The CubeJet, previewed at CES as a prototype by 3D Systems, promises full-color, high-resolution parts for a wide range of modeling and real-use products, for under $5,000.

Designed specifically for small businesses, independent entrepreneurs, hobbyists and educators, the CubeJet combines 3D Systems' ColorJet Printing technology with the consumer-level Cube printers' user experience to deliver an affordable, full-color, desktop 3D printing experience.

"Leapfrogging full-color printing to the prosumer and consumer desktop in a way that's easy to own and simple to operate redefines the 'possible' for designers, educators, architects, marketers and artists," 3D Systems Vice President Rajeev Kulkarni said. "For the first time ever, everyone can access vibrant parts quickly, accurately and affordably."

The CubeJet delivers everything from full-color models to beautifully detailed assemblies that pass for finished products.

With colors ranging from striking white to photo-like pastels, the CubeJet communicates design intent quickly and affordably.

It offers new levels of productivity with faster print mode options, improved user convenience with mobile connectivity to tablet computers and smartphones, and more powerful coloring and file preparation software tools.

News of the CubeJet may explain why 3D Systems recently decided to acquire Xerox's Wilsonville, Oregon facility that had at one time been Tektronix's Solid Ink division.  The facility makes components used in 3D Systems' ProJet x60 pro-class printers, the line added during the Z Corp acquisition finalized in early 2012. The CubeJet is based on the same former Z Corp technology as the x60 line and acquiring a major supplier makes perfect sense in order to reduce costs for a consumer/prosumer market push.

3D Systems expects to begin shipping the printer sometime in the second half of 2014.