[rp-ml] Review of the CUBE by Jay Raxter

From: <ChathamRes_at_aol.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2013 11:58:48 -0400 (EDT)

The following review came from Amazon. The question is are all CUBE's
this bad?
"First, I own a Cube (donated to local HS..see why in review), a Replicator
 2 (home), and a Replicator 2X (work). I also have friends with everything
from home built rep-raps (all flavors), a Rostock, and even a private Mojo.

* small and compact
* very simple operation
* very simple software front end
* 3D systems is a major player in the 3D printer world
* available at many consumer outlets not just specialty stores
* support was very good
* 3D systems has an online design/download 'sandbox' up which is great for
ready use items
* Cubify Invent ($49) is an outstanding CAD designed for 3D
printers...much easier to use than full blown CAD programs.

* supposed to be able to print ABS...does NOT do this well
* cartridge filament system while simple is VASTLY overpriced compared to
rolled filament of most printers...like 400% markup
* no heated build tray
* simple front end is great for downloadable items from 3D systems but
doesn't play well with outside CAD systems
* front end is simple but leaves out many required selections to make it
simple which impacts any print you use
* slooooow
* only has medium quality capability
* glue based build plate
* build quality is very nice looking but mechanically has high failure rate

I purchased the V2.0 cube in January. I had actually thought I was getting
a V1.0 (which has the heated build tray). The unit shipped quickly and was
slickly packaged. The instructions were dead simple. It was ready to print
out of the box. I set it up and had one of the demo parts (Rook) printing
fairly quickly. For the next few days I downloaded and printed several demo
parts...then the fun began. After less than 5 days of intermittent use the
print head died. 3D systems was quick to diagnose but it still took a week
to get a replacement print head. Since I have fairly good mechanical and
electronics skill (I own a machine shop and I was a communications technician
in the Navy) tearing the cube apart and installing the new print head was
easy...but...since this is marketed for families with children and parents
who are looking for a 'inkjet type' simple printer, I wondered how they
would feel tearing into the guts of this printer. After 2 hours it was back up
and running. I had about 7 or 8 solidworks (CAD) files from work. The
Cubify Invent program opened some of them and the exported .stl files looked
good when I loaded it with the provided "Cube Software", however printing was
problematic with bad slicing and incorrect bridging. I would like to say
that the Cubify Invent is a SOLID CAD system that was designed for 3D
printers. It is easy to learn (lot's of online tutorials) and doesn't have
needless commands that something like Solidworks or Autocad Invent has. Over the
next two weeks I designed and loaded files from both Solidworks and Autocad
Invent, of which, only about 20% would open or print correctly. Then...the
print head died...again. This time they wanted me to send the entire
printer back. They stated that shipping parts to the user was NOT the way
support was supposed to work. (So I was correct when I thought about a soccer mom
fixing a print head that reaches 500*F a little strange). So I sent it to
Atlanta and waited 2 weeks for it to return. The reason for failure was
listed as a dusty/dirty print head...since this is used in a regular office
setting I assume they were talking about shavings from the plastic that came
off from the drive gear as it pulled it into the printhead. This is
understandable since the entire head is enclosed by a color matched cute cover.
This second repair lasted another week and it again failed. Back it went to
Atlanta. 7 weeks of ownership and it was broken for half of that time.
BUT..it does have a warranty and support unlike 99% of the other printers out
there. Since I had now burned through 2 cartridges of PLA printer filament, I
opened the blue ABS I also had ordered. For the next few days I learned
that without a enclosure or at least a heated build plate, ABS will not print
very well. Even marble size pieces curled or cracked. PLA works well
though. Compared to other similiarly priced printers this is not a good deal. You
can get an Affina for about the same. It's a much flexible and can run PLA
and ABS. You can also with inexpensive mods have it run Mylon. It also
uses a front end that's more industry standard allowing you to effectively use
.stl files from many sources. There's also Makerbot Replicator 1's that
aren't much more and are dual extruders (print two different colors or
materials), have larger build plates, and can print ABS very well. There are also
several kits and built kits that are LESS and do more. Heck, Printbot jr.
is basically same functionality for under $400 (and it uses inexpensive
spooled filament).
Bottom line...unless you want a dead simple cartridge based 3D printer
that you can download premade prints and costs a lot more than most comparable
printers, keep looking. Once I experienced the limitations and failed
print heads I decided maybe it wasn't right for me. After the 3rd repair I
bought 3 extra PLA cartridges (_at_ $49 each) and donated it to the local high
school. For teaching the absolute basics about 3D printers it's a great
teaching tool. "
Received on Mon Jul 08 2013 - 18:40:37 EEST

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