Monday, June 25, 2012

Fine Detail? No Raft, No Support, No Problem

A lot of you are wondering if I am still alive, it's been so long since I'd posted anything!

But, I AM alive and have FINALLY obtained some more filament.  As you know, I have another 3D printer. So, I've not been without options for printing my designs.  But, the entire purpose of the designs that I've been working on has been to show Cube owners and potential Cube owners what they can expect from their Cube.  And, equally importantly, what NOT to expect.

While my full order of filament has not arrived, by showing 3D Systems my test designs, I was able to get them to send me some more starter green filament.  And, you should be just as happy as I am that they agreed to do so.  Here is the result!

Vase - Fire

It's just under 5" tall.  Both raft and support were turned off.  It printed the "flames" completely free standing.

This design was meant to push the Cube's capabilities in several ways.  The first is obvious.  The flames are thin and hang out in space as they go up.  Moreover, they taper to a relatively sharp point at the tips.

But, other features are equally stressful to a 3D printer.  The "vase" has a maximum wall thickness of just .75mm  and the bead work is designed to see how detailed the printer can replicate fine features.  The winding columns are a good test of the vertical accuracy of the Cube.

I'm not claiming that other 3D printers could not print this design without supports.  But, it is my opinion, that the Cube did an absolutely stunning job of producing every feature of this very challenging vase.  I LOVE this little printer!

There is more to come.  This is not the only design that I've been waiting to try.  There is one printing as I write this.  I will also create a video of the "Vase- Fire" rotating so that you can see the detail from all angles.

As usual, the STL file for this design is available on the store for the minimum cost permissible.

STL File Download


  1. Thanks for all the work and testing Tom.

    Do you have any experience with the UP 3D printer?

    I am curious if you have any idea how it stacks up against your Cubify or RepRap?

    1. I don't have any experience with the Up!. But,from what I do know, it definitely looks like an excellent printer. It's hard to tell, since both the Cube and the Up! are enclosed; but, they sure do look similar in construction from the outside.

      The RapMan is more versatile than either the Cube or the Up! since it has a bigger build area and a choice of 3 different build resolutions. The RapMan has two potentially limiting factors. The first is the skill of the builder. And, the second, for now, is that lack of a heated bed limits its use with ABS. However, there are rumors that a heated bed is in the wings. I will be among the first to buy if that is the case.

      The thing I love most about the RapMan is that it is SO stately and quiet. It's the 3D printer equivalent of the Rolls Royce, quietly going about its business.

  2. This is amazing. I'm thinking about to get one cube myself to be able to prototype some product pieces. Usually i get my models printed in really expensive (and really big!) 3d printers in my college. Do you think this one can handle some rapid prototype ? Its easy to refine the surface when printed ?

    Your blog is amazing, love to see someone showing this kind of progress and tests. Thanks !

    1. Not knowing the technology of the big printers at your college, I can't say how the Cube would compare. As with all low-end extrusion printers, there is some stair stepping on rounded corners, etc. But, it's relatively smooth for this type of printer.

      I would certainly trust the Cube to print parts for my RepRap since ABS is commonly used for that purpose and the parts would be designed to take that kind of stress.

      Your question regarding refining is one that I, too, am very interesting in trying. I've not tested that so far. But, it is on my short lists of tests.

    2. Its a roland CNC machine 4 axis. I read somewhere that acetone can help finishing the surfaces. I'm going to do a little more research before buyng this little machine.

  3. It's also been reported that one can both sand and paint the ABS. On the Cubify Blog, they used Magic Markers to color objects. So, I'm sure that the materials can be post processed. I've just not gotten that far as yet. :)

    The Cube is certainly quieter than that Roland. An associate has had a Roland CNC machine for years that that thing is a real screamer!!!

  4. Hi,
    Sorry for digging up this subject, but you said you printed this part without raft nor support.
    Is it a function of the software or did you make some changes in the code ?

    Actually I have to adapt a BFB printer (FDM) to stereolithography with laser (I'm doing my last project at school), and so I need to delete RAFT and SUPPORT, which are not necessary with this kind of technology.

    Waiting for your answer,