A new and affordable 3D printer has hit the market: 3D Systems' Cube. It's infinitely more elegant-looking than MakerBot Industries' Replicator, and nearly 500 bucks cheaper at $1,299 (though with a smaller 5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5" build area). But my excitement at first hearing about it quickly subsided upon seeing the attendant Cubify website, which gives you the impression the company behind it isn't quite sure what they're doing.
First off the video presentation, which is so banal I will not embed it here, is like one of those uninformative Powerpoint slideshows you're forced to sit through at work meetings and bad press presentations.
Secondly, MakerBot Industries' machines have a strong community component that greatly increases the utility of and support for their products; go to their Thingiverse website and you'll find tons of free projects you can make, with descriptions and files. In contrast, when I click on the Cubify "Community" page, I'm met with a pointless wall of headshots of different users, and many of them stock silhouettes to boot. Am I meant to click on people's faces that I like in order to see what they've made? The same page also features a map so you can search for fellow users geographically. Isn't the point of 3D printing that you can produce your own stuff independent of geography, and a guy in Seattle can share designs with a girl in New York?
Thirdly, like MakerBot Industries, the Cubify site sells the raw material that you'll need to feed into the printer. But whereas MakerBot sells the material in spools by weight, Cubify doesn't even quantify how much material you get for a particular amount. It simply says "1 Case - $49," followed by the option to buy three cases—at two different prices: $139.99 or $49.99. Huh?
Lastly, Cubify's page of projects you can make has thumbnails of different objects—with price tags underneath them. Where MakerBotters are sharing everything, keeping the emphasis on making, Cubify is keeping the emphasis on $.
None of these things mean the Cube is a bad product; but it illustrates a very different approach to 3D printing than MakerBot Industries is taking, and as a personal preference I'd rather get behind the latter.