Monday, July 9, 2012

Some DON'Ts With the Cube

All of the glowing reviews I have posted about the Cube 3D printer are true,  The quality of the prints has been remarkable.  But, that does NOT mean that I have not been able to bring it to its knees.

And, by doing so, have made it less likely that you will end up doing so.

Remember when I ran out of filament?  It happened when I was running it unattended.  And, the reason it happened is that I failed to read the warning that came up on the LCD about not having enough material to complete the object as I was starting it..  I saw something; but, because I intended to photograph the piece for a stop-motion movie, I'd flooded it with lights.  And, since I wasn't wearing my reading glasses, the brightness made it difficult to decipher.

I should have taken the time to go get my glasses.  Therefore, the print never completed and the filament ran completely out.

I didn't think much of it and it took some time to obtain more filament.  But, when I tried to load the new filament into the PrintJet I heard an all too familiar sound.  In a 3D extrusion printer, if the extruder cannot move the filament forward, it makes a clicking sound.  Virtually, all owners of 3D printers have heard it at some time or other.  More often than not it means the print head is clogged.  And, that was true for the clicking I was hearing from the Cube PrintJet.

I'm pretty fearless when it comes to tackling mechanical problems.  So, I took off the Printjet cover to see if I could clear the clog.  This drawing is my simple rendition of the extrusion system used in the Cube.

Cube Extrusion System

As you can see, there are three basic parts:
  1. A top tube into which the filament is loaded
  2. A gear and spring-loaded idler that pull the filament
  3. A bottom tube which is heated to extrude the filament.  
As you can plainly see, this is a brilliant design allowing for a nice small Printjet with direct contact with the filament.   It allows them to put a motor, fan and extruder into a nice, compact Printjet package.  The compactness of the design is wonderful; but, it does mean that it is difficult to reach material that has gone past the gear.

In fact, this is exactly what I found.  The filament end had gone past the gear and was stuck in the bottom tube.  There was just the slightest piece of filament in the gap between the lower tube and the gear.  But, I could not get to it.  I returned it to the factory and they replaced the Printjet.

The problem was that by ignoring the warnings on the LCD, I had allowed the filament to run out and go past the gears as it ran unattended.  Had any part of the filament been sticking up from the Printjet, it could have been easily cleared.

The outcome of my experience was that 3D Systems redesigned the cartridge by attaching a small clip to the tail end of the filament so that if a user fails to heed the warning that there is not enough filament to complete a print job, the clip will keep the end of the filament from going past the gears, allowing the user to back the filament left inside the Printjet out.  Sometimes manufacturers have to go out of their way to save us from ourselves!

If that were the ONLY way a user could clog the Printjet all would be well.  But, I found out this weekend that it is not.

This past weekend, I was in Wilmington, DE for a few days visiting my granddaughters.  Just before I left for the trip, part of my filament order came in and among the colors was magenta.  I'd taken the Cube along for the ride and decided to make something for my granddaughters in magenta.  This, of course, required removing the old cartridge to make way for the new.

Impatience was the problem.  I made the mistake of trying to "help" the Cube back the old filament out of the PrintJet.  I apparently pulled too hard causing some of the filament to remain in the bottom tube.  Not good.  I learned something new...

LET THE CUBE REVERSE THE FILAMENT WITHOUT HELP.  ONLY PULL ON THE FILAMENT AFTER THE GEARS STOP TURNING.

Putting the new filament into the Cube, I heard that dreaded clicking sound.  Once again, I'd clogged the head.

But, this time I wasn't 15 minutes from the factory and I wanted to make that magenta object for my granddaughters.  So, I came up with a last ditch effort to solve my problem.  Knowing there was a hobby shop near the hotel, I ran out and purchased the thinnest piano wire they carried.  (Piano wire is commonly used in Remote Control airplanes.)

Before going any farther, I need to warn you that 3D Systems is NOT going to like what I did.  The Print Head of the Cube is around 240C degrees and that is MORE than hot enough to cause serious burns.  And, I am not telling you what I did so that you can do the same.  I'm only relating my experience to say that I was able to get up and running again without having to send my Cube back to the factory.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm pretty fearless when it comes to tackling mechanical problems.  So, using a piece of .piano wire with a diameter of 015" (.38mm), I was able to clear the clog and get on with the business of printing.

My method was to start the "Change Cartridge" process which heats the print head.  The .38mm wire was small enough to insert into the hole at the bottom of the heated print head.  As the filament in the bottom tube melted, I put slight back pressure on it until it moved back up the tube and out.

I didn't have tools to remove the cover of the Printjet.  So, I don't know if the plastic was caught by the gear and pulled out or simply fell out of the bottom tube.  Whatever the case, the outcome was that I was easily able to get up and running again.

The bottom line is that we need to be careful that we don't do something that causes filament material to be left in the bottom tube of the Cube.  I have reported my latest experience to 3D Systems along with a suggestion that the nozzle of the Cube be redesigned so that it can be unscrewed by the user so that a clog could be removed from the top of the print head with simple tools.

Now, lest you think that the potential for clogging is limited to the Cube.  Let me correct that notion with this link to a technical bulletin for an HP extrusion printer that costs over $15,000 US!   And, there are numerous posts about Makerbot clogs.  Just go to Google and enter "Makerbot Clog" to see just how many hits you find.

