Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Plan to Keep on Blogging for Cube Owners

I'm having too much fun to stop now.

Being realistic, at my age, health is always a consideration.  But, as long as I can do so, I plan to focus on ways of making our 3D designing and printing lives richer and more fulfilling.

This means experimenting with Intel's new Real Sense scanning capabilities and learning new software applications like TinkerCAD and 3D Coat. 

It also means keeping in touch with 3D System's engineers so that if and when new firmware or software is released we will be on top of it.  Because I work with other printers as well as the Cubes, I understand that the goal is to come up with a single front end that will work with all of their 3D printing platforms.  I don't know if this includes the Cube line; but. if it does I will do my best to evaluate the pros and cons of switching to a different platform for slicing.

In short, I will be here for you as long as I am able.

Monday, December 28, 2015

While We Will be Supported, the Cube, Itself, is Discontinued.

I woke to a sad message this morning. 

While CubePro production will continue, the Cube series will no longer be produced by 3D Systems.  

Here is the press release making the announcement.

Supplies and support will still be available through 3D Systems, so we are not left high and dry. 

What I don't yet know is if they will continue to develop new types of filament for the 3rd Gen Cube.  As soon as I know more, I will pass it on to you.

Friday, December 18, 2015

3D System's New Direction...

You probably have already seen this announcement.

Dear Cubify Customer,
We’re excited to announce that we will be focusing on serving our customers in the education and engineer’s desktop markets in the new year.What does this mean to you? Just a few changes on where to shop!
  • Cubify.com will be moving to 3dsystems.com, effective Jan. 31, 2016.
    Don't worry, you can continue to find printers, software, scanners, cartridges, and accessories for your 3D Systems devices, as well as support, at 3dsystems.com
  • Paid retail products like phone cases and jewelry will be discontinued.
    Free downloads will still be available for you to print at home.
  • The “Design Feed” and “My Shelf” cloud storage will be discontinued on Jan. 31, 2016.
    Until that time, your Cubify App will sync all models from “My Shelf" automatically to your local computer when you open your app, login, and go to the “My Shelf” tab. Alternatively, files may be directly downloaded from https://cubify.com/account/myshelf until Jan. 31, 2016.
We thank you for your continued support and patronage.
Team 3D Systems

I'm also sure that you have questions as to how this is going to affect consumers who purchased Cube 3D printers.  While I am NOT a 3D Systems employee, I have asked that very question of some 3D Systems employees and think it will have little real impact on us.

Based on my understanding, this decision does not affect the future of either the Cube 3 or the CubePro.  It basically is just a shift from consumer focused marketing to a greater emphasis on targeting education and business (desktop engineering).  I suspect that this will mean that retailers will not be selling the Cube3 and sales will be handled more directly or through 3D Systems reps.

Support should not be affected at all.

It is also interesting that the free downloads will still be made available.

One thing, I think, that will change is the way products are announced and released. The Cube 3, right now, is a solid 3D printer.  But, we all remember the issues that resulted from releasing it before it was ready.  We remember it and so does 3D Systems..  And, they are committed to never seeing that happen again.

For the first time, since I first saw the 1st Gen Cube, I have participated and, hopefully, will be participating in several new product Beta programs.  Products will no longer be released simply due to pressure of product announcements.  New products are in the pipeline that will benefit all of us.  But, don't expect to hear about them until 3D Systems is confident that we can use these products reliably.

The Nylon filament for the CubePro and Infinity supports for the Cube3 and CubePro are examples of products that have undergone that kind of testing before being put into our hands and they have both been solid additions to our 3D printing experience.

I think the new organizational direction is a good one for 3D Systems without materially affecting any of its current owners.  I will not only keep this blog alive for consumers; but, will be expanding the coverage of 3D products that enhance our Cube3 and CubePro experiences.

You may also see more articles about 3D in education... particularly as it relates to at-risk students.  I'll be involved in a pilot with autistic students soon.  I will want to share what we find with parents.

