Tuesday, March 19, 2013

CubeStick (2nd Gen Glue) Observations

I don't know if the observations you are about to read are universally true.  But, it has taken a little bit of getting use to using CubeStick as differentiated from the behavior of the heat activated MagicGlue.

Don't get me wrong.  Both work and work well.  But, it seems to me that there are some extra things we can do to make sure that we do not EVER have a failure due to an object coming loose as it's being printed.

Dry the Printing Table Thoroughly

Both CubeStick and Magic Glue are water soluble.

It might be my imagination.  But, CubeStick seems less sticky when applied to a newly cleaned print table.  The print bed is frosted glass.  And, it may be that the very tiny irregularities that make frosted glass frosted might be able to hide and hold microscopic drops of water when we think we have dried the table completely.  It doesn't take a lot more effort to give the glass a few extra swipes with a new paper towel just to make sure the table is as dry as we can get it.

Apply a Thin Base Coat of CubeStick on Newly Cleaned Printing Tables

Just like a primer helps when painting, it has been my experience that if I first apply a very thin CubeStick layer over the whole printing table, and let it sit for a few minutes before applied a final coat of CubeStick that it seems to have significantly better performance.

Create Small Water Channels in Object Bases

CubeStick is water soluble.  So, if there is an object that you know is going to be difficult to remove from the print table try creating a .25mm channel at the base of the object to help distribute water under the object.  This can be created using a small square modified with BOSS CUT or BOOLEAN DIFF.  An object having a  patterned bottom releases more easily than one having a completely flat bottom.  By creating water channels at the base of your objects, you permit water to get under the object, dissolving the glue.

You don't need big channels.  Nor, do you need many.  A few will create isolated pockets of adhesion, allowing the piece to be lifted more easily.

Use the Best Tool

I have found a "painting knife" that works very well to remove stubborn parts. It can be purchased through ACMoore.  But, similar painting knives can be found in any craft or art store.\

Painting Knives for Part Removal
 I had previously used the larger version with the RapMan 3.2,  But, the smaller version is well suited for the 2nd Generation Cube.  The shape allows you to slide obliquely rather than applying brute force that a paint scraper or straight tool might require.

Relative Humidity

The area in which I live, with wide temperature and moisture variations is also a factor in how the CubeStick behaves.  I assume that the optimal indoor relative humidity for proper adhesion without drying too fast is between 40% and 50%.  In the room in which I print, the relative humidity has gone from 16% t0 56%.  Now that I think about it, those times when the humidity has dropped to the lowest points are probably the times when the glue has seemed to perform less than expected.  Now that I realize this, I will keep an eye on the relationship and will use a small personal humidifier in that space.  Of course, I don't want it so high that the humidity affects the PLA.  A balance is the key.


  1. Yes, a weekend of torrential rain when I first got my 2nd generation Cube gave me fits! That's how I figured out the relationship between humidity and glue stick performance! Kinda funny that a high tech machine is so impacted by a low tech item like glue! Do LOVE my Cube!

  2. I too live in a dry climate and have had trouble w/cubestick. I tried a light mist of water on the print table with mixed results. (wasted half a spool of filament on failed print jobs)

    Problem is really bad waiting for big jobs to load and then wait for extruder to heat up,

    Wish CUBE would re-write print program to:
    1) Load program.
    2) Heat filament.
    3) Apply glue to table and install table.
    4) Press button to begin print.

    Thanks Tom, for the BEST Source on info on the web! Do some tutorials on INVENT?

  3. I completely understand the issue of applying glue and then anxiously waiting for a print to start. I will pass this on to the Cube team for their consideration. It's a great point and helpful suggestion!

    I, too, would love to see this as the print workflow. Nice!

    And,,, thank you for the compliment! :)

  4. One of the things that I did to give me more control over the CubeStick Glue was to unscrew the applicator sponge and add water to the bottle (a little at a time using a 5cc syringe until it had the consistency of molasses).

    I ended up doing this because I found that the glue as supplied was too thick to work with (Batch Sept. 19, 2013). Honestly, it was like tar and it was a battle to spread it thinly onto the print plate. (Nothing like how you show us in your video, Tom. Or Ilana does in hers.)

    Adding some water made the glue much easier to apply (in one or two coats) AND it had the added bonus of giving me much more time (up to about 10 minutes) to get the tackiness just right before starting a print.

  5. That's a great find, Lyn!

    I'll check it out the next time I print. :)

    In particular, I'll be interested to see how wiping vs. dabbing effects release in water.