Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Cube - Opening the Box and Setting Up

If you look at the steps contained in this video, you'll see that the time it takes to open up the Cube packaging and print out the first sample piece is WAY shorter than it takes to render the video to show it!!!

The process was not without some confusion.  And, I should have worn my glasses,  But, the fact that with a little effort I was able to actually read the LCD screen on the Cube is a bit of a miracle in and of itself..

I hope this video will be helpful to other new Cube owners.  I already knew the Cube was a great 3D Printer.  But, this was the first time I have seen the output from an actual production model and it is marvelously smooth and precise.  The detail is VERY good.

I love it!

As I probably said before... The size is perfect.  The weight is perfect.  And, the output is precise.  The person or persons that designed this 3D Printer are to be commended.

So... for better or worse... here is the video of what you may experience opening, setting up and printing with the Cube! 

Some notable things that immediately strike me.  I love that the print bed is easily removable.  That makes getting the part off a LOT easier than it might be otherwise and puts less stress on the printer, itself.  I love that changing cartridges and colors is SO easy.  I love that I can carry it around so easily.  I love that the print bed is heated.  Having that feature is well worth the additional wait time before the printing starts.

My only complaint is that the extra material that I ordered did not arrive with the printer.  I hope it arrives soon; because, I have a long list of things I want to print out on this little printer and I'd be crying if I ran out of material before I finished that list.  We shouldn't have to wait too long to find out just how many things can be printed from one cartridge.  This Cube is going to get a good workout.

While I hope that a whole new group of people will be attracted to 3D printing because of the Cube, I suspect that many early adopters will have already had a RepRap printer.  So, while I do plan to print "pretty" objects. the first objects I print will be designed to test and demonstrate the performance of the printer as I have promised.


  1. Hey Tom, congratulations on your new printer; sounds like you're really excited with it. Can you tell us how much filiment comes in a cartridge? Can you weight the cartridge new and then again when it's expired and report the difference in weight? I'm curious to know the amount of filiment you get per dollar and how that cost compares to filiment you can buy for say a reprap or makerbot. Is there a specific diameter filiment the Cube accepts? Can you use other filiment besides what comes in the Cube cartridges or has 3D systems attempted to lock out competitors with a razor-blade business model? Is it ABS only or can you use something else like PLA? Are the cartridges refillable or do you need to replace the whole thing with a new cartridge?

  2. I hoped you would be pleased! :)

    I believe the documentation states that it contains 1k. When compared to the filament from RapMan, the price is maybe just a little higher. But, when compared to the filament one can buy on eBay, it definitely is higher in cost.

    But... considering the radical difference in quality that I've expeienced from the eBay product, along with the waste at the end of the 3mm reels, I don't think the difference is going to be as big as it might first appear.

    The Cube is limited, right now, to ABS. And, it does require the cartridge. So, it definitely follows the Raozor/Razorblade model. I'm sure that at least some part of that decision was to make themselves a single source. And, at first, I was really bummed by that decision. But, in retrospect, with my experience with trying to find less expensive filament on eBay for my RapMan, I've come to the conclusion that I'd rather have filament that is of consistent quality across all colors, etc. than possibly saving a few bucks with 3rd party filament.

    I plan to deal with this issue over on my companion 3D Printer site, and link to it on this blog.

  3. The spool does not seem to have any DRM on it so I'd bet you could get away with other filament especially if you are able to adjust temps in the software.

    That is quite a large power supply. How many watts is it?

    What was the actual print time and how tall is that rook?

    btw. For showing printing without it getting boring time-lapse works really nicely.

    1. Hi Billy,

      The spool does communicate to the printer and tells it things like the color and remaining filament, etc.

      But, even if it did not and your could reload the cartridge, I probably would NOT be interested. That is because having an "official" supplier that is directly responsible for the quality of the filament is a good thing. I've not bought from a single 3rd party supplier that will warrant their filament by allowing returns.

      The cartridge does not cost enough for me to risk my Cube, even if I could.

      The Rook is 56mm or 2.25 inches. I'm guessing the total time was about 1 hour and 45 minutes. But, it might have been a bit less.

      I will be using time-lapse for some things in the future. It helps with analysis.

      The brick supplies 24VDC to the Cube at 6.35amps.

      In the not-to-distant future, I'll have more on why I don't feel that the proprietary cartridge is an issue for me.

    2. Oh. It seemed like the only thing you plugged in was the filament to the extruder. I guess there must be contacts on the cartridge somewhere.

      I think it is going to be very difficult for the razor/blade model to work until printers start selling at a loss. If the filament is marketed as "premium" at a good price with a quality guarantee and was a real value add over third party filament then I see no reason why most people would not choose the stock filament. DRM just seems unnecessary.

    3. The contact between the cartridge and the machine is on the bottom corner.

      This is a marketing and quality control decision that is well above my control. But, as I have said. My experience with 3rd party filament has not been at all consistent. My time is also worth something. So, a plug & play cartridge is fine with me.

      I have only one source to praise or blame. LOL!

  4. Tom, thanks for posting this information and your video! I'm considering ordering a Cube for our media center at work, but we're concerned about the smell / fumes in an enclosed room. How much of an issue will this be?

    1. Hi Barbara,

      I'm glad you wrote. Unfortunately, I am the LEAST qualified person to offer an opinion of the smell / fumes. That is because I completely lost my sense of smell after a cold about a year or so ago. The Cube could smell like a beached whale in the hot sun and I wouldn't have a clue. :)

      But, I asked some co-workers. The room where I was printing the rook is about 10x10 with no windows. They could identify a smell; but, did not seem to think it was irritating or overpowering.

      But, I would hate to have you think that is the definitive answer. The range of tolerance to odor and irritants is SO broad that to think their experience is typical would probably be wrong. We need to wait for a wider sample to weigh in.

      Not a great answer. But, it's the only answer I have until we hear from more users.

      But, I DO know that the Cube is SO portable that it should be easy to find a well-ventilated place to print for the time it takes to print an item.

      Let's keep an eye out on this issue. I plan to donate one to my grand-children's school. So, the issue is equally important to me. :)