Monday, November 17, 2014

Cube 3: Rundown of Outstanding Issues to be Resolved

Prior to the 1.08 firmware update, there were some gap issues with early machines due to a difference in height between the right and left printjets.  Any negative effects of this seem to have been resolved by the new ability to calibrate affected machines. 

It was further corrected in subsequent machines by a new die for creating the printjet housing.  It is my understanding that ALL machines now being released should have perfectly level printjets.  I have no idea what serial number reflects the change; but, since the firmware and calibration seems to have successfully addressed the issue with earlier machines, I consider no longer an outstadning issue.

However, there is one issue that remains and that appears to be totally related to the cartridge.  The end result is clogging, which usually could always be traced back to a poor gap.  However, in this case, it seems the issue is that the extruder can work so rapidly and forcefully that the current filament can strip leaving the extruder to be unable to feed properly.

OK.  So, here's the good news ans the bad news. 

First, the bad news.

I'm getting enough reports that, along with personal experience, tells me it's a common problem right now.  However, it's not 100%.  I was able to use one cartridge right down to the end without a clog. 

Now, the good news

Those users with which I've spoken, seem to be of the same opinion that the issue is exclusively within the cartridge itself and has no cause in the basic machine design.  That really is good news for me, because correcting the problem can be addressed either with a new filament compound and/or a redesign of the extrusion system in the cartridge.  I know for a fact that 3D Systems has brought new filament producing capabilities into the 3D Systems family.  This should mean greater quality control over the filament production and finishing process.   If filament weakness is the culprit, we should be seeing some new filament in the pipeline to address that weakness.

When?  I have NO idea.  But, I'm betting that it will be soon.  And, as soon as I know, you will know.

The other good news is that the Cube community includes some brilliant, analytical minds.  I'm trying to team with as many of these individuals as possible to get their feedback on their own field results to see if we, as users, can add some eyes, ears and gadgets to provide feedback to 3D Systems as to which designs might cause the most trouble or which colors seem the most reliable.

Call, Write, Call...

The best way you can help yourself and the entire Cube 3 community is to let Cubify Support know about any issues you are having.  They WANT to hear from you. 

The bottom line is that I do not expect this to be an issue for very long.  I will post when I know for sure that it is completely behind us.

18 comments:

  1. ive had 3 cartridges clog on me, only one has worked perfectly..even my replacements clogged.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I feel your pain. I have 6 clogged cartridges. But, that does not diminish my belief that once they solve the cartridge issues that we will be very happy owners of the Cube3. Hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
  3. IDK if my first comment got through, sorry if this is a duplicate. My Auto-Level keeps raising the plate into the print nozzles. I have a video of it on youtube if you want the link let me know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely want to see the video. The video will be useful to every Cube 3 owner, me and 3D Systems support. The fact that you went to the trouble of documenting what you are seeing with video is something I love to see.

      THANKS!

      Delete
    2. Hi Tom,

      Here is the video (http://youtu.be/auBcBgqD7EI) on my youtube account. Thanks for starting this blog, it seems to be one of the only blogs about the Cube 3D printer (3rd gen).

      Best,
      Nick

      Delete
    3. Hi Nicholas,
      If this were the Cube 2, I'd suggest first using the auto gap and immediately go into manual adjustment. Then drop the table using the control panel arrows and save that setting as if it were your final selection. This should give you a better starting point for the calibration.

      But, since there is the light system in the Cube3, I have to say I don't know if that method still works. It's worth a try.

      The video was very helpful. :)
      But,

      Delete
  4. I agree, I believe it is a cartridge problem. The machine seems to be very well designed. Firmware could use a little tweaking, like being able to change print settings (adding rafts or supports) after sending to the printer. As of now you have to generate the print file and send it which takes about 5min on my machine and if you screw up the settings you have to resend it

    ReplyDelete
  5. All the Cube client software versions required setting raft and support options before building the file. And, it make sense to do it this wat, since it is the client software, not the printer, that determines the layer slicing... of which raft and supports would be a part.

    All the printer does is print the layers as predetermined by the client software. While it would be cool if it could be done,offloading the generation of support and raft would probably end up being even slower. I wish I knew if any other printers worked that way?

    ReplyDelete
  6. My cartridges clog everytime I try to print 0.07. I have not had a clog yet on 0.2 prints. I had 2 replaced and a 3rd coming. They want me to ship back the cartridge to investigate however I don't believe it will help them. I think the High resolution prints are too fast for the cartridge to extrude. I believe it will come down to a firmware update along with improved filament. In the mean time dare not try another 0.07 print.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Until we see that first new cartridge with the newly formulated filament we are completely in the dark.

