Monday, February 2, 2015

New User Printable Tools for Cube 3 Owners/Users

While I am having much better luck avoiding cartridge tip clogs with the Cube3, we still aren't at the 100% clog-free goal as yet.  This means opening the cartridge is sooner or later necessary.

Cube3 Top Remover Tool Kit

While not an onerous task, I got tired of juggling multiple screwdrivers in my attempts to open remove the cartridge top.  So, naturally, since I have 3D printers, I decided to find a better solution.  It looks like this...

Cube3 Top Remover Kit

The solution consists of a hub ring (cyan in the image) that fits into the cartridge hub and locks into place using the cartridge mounting hooks.  Then there is a small piece (yellow) that slips into the most reasonable point to start removing the top... the lower tip storage extension.  And, finally there are 'hooks' that are wedged between the top and the cartridge as you work around the cartridge using a screwdriver to separate the two.  Once wedged into place the 'hook' is locked into place using the hub ring.

I plan to create a video demonstrating how it's used.  But, once printed, it's pretty obvious how it works.

Cartridge Guide Set

Once the top is open, we have access to the filament while the printer is printing.  But, there is one problem.  The filament guide that carries the filament from the cartridge to the printer flaps in the breeze.  Once again, the solution for stabilizing the filament was found in a 3D print.

Cartridge Guide Set

 Actually, two issues are addressed in this STL file.  The one addressing the filament guide issue (White) attaches above the extrusion housing.  One end fits over the filament guide at the top and locks into the hub area, stabilizing the filament guide as it leaves the cartridge.

But, it turns out that the filament benefits by a little stabilizer where it goes INTO the extrusion housing.  So, a second small fitting (cyan) is also included that dampens the oscillation of the filament and it fits just under the extrusion housing into a little triangular area just under the housing.  The lower filament and guide fit into the groove that stabilizes the filament as it enters.

Again, I hope to create a video soon showing how it is used.

Both of these tool sets are available for FREE download on the Cubify Design Feed.  The best way to find them is to click on the 'Design Feed' tab in the Cubify software and then click on the magnifying glass and search with the key words "Cube3 Tools" or "CubifyFans".


While there is an STL that allows you to print four Cartridge Guide Sets at a time, I would not do so until you see if your printer is successful printing out one.  That is because in order to make things easier to lift off the plate, I have created small channels that allow water to get under the piece. But, this means the first layer is build in small blocks that seems to challenge some cartridges.  If needed I can upload a version with a completely flat underside.  Just let me know.

I am very happy with what these tools allow me to do.  They have made my life considerably easier.  I hope you find them helpful while we wait for a more permanent solution.


  1. Tom;

    Once again, Great Articles and now Great Tools!!! Very timely.

    Unfortunately my cartridges have now both jammed and I am not able to print them but I will keep them handy in hopes of eventually getting replacement cartridges.

    I have been trying to place orders for filament, glue and an extra print plate with our Canadian dealers but even they are not being told by 3D Systems when they can expect delivery.

    And, when I contact 3D Systems their shipping estimates change depending on who responds. (5 business days to 4 months)

    A little more open and honest communication from 3D Systems would be nice!

    So for now, rather than waiting for back orders, I have purchased a 2nd 3D printer (not a 3D Systems model) of the shelf at the Microsoft Store along with all the extra filament I will need.

    As soon as it is up, I will print your great tools and try to resurrect my Cube3's jammed cartridges for the projects I have waiting.

  2. I saved two cartridges today using the top remover, purge and the cartridge guide set. Printing out the 4 pack cartridge guide set now with a saved cartridge. It's amazing you can engineer that stuff. Thanks!

  3. Thanks, Mike!

    I'm very happy to hear that. Just about all the items I design are because I need them. And, if I find them useful, I hope others can too. We still have challenges; but, at least we have a shot of saving cartridges. :)

  4. Thanks for your blog post! Please keep it up. Help so much
    Also is this method possible to use other filaments from other companies? such as colorfabs wood filament?


    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      The Cube3 will not, at this writing, use any of the wood filaments. That is not to say that it will not be available in the future.

  5. If you could post the files somewhere, I'd appreciate it; the design feed is closed so they are no longer available there. Thank you!