Cube 3D Printer goes retail at Staples for $1,299

Cube 3D Printer goes retail at Staples for $1,299

Summary: Staples will be among the first major retailers to offer a 3D printer. To date, 3D printers have been the focus of hobbyists.

TOPICS: Printers, Hardware

Staples will begin selling 3D Systems’ Cube 3D printer in select stores and online for $1,299 at the end of June.


The move will be interesting to watch just to see how many small businesses pick up one. 3D printers have been popular in the tech press, but pricing has kept them from mainstream adoption. Staples’ price of $1,299 still isn’t cheap enough to be an impulse buy, but it’s certainly far enough the five-digit mark to gather some interest.

The Cube 3D Printer will work with Mac or Windows and includes 25 templates with more available online.

Staples will be among the first major retailers to offer a 3D printer. To date, 3D printers have been the focus of hobbyists.

For 3D Systems, the Staples distribution may not add up to massive sales yet, but the proof of concept and interest is worth it. The Cube 3D Printer can print items up to 5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5”. 3D Systems sells its Cubify Invent software as well as plastic cartridge refills, CubeSticks, which stabilize the object being printed and go for $9.99,  and replacement Cube Print Pads, which will cost $99.99.

Like most printers, ponder the refills since they add to the lifetime cost.

Topics: Printers, Hardware

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  • paying 1299

    to be able to print a useless green plastic bowl?

    It will be very interesting to watch.
    • I paid...

      ...much more for a laser printer 20 years ago. Give it time.
    • Not for mass consumers.

      Without CAD experience you are limited to what people give you as models. Also their are less expensive and more power devices. The cartridge is another money maker for them and this device does not have a heated base. Be cautious and check the market.
      • Look for CAD service bureaus to spring up

        Look for low cost CAD service bureaus to spring up to assist those without the 3D creation skills to take advantage of 3D printers
  • 1299 Printer.

    I wonder how much the "Ink" cartridges will cost. :-)
  • and in other news...

    World's first 3D-printed gun makes its debut
  • Beware

    3D printing is amazing, but be very careful of 3D Systems' Cube.

    1) They lock you into proprietary, extremely overpriced supplies. While all other home 3D printers use commodity filament that you can buy from many suppliers for $25-40/KG, the Cube has a DRM chip so that it only prints from proprietary cartridges. Cube won't say what the capacity is, but buyers report that it works out to $90/KG.

    2) They're highly misleading in their advertising. They show output from 3D Systems' $150,000 industrial 3D printers and encourage people to assume that they're printed on the cheap home printer. This is because they want to use the Cube's low print quality to drive printing business for their high-end 3D printing service.

    3) They're tied into a proprietary content model, so Cube users pay money to download designs that they can then print. All other home 3D printers work with Thingiverse, a huge library of open (free) models.

    So the printer itself is nice (they re-badged the Afinia Up! printer, and it's a good printer) but everything else about them is a bad deal for buyers.

    You're better off buying pretty much any of their competitors. All of them are open, so you can print what you want, and buy supplies anywhere, so have much lower operating costs.
    • thanks for the info

      At first glance I was happy to see it in retail but I just assumed they would use the same filament for example as the makerbot. With Kickstartr projects that have recyclable filament making machines this would be asinine to get all proprietary unless they can prove the reasoning is valid.
  • This could be really useful

    Just think of how much better the ash trays and knick-knack dishes, made by loving children and taken home from elementary schools all over this nation to waiting moms, could be. I think we need a Federal grant to put one of these in every elementary school.
    • These printers for every school ?

      Who is going to pay for it ? It's not like we have $17 Trillion in debt.....I guess to some people another $17 Trillion won't matter........
      • ???

        Perhaps I should have used "THIS IS SARCASM" in the subject line. So sorry to have caused you any confusion.

        My point is that this is an expensive device looking for a use. I can see none. Perhaps the industrial grade 3D printers will prove useful and cost effective. I'm sure there are clever people figuring this out right now. But this device is a novelty item. $1300 is a lot of money to pay to make cheap plastic objects at per unit costs that are likely orders of magnitude higher than injection molding.
        • You have no imagination

          There are many garage-kit makers around the world and after market add on kit manufacturers who make a nice living supporting main stream plastic kit manufacturers with mods that turn a stock kit into a version not available on the hobby market. Many resin kit manufacturers such as Zactomodels and Anigrand specialize in short run scale aircraft kits of obscure subjects and would welcome 3D printer services like what would be offered at Staples.
        • At the risk of...

          getting my head bit off....this falls into the same 'toy' category that Ipads do. And I'm saying that because you can buy a real computer and actually do work on real software programs for less money than an ipad. To me and many I know it is an expensive social networking toy. And even Apple says it is a social networking piece of equipment - they don't call it a toy.

          I would love to have a 3D printer, but until it comes down to that of an expensive laser, it won't happen. Consumable on these items are astronomical right now.
      • Well, we do - blame those who spent it and who they prop up

        Trickle-down economics first caused the US to exceed $1 Trillion in debt. Only in 2006-2008 and 2013 has anything gone back to repay the debt.

        Why do we give corporate welfare to companies that offshore or automate jobs? As jobs disappear or the value of labor (wages) go down, government collects less revenue. Then remember the corporate welfare... Citizens for Tax Justice is one of many watchdog orgs you should pay attention to, if you care about "cause and effect"... as opposed to just bleating about the present, since it took a while and using interesting things to get our country where it is today.