Lastly, I'm sure all of us will be looking at CES to see if there is any mention of previously announced products like the CubeJet, CeraJet, ChefJet and CocoJet 3D printers.   I don't need a delivery date; but, I would like to know which ones are still on the table.  There is something seductive about the concept of eating what you 3D print!  :)

First Sense for Intel Real Sense Scans

Update:  When I notified 3D Systems about the issues I point out in this article, they indicated that they are being addressed.  As far as I know, only 1 Real Sense Win10 tablet has been released at this point.(The HP Spcete X2 that I am using) and one is to be released in January (The Lenovo MIIX 700).    The scan, therefore, mentioned in this article used a VERY early version of Sense for Intel's RealSense.  I will let you know when I get the updated version.  Even so, I am VERY impressed and happy to be using it.
 In my previous post, I talked about the new tablets being released with the Intel Real Sense R200 3D scanners.

I have made my first scans and I have to say they are impressive.  Just as before, with the Sense scanner, we have to be reminded that these are not $30,000 scanners.  So, anyone having notions that they can buy a tablet with a 3D scanner that will perform like a $30,000 is going to be sadly mistaken.

But, for those of us that look at price/performance ratios realistically, the scans from the R200 are impressive.

Currently, I know of two Win8/10 apps for 3D scanning with the Intel Real Sense cameras.  They are the ItSeez3D app and 3D System's Sense for Intel's RealSense app.


The ItSeez3D app is strictly for scanning people and it's tied to their cloud service.  While the test scan was quite impressive, I didn't have an account with ItSeez3D so I have nothing to show right now.  It is a bit slower than the Sense app; but, not so much that it was a show stopper.  More on ItSeez3D will have to come later.

Sense for Intel's RealSense

Having had some experience using the Sense scanner from 3D Systems, I had some definite things in mind to check with the new Real Sense technology... notably ears and hair.

First Scan from Intel's Real Sense 3D Scanner - Right Ear

I was VERY pleased with the outcome.  Ears and hair are a especially difficult to scan and, as you can see from the above image, the right ear came out perfectly!  But, most of us have TWO ears, so it's only rational that we should check out how well the left ear came out before crowing too loudly.

First Scan from Intel's Real Sense 3D Scanner -  Left Ear

Lo and behold!  Te left ear is perfect, too!

Now, for the hair test....

First Scan from Intel's Real Sense 3D Scanner -  Hair

While not absolutely perfect, the hair scan is still pretty amazing.  It's certainly better than my first Sense scans of a few tears ago.  So, I'm very pleased.  The shape is right and the color can be easily corrected.

Sense for the Intel RealSense - Export File Types

To be useful, the scans have to be able to be read or printed by other applications.  My focus here is on local editing and printing.  I'm interested in post-processing in Sculpt and printing with the Z-450 full color printer.  So, I exported as .OBJ, .PLY and .WRL.

Exported Files with Sculpt 

Sculpt can only import the .OBJ and .PLY files.  It crashed while trying to load the .OBJ and the .PLY came in without color.  This was surprising to me since I had worked with the original Sense scanner and Sculpt, in color, for some time.  So, I had to add MeshLab to the workflow as an intermediary to Sculpt.

MeshLab to Sculpt

Meshlab is a wonderful open-source program for dealing with 3D meshes.  I have long used it and, most recently, to allow me to prepared full color .PLY and .WRL files from .STL files for printing on the Z-450.

MeshLab was unable to open the exported  .WRL file. and, like Sculpt, it brought in the .PLY file without color.  It was, however successful at bringing in the exported .OBJ file in full color.  Unfortunately, the Z-450 is expecting to see either a .full color PLY or .WRL file.  MeshLab can perform the conversion provided the color system is correct.

After some experimentation, I realized that I needed to convert the 'Material' or "Texture" color, that is exported by the Sense app, to 'Vert' color.  I also had to resize the scanned image because it is, as one should expect, life sized.  While the printer's software can scale it, it is just easier to get the exact size we want right in the MeshLab package.  It's a two step process.  We first measure the original...

Measuring with MeshLab

And, then we scale to an optimal size using Filters > Normals, Curvatures and Orientation > Transform Scale.  

Scaling in MeshLab

The final step was converting the "Texture" color system of the .OBJ file to a "Vert" color system appropriate for the Z-450 and Sculpt .PLY file.  For this we use Filters > Color Creation and Processing > Transfer Color - Texture to Vertex.  

Texture to Vertex.

The transfer process does affect the character of the color.  And, there are tools available in both Meshlab and Sculpt to post-process the colors before printing.  We simply exported the filtered image as a PLY and brought it into Sculpt.

It worked!

