Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Loading your first Cube Cartridge

The process of "Load Cartridge" can be a little confusing.

I actually believe that the instructions that you are given when you press "Load Cartridge" are actually for Re-Loading a cartridge... which is what we will be doing 99.9% of the time after we have our Cube up and running.

The "Load Cartridge" process seems to assume that your are CHANGING cartridges, which is the thing we will be doing after the first load.  It is actually describing the "Re-Load Cartridge" process.

Obviously, describing steps that do no apply for our initial setup can be confusing.  So, here is the process that is presented to you and some explanations as to whether or not it applies to the initial cartridge.

1) Cut the External Material, leaving 6" of material outside PrintJet  (Ignore)
This first instruction assumes that there is already material in the Printjet.  You can ignore this instruction when loading your first cartridge.
2) Pull Filament   (Ignore)
Again, this instruction only applies if filament is already in the PrintJet.  Ignore this instruction when loading your first cartridge.
3) Replace Cartridge  (Install New Cartridge)
They actually mean EXCHANGE the cartridge, which gives away the fact that the first steps were for Re-Loading and not for the initial cartridge.  This is actually the first step we need to care about.  First time users can simply put a new cartridge in the machine at this point. 
4) Insert Tube into PrintJet  
Steps 4 and 5 now apply to anyone needing to load material into the PrintJet.   The tube guides the filament from the cartridge to the PrintJet.  Without this guide, the filament may have a tendency to tangle since it has been wrapped around a spool.
5) Insert Material into Tube until it stops 
The filament is fed into the tube guide.  Feed it until it enters the PrintJet housing.  You will hear a whirring sound at this point.  That is the feed mechanism picking up the filament and pulling it into the extrusion head.
You may see some plastic emerge from the tip.  That would be filament used in the testing process in the factory.  You probably will not see your green filament being extruded until you actually print an object.


  1. Really, Tom? Instead of your promised video you give us "Loading your first Cube Cartridge". Off to bed.

  2. Hey! You live in Massachusetts. So, you are in the same time zone that I'm in. It's 8:59pm and I'm still at work and you're going off to sleep! Where's the justice.

    Seriously, I fully intended to have some up this evening. But, the time I spent with the Cube this afternoon, including my posts to help other new users, serious set me back at work. I still have things I haven't finished. So, I haven't eaten dinner or gotten to leave yet.

    So, I have to plead guilty as charged and ask your indulgence and patience. I recorded sound and video on separate devices and have no way to sync them here are the office. And, while I know everyone is anxious and I, myself, had hoped to have something for you this evening, it remains to be seen when I'll get out of here.

    But, when I do put it up, you will NOT be disappointed.

  3. I'm temporarily living in Turkey - so that's 7 hours ahead of you, and I'm obviously a little bit impatient. I'm anxious to read first impressions and more about the Cube; how it compares to other consumer desktop printers, ease of use, build quality, speed and so forth - and from mouths that aren't paid to market 3D systems' products (seems it's all you can find). I'm enjoying your blog and appreciate all of the effort you put into it. Keep up the good work!

  4. I know what you mean by anxious. I have been waiting for YEARS for a true consumer 3D printer that can be used by my technically challenged artist daughter. Years!

    The only previous offering that seemed promising was the Desktop Factory at $5,000 and my following that resulted in my first 3D Blog. But, unfortunately, it never materialized.

    I was completely surprised by the introduction of the Cube at CES and when I heard about it, I determined to find out about it. I contacted Cathy Lewis, of 3D Systems, who knew about my earlier blog and agreed to let me come down to see one in action and I was smitten. The Cube was EXACTLY what I'd been dreaming about.

    But, I had to I plunk down my money through the Cubify web site like everybody else and wait. Of course, it arrived at a busy time after a long weekend and not BEFORE the long weekend. So, I'm pressed by meeting the demands of my software consulting clients before being able to fully satisfy my own desire to dive into seeing what the Cube can do and honestly report what I find. To do that well, and fairly, takes time.

    But, I welcome being pushed because it shows me others are just as interested as I am. I'll get there. You'll see. :)

  5. The video is now up. I hadn't used Vegas for a LONG time and syncing up the external sound with the camera sound was a bit of a challenge. But, it's finally done and posted.

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  7. Removed because I found the answer in another reply in a prior post on your blog. Thanks!

  8. Not a problem. It's just good that you are following!


    Tom :)