Monday, December 29, 2014

My Priority for the Next Added Firmware Feature

There are any number of things we could wish for as additional functions available through the touch screen display on the Cube 3.

But, having spent a lot of time seriously exploring LEVEL and GAP on the Cube 3, it is becoming clear that having one simple additional function stands out as a priority.

Manual Print Plate Height Placement as a Single Control Function

It takes time to examine ROLL and GAP on the Cube 3.  With the Cube 2, the print jets were right out front and clearly visible.  The print jets are deep within the structure of the Cube 3 and very difficult see without adding light from the front or back of the printer.

Setting the ROLL on the Print Jet Housing is an iterative process.  While it can be done with Auto Gap, we must go though the Auto functionality completely before being able to manually control the Print Table height.  And, even then we face some time-out issues.

It would be nice to have the ability to control the height of the Print Table as a single function, without it being connected to either Auto Level or Auto Gap.  It would certainly make it easier to examine the setup of our printer more easily and quickly.  All we would need is up and down arrows for control.

I fully expect to get to the place where Auto Level and Auto Gap work flawlessly every time.  And, on the most recent releases of Cube 3 machines, I am certain that is already the case.  But, right now, I could use a bit of added manual functionality to make this 3D printer absolutely perfect.

It is such a wonderful 3D printer, it deserves nothing less.  In fact, if someone were to approach me and offer to exchange this printer for an even newer one, I would turn them down.  It's like my 1st Gen Cube in that we have gotten to be good friends that understand each other.  I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my Cube 3.  And, I'm DEFINITELY enjoying its 70 micron precision.  I'd just like to have a tab bit more manual control at times.  :)


  1. I finally purchased a Cube 3 today! I can't thank you enough for all of the excellent information you provided as I was researching for this purchase!!! Your blog has been and will continue to be the go to site for cube 3 expertise!

  2. That is great to hear. Before beginning to print, be sure tp (1) Run Atu Level, (2) Run Auto Gap and check the result with the included Gap Tool and finally, using the gap tool, make sure both print jets are even.

    I trust that the machines being order now will rrive iwth everything in order and ready to print. If you run into ANYTHING immediately call support and send me an email. :)

    Wait until you see the 70 micron print!

  3. Tom -- your blog is very useful indeed. Two weeks ago I received a Cube 3, having previously owned a 2. And yesterday succeeded in printing a two-color version of the Cubify 'vase' example. However, though my machine is very new, it still has the gap adjustment issues you discuss. In particular, after the auto gap procedure I found that the left jet was higher than the right. Luckily I had the right driver for adjustment, but in doing so I had to iteratively adjust both jets, sometimes moving one or the other up instead of down. This worked in the end, but the auto gap routine now always places the jets directly onto the plate, requiring a final manual adjustment with the gap tool. This is fine, except that, as you point out it is rather painful having to go through the entire gap procedure just to set the final height. Cubby should fix this with a firmware upgrade as soon as possible. Overall though it is a great printer, and I look forward to receiving the new color cartridges that I ordered.

  4. Hi Jed.

    Perfect timing!

    What I didn't know at the time I wrote this piece is that the two screws need to be adjusted at the same time in opposite directions. If we turn the right screw 45 degrees clockwise, we need to turn the left crew 45 degrees COUNTER-clockwise.

    I just learned this yesterday!

    And, adjusting the screws affects both ROLL and PITCH. YIKES!!!

    So, I will do my best to find out how we get back to the original factory settings so we can return the pitch to factory settings.

    1. Hi Tom,

      To be frank, I'm very disappointed with my cube. I am getting a replacement because since I've received the revised filament (which printed without a clog from full to empty!!) my models are shifting in a counter clockwise direction about 70 percent into the build as if the print bed changed its position and just kept printing. 3DS printed my model which was a simple box with a hole through each side and they said it printed fine so my printer is defective.

      I keep hearing all the praise over layer resolution, but what about supports generation. First, the software doesn't show where the supports will be before printing. Second, when supports do print they come out god awful! Having reviewed other consumer printers, it seems the cube falls far short of the competition in this regard. It's not just the difficult removal but the model itself prints poorly where the supports are. In my opinion good supports are key to great 3d printing even more so than the 70 micron layer height.

      I was wondering what your thoughts are with the cubes supports structure since you've had all three generations of cube. Please share some photos if you can!!!

    2. I've always avoided supports like the plague. I will try some models that require some supports with the Cube 3 when I get new filament.

  5. I got my cube a couple of weeks before christmas and is overall very pleased with the results and the user friendlieness. There is however two issues and I wonder if someone else has came across them:

    1. A lot of small dents are appearing on the print pad. They are about the same diameter as the extruder and maybe 0.25-0.5 mm deep. I thought first that they were caused by a faulty auto gap procedure. But they have increased in amount since then so it must be something else. When I asked support they just told me to sand the pad, but I don't want to do that until I know what is causing this. Is it something you are familiar with?

    2. Every time the extruder moves to a new spot, it adds a small "blob" to the layer. Is this just something I have to live with, or can I fine-tune anything to eliminate it?

    1. When I first read this, I was puzzled because I didn't think I saw that on my print plate. But, checking more closely with a flashlight from the side, I saw dozens of such pits!

