3D Systems introduces new consumer 3D printers, with one for the demanding hobbyist

3D Systems, one of the largest 3D printer companies in the U.S., revealed the newest in its line of personal printers today: the Cube 3. It also introduced the Cube Pro, a new option for more demanding users.

Cube 3

3D Systems Cube 3 3D printer

3D Systems has totally revamped its entry-level 3D printer line with the Cube 3, a desktop printer capable of printing in two colors or two materials at once. It features an auto-leveling print bed, which is a much-needed feature in beginner-oriented 3D printers. It will retail for less than $1,000.

The Cube 3 abandons the open design of the Cube 2 for a bigger, boxier shape that’s still easy to reach into and capable of printing objects up to six inches across. It also has a color touchscreen to begin and monitor print sessions. You can print directly to the Cube from a smartphone app.

Interestingly, 3D Systems has introduced a filament cartridge, which snaps into the side of the printer. This supposedly makes replacing filament easier and locks out moisture to lengthen the shelf life of the plastic, but also ensures people will have to buy filament directly from 3D Systems. I am interested to see how 3D Systems prices the cartridges.

3D Systems is heavily advocating the kid-friendliness of the Cube 3. At less than $1,000 from an established printer company, this could be an option that tempts many families.

Cube Pro

3D Systems Cube Pro 3D printer

The bigger, badder Cube Pro will retail for less than $5,000 and be capable of printing objects roughly 10 inches across. Three print heads allow users to print in up to three colors or two materials at once. It also features a touchscreen.

The Pro fits into an emerging category. Not quite professional and not quite hobbyist, it’s small enough to fit on most desktops while still pumping out high-quality prints. The architecture firm or hardware startup that needs regular prototypes would like this one.

Both printers look to be beautiful, capable options from 3D Systems. I’m especially excited about the Cube 3, which is 3D System’s first sub-$1,000 option. The affordable 3D printer space desperately needs some reliable options from established manufacturers, and this could be the machine it has been waiting for.