Monday, August 6, 2012

Connecting the Cube

WIRELESS - Ad-Hoc Option 

Because I prefer to use the Cube with the memory stick, I had not tested the WiFi connection.

I have not been able to connect via WPS as yet.

But, I was able to connect via the "Ad-Hoc" connection option.  The trick is to turn on the Cube and search for the Cube on the computer's available wireless choices BEFORE starting the Cubify Client.

The manual actually points this out; but, I thought it important to re-confirm the order.

Frankly, since the Cube requires a response via the touch screen before beginning the print job sent to it wirelessly, I fail to see that there is much benefit by the wireless option.  In addition, the Ad-Hoc option appears to require me to choose between the my normal network wireless connection and a wireless connection to the Cube.  

Since I print in an outside studio, it's just as convenient to use the USB memory option.

USB Cable - Firmware Updating

When I first tried to connect the Cube to the computer, a USB FAILURE message popped up.  This had been reported by another user and it concerned me.  Then I discovered the problem.  The USB memory stick was still in the machine.  Only 1 USB connection can be made at a time.  So, be sure to remove the memory stick before plugging in the USB cable.

Once this was done, the failure message went away and the USB connected OK.

HOWEVER.... it did not happen quickly and there was no evdence that it had connected OK.  More importantly, when I opened Cubify to upload a firmware update, following the directions in the manual, Cubify, at first, could not find the firmware loader.  It was only after another minute or so that all seemed to connect correctly, find the loader and begin working.

While it worked, it was a bit disconcerting.  Nothing is scarier for me than uploading new firmware to  a device since, in most cases, a failure can mean you've turned a useful device into a brick. 

It's unclear to me if the fault lies with Windows or the Cube.  But, in any case, I am hoping that they work on refining this process or the description of the process..

The good news is that in the end I still had a working unit and a successful firmware update.  :)

28 comments:

  1. is there a firmware update? How do I get it the .hex file?

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  2. That is an interesting question and I THINK I know the answer thanks to Cube owner Chris Crowley of Table Mountain Innovation.

    But, I have not talked directly to 3D Systems about this as yet.

    It seems it is embedded by the Cubify software into the .Cube file in some fashion. And, that is what pops up the message at the end of a print. Don't hold us to this without confirmation and clarification.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Hi, Tom:

      [reposted after fixing typos]

      About setting up the WPS connection:

      I started out, like you, using a USB memory stick to transfer files from the PC to the Cube. But the frequent plugging and unplugging of the USB stick began to bother me, from the standpoint of wearing out the connector contacts in the Cube. As I'm sure you know, all connectors have a finite number of connect/disconnect cycles in them before they become unreliable.

      So that's why I reluctantly decided to try the WPS connection.

      For me, it turned out to be very easy to set up. One "trick" is that you must have a router new enough (2007 or newer, said an article I read) to have the "blue button" on the front which means it supports WPS.

      BTW I'm running Windows 7, which I think is also necessary.

      Here's how I do it:
      1) The Cubify client has to be running.
      2) Go to the WiFi Setup menu on the Cube. There are two choices, WPS or Ad-Hoc. Don't select either yet.
      3) Press and hold the blue button on your router until its front panel light starts flashing. You now have two minutes to make a WPS connection.
      4) Press the WPS choice on the Cube screen.
      5) In about 30 seconds or so the Cube will say "WPS connection established" or some similar message.
      6) Go to the Cubify client and check every 15 seconds or so in the "Configure" box until you see an entry for "Cubes currently on LAN via WiFI". It can take 30 seconds or so.
      7) Highlight that one and click "Connect".
      Within a few seconds you get a "connected!" message.
      8) Now you can "print" the file in the Cubify client directly to the printer.

      BTW, once you have the connection you should navigate the Cube back to its basic menu showing the choices of "Print" and "Setup." If you're sitting at that screen it's ready to accept a remote print command from the Cubify client.

      Now that I understand the WPS process, it makes sense: The general protocol is that you press the blue router button and that starts the router looking for a connection to make. After two minutes it'll stop trying if it hasn't found one. During that two minutes if you have the Cube start trying to create a connection the router will accept it without needing any passwords, etc.

      The two minute window is your protection from someone parking outside your house and getting into your system that way.

      Anyhow, that process has worked for me every single time. I've never had to address "internet access" and scrolling through any lists on my PC at all, as mentioned in the user's manual. I just go through the above steps and bingo -- I'm connected.

      I hope it works as simply for you. Now that I have it, I'm happier using it versus using the USB stick. Now I'm not wearing out those connections. And even allowing for the non-zero time to transfer a file over the WPS connection, I think it's faster than the copying of files to a USB stick and fiddling on the Cube end. But the non-contact part of it is what appeals to me.

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    2. P.S.: Once you're connected via the WPS connection you stay connected until either stopping the Cubify application from running on the PC or shutting off the Cube.

      Once connected I usually leave it connected for the rest of the day or longer, so I can print additional items whenever the desire hits me.