      Looking more closely at 10x - 40x with a stereo microscope the pits look fairly uniform as if the thing that created the plunged directly down without moving. There is no sign of lateral movement. And, the locations are random across the print plate, I'm wondering if at the start of a print, the print jet plunges too far and then retracts before moving?

    2. We had the same issue on the Cube 3, when changing filament from PLA to our first ABS print. I thought it was caused by a non leveled print bed, but all we did was change the cartridge. Because of these dents the printer could no longer auto-level, so we bought a spare print plate.

      We printed +20 prints in PLA, no problem. But after switching to ABS we had the dents.

      I have to also comment on the delivery time. It is very misleading and, besides the print plate, both the printer and filament has taken over two months from order to delivery. Both orders shipped shortly after we wrote them an email complaining about it.

      This evening (Denmark) the printer has a problem where it keeps shutting down after 5 - 10 seconds. At first it starts, then the screen freezes and then it shuts down again. It's like it has gone into a problematic state, but i don't know how to do a factory reset. Does any of you know?

      By the way Tom, it's a great site. :-)

    3. I could ignore the frustrations of the new Cube 3 because I have access to other 3D printers including 3 new CubePro machines at YouthQuest. But, this blog is not just abut my experience. It's about EVERY Cube owner's experiences and I refuse to let go of studying the Cube 3's introductory quirks in order for all of us to have the best possible 3D printing experience.

      I KNOW the engineering team is just as committed to clearing up ALL the issues that have been reported. And, when mine prints, it prints brilliantly. So, I know, in the end, this is going to be an amazingly great printer. I just wish it had been an amazingly trouble-free great printer right out of the gate.

      Thank you, Ove, for writing and your compliment. I really appreciate it.

  6. Regarding the blobs, I guess they are related to the ones you you mentioned in an earlier blog post. Though I talk about the ones that appear whenever the jet has to switch between different areas of the a layer. It seems to me it should be possible to avoid them by starting the extrusion just a minuscule moment later.

  7. Cubert,
    I have had that same problem. I find that if you print in 70 micron the blobs are minimized and it's beneficial to print with a raft even when not required because the nozzle stays clean during the first few layers that can blob on the plate. As for blobs that occur during the build, it really can't be fixed by the user, its a common FDM issue because the printer decides a generalized path to print each layer that works for most printing, not necessarily the best path that would work for your designed model part. What I would recommend doing is printing a part in multiple pieces and attaching them after when the shape of a part requires the nozzle to lift up and set down in a different section of the plate if possible.

    As for the dents from the nozzle, I get them to despite a proper gap setting which is another reason for printing with raft because the raft prints with the nozzle much further from the plate so when the model begins in 70micron, it begins the model accurately and unsquished and won't dent the plate. It may help to print the raft in a different color from the model so you can see exactly where the raft ends and the model begins when post cleaning up your part.

  8. I figured the blobs would be a standard issue, though it seems to me it should be possible to minimize them. They are about the same size on the 70 micron prints as the 200 micron ones. But maybe the new filament will perform better here as well. Trying to split the parts up sure helps, but sometimes the printer decides it should wait and wait for the layer to "dry" for some seconds, and then the blob is there again.

    Raft sounds like the next thing to try though. But wouldn't the dents appear while printing the raft instead then?

  9. The new filament does help some degree because the slippage from the drive motor on the filament is now removed so it has better control of how much the filament goes out and how much back in during the printing process. It retracts the filament when the print head lifts to prevent a blob from forming before the head touches down again. But FDM printing is a balance between cost and effectiveness. That said, I hope for my sake and yours, that cubify address all the quirks once the filament issue is dealt with. I am still waiting since May to get my pre ordered 4 pack of filament.

    The dents no longer occur on mine nearly as bad when using raft because the raft is so thick compared to the model layers whether its 70 or 200 micron setting that the print nozzle doesn't come as close to the plate. Also if you do have dents they wont affect your print because the raft sits between the two.

  10. That is true. Thanks for your input! Using raft definitely sounds clever. I really hope the filament starts shipping soon, anything else sounds crazy. As usual, their site says it will be delivered within 5 days. I can't understand why they keep saying so when they are nowhere near keeping those delivery times.

  11. I know! Cubify really introduced this printer a year to early and mentions or explains nothing of what they are doing to address the problems! If I was a new customer and I purchased a cube online today with extra filament it would show nothing about the delays that exist and that's bad business.

    I really hope they read this blog and do something about this! I would expect this from a 3d printer kickstarter campaign but not the worlds biggest 3d printing company with 30 years of this technology under their belt.

  12. I have a Cubex Trio. Determined early on that the Bed Leveling Function is cumbersome and almost worthless. I level my bed with the power off. Using a credit card as a gauge, I raise the bed until one of the tips is that distance from some point on the the bed. Then manually move the carriage around with the card making adjustments until the bed is level relative to all extruders. It takes 10-15 minutes depending on how far it was off to begin with.

  13. I'm not sure if the CubePro uses the same level procedure as the CubeX; but, I suspect it's very similar because my older RapMan 3.2 benefited by the technique you suggest.

    With the CubePro they have created test prints to help determine how well the printer is leveled and gapped.