RealSense/MeshLab 3D PLY (Vert Color) in Sculpt
Wishlist of Improvements in the Workflow

When Sculpt was introduced it was meant to mate, locally, with an FDM printer having limited color.  So, a SOLID model was perfectly OK.  But, at some point, hopefully, full-color powder printers like the previously announced CubeJet should become available.  So, being able to hollow out or "Shell" a model would be a very nice addition to the tool box.  I hear that it can be done in MeshLabs and I'll be looking into that to save material costs for Z-450 printing with our cadets.

First Scan Conclusions

While it would be nice if the Sense for Intel's Real Sense would port directly into Sculpt or a Vert Color .PLY or .WRL for full color printing.  However, the new level of accuracy and the benefits of being able to scan without dragging an attachment cord are such vast improvements over our previous scanning experience that we're not about to gripe about the few extra steps it takes to go from scan to print.

It turns out the that the M3 processor can handle the scanning and that is good news.  But, I would also like to test Real Sense on a smaller tablet.  The HP Spectra X2 is a 12" tablet and, while light, lighter would be even better for 3D scanning.  An 8" Win10 Real Sense tablet should be ideal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Intel Real Sense Tablets with Win10 are arriving!

Our cadets and I have always enjoyed using the Sense scanner from 3D Systems.  But, the need for a cord made using it a bit cumbersome.  After all, the technique for scanning involves going in a circle around the target!

Not having any compatible iPhones or iPads meant that purchasing the iSense, which would have solved the problem, also required using an iPad that didn't fit into our 3D workflow.  The iPad, for instance, does not run the 3D design application we regularly use.

But, now there is an alterntive.  Both Lenovo and HP have (or are) introducing Win10 tablets that incorporate the new Intel R200 rear mounted Real Sense 3D scanning camera.  And, 3D Systems already has released an app similar to that we use with the Sense and iSense scanners.

True, we have to buy a new tablet; but, not only can we scan; but, we can install all the 3D applications we need to edit the scans and print them in one device.  While we will not actually be using scans in Moment of Inspiration, it's great that we can also use that application on these new tablets... giving us a very powerful 3D workflow.

My heart has been set on the Lenovo MIIX 700 with Real Sense for some time.  And, I wish I could write about our beginning to test Real Sense on the MIIX 700 platform.  Unfortunately for us, the MIIX 700 Real Sense versions will probably not appear until sometime in January.

The other option, which is available right now, is the HP Spectre X2 12-a001x,  It's available in 3 versions each with a different processor.  The one I will be testing is the Intel M3 version, the least powerful in the line.  It's actually pretty nice; but, lacks some features that make it my first choice.

We'll be testing it in the next few days.   If all goes well, we'll be using it heavily in YouthQuest's 3D ThinkLink Lab during our 3D Immersion classes in the first week of January.

The HP does not replace our desire to own the Lenovo for long term use.  For one thing, the Lenovo includes an HDMI interface and the HP does not.  And, there are some other reasons why it appears to be the best choice of the two.  But, timing is everything and the HP will give us an opportunity to check out Real Sense with both the 3D Systems app; but, also the ItSeez3D app.  I've loaded both and will be testing both.

Beware, the HP Active Stylus does NOT work with the X2.  So, don't bother buying it.  I'm trying to find out which "Wacom" compatible stylus does actually work.  Searching the support site and HP forums is no help at all.

Hopefully, in just a few days we'll have something to show.  In particular, I am anxious to try full body scans with the Intel R200 Real Sense camera.  It should be fun!


Best Buy offers a reduced price if you activate the build-in Verizon connection.  The activation is $40 and the monthly cost is around $35.  However, it took me more than FIVE hours to complete the transaction and it was NOT Best Buy's fault.  Verizon requires something called the "MEID" number and all that time was devoted to trying to found out from HP where that number could be found.  Usually, for phones it's on the box or on the back of the device and easy to find.  In the case of the Spectre X2 it is etched in very tiny text on the "kickstand" that is normally retracted into the screen!

There is no way to activate the device, to get the discount, without opening the product completely and removing the protective envelope.  That didn't affect me; but, if you want it for a gift that is not exactly a pleasant idea.  It will look like you are giving them an opened and used item.  Not good.  :(

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

3D Coat Experience "The Rook, King and Queen"

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!