        Once you matter about some of the deeper workings, then it will make sense.

        Until then, let's be happy college frat boys and eat pizza. Yum.
      • and you hit the nail on the head

        Corporate lobbyists vying for special attention at our expense.

        Schools can't teach with paper and pencil despite "emerging economies" doing so, so what does enriching certain private industry entities via purchasing tablets and printers help anyone or anything? Except those entities that are offshoring the jobs to the people using paper and pencil, how odd...

        These things are toys. Let's see schools lock them down, before someone else whines about freedom that children do not have, should not have, and should not deserve. "Boys will be boys" doesn't cut it... unless you want anarchy that you end up paying for.
        • But hey, what about...

          When I was in school we could not use calculators (hand held or otherwise) in ANY math or science class. Now, when they enter middle school (in our area that is 6th grade), a science/math calculator is on the BUY THIS list!

          So, it's no surprise to me that they have computers and tablets in school. And they can use those handheld calculators (aka iphone/android now) IN CLASS and on tests.

          I'm not against technology - I have all of it including vinyl and paper cutters - high end ones. But the kids should learn the REAL way first, then let them learn the techno way.
  • the 'tech press'?

    Apart from causing copyright infringement in making model TARDIS, USS Enterprise, and Dalek plastic models, what have the technical people been using these things for in the press industry?

    Certainly not making newspapers to distribute...

    That and, by a little cash incentive, putting out artificially favorable reviews -- especially as, a few years ago, the real press was saying how these devices would likely NOT be mass produced for consumers. Staples is like OfficeMax or Office Depot, selling plastic cheap toy office crap of low quality to consumers. After all, the last time any of them sold an archival-grade printer to sell prints of anything to art fares has been more than a decade (e.g. the Epson Stylus R2400 photo printer or what has superseded it since...)
    • I'm not sure you 'get' this technology yet.

      Nobody else does either, the world has been given something for free and hasnt figured out a way to use it yet.

      Industry hates free stuff and always tries to lock it down so it can be monetised, buries it under layers of paint and obfuscation or just destroys it if none of those are possible.

      This isnt about plastic. Nor is it about selling plastic, or even selling intellectual property. Staples is simply a capitalist pig trying to trough the technology before someone else figures out a way of controlling it or getting rid of it.

      The technology itself can be lent to materials like metals, ceramics and modern hybrids of them besides plastic and silicone. It has found an entry into food markets too, printing basic shapes of corn starch before deep-frying, as well as decorating cakes.
      It has been co-opted into the building industry via art; a sculptor has built one that can create 'sand castles' using sand and resins in any shape, over 20 feet in length and width.

      Yes, it prints mud huts too, are you telling me that is not useful?

      Just because a bunch of press losers, greedy capitalists and sad science fair geeks cant figure out how to market a world-changing technology without stuffing it up, or by using it just to make money, doesnt mean the technology is wrong or that it should be vilified in their name.

      Everything around you, and you yourself, are built from tiny building blocks too small to see. When this technology can print individual molecules, it will be able to build literally anything. This is the concept behind it, and its eventual evolution - please try not to dismiss it and hand it to those who would use it against you.
  • oi...

    Oh lord where do I even begin.
    "To date, 3D printers have been the focus of hobbyists."
    Oh Hell No they havn't! 3D printing (a part of the Rapid Prototyping industry) is a freaking huge industry and has been around forever. It just so happens that recently a flood of home made injection printers have come around.

    "...but it’s certainly far enough the five-digit mark to gather some interest." I think you accidentally a whole word there. Proofreading helps.

    To all the "tech buf" nay-sayers. Like most engineering tools, this is a solution looking for a problem. No, most people don't need one of these things and never will. But thats how Radio Shack came to be, they catered to the hams of the world, not everyone needed them. The price point is okay, you can get way more for your money through other projects, but the Cube is a "finished" product. Most other 3d printers around are either finished and targetted for industrial applications, or really unfinished and meant for people working in their garage.

    And really, a political discussion, on a tech blog (not that great of one I might add, go check out reddit or slashdot or even the register), you people need better lives.
  • Comoditize the Technology (so I can afford it later)

    It may not be a great 3D printer and may use overly expensive supplies, but I say more power to somebody putting more of these in more people's hands. The more rich companies buy these to chunk out tchotchkes, the more money will be funneled back into R&D and the more competition there will be to make 3D printers better, faster, and cheaper.

    Does anybody remember what life was like when, if you wanted to have a hard-copies of a document, you had to go to a print-shop? If you wanted your ideas typed up on a page, you had to sit in front of a typewriter and do it yourself (or pay someone to type it for you)? Now, if you need a copy or two, hit Ctrl-P and a small machine nearby will spit out your document, exactly how you laid it out. If you are in an office and need a few more printed up, you walk down the hall, dump it in the ADF of the copier, and hit a button (stapling optional).

    Now, engineers can do that with hardware. Typically you just do a prototype out of a material that won't work in practice, just to fit-check it on your design, or just get it in your hand to give yourself a gut-check that it will work for what you want, but it is becoming increasingly possible to create usable components from the final desired materials.

    Sure the first document printers were very expensive (the first office laser printer cost $17,000 in 1981), but now they are everywhere at a fraction of that cost. I hope to see that with 3D printers. There is a growing movement towards "mass customization" (give the customer exactly what they want, tuned exactly to their specifications), which I think can only be bolstered by bringing 3D printing to "The Masses" just as commoditizing printers lead to the Desktop Publishing revolution.