The Cube, Cubify’s second generation desktop 3-D printer.

Starting at $1,299, the Cube is significantly less expensive than its competitors.

Its designers tout the ease of use and dependability among its best qualities.

Cubify markets the device as something that can "be learned by an eight year old in 15 minutes or less."

Small models printed with the Cube.

The CubeX, a more advanced model aimed at professionals, won the Best Emerging Technology award at this year’s CES.

Co.Design

Cubify Wants To Domesticate The 3-D Printer

After struggling to find their footing in the growing market, the 3-D printing company won Best Emerging Technology at CES 2013.

Amongst other surprises at CES this year, young 3-D printing company Cubify took home the Best Emerging Tech award for their second-generation printer, the CubeX. Launched only a year after their first machine, the CubeX and its little brother, the Cube, sell at a significantly lower cost than competitors and are geared toward kids, artists, and other consumers who might not have a ton of experience with the technology. They’re your mother’s 3-D printer--and I mean that in a very good way.

The irony behind their friendly, primary-colored marketing materials is that Cubify is actually the consumer brand of the first 3-D printing company ever: 3D Systems, a 30-year-old company founded by inventor Chuck Hull. Hull patented the first 3-D printer (he called it a stereolithography apparatus) in 1983. He was responsible for everything from developing the .STL file format to engineering the chemical makeup of the material. As CTO of 3D Systems, he’s found a way to advocate for the democratization of a technology he invented.

It took nearly three decades for Hull to bring the Cube to market, and he’s done so in a very deliberate way. In addition to a personal printer that costs less than $1,300, Cubify runs a cloud printing service, an e-commerce site where you can buy items, and recently launched an open API for developers who want to build Cubify-based web apps. It’s a pretty big enterprise, marketed in punchy colors and language like “plug-in easy” and “coloring-book simple.” It’s the down-to-earth cousin of geek-hipster MakerBot.

I got in touch with Cubify’s Alyssa Reichental to ask about the company’s idea of what 3-D printing will look like down the road. According to her, a combination of cloud printing and at-home printing is more likely than ubiquitous personal printers. “We think that cloud printing will continue to be a staple as well,” she says. “For example, a local garage might print your car parts.” Another big part of the company’s mission is to enable more small businesses. “It’s a great way to build your business,” she adds. “Since it’s on-demand, there’s no inventory. It’s a zero-waste model.”

Cubify’s goal isn’t to predict the future of the technology or be first-to-market. It wants to get cheap, dependable 3-D printers into as many homes and businesses as possible--then see what happens.

Check out the Cube, which starts at $1,299, here.

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4 Comments

  • This is a misrepresentation of the real story , It is really just a publicity gimmick , you do not make the printed items from used coke bottles you make them exclusively using a cartridge of filament from Cubify that is supposedly made using recycled coke bottles as on of the raw materials . great idea but it doesn't do enough . You are tied to buying expensive cartridges of cheap filament .

  • Dave

    It would be nice, but with the issue they have getting printers out to people now. They are going be getting asked for refunds so people can get one someplace else soon. 6 week wait time and I had to contact them about my other and delays not one call / email to me that wasnt started by me

  • Laz117

    "Amongst other surprises at CES this year, young 3-D
    printing company Cubify"

     

    Try again. "Cubify" is a marketing brand of a
    series of printers made by 3D Systems. (NYSE: DDD)

     

    Its like saying a young new company "Corvette"
    came out with a snazzy new car this year.