It happens.  But, as the community of Cube users stumbles across actions that contribute to clogging, we can learn how to avoid those actions.  And, that is what sites like this are all about.

Both instances I have had with clogging were caused by user error.  Even so, 3D Systems immediately responded by coming up with a solution to make sure future users would not run into the problem when coming to the end of the filament. 

In the case of the latter clog, I was up and running in little more time than it took me to drive to a hobby shop and back.  This is an image of the piece that I printed for my granddaughters AFTER the clog was cleared.

Vase - Fire (Magenta)

You don't have to stay home to use the Cube!


106 comments:

  1. How much plastic comes in a cartridge?

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  2. They do not specify the weight or length of the filament in the cartridge. At some point, I THOUGHT I saw 1kg. But, I've not been able to find that reference again. So, I can't really tell you an exact weight.

    3D Systems seems to want to talk about number of average objects that can be printed??? Frankly, that's pretty vague.

    I've found that while I wish there were more, I've been able to build enough objects having serious volume that I am not complaining about the lack of filament per cartridge. Moreover, having used both both reels and cartridges, the benefits of the cartridge outweigh the limitations.

    There is less mess. I can swap colors easier. It travels extremely well. And, this article demonstrates that ALL of the filament can be used, unlike many of the reels that I've purchased where at least 10%-25% of the reel is worthless.

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  3. Could you weigh a full and empty cartridge to give us a number? This is something I've wanted to know since the Cubify came on line.

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    1. I discarded my only empty. But, I'll try to oblige when the next one is finished.

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    2. Awesome! That would be really helpful!

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    3. While knowing the weight of the filament may be somewhat helpful, from a direct cost point of view, it can also be a diversion from some very real benefits of a uniform cartridge based system over an open reel system.

      I have both. And, I can tell you that while I KNOW that the cost of the cartridge is definitely more than the costs of the reels, it is well worth the difference. But, that is a topic for a separate post. It's that important.

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    4. Well, I just changed cartridges for the first time. The old cartridge hadn't actually run out, it just showed completely empty on the software gauge on the Cube's touch panel. Here's the surprising numbers I got:
      "Empty" cartridge: 367 grams.
      New cartridge, still in foil: 687 grams.
      Difference between them: 320 grams!

      As a double-check I weighed a bag of about half of the things I've printed on the old cartridge, and it was around 160 grams.

      I agree with Tom, I'm quite happy with the amount of items I was able to print on the one cartridge. The Cube uses VERY little ABS in making things, they have a lot of air inside, along with clever automatically-generated internal diagonal bracing.

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    5. Nice job!

      I still have not tried weighing the full & empty cartridge because I don't have a scale that I could trust with that level of accuracy. So, I am glad that you did it for us.

      I'm also happy that you put the issue in the proper perspective. I plan to do an entire entry on cartridge vs. reel. And, while I KNOW open reels hold more, I will take the cartridge ANY day for a whole host of reasons.

      Thank you so much for posting!

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    6. Thanks for doing this! It is VERY helpful!

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    7. Mike, Thank you for the calculations. Do you remember if you measured PLA or ABS?

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    8. I get a net mass of 291 g for a PLA cartridge, for Cube 2, comparing full to empty. After printing a bunch of objects that weighed a total of 284 g on a new cartridge, the cartridge reports that it's empty (but has a bit of filament left). This works out to about $0.18/g, delivered (I buy three cartridges at a time typically).

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  4. How does the extruder actually get clogged? Even if the old filament is below the gear, once the heater is up to temperature, wouldn't the remaining filament be pushed out the nozzle by the new filament coming in behind it?

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    1. None of the 3D printers heats the entire area below the extruder. If they did it would tend to clog every time you turned it off.

      Only the area near the tip is heated.

      The very end of the filament was probably rough and bent. There it, perhaps, was sticking out of the lower tube at a bit of an angle when I put the new material in. So it jammed rather than pushed cleanly through.

      The idea is not to let the end of the filament reach that point... which 3D Systems has addressed with their latest design. I'm not all that worried about it. But, I did think that Cube users should know about it so that they don't make the same mistake I did. :)

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    2. Tom, I really appreciate your discussing the clog problems you've had. It gave me the courage to unclog my Cube today. I'd changed my filament, was careful to not pull out the old filament too soon as you recommended, etc. But I got the clunk-clunk-clunk sound too, and nothing came out the nozzle.

      After unplugging the system from wall power and letting everything cool, I took off the cover of the print head. I could look in between the fan blades and see some shreds of the original Neon Green filament sitting in the down-tube section underneath the filament feed grabbing wheels. (I'd tried replacing it with the Tan color filament.)

      I reached in between the fan blades with a very long-nosed pair of tweezers and fished the filament shreds out. I put everything back together, and the new cartridge's filament loaded just fine.

      I'm an EE and familiar with grounding myself regarding static discharge, etc., and would NOT recommend this trick to most folks since there's bare circuitry exposed that could be damaged by static charge. I'm sending in a detailed report to the Cubify folks, to give them more data on what changes may be needed.

      Regardless, I REALLY like the Cube printer I have, for its print quality, parsimonious use of filament, and general clean design and simple operation. They've given me great support, too, for every question or issue I've had.

      The only way I'd give up my Cube is if they came out with a newer model!

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    3. It's all about the quality.

      And, Like you I have noticed the more refined use of the filament by the Cube's firmware and Cubify software.