This time we will be posting two videos the first one will show us how to go from a pawn to a rook. We will use the radial mirror to cut the top of the rook for the castle look. After the Rook is made you will have all the basics for making your own chess set. perhaps in a future video we will make a chess piece with a human type face. For now these are more classic type pieces.

After the Rook is made we will continue in The next video showing how to go from the rook into the King and the Queen. Again the Radial mirror is helpful in creating the crowning type tops. Chess pieces can be very contemporary or as classic as you desire. These videos should set you on a great start no matter what way you choose to go.

The next Project I am hoping to take on is a winter / Holiday theme. It will be used to make a render that could become a Christmas card or a frame for a family holiday photo. Perhaps print out your own winter display / ornament this season..

Until then have a great Holiday.             

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Post Processing: Step 1 - Obtain Test Items

The more I research the various ways people are post-processng their 3D prints in ways other than vapor treating ABS, the more I realize that getting it right is going to take some serious repetition and experimentation.  After all, for the most part, we are using equipment and smoothing material that are designed for rocks and metal parts.  So, to some extent we are in uncharted territory.

So, I am going in three different directions... epoxy coating, rotary tumbling and vibratory tumbling.

Smooth-on XTC 3D Print Epoxy Coating

I've ordered the Smooth-on XTC.  It should arrive in a day or two.  The total cost, with shipping was around $38.00.  I also called Smooth-on to try to establish some contacts that could give me quick help if I run into difficulty.  I don't want to be unfair to a product due to my own inexperience.  I managed to get through to technical support right away which was encouraging.  So, it seems we are off to a good start with XTC.  But, I will need to purchase a better mask before working with it.

Smooth-on XTC 3D Print Coating

Harbor Freight Rotary Tumbler

If tumbling works, it's probably a good idea to purchase a more robust rotary tumbler.  But, for now, the Harbor Freight dual tumbler is on sale for under $55.  The double tumbler should allow me to test two different media at the same time for the same time, allowing for better comparison.

Harbor Freight Double Rotary Tumbler

Harbor Freight Vibratory Tumbler

Harbor Freight offers both a 5lb version and an 18lb version.  I have purchased the 5ib version at under $55.  Shapeways uses a professional vibratory tumbler for smoothing nylon parts.  While I'm not sure that trying to use a tiny tumbler will perform anywhere close to the monster they use, it was certainly worth exploring.

Harbor Freight Vibratory Tumbler

Starting Materials Selection

Since I'm starting this process from a completely ignorant position... my usual starting place for such adventures, I've simply picked up the most easily available materials for the first tests.
  • Medium Ceramic Abrasive Polishing Tumbler Media
  • Rust-Cutting Resin Abrasive Tumbler Media
  • Rock Polishing Abrasive Set
  • Ground Glass Abrasive

  • Petco Mini White Aquarium Gravel

We'll discuss each material type as we test them. 

I will start the first preliminary tests today.  But, I don't expect to report anything until I know that I am using the right proportions for each tumbling method.  For instance, rotary tumbling usually involves water.  But, how much is not so easily determined by searching the web. The vibratory tumbler that I purchased is NOT intended for using with water.  But, is it still advisable to put the pieces into the tumbler in a wet state?  Again, it's not clear from the little research I have done.  So, I don't expect great results any time soon.  All we can promise is that we're going to give it a good try.

But, it would be VERY helpful if you have any experience at all to share it.  :) 

An Additional Test Item

I should also mention an additional product that I will be testing with Infinity Supports.  Frankly, I'm still not comfortable with washing off the supports directly in any of my sinks where chunks of support might be washed down the drain.  I am more comfortable with ensuring that the Infinity Supports have been thoroughly dissolved first,  I've been using a bucket for this purpose.

But, at the same time that I picked up the vibratory tumbler, I picked up a  portable parts washing station at Harbor freight.  

 It's not at all clear if this is a good solution or not.  But, at under $50, it is certainly worth exploring if it helps us avoid unintended and unexpected issues down the road..

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Turning Our Attention to Post Processing

While the blog has been silent for a while, it does not mean that the interest in moving our 3D printing experience forward has been dormant.  But, sometimes it's difficult to write when time is spent in exploration and experimentation.

I have spent a great deal of time experimenting with the Infinity supports for both the Cube3 and the CubePro.  In addition, I have been exploring printing with Nylon with the CubePro.  Then there is the effort put into building our 3D ThinkLink Lab at YouthQuest.  Soon I will have great news about that.