      I keep hoping for something to test :(

      Delete
  7. Reading through these posts I now see that I am not alone. I have been very frustrated with the support so am glad to have found this blog by way of a google search (Tech Support seems to be very unresponsive to my e-mails and I have to proactively follow-up each e-mail with a phone call -- if VM is received, then a left-VM is never returned). Lack of Tech Support on the weekends is frustrating as well (this is a weekend hobby for goodness sake).

    So I’ve had 5 clogged cartridges on two different machines (the first machine had the WiFi error, the uneven extruder head issue and the clogged cartridges issue so they sent me a new one). The replacement unit has (mostly) fixed the WiFi and the heads are aligned but I am still having clogging issues. I have not been able to make a finished print since receiving my machine in November (being on order since June).

    The markings on my most recently received cartridge (received via FedEx under warranty replacement yesterday) are Cartridge X12112314-1PLA BLK, SN # 391147. Is there any indication about the model number or serial numbers of the “newest” filament which is supposed to correct this clogging issue (something surmised from this Blog and not from Cubify Tech Support which has not volunteered this information which is also frustrating).

    I am about to GIVE UP on the Cube3. It is one thing to ship a faulty systems (VERY late) and yet another to have the poor support to not be forth coming with answers. [Is there an official Forum which I am missing?]

    Disgruntled in Chicago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far as I know, the new filament is not yet in the shipping pipeline. I'm waiting for some to test.

      If, as we suspect, it is restricted to a filament problem, there isn't much support can do until the filament supplier delivers... which I an hoping will be this week or next,

      As you indicated, knowing the starting batch/serial numbers of the new filament is going to be critical in finally being able to separate possible printer design issues from filament issues.

      Side Note: As I've reported, I had no problem with the Black PLA that came with my unit.

      Delete
    2. There is no forum of which I'm aware.

      I can understand EVERYONE'S frustration. And, that extends to the folks at 3D Systems who I know for sure want all of their users to be happily productive with their new Cube3. I'm not making excuses for them. But, I know many of them and to a person they DO care.

      The fly in the ointment for me is that I don't know the filament supplier. I have no idea who they are or how they view their obvious issues in delivering suitable filament.

      I am absolutely confident that it WILL be resolved.

      But, not knowing anything at all about the filament supplier makes it rough to make an intelligent assessment as to when and how well all this will be resolved.

      Delete
  8. This is what support sent me yesterday when I inquired about my back order of cartridges and if they are working on the clogging issue.

    Hi Peter-

    3Dsystems is updating the cartridges and machine firmware to help alleviate this issue.

    You will be receiving new material when it ships.

    Thanks,

    Greg | Cubify Customer Support
    Email: cubifysupport@cubify.com | Web: www.cubify.com | NYSE: DDD

    ReplyDelete
  9. Of course there is no timeline communicated on this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they have wisely learned that projecting a date for something that is dependent on their own supplier is NOT a good idea.

      My day job until about 8 months ago was in the field of supply chain management. This was clearly a breakdown at a critical point in the supply chain. Some of the points are completely under the control of 3D Systems, such as engineering and assembly of the Cube 3. Other points along that supply chain are dependent on outside suppliers... as, it appears, is the filament.

      It doesn't take much to seriously disrupt a supply chain. Ask NASA. :)

      Delete
  10. Cube 3 cartridges. I bought a new cube and all was well with printing and yup, clogged cartridge. Still awaiting the replacement they promised, but probably on its way. I did notice with the other cartridges I purchased that the print head is slightly different in size and when using a new and old cartridge together, the old one touched the print and moved it on the print plate. So I guess that the new cartridges have a different sized print head. I do wish they would advise us users of such things. Another gripe, We all know new things have teething problems, its life and things happen. But why not have a user blog on the Cubify site for all of us to report, help others etc. just an idea so they and us can see any issues and resolve them as and when
    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because we have multiple users, we have directed our sites to run only one cartridge at a time to avoid any possible differences in the print jets. We can't be sure that they will check the gap manually on the lowest print jet. So, it's just easier to only worry about gapping a single head.

      Later in this class cycle we will be using two colors for a clock project; but, we'll have specific insytructions to manually gap the LOWEST head if there is a difference.

      Delete