      Great post!

      I know that the 3D Systems folks are reading this blog and contributions like yours are very important to them to the Cube team.

      THANKS! And, keep contributing!

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    4. I had a similar problem but without the clunking noise. After taking off the head cover I was able to see that both the old filament and the new one were trying to go down the same hole to the heated extruder.

      By simply removing the two bolts that hold on the fan (be careful to catch the washers) you can clearly see the problem. Then by removing the C-clip on the guide gear (that little sucker likes to fly so be ready) a needle nose pliers can easily pull out the old filament. If you cannot get it all the way out simply pull it as far as you can, cut off what you can, and use something like a paperclip to push the remaining filament down into the extruder head.

      Now your new filament has a place to go and can flush out the material you could not manually remove. Replace everything as you found it and BOOM. Problem solved.

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    5. Nice!

      I wonder if there is a way to mount the fan in such a way as it could simply be slid out of the way rather than risking losing the spacers and washers.

      Thanks.

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    6. I found it easier to remove the brass(?) plate that holds the guide gear, rather than that pesky C clip. This was just so I could get a better view, really; actually forcing the filament through just required the T-handled tool, angled in the right direction.

      Also I lost my original unclog tool, so I made one with the wire handle from a Chinese take-out container. Did the job.

      Once I got a purchase on the old filament chunk, it spewed quickly out the head, and everything went great after that.

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  5. I was printing the napkin holder this weekend and left the cube unattended. Almost half of the way the cube stooped printing saying that it was a filament failure to feed. Initially I thought that the filament was glued inside the cartridge as Tom had mentioned here, but the filament was moving freely so I decided to replace and reinsert the cartridge and start the job from the beginning. The cube start rolling but it could not get the filament out. After 2-3 attempts I realized that the head did not heat up. So I suspect that there is a problem with the heater which it does not heat the head and that is why the filament can't pass through because is not melted.
    This is my second cube in 1 week. The first one couldn't even start this one printed only 1 object and fail. It also have another problem that it does not recognize the USB so I can't update the firmware.
    Reading all this good reviews from you guys I assume that all of you are having great time with Cubify but so far I am really disappointed with the quality of this machine.
    the quality of the printed object (although I printed on 1) is really good.
    I already contacted the support at Cubify let see what they have to say. Maybe for this price I wouldn't expect more!!! You get what you pay!!!

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    1. Make sure the USB memory stick is removed before connecting the USB cable. I made that mistake and got the same initial USB failure. Once the USB strick was removed it connected just fine.

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  6. Do you hear a clicking sound? If so, the head has clogged. Contact me at the requests@cubifyfans.com so I can get more information. What puzzles me is that if you could unload the filament, the head must be heating at some point. I will also try to connect mine to the computer tomorrow to see what I get.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate hearing that.

      I hope to hear how report from the staff at Hagley Museum soon. The last I heard, it was a center of interest for everyone. It's riveting to watch things forming before your eyes. :)

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  8. Also wanted to share my experience with a clogged print head. The Cubify folks sent me a replacement which works. But the question is for how long. The first print head stopped after just a few days and I did not do any of the user errors mentioned here.

    I agree that the print head needs to be designed such that it is more clean friendly, however that is accomplished. Detachable nozzle, a nozzle that can be tilted to expose the feeding end, a nozzle that can be screwed out, ...

    I also think

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  9. I have used Cube 3D printer for about a month now. I have made at least 40 prints. Most of them are small objects which are of my own creation. I have used several different colors, thus I have had to change cartridges very often. And I have had 3 times a clogged print head.
    I have learned to solve the problem rather quickly. I take the print head cover away. There are two screws holding it. After that I open the two screws which are holding the fan. But you have to be careful with the small parts, especially with the two washers, so that you won’t drop and loose them. (The two screws also hold the little printed circuit board, which is a part of the filament movement measuring sensor.) After that it is possible to take the small amount of filament away from the clogged print head. But you’ll need some small pliers or tweezers for that operation.
    When assembling the fan and the print head cover again, you have to be very careful with the thin wires. It is very easy to cut them or leave them too close to the print head. The wires do not like of too much heat!
    The first clogging happened when I obviously tried to pull the filament too early when changing cartridges. Then I made the procedure, which I have just described here above. After that I started to print, but soon I saw an error on the screen: “Temperature error”. The print stopped. I opened the print head again, and I noticed that the black wire, which was connected to the fan, was loosened from its connector. I soldered the wire carefully back and made a short test to see if the fan would work again. It started rotating, but I didn’t yet know what else had happened.
    When I had started the printing, the fan hadn’t started rotating because the black wire was not connected. And because there was no cooling, the thermal fuse, which is close to the print head, had cut the current to the print head and the print had stopped. And of course this had caused a new clogging of the print head. I even couldn’t take the cartridge away because the print head would not heat at all and it didn’t push the filament out. Thus I just cut the filament and took the print head cover away.
    I had no choice than to start measuring if the print head would get voltage at all, when the print was started. And thus I noticed, that the fuse had worked just as it was intended to do in a situation, where the fan doesn’t run. Luckily I have lots of components at home. I replaced the fuse with a new one and after that the print head started heating again. I also solved this new clogging situation and assembled all together again.
    All worked well until yesterday. I was once again changing cartridges, when a small amount of filament didn’t come out. Thus I had to do the procedure again. Now my printer is happily printing again. This time I print a new part to a small car. The printing time for this part is about 6 hours. Now the printing is nearly finished and no problems have occurred.
    I live so far from the USA that I do not want to send my printer or parts of it to the factory and wait for several weeks. I instead do not care of these warranty things. I try to repair everything myself. I have already used a MakerBot 3D printer for more than a year. I have upgraded several parts of it and thus I didn’t much hesitate to take away the print head cover of my new Cube 3D printer. I also tried once to upgrade the Cube firmware. I didn’t find a newer one, but I just tested the upgrade procedure. It worked, but in the beginning I was not able to start the process correctly. And this confusion was totally due to the sketchy instructions in the older versions of the Cube printer manual. In the newest manual I found, it was clearly told how to press and hold the buttons when starting the upgrade process.

