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Chessmen, belts, other ephemera come to life with Cube 3D printer

The profile of 3D printing will rise after this year’s show, and 3D@Home’s Cube is partly responsible.

Cube 3D Printer

MakerBot’s build-it-yourself Thing-O-Matic has claimed most of the consumer-level attention for 3D printing this past year, and MakerBot’s own CES announcement, whatever and whenever that will be, will only spur more coverage. In the meantime, the Cube underscores that 3D printing can be consumer-friendly, and that a growing number of vendors see it as a viable business.

The design of the Cube printer is a contrast to the garage workshop aesthetic of the Makerbot product. Instead of the Thing-O-Matic’s exposed circuity and a wooden housing, the Cube and its friendly-looking plastic chassis looks more like a sewing machine.

Other than their appearance, the two printers are not that different. Each relies on an attached spool of plastic: ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), the same material from which Legos are made, in the Cube, or ABS and PLA (polylactic acid, like that used for keg cups) in the case of the Thing-O-Matic. The plastic for each is available in assorted colors, and as the video above shows, it offers all kind of output possibilities.

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