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.  :)


  1. Thanks Tom! Updates done.... print testing tonight! ;-)

    1. I am now able to use some of the cartridges that had stopped in mid-print. So far, no clogs with any color tested. (Red [formerly a problem], Teal and Brown [first try])

  2. Thanks Tom, I am printing some tests now.

    By the way the startup screen on the Cube 3 now shows the rev as 1.10A.

    In the Cubify software 2.09 (Mac Version) "printer info" screen I see a slight difference in temps for both print heads than what I was used to seeing.

  3. The new client software offers a new raft setting called "sidewalk" which makes for a better first layer resolution.

    This proves my point though that cubify should be telling us what the changes include so we know how to adapt to them. For months I have been printing with my own supports material designed into my model because the cubify auto supports generation is extremely poor quality. Now I have to print under different settings and waste material trying the auto supports again to see if improvements were made because we haven't been provided a comprehensive list of what is included in the update.

    I cannot stress enough that I think the cubify client should show a visual of where the supports will be placed before printing and also utilize a visual of where the rafte material will print on plate so that we can save of excessive use of glue.

  4. I agree that a definitive list of changes in both the client and firmware updates would be extremely useful.

  5. How do you troubleshoot firmware on the Cube 3? I try to update to the latest and the LCD screen does not respond at all. Thanks in advance!