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    1. Risto,

      This was a great addition to help both users and those looking at the Cube. As you know, from your previous experience with the Makerbot, the Cube is a big step toward a true consumer 3D printer. I like the fact that you recognize the reality of the benefits of the cartridge and the fact that no 3D printer is absolutely perfect at this point in the development. Thank you very much for your observations!

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  10. In spite of some problems, I am very satisfied with the Cube 3D printer. It is very easy to use. Compared to my old printer, I like that I can use raftless printing. And the printing plate is also very convenient to use with the Magic Glue. These things make every day printing very easy. The cartridge system makes it easy to change colors, if there are no cloggings, of course. The cost of the filament is high, but if you want to have more convenience, you have to pay for it.
    I have mainly used the Cubify Invent software in my creations. This software is easy to learn and powerful enough for my needs.
    I hope that my experiences with Cube 3D printer will help someone, who is seeking a solution to a clogging situation. We have to remember that we are kind of pioneers and the products need still to be developed. 3D printers aren’t yet for every home like washing machines or micro wave ovens.

    And thank you, Tom Meeks! I have watched all your tutorials and other videos and read all your blog posts. I do not very often write comments, but when I start writing, it is hard to stop, as you can see :-D

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  11. Once again, a great contribution. Raftless printing, when we don't need supports, is one of my favorite aspects of the Cube's operation.

    I had not even tried to see what it would take to remove the fan. So, your description of the process was nice to see.

    Keep in contact! I love it!

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    1. How come I cant get rid of "raft"? i have it turned off as well as "supports" and I still get it when i print... any help please?

      Thanks!

      Javier

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    2. javierymirna,

      Try downloading the latest Cubify Client, go to the options and make sure the switch is to the left for both raft and supports. If it is still a problem, please feel free to email me.

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  12. I agree - very good blog for the cube printer. Unfortunately I could not find any community, but that is another story. Today I clogged my print head as well and will try to clean it the way everybody else did it...

    I owned 3 3D printers including the Cube that I mainly bought to get my project under plasticlabs.wordpress.com off the ground and do some prototyping.

    The first one was a Fischertechnik Repstrap that I finished building but never used.

    The second printer is the Printrbot LC and I must say while I really waited for it to arrive to get into 3D printing and use the really large build area it was a disappointment once it was assembled (which was an adventure in itself) and I tried the first prints. Nuts would get loose and fall off only 2 minutes after the start. The nozzle oozes constantly once it is heated, the heat-up takes forever and you are more into maintenance (securing nuts, leveling heatbed & calibrate all other stuff around the bot) than into printing. Customer service does only exist if you push hard enough.

    With the Cube - being the third printer now - I could print more in 10 days now than with the PB LC in 6 month and I can also leave the printer do the work on his own.

    I must say that I really love the concept, the ease of use, ease of switching the filament, the real easy slicing software - which lets me rotate, scale, center multiple items on the virtual printed, something I was to dumb for in Slicr.

    I would buy the Cube again but would wish that as time passes by "Advanced Settings" will be introduced in the SW to do even better quality prints, an online community will form, more SW details will be released to foster potential derivatives and that I find an online source for filament in Europe/Germany/Netherlands.

    Hope that the Cube will be around for a long time and I see it as the future of 3D printing in its segment.

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    1. This is an excellent addition to our combined knowledge concerning 3D printing in general and the Cube in particular. If I may, I'd like to use this comment in a future blog that addresses what we'd like to see in the next version of the Cube. THANKS!

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    2. I feel your pain with respect to the lack of support out there for this system. After 12 months with no real online community in sight, I've finally decided to create a forum for support with topics like this. My next post will be a simpler printable solution for leveling the print pad. http://cube3d.createaforum.com/general-discussion/

      Dan

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  13. I could unclogg my Cube with thin wire method. I bought a steel wire for a Violin that is used for the tone "E" - just in case someone does not get piano wire.

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  14. Yes please feel free to use my comment in future blog posts

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  15. My cube is dead after only a few prints. I am getting the "Temperature error" and the print head is failing to heat up. (The fan is running, but the extruder just isn't heating up at all).

    Also with the default green plastic that was provided with the Cube, my prints always fail. The green plastic gets stuck and doesn't come out of the cartirdge smoothly.

    Really not liking this thing.

    I also have issues with the plastic curling away from the bed surface.. I haven't had a single print that I've been happy with.

