This is very exciting. With capable devices in the sub-$3000 range, 3D printing is really starting to get into hobbyist territory.
I did see somewhere that the patent on the SLS process is going to expire in 2014 or something, and when that happens there is supposed to be a huge surge in open-source / hobbyist-accessible SLS devices. I certainly hope that is true. The SLS parts that I have ordered from proto houses are super strong, or at least moreso than the FDM parts that I have gotten.
Beware of any review that touts Cubify printers (Cube or CubeX) if they don't clearly point out that the proprietary filament will cost you $130/kg more than all other brands which use non-proprietary filaments!!!
Here's the breakdown:
Cubify filament costs $100 for about 0.6 kg of filament or $167/kg
Non-proprietary filaments cost around $35/kg for the same thing.
If you print 10 kg of filament per year you will spend an extra $1,300 (per year) just because you chose a Cubify product.
I've owned 3 printers now and I can tell you that the filament cartridges don't offer any benefit. The unsealed cartridges contain a very small silica gel pack which will be saturated in just days if exposed to much humidity at all. So, they offer little to no protection against moisture absorption which can cause issues with PLA plastics. The best thing you can do is to store your filament in a sealed container with a renewable silica gel box from Amazon.
Also, any printer that doesn't offer a heated bed will cause beginners a ton of headaches because without a heated bed the plastic will pull up and prints will fail much more often. This review tries to present the Cube's non-heated bed as a safety feature when really its just a missing feature.
Please read actual user reviews to make an informed decision. All of these types of reviews seem to tout the Cubify products and present no warnings about the huge costs that will come as you print more material. It makes me wonder if 3D Systems has a significant budget invested in wooing influential bloggers or if the bloggers are just unaware of the huge costs involved with using Cubify's proprietary filaments? Time will tell.
I need some good advice, please. I want to get a 3d printer for micro-scale commercial start-up basis. I need something fast with a good finish, simple and easy to use, lot of support and a good variety of materials. Was thinking of the cubex cos of the great reviews I've seen.
Thankfully not listed is the Ultimaker printer. I've had nothing but problems with it and their support staff seems more interested in insulting your intelligence than helping you out. Stay away from Ulitimaker.
Isn't it a bit early to be giving out a list? It's customary to write the list at the end, as a reflection. What happens if something new comes out in a few months?Also, that Cube looks like it would be the 3D version of an inkjet printer; consumables pricy and locked in.
I was wondering if you can print 'strong' 3d elements using those printers? I'm planning on replacing many pieces of sheet metal on my aging Opel Ascona from 1970 with carbon fiber next year and was wondering if it'd be worth it to buy a 3d printer to 'print' hinges and other small parts that would need to be glued to the parts in order to bolt on to the car. Alternatively I have access to some people who can craft it out of aluminum on siemens 840 based cnc machines (but these people are terribly busy).