I've also been experiment with a system that stabilizes the print table even more solidly when printing with two print jets.  It's very promising and the brave among us can print their own to attach to the print plate of the Cube3.  I don't want to release the STL file until it's been tested thoroughly over a lot of removal and insertion cycles.  Even then, it will include a warning then one MUST be very careful to ensure proper seating each time the plate is returned to the printer.  For me, however, the improvement in Z-Axis alignment is worth it.  More later on this, too. 

But, the primary reason for writing this blog post is that I think the next area of improving our 3D printing experience not only has to do with new materials like Infinity Supports and Nylon; but, with developing techniques for post processing our prints.

For this reason, I have purchased some equipment and materials with which to experiment.  But, I also found a product that promises to help all of us that print in PLA who wish for a smooth surface like that achieved by vapor processing ABS.  I don't have any as yet; but, hope to have some soon.  It's called Smooth-On XTC-3D High Performance 3D Print Coating, an epoxy coating designed especially for 3D prints.  Fortunately, Smooth-On is a very pro-active company when it comes to providing online training for their products.   So, if you go to the link above, you'll be treated to some very useful information.  Here is just one sample...

Can you imagine how nice the print would be had it been printed with Infinity Support material?  :)

But, of course, I am interested in first-hand experience when it comes to products like this before giving it a whole-hearted endorsement.  Look for my review in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, it's inexpensive enough to give it a try for yourself.

One of the first things I plan to test with it is custom Cube3 & CubePro printed phone cases.  Frankly, the ones I've tried recently haven't held up well over time.  But, I'm thinking that an epoxy coating will not only give them a better overall feel; but, improve ruggedness.  We'll see.

So, please be patient as the post-processing experiments work their course.  Whether they fail or succeed, you will hear about it.  :)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Updated Cubify Site is Amazingly Beautiful and Useful!

Opening up the Cubify Site this morning, I was blown away by the latest update.  I remember the first time I opened the Cubify web site and it seems a world and an eternity away!  It is amazing and gratifying to experience the evolution of the site over the years to the point where it is extraordinarily inviting to browse and use.

Most of the time I only have regular contact with the people that deal with hardware and app development.  So, I don't know who to thank for the progressively better web site experience that has burst forth in the last few updates.  So, if you are part of the team, consider this my Thank You!  I LOVE it!

New Filament Presentation

As I went to bed last night I was fretting that PLA appeared to be unavailable.  Not fun.  But, fortunately, I awoke to a completely different reality.  I'm having FUN again!

What a difference a few hours makes!

Every now and then, someone accuses me of being a stealth employee of 3D Systems.  But, it's easy to put that thought to rest by pointing out how many times I have not only been completely surprised by a new product or development; but, way behind in discovering it.  Fabricate is one of the glaring examples and the PLA availability confusion is another.

One of the improvements that I woke to this morning was the new presentation of the filament colors.  After years of flat swatches, we are treated to sculptured objects for making our colored choices.  Shadows are important when it comes to choosing a filament color and the new presentation allows us to compare not only the basic colors; but, the nuances of the colors as printed.  This isn't just a cosmetic update.  For users I consider it an important usability update.

Designs for USERS

One of the side effects of being as busy as I am actually doing and teaching 3D printing is that it leaves less time to spend catching up on what is being presented on the Cubify web site for users.  So, I fail to alert users to the free designs and other perks being offered to users on Cubify.com.

I'll try to do better in this regard.  And, in the meantime, I'll point to the Cubify Halloween Page as the perfect example of 3D System's constant commitment to elevating the Cube experience for users.

The new Patterns Pages

 While not free, the new fabric patterns are reasonably priced and are a great way to become familiar with using 3D printing in fabric projects.  I was excited to see the patterns offering because it helps potential 3D Printer owners understand how to integrate 3D printed parts in fabric projects.  The fact that 3D Systems is constantly thinking about new and exciting applications for consumer 3D printing is very gratifying to me.  The patterns made it easier for me to visualize how to introduce Fabricate concepts to our cadets and I KNOW they are going to be VERY excited.

Way to go Cubify team!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Cube3 and Fabricate - Entirely New Horizons!

While I can't spend much time on it right now, I wanted to point you to the fact that 3D Systems continues to add value to your Cube3 investment by adding continuing to open up entirely new horizons for Cube3 owners.