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    1. I also have the problem with the plastic curling away from the print pad. I think my print pad is much too hot. The manual says that the temperature of the print pad is between 66 and 77 degrees Celsius. The temperature of my print pad is 115 degrees Celsius 15 minutes after start printing. Anyone suggestions how to reduce the temperature?

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    2. Hi Jan,

      A couple of questions... Are you suing the "Magic Glue"? What is the ambient temperature of the room in which you are printing. The heated bed is supposed to slow down the cooling of the object. Curling generally comes when part of the object cools too rapidly. If the room temperature is too low or if there is a draft, it will contribute to curling and lifting off the bed.

      The design of the item might also be a factor. What is it that you are trying to print? Feel free to write me at the address on the right side of this blog.

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    3. Hi Jan,

      I have used a digital thermometer to check my bed temperature and it is running at the same temperature as yours... up to 115C. So, I think that is normal.

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    4. I had the exact same problem. Do not waste your money on this product! I recently purchased this item and it worked well for the first three prints. Afterwords the machine ceased to heat up. After numerous runarounds from Andrew Peterson of their Customer Support he finally just emailed to buy a new one. If you purchase and item with cartridges for over $1700 you would expect it to either to what it's supposed to do or have it replaced.

      Stay clear of Cubify!

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    5. Absolutes are rarely correct with it comes to an individual's evaluation of their experience with any product. And, that is particularly true when it comes to something like a 3D printer. My experience is that the Cube, like all 3D printers can clog. But, there are ways to clear the clog and things to do that make a clog less likely.

      If I'd had more clogs with the Cube than with with my RepRap, then I might be more inclined to be critical of the Cube. But, that has NOT been my experience with my two Cubes, nor the Cubes that I've used in my volunteer work.

      Delete
  16. It looks to me as if the problem is a faulty cartridge, and probably NOT a faulty printer. Contact me directly at tmeeks(at)cubifyfans.com and maybe we can troubleshoot by phone.

    I have had a cartridge where the glue that joins the two halves together runs down and glues the inner ring of the spool.

    I'm puzzled about the curling is you are using the "Magic Glue". While it's not right to say that curling can't happen, it's very rare in my experience. I'd like to see the design and test it on my machine. Perhaps the bed isn't heating properly.

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  17. Just to add my experience -- I also had a clog (also magenta, as it turns out), probably from too-rapid removal when changing colors.

    Here's what worked for me. I took the print jet cover off, and while the tip was heated during the load/unload process, I used a straightened paper clip to insert from the top while inserting an insect pin through the tip. (I didn't have piano wire, so the insect pin was playing that role.)

    The key for me was realizing that I wasn't going to be able to punch the clog out, but by moving the paper clip and insect pin back and forth, I could melt some of the clog on to the paper clip and pull it out the top, let it cool, peel it off the paper clip, repeat as needed.

    My thanks to Tom and the commenters here; without this I might have been shipping it back.

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    Replies
    1. Brilliant move! And, I am MOST impressed that you had an insect pin! I HAVE to know how you came to have that lying around! :)

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  18. Just installed a new print head that Cubify sent me free of charge. I got one print out of it, and it once again gave me the "Temperature Error". The new print head is not heating up at all... again.

    I'm done with this machine.

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  19. I'm sorry to hear that AJ,

    That's got to be VERY frustrating. Fortunately, my own experience has been just the opposite. But, I would NEVER say never when it comes to machines. It's just frustrating when we are the unlucky ones to get the problem child.

    I;m wondering is the problem might be a wire inside the body of the machine rather than the head itself.

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    1. Cubify did replace the printer for me for free. I would have preferred the new model if they have fixed these problems though.

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    2. Hi A.J.

      I'm happy to hear that they took care of you. While I know it was a bit of a frustrating start, I'm hoping that your replacement Cube will be as reliable as mine has been.

      We'd love to see some of the things you will be printing! :)

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  20. I got my new cube today and right off the bat it was clogged. I tried to use the unclog tool and it did not help. I ended up having to heat the unclog tool with a lighter until it glowed and then it cleared the clog, I was printing my first 3D object 20 mins later :)

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    1. I take it that you have a Next-Gen Cube. If so, it would be helpful to know what type of material you were using. PLA or ABS?

      Delete
  21. Yes its the second gen. I dont know what was used to test it but I was printing with PLA. Support told me that they do test prints before they ship them out and that the test print must have caused the clog.

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  22. Anyone had experience with gap issue. I have my 2nd gen cube for 3 weeks now and no printing yet. The gap setting does not match the initial gap of during the start of printing. The filament flow error keeps popping up aborting the print less than 1 minute. For example, I set the gap to 5. The initial height during printing is 0.2. Anyone could help me out here?

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    1. Wow! That's no fun.

      It would be very helpful to see the steps you take when setting the gap. You can write me directly, if you like, by using the email address printed in the sidebar to the right.

      I would be more than happy to help walk through the issues and see if we can correct them.

      Delete
    2. Have you tried leveling the plate? Perhaps the print doesn't start at the centre of the plate and the plate isn't level. The print plate on my cube was not level at all when it arrived.

      Delete
    3. I had the same issue with a new machine. I was having a very hard time getting the z gap correct, and was getting filament feed errors because of it. In the end it turns out that the two hex nuts that hold the motor connector to the z axis bar were loose.

      My general experience with the Cube has been really frustrating. I'm on machine #2, and it came broken in two areas. It's been two months since I ordered and I've still not got a fully functional machine, but the staff at Cubify are helpful and they do replace parts.

