Sunday, March 8, 2015

Limit Glue Layer Buildup to Minimize Start Up Clogging

I'm guilty.

After many complaints to the Cube3 engineers about my printer working for job after job only to fail when starting a new print job did it dawn on me that the user, in this case, might be to blame.

I believe that I was applying glue over old glue too many times and finally closing the critical gap.  And, since I was letting the glue completely dry, it was acting as if it was the hard surface of the print plate and stopping the flow of filament.

My bad!  :(

Now, you would think that with several years of 3D printing experience, I would know better.  However, with the Cube2, the first layer of glue over a newly cleaned glass was less successful than a second coat of glue over a dried previous coat.

But, the tolerances for the gap was greater in the Cube2 than with the Cube3 gap.  You can get away with one thin second coat and maybe even a third.  But, beyond that it's probable that you will hear the dreaded "click, click, click".

Please don't let Cubify Support or the engineering team know that I made this confession.  Who knows what they might do to me the next time I stop by Rock Hill next time I travel down to South Carolina to visit our Youth ChalleNGe cadets!  If I suddenly disappear, you'll know somebody tipped them off.

Hmmmm.... I think it might be wise to start using an alias when contacting 3D Systems support with vociferous complaints.  


  1. Greetings Tom. I am a contributor to Sicnova 3D, 3D Systems distributor in Spain. I follow your blog for months and now I have received the Cube3, the same thing happens to me all of you. I tried the tricks, even the firmware update, but I have two useless cartridges (Neon Green Dark Grey PLA and ABS) I receive two new units but I fear problems with our customers.

    1. Hi Carlos,

      I am also Spanish, a town of Sevilla and took the cube 3 for about five months ago but I made the request in July ... I had clogging problems in many cartridges but I managed to recover cartridges dismantling and relocating the filament. After making a correct calibration I have not had any problems (all were PLA). If you want I can help you with that topic. Well, this week I received the rest of cartridges with the printer asked several of ABS, but even without trying, hopefully in short to see such ...


    2. One of the tools I use is a T20 TORX driver, which fits perfectly in the hub sprocket of the cartridge. You can remove the cartridge during PURGE and use the T20 to gently apply pressure to the filament. This has been the most successful I've been in clearing a clogged cartridge.

      Today I have run into a design that has seen two different cartridges clog. I was able to clear both easily. But, the fact that this one part seems to clog parts is interesting.

      Jesus Marquez Gomez should be very helpful to you, But, feel free to email me any time.

  2. Tom;

    After much experimentation, I came to the conclusion that unless I cleaned the print plate after every job I would encounter the startup clogging. Now that I have multiple print plates it is not such a pain, but I was getting very frustrated.

    I have also discovered a little trick to the application of the Cube glue that seems to work every time. Apply in the two directional layers as shown in the manual but then take a clean, damp 5" foam brush and do a light pass in any direction to smooth it out (no ridges), let it dry completely and away you go!

    Good adhesion, no start up clogging!

    While I no longer require an alternative to the Cube glue (ordered a CubeStick with every cartridge of filament and now have lots), I did find a glue that works well and drys quicker too.

    Elmer's Earth Friendly School Glue when squeezed onto the print plate in a continuous bead from side to side 1" apart and then brushed with a foam brush in two directions to smooth it out - worked. It is also water soluable and clean-up is just as easy as the CubeStick with no damage to the print plate.

    I am looking forward to hearing yours and others thoughts on supports/raft/sidewalk once you have had a chance to experiment a little. Do we think 3D Systems has improved this with the new firmware and Cubify client updates or are we still better off to include them in the .stl files (meshmixer, MOI?)

    Thanks, once again,


  3. Your posts are ALWAYS helpful to all of us. And, this one was especially helpful. Michael Oakley has also tried hairspray with some success; but, the brand I tried didn't fair as well.


  4. Two things have worked for us. We have been using one thick layer of wet glue. Occasional glue failures, can't remember a start up clog. Second thing - we have great success unclogging cartridges by taking off the back and pushing the filament through the mechanism during the purge cycle. I then place the 3D printed cartridge stabilizer suggested in another post. Very few reclogs. This has all been with PLA cartridges.

  5. Thanks, Mike. I, too, have been having fewer clogs with the new firmware and client software. In terms of glue buildup, I seem to be able to get away with at least two before cleaning as long as the surface wasn't torn up when the previous piece was removed. Happy to hear that the filament stabilizer is helping. :)