Manufacturing multicolor models in your own home might not be as far-fetched as you think. The Cubify CubeX is a large-scale 3D printer engineered for beginners. Printing in one, two or three colors with the Cubify CubeX 3D printers is easy via the free software and included flash drive. For the colorful abilities and high print volume of the CubeX, we give it our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award for best 3D printers.
3D printing is a lot like inkjet printing in that resolution and speed have an inverse relationship. The slow printing speed of 15 mm per second might seem meager, but because it prints slowly, the resolution is pretty respectable. Layer heights, or the resolution, range from 0.1 to 0.5 mm and the print tolerance, or the accuracy of the prints, is 0.2 mm. Each layer of PLA or ABS is therefore smaller than the thickness of a piece of paper, resulting in smooth surfaces.
Size is one major advantage that the CubeX has over other 3D printers we reviewed. Prints can be as large as 10.7 x 10.7 x 9.5 inches, just a few inches shy of a full-size basketball. Combined with multicolor capabilities, the volume this 3D printer can handle makes it one of the best 3D printers available today.
3D printing materials come in many different varieties, but the two most popular are ABS and PLA, and all versions of the CubeX print with both. Although the CubeX does support ABS printing, you'll need to purchase a heated platform from Cubify if you want to print in this material. The included filament cartridge is PLA, which doesn’t require a heated platform for printing, so you can get started right away. Unlike other 3D printers, the CubeX is not universal cartridge capable, so you'll have to purchase 1.75 mm cartridges only from Cubify and they start at $99 each – much more expensive than generic filament, which runs about $30 or $40 for refills. Cubify does offer a recycle program for used cartridges, though.
The best aspect about the Cubify CubeX is that there are three different versions of the printer, two of which are multicolor capable. The CubeX only has one print head, which means one color per print, but the CubeX Duo has two print heads and the CubeX Trio has three. With the Duo or the Trio, you can install two or three cartridges and have two or three colors in each of your 3D prints.
The Cubify CubeX is not a 3D printer kit; it comes pre-assembled, so you can get printing right away. Helpful tutorials on the Cubify website walk you through unboxing you CubeX, if you find you need some guidance. This stainless-steel printer weighs between 79 and 84 pounds depending on whether you get the CubeX, the CubeX Duo or the CubeX Trio. You'll most likely need two people to help you move this heavy machine. An LCD screen is on the front of the chassis, for easy use.
During our 3D printer comparison research, we found that the best 3D printers generally have at least two modes of connecting your printing to your computer. The Cubify CubeX only has one: a flash drive that comes preloaded with 10 free prints. You can save files to and print directly from this drive.
Some 3D printers can support Wi-Fi, but the CubeX printers are still only hard-connection printers. The CubeX does work with every version of Windows, but the software is not compatible with Mac or Linux operating systems, so that's something to consider if you don't have a Windows PC.
Cubify and 3D Systems have your back when it comes to support and warranty options. 3D Systems has been in the 3D printing business for decades – much longer than many of the printer companies we took a look at. Quickly contact Cubify on Twitter, Facebook, via their blog, email, online form or by phone. If you have a few questions or concerns about the CubeX, you can also read FAQs, visit the community blog, watch tutorials on YouTube or skim the user manual. We found that Cubify is great at responding promptly, and the customer service representatives offered well-informed solutions and answers to our inquiries. There are however, many warranty and help and support complaints listed by other users on forums, websites and, there is no lead time for the CubeX, so you can order and receive your 3D printer right away. A 90-day warranty also covers your CubeX, and Cubify will work with you should you find any defective parts.
For model creation, you'll need to download your free copy of the CubeX software. Built for beginners, the software is easy to navigate so you can create or modify downloaded files. There are also 10 free 3D designs already installed, if you want to do some test printing before you design your own prints. Included in the box is a power supply, maintenance tools, a starter filament cartridge and a flash drive. You'll need to provide your own USB cable for updates.
As an alternative to farming out 3D printing orders, the CubeX is a great home 3D printer for large models and PLA or ABS prints. Not only is the software easy to navigate, the CubeX itself requires no assembly and Cubify provides excellent support through online video tutorials and a well-written user manual.
The CubeX excels with large, multicolor prints that are easy to create and easy to print.
Only Cubify's filament cartridges are compatible with the CubeX, so you won't be able to use cheaper universal cartridges.
This easy-to-use, well-built 3D printer is an excellent option for multicolor model printing.