      Once I got the Z Axis problem fixed I was able to reset the z gap and it started working correctly. It can be very tricky though, first really centering and leveling the plate, and then getting that gap just right.

      I started with the prescribed method, then I went to guessing. If you start a print and you can see the first layer of plastic is "squished", then open up that z-gap just a little more until it's happy. for me it was a bit of trial and error, but on the third time I nailed it.

      Delete
    4. Hi Bellevue,

      I'm not at all familiar with the CubeX so I can't be much help. We will be covering the CubePro, the successor to the CubePro and maybe they will be similar enough that we can be of help once we have some experience with it.

      Delete
  23. So far im not very happy. Bought a brand new gen 1 cube, and no matter what I do I get a "error, can not print file" it wont even print the factory files on the usb stick.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Please email me and give me more details. I try to keep up with any and all issues people might be having. And, this is a new one.

    ReplyDelete
  25. FYI, you don't need to use the expensive cube filament cartridges. You can use spool filament instead at 1/5th the cost. I published an adapter (printed on cube) on and bypass steps on thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:76083

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm not sure that it's going to buy you much. It would seem to me that the chip in the cartridge is keeping track of the filament usage and will still tell the Cube that the cartridge should be empty at some point.

    Ave you actually used more than a standard filament holds?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Works fine. Follow the instructions: http://www.howmuchsnow.com/cube

    ReplyDelete
  28. hi folks
    few days ago I got a cube 3D (first generation version) and I've experienced several troubles: from glogged print head to strange behaviour during printing, but I kept going until the last one. With a good amount of "DIY" I fixed all those probelms and got the printer going almost well but now I'm really stuck. I got error message: "!TEMPERATURE ERROR CODE:14 TEMP:10C CONTINUE WITH CAUTION" but no matter what I do, it doesn't continue.
    I left cube without power for hours, update firmware and rollback to previous version, tried to print demo files, several combination of power on e power off all to no avail: still error 14.

    Does anyone here found a solution or at least a sort of "factory reset" wich may resolve this issue?
    Should I begin a search for a new 3D printer? :-(

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  29. Please send me an email. The address is on the right side panel. I try to keep up with any issues and want to know more.

    ReplyDelete
  30. hi!
    same problem here. "Temperature error code 14 - Temp 10°C Continue with caution"
    what are your next steps - did you get it working?

    please help!
    j.

    ReplyDelete
  31. did anyone get any help with the temperature error code 14? I am having the same problem.

    Thanks

    Elliott

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having the same issue here Elliott. Got my first gen printer back in December, printed probably 20 items, then got the temp error. Tried everything.. their customer support told me I needed a new print head. I called BS, and eventually they agreed to send me a replacement unit (first gen) got it last week. Printed 4 things.. and guess what. Yup.. temp error again. Won't heat up at all now. This is total crap, for all the money we have spent on these printers I think we deserve a little better customer support. If this is a known issue, why isn't there a fix for it????

      Delete
    2. I learned that any Code having a "1" (10,14,etc.) relates to the print jet sensors and any with "2" relate to the print table. But, I agree that we need some additional tools on the Cube, via the LCD to force temperatures and filament forward and reverse so that we can better diagnose the issues ourselves.

      Delete
    3. Fast forward one year and I have the same issue. Cubify support is sending me new print jets that I'll need to install. At first they said it might be a software issue that they are trying to resolve with version 1.09 of the cubify software, then they decided that it was indeed the print jet. Still waiting for them to send it out. They said "spare" parts on a one week back order.

      Delete
  32. Hello,

    I'm having an issue with getting the Cube model in the dialog box. I could just be missing something small. When I try to print, I can not connect to the cube because the model doesn't show up.

    Also, I'm getting the message, "error, can not print" every time I try to print from the USB.

    If you could shed some light on this, it would be so helpful.

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi. I have read with huge interest the discussion above about the amount of filament in the cartridges of the Cube. Tom, did you make any further investigation about that? It is confusing that there is no information at all from 3D Systems about the amount or length of filament. If Mike's observation of 320g per Cartridge is correct this would mean massive 5-6 times of the costs vs. the costs of PLA/ABS filament for RepRap printers. Why is there no more transparency about it? I see the benefits of the cartridges but 5-6 times more than usual are IMHO not really justified.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am a teacher at a career center and recently my cubex has become very loud. it sounds like it is coming from the top left motor. The belt vibrates a lot and it sounds like the gears are off set or something. Any ideas on what this could be and how to fix it??? After I put some dw40 on one of the rails and messed with some of the screws it stopped but now it is doing it again. Cubify was lost when I told them. Also as a tip. I found that tacky glue and putting down blue painters tape as a base works really good with pla and it does not bend upward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The CubeX is an entirely different setup. So, I can't help you much there. Sorry.

      Delete
  35. Hello

    You already can purchase your CUBE 3D FREE kit what allows the use o bulk filaments on CUBE 3D / CUBE X printers manufactured by Cubify. Note that you have special price discount in quantity:
    20% discount for 2 units
    30% discount for 3 units
    40% discount for 4 units
    50% discount for 5 units
    60% discount for 10 units or more
    The ideia is that you can place a multiple order, with your kit and of more friends at your Country, optimizing shipping costs.

