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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Go home and be a family man

So Cubify has appeared twice in my news feed in the past week. First for their modular robot toys that they are selling the designs for and second for their design contest where you could win a (gasp) Cubify 3D printer! The question is do you want to?

Now just to be clear, Cubify isn't just 3D printers. Cubify is one of the many 3D printer arms of a company called 3D Systems who have been buying out just about anyone willing to sell who's done anything related to simplifying the 3D design process. In my opinion 3D Systems is in the threatening position of becomeing the winner in the home 3D printer business because by getting their price point below the magic $300 mark. How are they going to do it? The same way 2D printers do; subsidize the cost of the machine by overcharging for the materials. The Cube already has a cartridge that you can't reload and that they charge significantly more than the cost of filament for. That's wasteful and dishonest.

So if you win the Cubify printer you are going to have to buy filament from them, and only them, for twice the cost that you could buy filament from elsewhere. Still think that grand prize is worth it? On the other hand I won my makerbot and haven't had to buy another thing from them since, tho they do have cool things to buy. But I can get my filament wherever I want and, guess what, it works. Makerbot are clearly the good guys in this race. Not to mention thingiverse vs the cubify design store. (Guess which one I support.) But will it be true that nice guys finish last? I hope not.

Do I want a Cube 3D printer? Sure, if win one in a contest. (On the other hand I'm seriously considering saving up for a second Replicator.) They tout how easy it is to use and I'd like to see how it compares to a Makerbot Repliator with ReplicatorG (cause RepG's got a lot of usability issues from being on the cutting edge). I'd like to see how resolution and reliability compare.

But if I can't find a way to hack the cartridge I'm not likely to keep using it once the initial filament runs out.

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