Cubify Fabricate

I need to do a LOT more experimentation.  But, I cannot think of anything that adds more potential for the cadets that I teach than the all new Fabricate concept for blending clothing design and 3D printing.

Tonight's Project Runway's "avant garde" challenge featured the 3rd Gen Cube with the new Fabricate system.  Very Cool!

As soon as tonight's episode is online I will post the link.  In the meantime, check out the Cubify Fabricate link above... and let your minds go wild!


My experimentation will have to wait a bit.  None of the purchase links are live just now on the Cubify site.  Moreover, there are hints that this new capability might mean updated PLA cartridges.  While not a confirmation, I have to note that at the current moment, absolutely NO PLA cartridges are available on the Cubify site and users are being directed to consider ABS.

I will do my best to get better information on this situation.  But, if the two events are related. I will be patient and point you to other sources of filament for the Cube3 in the meantime.

Timing is EVERYTHING.  This morning, I woke to find that not only is PLA available; but, the new presentation on the web site is infinitely better at allowing us to assess the actual colors in real applications by adding images of the color as printed in actual 3D objects!

Apparently, it was a web site update issue rather than an actual availability problem. 

They have also updated

UPDATE #3 - Full Episode is up!

The Project Runway Cube3 episode is UP!  Here is the link.

I am VERY excited about Fabricate.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

3D Coat Experience "The Knight"

Hello friends
Continuing from the pawn we go into making the knight. the knight unlike the pawn needs at least 2 reference images we deal with that in this video. We also touch on saving models into the model library for later use. The pawn becomes our base model so that the rest of the set will have the same base contours. I took a little longer than planned in getting this video out due to a beta that kept crashing on me while recording. Now it is all set I went a little longer in this video than planned but it all works for the end result. let me know what you think.

I  am going to move onto the rook in the next video this mode will only need one reference image but will require some other skill that are needed to make the rook create symmetrically correct. see you then.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

3D Coat Experience "The Pawn"

Hello again!
I hope you are all enjoying 3D Coat as much as I am. In this video I am going to take some time and explain the reference image a little more clearer. I will do the same with the Lathe primitive tool too. We used the lathe tool quickly when we made the seahorse. this time I will cover the finer details of both of these tools.
 I have been making these tutorials with a completed model as my goal. I am soon to start a sister series that will shift focus from the end result to the tools and what they do. I am considering to keep both running side by side as long as their is an interest for them both.
 I personally like to watch other users make  complete projects, From watching those I am inspired to adapt what I learn to my own ideas and hope that is what these videos have been doing for you.

Let us know what you think.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Keeping Bits & Pieces Out of The Side Vents

We've discussed this before; but, it's prudent to bring the subject up again now that we will be using both print jets and the purging strategy just before printing is different between the Infinity supports and standard PLA.

In my earlier post that discussed a way to keep filament out of the side vents, I had used a rubber band.  I believe that it was Eric Albert that mentioned that he uses the type of plastic used as sheet protectors or transparencies.

I've pursued the latter strategy and have come up with a pattern that can be printed on either inkjet transparency material or laser transparency material.  I am now using the shapes cut out from the pattern in all our printers and it works to keep the bulk of the filament bits and pieces out of the vents and in the trays.

While you will end up with a Word document, I will simply post the .PNG file on this page that you can use to create your printed page.

Vent Guard Pattern

Download this .PNG file and insert it into Word.  Open the "Size and Position" properties for the graphic.  Set the position to  "In Front of Text" and the size to 5" x 5".    If the margins are set to .25" all around, then there is room for two patterns on a page.

Print the patterns to transparency film.  BH Photo carries both inkjet and laser transparency materials,

Once printed, cut out the pieces making sure to cut the slots at the top creating 5 sections.  Tape the cut out shape to the back of each side tray.

It's difficult to see clear transparency held in place by Scotch tape.  So, I have printed a blue paper version and used white tape to demonstrate how the vent guard is mounted.  The vent guard is held in place securely once the tray is clipped into place.

Vent Guard Attachment Demo

The transparency material is thin enough not to interfere with the snapping connectors that hold the tray in place.  And, it is flexible enough not to interfere with the travel of the print jet housing.

It does NOT keep all the bits and pieces of filament and supports from dropping down into the printer.  But, it DOES prevent it from going down into the vents themselves, where it is tougher to remove.

