several different tries (including switching sides with the other one - the neon green one).

      The second one was about the cubify software unable to translate and then send by wifi the "faceted vase" model to the printer. Instead, I get an error message like "Print file can't be created" 2 seconds after hitting the "print" button.
      The printer name is clearly visible on the print page, so this doesn't seem to be a network connection problem but rather a glitch with the windows7 software.

      Afterward I noticed a slight difference with the user manual screenshots: I don't have any "SAVE" button on the print screen with my version of the cubify software.

      Maybe I need an uodated version of this software or a different software?

      Thanks for any help Tom

    4. There is a chip in the cartridge that is suppose to communicate with the machine. If other colors work in both sides, then the problem is in the cartridge, not the printer. Had it worked in one side and not the other, then the printer would be suspect.

      I take it that the green can be seen by BOTH sides.
      The reason you do not see "Save to Shelf" or "Save to file" is that the software founf your printer.

      Close the program and unplug the Cube3 and you will get a different look when you select "Print Now"

      With the printer "Offline" you should see "Save to file" and "Save to shelf" in the lower right. When the printer is "Online" all you see is a print button.

      Try building the file in the "Offline" state and send it to a USB drive to see if you can get that to work.

      I am using Win7-64 and it completes the build. So, that is something that support will have to address.

  3. Thank you Tom, you advices are precious.
    I finally managed to print my own creation ... from my iphone.

    The iphone software doesn't have this "Print file can't be created" problem.

    I'll keep you informed when I have more information about the software gltch

  4. Hi Tom,
    I'm becoming strongly disappointed with cubify and the cube 3!
    First and to my utter rage, I had absolutly no answer from their support, despite my many messages!

    I'm starting to think they completly lack any form of respect to the people bold (or stupid) enough to buy their new products.

    Sure the cube 3 is good looking at first glance, so is the "sense" scanner I bought with it. But that's all!

    The softwares that are supposed to help you scan then print are just a useless bunch of useless c**p!

    Any scan will take you at least 6 or 10 tries before the software is able to produce something bearing any ressemblance to the model.

    I've never been able to print directly from my computer using the cubify software, because it keeps freezing when it's supposed to build the print file from stl.

    Now the iphone version doesn't detect the printer any more (when the windows version does, but can't produce the print file)!

    The only working workaround sofar :
    - Download a stl file on my computer
    - upload it to the cubify "cloud" using the defective windows software
    - download the stl file from the cloud on my iphone
    - use the iphone software to generate the print file
    - upload again the generated print file to the cloud
    - download it again on my computer using the windows software
    - save it on an usb key
    - plug it on the printer, then ... try to print

    And now, the best part:
    My second print cartdrige stopped functionning mid-print, producing strange noises and the printer doesn't detect it any more.

    I'm seriously considering demanding a refund. This company's products are nowhere near what they should do!

  5. I would never belittle any person's personal experience with any product. A company could make 10,000 perfect machines compared to one bad one. But, somebody is going to get that one machine and the 10,000 that got perfect machines will not understand. I'm not like that.

    I understand that my machine is not your machine. :)

    But, having said that, experience matters at least to some extent. And, because you list so MANY things wrong in so many different areas including scanning, hardware and software, I have to believe that as you gain experience... even frustrating experience... your 3D printing will go a LOT smoother.

    I have had 4 diffferent models of 3D printers and I would rate the Cube 3 head and shoulders above them all by orders of magnitude. But, that doesn't mean I won't get a clogged cartridge sometime. But, it's something that my previous experience tells me to eventually expect. But, its also something that my previous experience can help me avoid, by being very careful about setting the proper gap and paying strict attention to leveling the table, etc.

    The Sense can be a challenge because it has no screen of its own. But, since I have a 3D printer, I printed a mount for a 2.5" HDMI monitor to the Sense that helps me get better scans. Meeting challenges is what makes 3D printing so valuable and cool. We can evaluate some shortcoming and design and print something to make it function better.

    I would hate for you to miss out on the long-term benefits of the Cube3 by returning it and purchasing a different brand, only to learn that part of the problem is that you are at the beginning of the learning curve where you will probably have the same frustrations with any 3D printer.

    I am puzzled why you didn't take me up on my invitation to email me. I did that for your benefit. If you are not an adult, have a parent email me. The important thing is that I want you to have a great experience with your 3D equipment. And, I know, as you gain more experience, good or bad, the successes will eventually out weight the failures.

    I know it's been frustrating for you. But, I'm certainly willing to do what I can to turn things around for you if I can.

  6. Hi Tom,
    I finally reached someone from support on the phone.

    They accepted to replace both defective cartdriges, I should receive them in one or two weeks.

    Apparently they already knew about the software bug. It doesn't work properly when the computer regional settings are differnt from English(United-States) (Mine was French( France)) . I wonder why they don't put that on a support FAQ on their website?

    They told me they are currently working on a software fix due in a couple of weeks.

    They gave me a workaround that solves the problem for the time being:temprorarly changing the computer settings to English (United-States) in Settings/Control panel/regional settings.

    I succeeded producing print files from my stl files!
    I just need a working cartridge to check the whole process.

    I searched the internet and found several people having the same problem with cartridges. They seem to have actual quality problem with them. Hope they will solve this production problem quickly.

    As for your invitation to email you, I will gladly follow up on it (I'm a 45 years old computer engineer !).
    However I think this product badly needs a community of users openly sharing their successes and more important, their mistakes and failures in order to improve the experience of newcomers.

    I see this working everyday for softwares in my job, I find it the best way to have fast feedbacks on what must be urgently improved on a new product and avoid being stuck for days when someone, somewhere, found a workaround.

    Here are some improvements I can immedialtly think of:
    - making public their print file format would allow passionate software developpers like me to develop export plugins for standard 3D modelling softwares like sketchup
    - A 3D printing driver plugin directly connecting standard 3D modelling softwares to printer would be great too (using the cubify print software is too cumbersome)
    - I would love being able to control the printer using an administration interface directly from my computer instead of using the (too small) touch screen.