The Cube 3D Printer comes with a great design, however, the print-quality this machine offers is dissatisfactory
152 x 15 x 150mm
Plastic Jet Printing (PJP)
70microns, fast mode 200 microns
Many newbie enthusiasts looking to taste the waters of 3D printing tend to look for a cost-friendly product that is easy to use straight out of the package.
But with the many 3D printer makers rushing to fill this demand gap, you can never be too sure about the quality of the printer you are about to purchase.
The Cube 3D printer is one of the models that try to welcome beginners into the 3D printing world. But how does it stack up against other budget printers in the market today?
In this review, we look at the various features on the Cube 3D printer and its overall utility to see if it’s worth the money.
Just like its name suggests, the Cube 3D printer resembles a cube and has a compact build with dimensions of 33.5 by 34.3 by 24.1cm.
This is the shape the printer assumes when the two filament cartridges have already been loaded inside the recessed cartridge holders on the right and left sides.
Unlike most designs where the filament holders tend to protrude from the printer, the Cube 3 maintains a flush and smooth surface after all components have been installed.
This ensures that the printer has an almost perfect cubic shape.
This printer has a very little surface, with the front and back faces being open, and this allows you to view the ongoing printing work easily.
The Cube 3 uses an active print platform which moves back and forth, up and down as the process is going on.
This implies that the extruder nozzle only needs to move sideways, which is not the case of most printer models.
This particular mechanism limits the amount of space required, which enables the printer to remain compact yet still maintain a large print platform.
The Cube 3 is able to print models that can measure up to 6*6*6 inches; it comes with dual extruders that can print in different colors.
It only supports PLA and ABS as filament materials and strictly uses proprietary filament Smart Cartridges from 3D systems.
I wasn’t impressed by the printing I got from the Cube 3. It’s a far cry from what you get in higher-end alternatives and produces models that are a long way from perfect.
However, it packs a couple of interesting features that try to make amends for poor printing.
For instance, the printer comes with two extruders that enable you to print different materials concurrently.
This makes it possible to print two-color models in one go, as well as print the objects using different materials.
The water-soluble filament from 3D Systems, that you can use to print supports, also saves you the headache of having to break off the supports and cleaning the print every time you are done.
Simply dip the finished model in a water container and the watch the supports dissolve off. Having said that, the print performance, with the two extruders is not the best you can get.
The Cubify software used only allows you two options to print either 70 or 200-micron layer thicknesses, meaning you have to choose between high and low resolution or detailed and slow.
While I must acknowledge that this trade-off is found in almost every printer, the Cube 3 doesn’t give you any “middle-ground” options such as printing at 100 microns.
The print speed is decent but the printer struggles with the finer details and accuracy of dimensions.
I tried experimenting on the printer with the Benchy test and the dimensions were all over the place.
The lengths and widths of the model were definitely off the mark! This is not the best printer if you are after precision in your prints.
The most amazing feature on the Cube 3 for me is the dual extruders. This is not something I expected from a printer in its budget category.
Normally, you’ll find this in top-end 3D printer models that can cost twice if not thrice as much as this printer.
There is also a colored touch screen to provide you with a visual representation of whatever is going on inside the machine. You can access information regarding the print job, print file, and progress of the printing process.
Another great feature on this printer is the ability to support both PLA and ABS filaments, which is not common for budget 3D printers.
And what’s even better is that it can print using both materials simultaneously, thanks to the double extruders.
The Cube 3 is a user-friendly printer, and this is made possible by the automatic calibration feature.
This saves you the hassle of tweaking with the print bed and print head settings; it doesn’t need any user input throughout the whole process.
Furthermore, it selects the best settings before the print job begins. The only thing you have to do is select the model you want to be printed then sit back and watch it go to work.
The printer uses cloud software to print. This enables you to access the device and control it from anywhere without installing additional software. All you need is a tablet, phone, or pc to control the printer
The price of the printer is around $250, which is very affordable. Although you don’t get much quality from this printer, it can serve you well for personal projects if you are just getting into the 3D printing industry.
Not to mention that there are a few great features that you won’t even find in higher-priced models, including the dual extruder and the automatic calibration function.
If you're someone new to 3D printing, there are some other affordable 3D Printers under $300 you can check out before deciding on your purchase.
3D systems offers its clients a strong after-sales service which you can access from the dedicated phone staff to assist you with any jamming issues.
You’ll also get essential information on updating their Cubify software to the latest version which will enable you to print to a particular level.
There’s also a 90-day warranty that you get for labor and parts. However, there are no refunds since the company is discontinuing the model. Only specific resellers may provide various refund policies.
The Cube 3D printer scores major points when it comes to design and helpful features, but the printer’s lackluster print quality and software reliability issues can be a real pain in the neck.
It’s only good for newbies with little experience in 3D printing, so anyone looking for higher-resolution prints while remaining on a budget should check out our list of 3D Printers under $500.