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.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Possible Cubify v2.22 Quirk

I don't know if this is widespread; but, the Cubify client is now choking on my STL files. 

It tells me that it cannot read the file.  However, if I persevere, it will eventually read the file and print it.  I notice some new functionality related to updating the Cloud version of the Shelf.  So, it may have to do with that.  Or, it might be related to error checking the STL.

It would be interesting to know if anyone else is running into this as it may or may not be related to the way my STLs are built.


As has been pointed out in the comments the above situation seems to be related to te time it takes to sync the new design with the Cloud.  Once the 'Syncing' symbol disappears from the top center of the screen, the file is available.  Apparently, the file is locked while syncing.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Some Insights Into the Latest Updates (Cubify 2.22 and Firmware 1.10A)

More than a few of you probably wondered why I didn't panic in the face of clear evidence of clogging issues with the Cube3 3D printer.  The number one reason is that I have been watching the Cube team since the very first Cube 3D printer was released back in 2012.  And, I was certain that they not only could solve the problems; but, would not rest until all of the issues were behind us.

Now, I know that is small comfort for those who have had a Cube3 languishing on the shelf as we waited for the solutions to be found.  But, with this latest combination of Cubify Client software and firmware updates I'm trusting that your faith will be at least a bit restored and that mine will be proven justified.

Getting a 3D printer to work is a LOT more difficult than it may seem on the surface.  Just go back through countless countless Kickstarter campaigns to see how many actually delivered to happy doners.  And, in the case of the Cube3 there was an added wrinkle.

That wrinkle was the desire to create a long term solution to be able to deliver a true consumer 3D printer.  That this was an important design consideration was obvious to me the very first time I tool my Cube3 out of the box.  The 3D Systems' designers had gone over all of the impediments for widespread consumer 3D printing and created a platform that answered each of those impediments.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, they may have taken on too many challenges in a single generation by introducing BOTH the self contained cartridge/guide/printjet system and two color printing.  So, it, no doubt, complicated a total solution taking more time to get to the point where I believe we are with these updates.

I print a LOT.  It is rare that my 3D printers aren't going day and night.  So, I've had opportunity to make some observations.  The first was that incorrect gap could not have had anything to do with failures that would occur well after a print had started.  The updates address this issue.


Temperature for each combination of material type and material color is controlled by a table of values in firmware.  These have been refined in this update.  I am told that "...the new temp tables have proven to be very effective for cartridge reliability." It also explains why we found a reliability difference between colors. 
NOTE:  If your printer continues to repeatedly clog in the upper layers of a print job, it may have a bad heater block.  Contact Cubify Support to troubleshoot
It will take some more observations to understand the behavior of the new temperature tables starting, running and ending a print job with different colors, etc.


As you, no doubt, have observed, the extruder gear both pushes and pulls the filament.  It pushes while feeding out filament and then pulls to retract the filament as it travels over distances without printing.  While it has not been officially confirmed, it is my understanding that the push/pull process has been refined to prevent pulling the heated filament too far back into the guide assembly where it could cool and create a blockage.   I'm making an assumption here that this is also addresses in these updates.


While a permanent fix is still in the works, these updates begin to address an issue where Auto-Level goes into an endless loop.  What is happening is that the firmware is seeing a value that is right on the edge of acceptable limits.  It's like finding yourself sitting right on top of a fence and not being able to decide to move to one side or the other.

If you have this condition, simply move the plate to the font of the printer, loosen the front knob and turn it 1mm to the left or right.  You should then be able to properly level.

They are aware of this and a future firmware update will address it.


None of these updates will solve your printer's issues if you install both cartridges and the print jets are not level.  I suggest testing the update with only one cartridge installed to verify that clogging is eliminated before adding the second cartridge.  Only then would I suggest moving on to two color printing AFTER ensuring that both print jets have the same gap.


My fifth grade teacher would be horrified by that sentence; but, I can't think of any other way to say it.  One of my as yet unconfirmed observations is that a cartridge would print just fine for multiple print jobs and then fail right at the beginning of a new print job.  To me, that only made sense if something in either the Cubify Client or the firmware miscalculated the position of the print jet to be lower than a proper first line of print.  In other words, it seemed likely that the printer was told to raise the print table higher than it should.

I will be paying close attention to this issue.  I BELIEVE it is supposed to have been found and fixed.  But, I have no confirmation that either is true.


While I do not have a comprehensive list of improvements, those that I do know about seem to go a long way to addressing the clogging issue.  Let's hope we can concentrate on producing beautiful 3D prints time after time.  :)

ALERT!!! Quick (and Important) Reminder for Cube3 Owners.

I have to rush off this minute to an appointment and will have to wait to post what I JUST learned a bit later today.

But, I want to once again urge ALL Cube3 owners to update BOTH their Cubify Client to v2.22 and update their firmware to v1.10A (It will simply appear as 1.10) as these, for most of us, probably contain the breakthroughs that we have been seeking!

Don't forget to go through the entire process of recalibrating, leveling and setting gap.  Check the final gap before printing just to be safe.

In a couple of hours, when I get back, I will provide more information as to why this is so important to all Cube3 usewrs.


You are not being left out in these new improvements.  But, you'll have to wait just a bit longer for final firmware testing to be completed before it's available online.  I have no idea how long that might be.  (After all it IS in final TESTING!)   So, keep watching for your new firmware update on an hourly or daily basis!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Critical Cubify Cleint and Firmware Updates

Cubify client 2.22 and firmware 1.10A are available for download.

I believe the combination of these two new updates will reduce our clogging issues.  While I have not been told that directly, when I reported that I thought that sometimes the Cube3 would start print jobs one line too low, I was told that 'the next update should fix this."

I took that to mean that there might have been instances where the print jet would be positioned too low on start up and, if so, it had been spotted and fixed.

I suggest downloading and IMMEDIATELY applying both updates..

When finished, the update still showed simply v1.10 on my Cube; but.