Monday, February 2, 2015

My Most Successful Colors

This post is designed to catch up on some observations, etc.

Filament Color MAY matter

I wanted to report that of the colors I have been able to obtain of PLA, the least troublesome, so far, have been black and tan.  That is not to definitively say that they are THE best colors; but, simply that I've had excellent results from these two colors.

I'm mindful that the colors may not be the issue at all.  3D Systems has instituted a rigorous testing program on all of their filament and it just may be that these cartridges were the first I owned under the new testing program.  Whatever the reason, I am grateful.

Storing Your Filament

As I've pondered filament, more than I actually care to over the last month or so, I've been impressed that it is going to be absolutely critical that we develop a more pro-activein our care of the filament we purchase.  The cartridges of the CubePro, for instance, actually have a little pocket to held a moisture reducer packet!

Both PLA and ABS deteriorate reasonably quickly in moist environments. 

So, I have decided that (1) I will not open a new color unless I am ready to use it immediately and (2) I will keep all opened cartridges inside a closed plastic storage box with a sizable package of moisture absorber.  The two I'm testing are DampRid and DryOut.  Both are available at The Container Store.  AirBoss is another option.

Print Quality of the Cube3 is Impressive

The print from the Cube3 is, by far, the best I've been able to achieve and I am not talking about printing in 70 micron layers.  I'm comparing the prints at 200 microns, and quite frankly, I like my Cube 3 prints better than the CubePro prints.  Of course, I get the CubePro prints considerably faster so it's a bit of an apples vs. oranges comparison.

One of the things I've noticed over the years about 3D Systems is that they are constantly improving a printer series within the same model run over time.  This was true of the Cube2 and I think I see that in the Cube3 printers YouthQuest has purchased that are of more recent origin than mine.  The differences are subtle; but, as much as I use all the printers, I can tell.

Multiple Cube3 Printers with Cubify Software

Aside from cartridge improvements, where I'm hoping big changes will come is in the Cubify software.  It doesn't appear to handle the existence of multiple Cube3 printers all that well.  So, that needs to be improved.  The first step might be to give us more manual selections like the ability to specify ANY filament type and color as we build a .cube file for export no matter what color is in a connected printer.  I have to unplug the printers to accomplish this now.

Remember to Check for Firmware Updates

Lastly, whatever you do, remember to check for firmware updates at least on a weekly level.  The Cube teams has been great about responding to our requests for features or refinements; but, we don't benefit unless we keep our Cubes updated.

I'd like to hear which colors you've found to be the best for your printer.


  1. Hi Tom,

    I have had no problems with red and so far none with blue. That said, I haven't been using my printer lately because of my frustration with support material hoping that improvements will be made. Tom I'm still hoping that you can share your thoughts and photos of your successes and failures printing with supports.

  2. From the first days that I started 3D printing I have avoided supports like the plague. I will do almost anything to avoid them. If I ever try caustic soda to dissolve supports, I definitely will write something.

    I've had mixed results with Red and forget that I had great results with blue. Thanks for reminding me. :)

  3. I 'm still waiting six cartridges that I ordered with the printer . This company are a bunch of incompetents . I've been waiting over six months since I placed the order .

    It seems very strange not to leave any news site about these problems.

  4. Thanks Tom. Maybe I'm not creative enough but if I knew supports would have worked so poorly that they really cant be used then what good is a 3d printer? I should have bought a mill then. Almost all real world objects have over hangs or tapered bottoms that wouldn't stick to the build plate without supports. I wish I bought a Zortrax or even a affinia because I think supports trumps layer resolution in many cases in my opinion..

    I absolutely agree with you and at this point its just insulting. Luckily for me I have my ordered cartridges because I was preordered since May but when they're gone the wait continues and that's not fair to lead people on and not inform of issues on the site.

    Another point...Why are we having to resort to 3d printing fixes for a 3d systems problem? If the cartridges clog even at 90% empty they should be replaced and not require hacking a fix. If they're going to use an enclosed proprietary cartridge they should have a simple fix to get through the clog or not use the system that holds us hostage to shortages and lost money when they fail.

    1. I am not going to try to defend 3D Systems communcations, etc. But, if you think going to a different 3D printer would have solved all your clogging issues, think again. All one has to do is to search for "Zortrax clogs" or "HP clogs" or "Afinia clogs" to realize that clogs are part of the 3D printer experience. It's how you deal with them that counts.

      And, having had a 3D printer with the supposed benefits of being able to 'use any filament', I can tell you from experience that I have wasted more money in six months on failed filament for that printer that I have in more 2+ years with the Cube series printers.

      Admittedly, the Cube3 printer's introduction has been a bit rocky. But, I am getting fantastic prints with fewer and fewer clogs as I work through understanding my new tools.

      Now, as for supports. The solution is simple. Invest in an ultrasonic bath device and dissolve the supports with caustic soda.

  5. What I'm talking about is the supports are not thick enough or close together enough to prevent drooping or spaghetting

    1. What are your print settings? I'll print something requiring supports to chekc it out.

  6. Almost solid and honeycomb @ 70 micron with raft and supports using pla for all material and single color.

  7. Hi Tom, I appreciate you have shared your thoughts about your successful printed colors. I bought a 3D Printer to make cute action figures of anime chibi's and I would to ask if what the best set up to create images without failing in printing I have tried several times but the program starts to fail in the middle of printing process.

  8. Actions figures generally need supports. I'm guessing that the ones you are trying tp print need support materials to complete correctly.