3D printing is the talk of the town at the moment. Stories are flooding the press about how people are making everything from replacement Lego bricks to full working guns to wearable clothing and prototypes for the latest gadgets.
But it’s not just restricted to the professionals – you can get in on the action too, and that’s where the second-gen Cubify Cube 3D printer comes in. It’s not cheap, but it undercuts the ultra-expensive devices out there and makes 3D printing at home a reality. Is it any good?
Printer ink this isn’t
The Cube 3D printer works by enabling you design a three-dimensional product, and then send that design’s instruction to the printer, either via Wi-Fi from your computer or by plugging in a USB stick. Unlike a “normal” printer you can’t plug in directly to the computer by physical wires – that’s reserved for firmware updates only.
Once it’s got the instructions, the Cubify gets to work building up your object by printing fine layers of PLA or ABS materials on top of each other. Printer ink this isn’t – ABS is the same material used by Lego.
The material comes out of a cartridge hot, but quickly dries into a hard resin and the printing plinth moves up and down accordingly as it builds up those layers. It looks very cool.
While you can get industrial-sized 3D printers that are the size of a cupboard and are used by the likes of Microsoft to design the Xbox One, the Cube is a lot more suited to a home user or someone starting out.
It is fairly small and can easily be put on your desk in an office. It looks a bit like a sewing machine in some respects – not like a standard printer. It sits taller than a standard paper printer too, but takes up about the same amount of desk space.
The Cubify 3D is available in Silver, White, Magenta, Blue or Green finishes – rather than the boring beige standard – for a bit of added personality. Fun stuff.