Friday, November 7, 2014

The Best Way to Serve All Cube3 Users and 3D Systems

As a software producer for decades, I was always amazed when I would be sitting with a client when an error message popped up on the screen and they explained, "Oh. That's nothing.  It does it all the time and I just ignore it."

What???  Are you kidding me???  Why would you DO that!

Every time I would tell them that I WANTED to know IMMEDIATELY when an error message popped up.

As the developer, I knew what not to do.  So, my own testing could never fully replicate the experience of users that did not know exactly what not to do.

In fact, I had no idea that the user might go down this or that path in an order I had never attempted that generated the error.  So, it was important to me to hear about issues as soon as possible.

Their reporting of issues not only would help them.  It would help other users and me, the developer.

There is no way for any manufacturer to cover 100% of the potential circumstances that might reveal something that needs to be addressed to ensure 100% reliability.  The Rolls Royce is clearly at the top of the automotive food chain.  But, as you will hear from me often, there is a reason all Rolls Royce dealerships have repair shops.

Beyond even that example, we are well aware of the billions spent on making space vehicles perfect. But, as two recent events have shown us, sometimes even that doesn't help to keep ALL errors out of the initial systems.

The Cube3 3D printer is THE best 3D printer I've owned.  In fact, I think it is going to establish itself as THE printer to have for homes and schools in a very short period of time.  It is going to do for 3D printing in education what the Apple II did for computing in the classroom.

But, I've spotted some small things that can be refined to reach the goal of near perfection.  And, the first thing I do when spotting something is to report it to Cubify Support.  An example is that I see some stray bits of filament dropping onto the print plate when colors are changed.  This is definitely no show stopper.  But, it does look a bit messy and the beautiful quality of the prints deserves to look pristine on the print table at all times.

It is something that I am sure can be fixed in firmware.  But, that fix may only happen if the engineers are fully aware of what we are seeing out in the field, where we push the Cube3 in ways those who know what NOT to do may not.

I know for a fact that 3D Systems is committed to as near perfection in the Cube series of printers as possible.  And, I know for a fact that we users want the same thing.  And, to a large extent, that means getting good feedback from us.  And, I want to hear from you as well.  I really appreciate those that have written to me with help observations and questions about their experiences.

The reason I mentioned a Rolls Royce, above, is that as I use the Cube3, it reminds me of that extremely high level of elegant design and quality.  It seriously is that impressive to me.  As much as I loved the Cube2, the Cube3 is heads above anything that has gone before it in the consumer 3D printing marketplace.

But, to make sure it grows to its full potential we, as users, need to provide the field feedback for the designers, programmers and support personnel as quickly as we spot something.  I like to document what I find with either a video or an image so that they don't have to guess at what I'm seeing.  In this way, we early users become part of the process of helping the entire Cube family...whether it be producers or consumers.  Being constructively proactive helps everybody.


  1. Tom,

    Thanks for the abundance of posts recently. One question i have dates back to your cubify invent the settings panel for accuracy in mm 0-5 what does that mean? I select 1 but i want to know if my model is say .25mm it is actually saving and buolding the cad file at the same accuracy.

    I also was wondering if you had a chance to print with rafts or supports? I did a small capital T shape and the underside of the overhangs that were supported had spaghetti like mess between the support and the model.


    1. By the way, Ryan. I always love your questions even when I can't answer them. I hope other users will see this and provide you with the help you need regarding Invent. Every person that contributes to this blog, like yourself, is an important part of why this blog exists. Your comments and questions helps ALL users.

  2. I have not worked with Invent in quite a while, since I started teaching Moment of Inspiration, so I would hate to lead you astray by giving a wrong answer.

    But, I have printed with raft and supports. With the "T", it may be that the support length was so long that individual supports were moved around by the print head. I would actually try to avoid supports by laying the "T" on its back in a horizontal orientation.

    Email me a picture if you'd like, so that I can get a better feel for what is happening. The email is in the sidebar to the right of the body of the blog.

  3. Tom,

    In regards to my question about cubify invent, I have learned that the precision adjustment in the properties setting is selectable between 0-6. What this means is how many decimal places you want to round to. So for example a setting of 3 would round 25.77777 into 27.778 I thought I would share this for those of us who are using invent with cube3 and the measurements are off from file to print be careful that your precision setting is set to what you want before blaming the cube!

    1. Now, THAT is what I'm talking about! :)


      Thanks, 3dFan.

  4. Guess I have to ask the obvious (maybe slightly controversial) question here: What are the chances it might be possible to refill the cartridges with stock filament?

    1. The cartridges have what appears to be the same memory chip as the Cube 1 and 2. The chip provides more feedback to the user than previous cartridges. I always assume someone will find some way to fool the printer eventually. But, they'd better be using the highest quality filament due to the path it has to take. We'll just have to wait and see.

  5. Sorry, that comment shold have been in the post about the cartridges of course...