Things are really starting to heat up at the lower end of the 3D printer market. Another sub-£1000 model has just been launched on to the market. It's rather bizarre name is Cube.ly — I kind of get it, but I am not convinced the name tells the world what it is and what it is trying to do. Vague noises about this one have been creeping around since February and I've been trying to find out a little more, but it's not forthcoming.
When I say vague noises, the various blogs and tweets that I have seen have all been saying the same thing, virtually word for word, ie regarding its being a derivative of RepRap, the way it is to be built, cost, and the rather startling ambition of a sales target volume of 10,000 by the 1st January 2013. Despite lengthy searches and a few phone calls, I am struggling to find out more. Nothing on building parts, materials, accuracy, speed. All the key parameters that people need to know to build parts or to compare on a like for like basis with alternate machines in the same price bracket.
So, where are we at today with 3D printers under 5k? RapMan, Makerbot, Fab@Home, RepRap and now Cube.ly. At times like this I REALLY wish I had a crystal ball ......
In truth, all these systems can probably find a place and get good market share, but when this (widespread 3D printing) takes off, as it surely will some time soon, I can't wait to see how it plays out.