    If you have any doubt, please feel free to contact me.

    www.cube3dfree.com

    The webpage for now is not so complete, but with all enough functions to allow me to manufacture and ship to you the product, what is completely tested and working 100% perfect. Note that you are going to save a lot of money !!! At www.seacans.com you can buy 4 KG of multiple colour ABS by USD 54.99, meaning USD 13,75 by Kg. The original cartridges costs USD 49,00 by ~300 g of material, meaning USD 163,00 by Kg, so almost 12x more !!!!
    You can buy also at http://www.repraper.com/, I also purchased many colours of ABS, very good quality material, tested and approved.

    If you place now an order, you are going to receive your kits within 1 month at home. The kit includes the electronic device, an USB cable, a support for bulk filaments with axis, all parts needed as screws for a nice installation, all intructions. Start to save money now !!! I am so happy with my device ... now I am paying very low by material !!! My printer are going to work 24 hrs by day LOL !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Normally, I delete all sales pitches that show up here. But, I will let this remain, I like the cartridge concept because it provides me with consistent materials from a trusted source. I have a lot of open and unusable filament reels for my other reprap 3D printer that proves to me that nominally cheaper does not always mean actually cheaper.

      So, my leaving this here does not mean that I endorse either the concept or the product. I simply believe that it's out there and up to you what you want to do about it.

      Delete
  36. Hi,

    I'm interested in buying a CubeX printer, but I have a question regarding the cartridges: How many basketball-sized objects can you print before you run out of plastic?
    So anything like head statues or toys...

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The CUBE X original cartridges have near 600g of material. If you print a basketball probably will use all cartridge. If you buy the CUBE 3D FREE www.cube3dfree.com kit you can use bulk filaments, sold in reels of 1Kg and 2Kg, with prices as low as USD 13,50/Kg. The original cartridges costs near USD 160,00/Kg, insane

      Delete
    2. I don't have a CubeX. But, there is a blog devoted to the CubeX 3D printer by a user. http://cubex3dprinting.blogspot.com/

      That would be the place to ask this question

      Delete
  37. Hi Roberto,

    I left your original message up here even though I normally delete ALL sales promos as this is not the purpose of my blog. I will also leave this one up; but, ask you not to use this blog as a sales platform. Otherwise, we will have to endure any and all sales efforts aimed at a popular blog like this one. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Tom

      Thank you to keep my posts, my intention is not to do sales at this blog, but give to people a solution fpr a big problem: the high price of original cartridges. I have a CUBE 3D, so after I bought it, I found out that I am obligated to pay a insane overprice for the cartriges from Cubify. In Brazil they are sold by USD 130,00. I am a design engineer specialized in reverse engineering, thus I decided to find a solution to use external material. I spent a lot of money and many hours of work to finaly develop a device that fools the printer firmware, and it's completely indetectable by firmware, impossible to be blocked. People will save a lot of money using this device. Another problem people told me is that is lacking original cartridges at the market, in some cases 2 months of delivery time.

      Regards

      Roberto Gehlen Oliveira

      Delete
  38. Thank you for helping us solve our classroom's first major filament fail. I used your diagram, but tried to give you ample credit: http://talesofa3dprinter.blogspot.com/2013/12/3d-printer-4-our-new-cube-take-2-limit.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not sure what is up with the comments. I was hoping to use a href tag, and that didn't work. This time it did some crazy justified text formatting. However, I think you get the point of our gratitude. :)

      Delete
  39. I love your blog and will cite it from here. I'm happy to hear that you are up and running! Send me an email using the one listed to the right in the Personalizing Help section.

    ReplyDelete
  40. All of a sudden my touch screen has become unresponsive when making a selection from a flash drive. I have tried a couple flash drives and also cleaned the screen . Any suggestions? Tim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tim,

      Since there is no ON/Off button on the Cube, try pulling the power connector out for 15 minutes and then replace it to force a cold boot and see if that clears up the issue. Let me know if this works for you.

      Delete
  41. Anything I print over three inches in width starts out great, but eventually comes loose and get pulled around by the print head. I have tried different amounts of glue, roughing up the print plate with a little sandpaper and resetting the gap and leveling the print plate. Very frustrating. Any suggestions? Thanks, Tim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you have the 1st Gen Cube, make sure your table is heating properly and that you are using the correct glue.

      Also, try using a post-it note to set the gap. Take a picture of your first layer and send it to me using tmeeks [at] cubifyfans.com so that I can see how the first layer looks.

      The 1st Gen Cube's glue is heat activated. So, a table that is too cool will not activate the glue properly.

      Delete
  42. I should have said I have the cube. The glue dries way too quickly and eventually the print head pulls it off the print plate. Right now once I get a couple layers down I duct tape the edge down to the plate on a couple places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In that case, the best way that I have found to deal with the fast drying glue issue is to (1) first apply a pre-coat of glue and let it dry and (2) then start the print and immediately apply a very thin second coat of glue while the head is heating up so that the application of the glue happens as close to the starting print time as possible.

      You can also try PURPLE Elmer's Glue stick to see if that works better during the winter months. The different humidity levels between summer and winter is probably the primary source of your problems. This year, in most places in the country the air has been much colder than normal. As the air is heated inside our homes, the relative humidity goes DOWN... drying the glue more quickly. I actually use a humidifier in the winter months in my outside studio where most of my printing is done to lessen that problem. Temperature/Humidity monitors can be purchased very inexpensively at Home Depot, etc.

