Monday, May 13, 2013

Planning some "How-to" Videos for the 2nd Gen Cube

I just ordered some new lights so that I can create some new videos that will, hopefully, enhance your user experience with the 2nd Generation Cube.

Some of the topics that I know I want to cover deal with the Cubify options and how they affect your print job.  Another would be some observations about the CubeStick glue.  And, of course, we'll deal with clearing filament flow errors that all extrusion 3D printer users see from time to time.

As you can imagine, I often have people contacting me with some problem they've experienced.  More often than not, these problems could have been avoided or at least minimized by taking some care in how the filament, cartridges and the Cube are handled.  

In fact, I've victimized myself by not realizing that there is a way to insert the cartridge that puts less stress on the small contacts in the Cube.  It turns out that the cartridge should be carefully ROTATED into place.  If we shove it straight back, without rotating, we can jam the cartridge into the little metal clips, stressing them to the point of potential failure.    OK.  Drop the potential.  I now know that shoving the cartridge straight back can result in actual failure.  Not fun.

I know because after 30+ cartridges, I just did that very thing.  Haste makes waste.... sigh...

Fortunately, it's an easy fix for me because I have the proper equipment and experience *.  So, I should not be down long.  But, you can bet I will be a LOT more careful in the future when it comes to loading a cartridge.

There are some video ideas that might be helpful; but, present some risk that should be stressed.  Things like how to open up the Cube to replace the contact switch falls into that category.  While I can show this operation I hesitate to do so unless the viewer is full informed of the potential consequences.  Opening up the machine probably completely voids the warranty.  And, it's possible to damage the board if the wrong solder or soldering iron is used.  But, even so, I might be convinced to show some of these things as long as people realize they follow suit at their own risk.  I want to be helpful... not sued.  LOL!

The best way for me to know what would be most helpful for you is to hear from you.  So, please feel free to chime in and offer suggestions. :)

*  The proper tool is a very fine miniature soldering iron that is suitable for removing and replacing surface mount parts.  De-Solder wick is also helpful.


  1. I'd vote that you should post info about getting into the printer and what you learn while inside, along with the appropriate warnings about not going farther than the reader's experience and abilities will let them safely go. We're supposed to be responsible grownups! :)

    I've had the bottom section of my Original Cube open a few times, once finding a loose connector that was causing problems, another time checking the cartridge-sensing contacts for possible bad connections (that problem turned out to be a bad chip in a cartridge).

    It would have been quite helpful to have read a post of yours that, for example, showed which screws should be removed, what cables not to pull tight, cautions about wires to keep from being pinched as the case is closed back up, etc.

    That kind of info sure increases the odds of a successful repair or inspection of the Cube printer, for those folks willing and able to open it up and check things out. And to take the risks involved.

  2. That is very helpful information. THANKS!

  3. I suspect there would be a rich source of information from current owners of the Cube as to what they experienced with the product. For myself, I found that the metal plate on the bottom of the print plate did not fit into the magnetized bracket. It was a bit too tight. Consequently, the plate would not seat correctly whenever you took it off and put it back on (which is what you do after each print). Among other issues this caused, the plate would not level. I talked to customer service at 3-D but they were not very helpful. I solved the problem by CAREFULLY filing off the edges of the metal plate (basically removed the paint) so that the metal plate fit snugly into the holder and the glass rested on the top of the holder. Problem solved. However, this took a little post-consumer engineering. Having a place to post this type of information might help others in the community that have the same problem.
    Steve the beeguy

  4. With your close connection to the Cube folks, I wonder what they would think about an extensive teardown report such as you might provide here. I've thought of doing the same, but my concern is that because they have made the unit proprietary, they may not appreciate the details being published.

  5. I just read this post a couple weeks ago and am sad to say just ran into the cartridge contact problem, I had always thought I was being careful with it. Cubify is sending me a new cartridge reader but I have no soldering experience (or other options). Depending on how difficult it seems, I may take it to a servicer, what do you think? Very helpful blog, thank you.

  6. I am sorry to hear that you ran into the issue of the broken contacts. My new video camera arrives in the next day or so and I promise to go through the steps to replacing the part.

    But, if you have NO soldering experience, I would definitely think about taking it to a local service center.

    You have my sympathy. It's a real bummer.

  7. Tom - I am so looking forward to your how-to's I just got started with 3D printing but I have been learning a ton. I just ventured out of the Green Neon PLA (learning a good bit about leveling, print gap, getting better with the right amount of glue - my PLA prints are going pretty well). I am now in the ABS world (had I known, I think I would have stuck with PLA, at least at this point). I have 5 carts of ABS to play with, hopefully I come out with more product than fails - but so far looks gloomy. I have a workroom in my basement, finding temp seems to be a factor for ABS warping. Took it upstairs to warmer temp, better but not good enough still warping. Read some things about the amount of glue, going to try to put less and let sit for a minute or so. May turn rafts on, but hate them generally (clean up of them) - any tips on cleaning up a model with rafts??. Going to try out in my garage work area, warmer temp - how warm is too warm / what about humidy. thinking of building a partial box around to cut down on draft. Saw some things about tweaking the print gap for ABS a bit different than PLA. All topics I hope your cover before I waste a ton of ABS, thanks for the vids and tips so far