Cubify Invent is CAD software aimed at the uninitiated consumer with a 3D printer like the 3D System’s Cube. Unlike the free to use AutoDesk 123D, TinkerCAD or SketchUp, it cost $49, but has all the functions you would need to make almost any part fairly quickly. Extrude 2D into 3D? Yup! Fillets and other such model manipulation? Check. Direct to 3D printing button? Most certainly.
3D Systems’ Big Plans
Cubify Invent seems to be a part of 3D Systems’ strategy to take over the consumer 3D printing market. They’ve stuck their extruders into every interest 3D printing represents, buying up high-end consumer item shops (Freedom of Creation), photo-to-3D-model software (Viztu Technologies was bought last week for an ‘undisclosed sum’) and more. From the looks of it, Cubify Invent is essentially a stripped down version of Alibre, another 3D System acquisition. As CEO Abe Reichental explained back in July 2011 when 3DS bought Alibre, it was part of a big plan to make direct-to-manufacturing easier.
We acquired several service providers as a cornerstone for our on-demand custom parts services business and expanded our print engine portfolio through the acquisition of Desktop Factory and Bits From Bytes. We believe that by adding meaningful design productivity tools and plugins to our portfolio, we make it easier and simpler for our users to access all of their design-to-manufacturing requirements in one place.
But Does it Look Like the Future?
For designers, engineers and hobbyists, Cubify Invent may be useful. It seems to be fairly powerful (more than SketchUp). But Joe Six-Pack? Jane Doe? Jeff I-Hate-Computers-Because-They-Hate-Me? I have my doubts–and not because of how complex (or simple) it is. Rather, it’s the User Experience–pretty ugly and really unappealing. It’s not something that screams “This is the Future”. And I believe the average person really picks up on that. But it’s also a fairly easy fix. 3D Systems has a lot of helpers now, like Freedom of Creation. What Abe needs to do is to put them to work on giving Cubify Invent a royal makeover – now that would be a program I would drop $49 on!
Here’s a shot of the export screen for Cubify Invent. You can import STEP, IGES, SAT, and Solidworks file formats and export Invent format files (.fun) and .stl files. Strange enough, the Cube doesn’t open .fun files directly, but does open the .stl files. Tutorials and other information is all available here.