We’ve known for a while about 3D printers getting cheaper and more accessible every year, particularly the Makerbot. But it seems now 3DSystems is taking the next step forward towards making 3D printers in the home a practical reality. The Cubify 3D plastic printer series allows users to order parts from a Shapeways style library on the Cubify website, print them at home on their plastic printer, and use them right away.
As 3D printers go, they’re pretty inexpensive— the cheapest single material colour printer (the Cube) runs US$1299, with multicolour printers (the CubeX) coming in at just under US$5000 for the model capable of printing in 3 materials at once. The ABS plastic they print is also recyclable. While these printers are not quite at the resolution needed for fine jewellery master models yet, they’re getting finer resolution with each new release, and their low cost and ease of use makes these printers the closest rapid prototyping has come to a practical household machine to date.
Here is a short video of the Cube printer in action at the Google I/O conference: