Makerbot vs. Cubify
Makerbot recently announced their new Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer. As 3D printers are wonderful for making brackets and shells for humanoid robots, I figure it’s topical enough to compare the two best low-cost, high-quality printers now on the market: the Makerbot Replicator 2, and the Cubify Cube 3D. Both use an additive printing process, by melting a plastic filament and extruding it through a nozzle to build up your part in layers. But they differ a bit in the details.
|Replicator 2||Cube 3D|
|Layer Thickness||100 microns||250 microns|
|Print Volume||28.5 x 15.3 x 15.5 cm||14 x 14 x 14 cm|
|Host Platform||Mac, Windows, or Linux||Windows only|
|Printer Size||49 x 32 x 38 cm||26 x 26 x 34 cm|
|Printer Mass||11.5 kg||4.3 kg|
|Connectivity||wired||WiFi or sneakernet|
This comparison shows how the two printers fit neatly into the consumer 3D printing space. The Makerbot Replicator 2 is $900 more, but makes bigger printouts with finer resolution. I also like that its software runs on Mac and Linux, while the Cubify Cube 3D is tied to Windows. But if you’re on a tight budget (and can put up with Windows), then the Cube 3D might be a good solution.
To really be complete, this comparison should probably also mention the Makerbot Replicator 2X. The “X” is for “experimental,” and the press release repeatedly mentions “daredevils” and “trailblazers,” implying that this printer is not yet ready for use by mere mortals. But for an extra $600 and some headaches, it gets you dual extrusion (i.e. the ability to print in two colors or materials) and support for ABS plastic. This printer won’t be out until sometime next year, but if they can tone down the daredevilishness, it will be a great higher-end addition to the consumer 3D printing space.
All this development in 3D printers is exciting to see. The Apple LaserWriter, one of the first consumer laser printers, cost $6,995 in 1985. Now we have several good models of 3D printer for under $3k, and they’re getting better (and cheaper) every year. I’d say the era of home 3D printing is here — what will you do with it?