This is a good idea even if you are not planning to use Infinity Supports; but, it is DEFINITELY a good idea if you ARE using the new supports. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Rinsing Infinity Supports is Not the Only Removal Strategy

Any reader of this blog should know by now that there was no love lost between me and the old style supports.  I hated them with a passion because (1) removing them was likely to draw blood and (2) it was nearly impossible to use supports with marring the printed object.

So, why do I now LOVE supports?

Well, it's not just because the Water Soluble Supports dissolve in water.  In fact, I only use water when the part makes it absolutely necessary.  Take this part, for example.

Dial Indicator Holder

This part was designed to hold a dial indicator for checking the level of the print jets.  It was printed in a signle piece oriented as exactly as it is being used, upright.  It required a fair anount of support material.

Infinity Supports - Front View

Infinity Support - Bottom View
The supports literally surrounded the part and were even iside the clips that hold the part to the print table.

Yet, I didn't have to use a bit of water to easily and quickly clean the supports from the part.  I simply broke them away in the traditional fashion.  Because of the unique characteristics of the new supports the materials separated quite easily using a pick, a spade, the palette knife and pliers.  It's amazing.

If the part is designed so that supports are easy to access, then there may be no reason to use water to remove them.  But, it's great to know that there is more than one strategy for removing these supports and that both methods work very, very well.

As a side note... this was printed on my early vintage Cube3.  It's my understanding that the waste trays and rubber wipers have been redesigned since my printer was released.  So, that may be why there are bits and pieces that end up on the part and print table.  Fortunately, they do not seem to negatively affest the print.

But, there was a marked increase in the material getting down into the vents on each side behind the print trays.  It's an old issue (I wrote about this issue very soon after my Cube 3 arrived.); but, it seemed to me that the support material increased the incidents.  So, taking a hint from Eric Albert, I created a cutting jig that allowed me to create some plastic 'fences' to keep the material from getting into the vents.  The fences, may, however, be dlipping material onto thr print table.

I will post about it after I have tested alternate plastic sheet sources.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

3D Coat Experience - The Rocking Horse Textured

Hi Cubify Fans!

    I am back and bringing you another video in the 3D Coat Experience. This time I take our last model and texture it in the paint room.

    I took a little time out due to a small trip some surgery (hernia repair) and some rest. But I am back in full capacity now and ready to continue in this series. I got to meet Tom during the trip that I took and it was as if we had known each other all along. Wish I had more time to sit with him and just enjoy each others company however am glad for the time we did have. We talked a lot about shared ideas and interests in 3D modeling and  Printing. I believe we have decide to create another series that will run alongside this series. It will be more focused on the actual teaching of the software in depth. Not as much about an end result persay. The videos will be to the point and focused so as not to lose anyone who wants to learn 3D Coat,

    Last video was long and perhaps for some too long I am going to try and shorten them some perhaps when needed post them in parts. This video takes off where we stopped and takes the Hobby Horse and textures it for a much more refined finished model.

    I am just amazed at the simplicity at which you can color and texture a model in 3D Coat. I have played with many demos only to walk away frustrated. Not so in this video you will see how to make the model look as it is in the image at the top. keep watching and soon you will be making things with ease.  The image below is from my experimenting as well things are starting to get fun.

    Thanks for watching let me know what you think. I would love to know what direction you would like to see the 3D Coat Experience go. So take some time and add a comment at the bottom.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Infinity Supports - Getting Ready

I know that some of you jumped right on the opportunity to try out the new Infinity Supports.  And, you are right to be excited about it.  Words escape me as I try to wrap all the positive feelings I have about this new product.

But, to get the most out of the new supports there are some things you should know and some things you might want to pick up locally to help you clean up the supports.


The supports are water soluble.  And, presumably safe for our plumbing systems.  But, I'd rather be safe than sorry.  Even though most of the material completely dissolves in water, I have noticed clumps can remain.  And, when these clumps dry they solidify.  So, I have taken to dissolve the materials in a bucket and stir the water until I see no more solids.  Only then do I send it down the drain.

Moreover, I just purchased two items I want to test from Harbor Freight.  One is a parts washer that is essentially a bucket that circulates water and the other is a tool that shakes parts more aggressively than does my ultrasonic bath.  It's usually used to polish items; but, I plan to modify it to agitate water to see how it might work on supports.


working with Infinity Supports is a bit like being a dental technician.  And, the tools that are most helpful are very common in the dentist's office.  They can be purchased locally in hardware and hobby stores.