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  4. Another trick for updating... don't have the Cube in the bootloader mode when first connecting it or the computer will not recognize the USB connection properly. Start with the machine on, not building, and without the USB stick installed. Then, connect the USB cable to your computer. If this is the first use, Windows will then install the USB port driver for the Cube and confirm this. Start the Cube client software on your computer, put the Cube in bootloader mode, then press the firmware update button on the connection window in the client software. BTW the firmware appears to be loaded from the net so if you were connected to the Cube via WiFi AdHoc mode, you'd need to reestablish your regular internet connection first.

    All of this came by trial and error but the update completed very quickly once the connection was established. IT is now V1.00 instead of V0.24.

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  5. Thanks for checking that out. It's very helpful. Right now, I've loaned the Cube to Hagley Museum for a week. I'll check this out when I get it back.

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  6. I *JUST* got my Cube-- and it's on firmware 1.00. What the heck?
    When I press on the UPDATE FIRMWARE button in SETTINGS, it does nothing. No screen, nothing. There's no way I can enter the BOOTLOADER mode. Do you have any ideas?

    I have to say, the first 3 prints were nice. Then the filament jammed. And now I'm having a heck of a time trying to update the firmware. The docs aren't that good, and there's no forum for support-- as I'm sure others are having the same problem.

    Product -> B+
    Support -> D

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    1. I have the same problem with my Cube2 and v1.00. Did you find any solution ?

      Thomas

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  7. Found this page sort of helpful.

    Anyone else get the message: BOOT LOADER NOT DETECTED.

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  8. Hi,
    "BOOT LOADER NOT DETECTED" means your PC couldn't find the proper USB driver to link with the printer. try and try again until it does (You may have to hard reboot your PC).

    Good luck.

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    1. Thanks, Kat3D. That's helpful to know. :)

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  9. Hi,
    plz relay quickly on my cube 1st gen i am trying to update the software i did all the instructions so that i have "Cube Firmware lader v1" but it says on the client "bootloader not detected" plz tell me what can i do
    thanks

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  10. I had the same "BOOT LOADER NOT DETECTED" issue described above. I sent an email to the manufacturer and the next morning I received a link to this video.

    https(://)www(.)youtube(.)com(/)watch?v=tPppSOCOkss

    I haven't had a chance to determine if it works, but their support response was very good. After I sent my initial support request, I also received an email with a phone number to call (during business hours). I called the next morning and it was answered by the guy in the video!

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  11. I tried this but the printer simply switched off :-(
    Currently I have a very expensive 3D 'brick' on my table at school. The kids are so far unimpressed.
    Any other solutions??
    Michael

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  12. The best way to print with the Cube is to use a USB Flash Drive, not connect via WIFI. Are having trouble printing or changing the firmware?

    Feel free to write me at the address at the right of this blog under "Personalizing Help".

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  13. The connecting to cube via wifi mentioned above does not work with Cubepro duo. Does anyone can help?

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  14. I wish I could help you. But, as of yet, I have no experience with the CubePro. But, I think you will get a quick reply if you contact Cubify Support.

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  15. I can't seem to find the new firmware online so I can download it on my usb and then update my cube 3. Does anybody know where I can find it.

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  16. If your Cube 3 is connected to your WiFi, just go to:

    Setup > Firmware > WiFi

    When you select WiFi, it will search online for the latest firmware and compare your current firmware. If there is a more recent firmware that supercedes the one on your printer, you can select to download and install it. Otherwise, it will report, "No new firmware available".

    If not connected by WiFi, you will have to contact Cubify Support and they will send you the latest firmware build via email.

    I hope this helps.

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    1. its bullshit... why must write to cubify support if latest firmware comes with Cube software?

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    2. The comment to which you replied was dated in January when it was possible to get a firmware update BEFORE it was released on the web site by directly contacting support.

      At this point, the firmware is so stable that there is no reason for needing to seek availability to unreleased firmware.

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  17. I try toprint with the Cube is to use a USB Flash Drive,after a year, I have ERROR, unable to print

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  18. does anyone know how to make a usb stick that can be read by the cube? because all the sticks i put with files are non readebles

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    1. Oops! Forgot to add this... The printer cannot read an STL file. It can only read files specifically created by the Cube Print Client.

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  19. You may be trying to use a USB 3.0 memory stick. Some work and some do not. Try using an older USE 2.0 memory stick.

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  20. Hello I have a Cube 3 printer and when I try to connect on WiFi it tells me that the password is wrong...so I dig up a usb cable to connect it to my windows 7 pc. Windows tells me it cannot find drivers for the printer so it will not connect to the printer or be recognized as an active printer in the cubify software. If I find a file on the internet and put it on a usb drive (the same stick that came with the printer in the box) it does nothing or it gives me a cube 3d icon and will not print. the firmware on the machine is 1.4 I've calibrated the tray, the print head, ran the spools and it does all of that but I'm frustrated this device has been a cup holder :(

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