      Also, THIN amounts of the glue are much better than THICK amounts.

      Delete
  43. We followed the instructions in a powerpoint given us by Cubify on how to disassemble the head to remove a clog which turned out to be in the lower tube or nozzle. By the time we got the nozzle out it was cool, and we could not pull the clog out with tweezers. I heated the nozzle with my Weller soldering station, using a large tip that would transfer heat to the nozzle. After 45 seconds or so we were able to pull up on the clog and remove it. We have made two small parts since without incident.

    ReplyDelete
  44. These types of clogs should be a thing of the past with the new design of the Cube3 which combines the cartridge with the nozzle.

    I'm very happy to hear that you came up with a very creative solution. Thanks for posting that.

    ReplyDelete
  45. We just had this on our Cubex Duo. What happens is that the PLA was getting backed up into the tube because the head was too close to the plate. The Cubex has a very low tolerance for distance from the plate to the head. Even being off by the width of a post it note will make it fail sometimes, especially if you're building your models to print @ 0.1mm.

    What is happening in the tube is the filament gets backed up into the plastic insert at the top of the feeding mechanism and it forms a little cone. In other words it pushes into that plastic tube and forms a block.

    What I did, and I'm sure it's not recommended by Cubex, was to take off the print jet and then plug it back on, but not screwed into the assembly. I left it hanging off the back side of the print head assembly. I then went into the menu in the front of the machine and told it I was changing cartridges. It heats up the filament and then you force the blockage out using a piano wire (in my case airbrush cleaning wire).

    Use gloves because it gets hot. But this will allow you to dig out that garbage and clear it because you can see inside the print jet.

    Personally I'd like to replace that little clear plastic tube inside the print jet with an aluminum tube to avoid this problem. But that's just me.

    ReplyDelete
  46. EXCELLENT. ADVICE. This is true of Cube and CubeX. Clogging is almost always the result of all or some portion of the plate being too close to the print head. Sometimes users can find solutions that a manufacturer cannot suggest due to even the small risk like the hot tip. And, this is one of them. I LOVE it.

    Creativity isn't limited to designs. It can also be applied to keeping our tools up and running.

    Thank you so much for this comment!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi all,
    about the glue I'm having good results with 3DLac on my Cubex Duo, it's stronger than the Magic glue but it's easyer to remove.
    It works very well with PLA, I didnt had good results with ABS but I've oly made a few tests with this material and I think I've used a temperature that was to high for the first layer.
    I've printed quite large parts on PLA ( 100-120mm ) and had absolutely no warping, the part was sticked to the plate and the glue cracked when I removed the part.
    About the bulk filament : it's much more better using Kisslicer with Cubeitmod instead of using electronic devices, and this for more reasons.
    Kisslicer with Cubeitmod not only allows you to print from bulk filament spool but it improves dramatically the quality of your printed parts.
    You can also print with other materials then PLA or ABS, at the moment I'm using PVA as material support and it works great, it's water soluble !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very interesting information!

      But, I could not find a source for 3DLac in the USA.

      While the Cubeitmod also sounds interesting, I'm wondering if it will be surpassed in quality by the brand new Cube clients being released with the latest printers.

      Delete
    2. Hi Tom,
      3DLac is basically a strong and temperature resistant hair spray without any perfumes, maybe you can try with a strong hair spray.

      I don't think that Cubeitmod will be surpassed so soon by the Cubex software because there's too much difference ( look at the comparisons pictures that some users have posted into the "Kisslicer refugee camp") .

      Delete
    3. While I've not had a chabce to test the new software for myself, I have seen the results at several recent shows. I think everyone is going to be very pleased with the new results when it hits the street.

      But, I still would like to do a comparison because I believe in pushing the envelope forward. But, I haven't as yet found any images, Email me a few.

      Delete
    4. Email me some mages, as I haven't been able to find them

      Delete
  48. Re: material wont feed, clicking sound, blocked jet, cubex not feeding filament, unclogging a print jet.

    If a piece filament snaps after the little feeder wheel, but before the hot end, it will stay cold, hard and make your print jet not work. Then if you try and feed filament into the top it will hit the lodged piece (which is cold and not moving) and will make a click sound because it is failing to feed through and down the jet.
    If you have this problem, take the printer jet out by removing 1 screw that holds it, disconnect the cable loom and try to clear it with piano wire, or a steel guitar string. I did this today. I plugged the loom back in with the jet in my hands held by a pair of pliers. I then heated it up to 260c and spent a long time (30min?) ramming both ends with wire, occasionally working bits of filament free. In the end the wire went through all the way, and it was glorious to see it unblocked, thank christ.

    Needless to say, Cubify's condescending instructions on how to solve this fail to capture the fact that if you hear clicking and you can't push filament through and get it to load you are having a bad day today. The official instruction of what to do is 'send it back to cubify", but if I haven't just overheated it beyond repair, I believe my jet is now operational again & crisis averted!


    D

    ReplyDelete
  49. Awe-inspiring blogs, I love reading your articles. examiner

    ReplyDelete
  50. hi, can i ask how long your printjet was replaced? and where do you get your filaments? I get mine from https://cheap3dfilaments.com/, is this good?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sam, do you already have the CUBE 3D FREE device ?

      Delete