Tools Helpful with Infinity Supports
I'm fortunate that my daughter is a sculptor that works in clay who has purchased a ton of tools over the years.  One of the most helpful tools I've stolen from her is #4.  It's a curved spade tool that allows me to dig into the supports and pull them away from the PLA.  The picks, #5, are next most useful tools in that they can get into tiny crevices to clean out th little bits that might remain after the bulk of the supports have dissolved.

Of course, having a long tip pair of tweezers is also helpful.

The more of these tools you keep handy, the faster the job of removing the support material will be.


Your strategy for removing supports is dependent on how long you want to let the supports soak or sit under running water.  In some cases, it's faster to just get the supports slightly wet and simply grab portions of the support with the spade tool or the tweezers.  In this case, having paper towels ready helps to remove support material from the tools and dispose of the solids.    As I mentioned earlier, as the solids dry, they return to a hardened state.

I might also add that if you light the speed clean method, I'd drag a trashcan close for the same reason.  Wipe the tool with the paper towel and dispose of the solids in the trashcan.  But, remember, if you can be patient, 90% or more of the supports will dissolve on their own simply sitting in the bucket of water,


The best comparison I can come up with when describing the supports is cheese puffs.   The supports are laid down a bit like french pastry, with lots of air in the layers.  At this point in the evolution of the software and firmware, sometimes the supports can crumble and some bits and pieces might fall off the print table on into the printer.  A pair of long tweezers is helpful to grab these errant bits out of the printer.  I suspect this is a temporary situation as the developers and users learn more about the support characteristics.  But, it is something for which I think you need to be watching.


As most of you know, I HATED to old support system with a passion.  But, this meant that sometimes things had to be oriented in ways that made critical features weaker.  For instance, I might print a bolt standing on it's head leaving the shaft of the bolt weak as the layers were 90% to the shaft.

Not any more.

I can now orient a bolt sideways with the longitudinal layers adding to the strength to the shaft of the bolt.

Think about what that means to making our parts more useful in real world situations as we have the freedom to orient for maximum strength rather than for avoiding the need for supports.


Try printing the following part without supports. 

Orientation of the printed parts

It's impossible.  And, with the old style supports it would have been a nightmare to clean.  But, it prints beautifully with the new Infinity Support system.  And, yes.  That is EXACTLY as it was printed on the print table, with the bulk of the base ABOVE the print table.


The new Infinity Supports mean we do not have to perform gymnastics to print the items we scan with our Sense and iSense scanners.  This means we can print human shapes just as we scanned them!  I haven't had time to revisit some of my old scans for new print opportunities as yet; but. I certainly will.


Infinity supports require two print jets concurrently.  This means we must do our best to ensure that our print jets are evenly leveled relative to the print table.  Those with early machines will be mostly affected by this requirement.   While we have previously written about techniques to perfectly align the print jets, we will address the topic again should the need arise.  The part pictured above was created to hold a dial or digital indicator to test print jet alignment and it works beautifully.

I hope that all of you that have ordered the new support material will let others know of your experience through the comments on this blog.  And, I trust that you will be every bitas excited and happy as I have been.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


This is no smoke & mirrors deal.  This is the real thing.  Infinity Support material is available for both the Cube3 and the CubePro series printers.

It only works with PLA.

It is, to me, the biggest breakthrough in FDM printing and when you combine it with the firmware and software improvements that accompany the new Infinity Supports, no one single word fully describes the experience.




You bet it is!


You have no idea just HOW groundbreaking it is.

I could go on; but, suffice it to say that this is, to me, the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT development for consumers, designers and artists since the introduction of the 1st Generation Cube.

I has fundamentally changed my printing strategies and expanded my horizons exponentially..

But, I do not know exactly what I can or cannot say at this time.  So, I will have to be released to fully explain the entire process.   All I can say right now is be glad that the Cube3 has two print jets and order your Infinity Supports right away!

Chow - Created by Peyton Duncan

NOTE:  This was printed with one of the earliest Cube 3 printers delivered.  The latest versions of the Cube3 do an even BETTER job!

I've printed the Chow, above, with regular supports and the Infinity Supports.  What a nightmare with PLA supports and what a DREAM with Infinity Supports.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015