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billdempsey

3DSystems CubeX Looks Cool

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Just a note about a new printer that seems likely to raise the bar for consumer 3D printing. The CubeX printer looks to be a great tool for people like myself who don't have time to tinker with their printer constantly. 3DSystems literally invented 3D printing 30 years ago, so they know a thing or two about it. The CubeX is designed to be trouble free and "just work." It's a tank of a printer at a whopping 84 pounds. The build volume is vast, with the ability to print out a regulation sized basketball (which wouldn't bounce, of course.) The printer even maintains it's current position in the print process so that if the power goes out, it will resume printing right where it left off when the power returns. It's also pretty pricey, if you get the three extruder model. I know, because I ordered one. They call it a "prosumer" printer, because of the options and pricing. They target the newly upgraded Cube as their consumer printer.

The humidity-controlled smart cartridges are also more expensive than standard rolls of filament, but they tell the printer what settings to use for the material inside (ABS or PLA), so you don't have to remember to change the settings. The cartridges also tell the printer exactly how much material remains, so you can't start a print if you won't have enough filament to complete it. No more aborted prints because the filament ran out.

Overall, I'm really looking forward to receiving my CubeX Trio next month. If anyone has any questions about it after it arrives, just PM me. I'm happy to help everyone who has helped me so much on these forums.

 

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I find it interesting that this only goes down to 125 micron and is not configurable beyond 3 settings (500, 250, and 125 micron). I normally always print at 80micron on my Ultimaker (default with NetFabb) and often go down to 40. Also, I'm really enjoying the Wood any Nylon filament options now which would not be possible on the CubeX. It will likely never get those - or the other options like PVA, flexible PLA, etc...

Also it seems that you have to 'activate' the machine. Not sure what that means exactly but it usually implies DRM. I wonder if they are brining DRM into the 3d printing fold. The software could potentially implement restrictions on what models you can print. I don't see much information on the software, but it apparently only works with stl files so it cannot handle .obj (which most current slices can) or AMF files (which are _supposed_ to be a new 'standard' format for 3d printing... though I've honestly never seen one). The software also only works on Windows so that eliminates all of the Mac and Linux users out there. I only use Linux these days.

Cheers,

Troy.

 

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3DSystems is in the patenting and stiffening 3D printing business. They also advertise their budget FDM printers with SLS prints next to it. I personally wouldn't touch them with a long stick.

Your choice, I know you had a bad experience with the Ultimaker. And I hope you have a better one with the CubeX.

 

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I find it interesting that this only goes down to 125 micron and is not configurable beyond 3 settings (500, 250, and 125 micron). I normally always print at 80micron on my Ultimaker (default with NetFabb) and often go down to 40. Also, I'm really enjoying the Wood any Nylon filament options now which would not be possible on the CubeX. It will likely never get those - or the other options like PVA, flexible PLA, etc...

Also it seems that you have to 'activate' the machine. Not sure what that means exactly but it usually implies DRM. I wonder if they are brining DRM into the 3d printing fold. The software could potentially implement restrictions on what models you can print. I don't see much information on the software, but it apparently only works with stl files so it cannot handle .obj (which most current slices can) or AMF files (which are _supposed_ to be a new 'standard' format for 3d printing... though I've honestly never seen one). The software also only works on Windows so that eliminates all of the Mac and Linux users out there. I only use Linux these days.

Cheers,

Troy.

The specs on their web site say it's 100 micron. But reps quote 125. Either way, few printers actually stop at the rated minimum. I know a MendelMAX owner printing at 40 microns. Ultimaker says it's 100 micron, too, and we know that's not true. Also, those three modes are the "quick print modes." They also say you can directly tweak settings in an expert mode. Granted, the print quality may still be lower than Ultimaker, but at this point, I'm after dependability more than anything. The activate process supposedly gives you access to special owner-only functions of their web site and registers your printer. I've tried a dozen different distros of Linux and always go back to Windows. I own a Mac, but I only use it for music creation, because I like the UI on Windows 7 much better. Everyone has their preference.

As far as the patents Daid mentioned, considering they invented 3-D printing, if anyone deserves to patent some aspects of 3-D printing, it's them. In most other industries, patent troll companies who don't even produce products own all the patents. For some patent trolls, entire company is made up of patent lawyers. The CubeX did win Best of CES for 2013 and everything they were showing at the booth were real prints off the real printers, because they had a bunch running at their booth. I haven't seen any stereo lithography prints alongside their printers. The only ones I've seen were produced on the printer. They all show the characteristic banding of filament prints. Thanks to Sander, it's looking like my Ultimaker experience may finally have a happy ending, which would be great because I wanted to have two printers, anyway. Thanks for the good wishes.

 

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I think there are plenty of printers out there for users like Bill, who don't have the time or willpower to tinker, where a closed system is much more appealing and useful to them, than a open system like the UM, which may require involved tinkering.

 

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joergen is quite right about tweaking not suiting everyone.

however, whats maddening is that withsome work on the mechanical design...it would be

open AND not need tweaking AND be easy to upgrade IF...you . want.

open source should be about the possibility to upgrade...not mandatory self repair.

i feel thats often misunderstood

 

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In order for 3D printing to become what the media is hyping it to be, there are going to need to be systems that your mom (assuming that your mom is NOT an engineer) can use.

The companies that are going in that direction seem to be taking the razors/razor blades approach that you get with paper printers where you buy a printer for relatively low $ then lots of $$$ for replacement 'ink'. A cartridge approach is probably necessary for a printer that anyone can use, but they're doing nasty things with the cartridges like using ID chips to force you to buy a new cartridge instead of 'refilling'.

 

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I never saw that SLS print near the CubeX at CES. *shrug* Everything I saw was filament.

Anyway, I finally got my CubeX Trio last week. It took me 20 min to unpack and setup. Took another 10 min to install the software. I started my first print at the 30 minute mark. It's a 5 inch tall "knight" from a kid's chess set. I left it set at all of the default settings. It was medium quality (0.25 layer height.) It took about 5 hrs to print. Here is an image of the print:

:mad: Hmmm it seems I cannot upload an image of the print quality. It wants me to link to a file somewhere on the web. The "My Media" button doesn't let me upload new media, either.

Well, there is no point saying anything more without pictures. Sorry guys.

Btw, this thread probably should be moved to the Gossip section of the forum.

 

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Bill - it's a pain, but if you click on your name in the menu bar at the top, you can go to your gallery. You can upload the picture(s) there, and then then come back here to post them from the 'my media' tool in the editor. Pain, but it works, and I fo one would be interested to see your results.

 

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Bill - it's a pain, but if you click on your name in the menu bar at the top, you can go to your gallery. You can upload the picture(s) there, and then then come back here to post them from the 'my media' tool in the editor. Pain, but it works, and I fo one would be interested to see your results.

 

I must be blind because I clicked on my name, went to gallery, and I still can't find an upload button anywhere.

 

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Yeah, I was blind. I eventually found the upload button. :) I'll add a couple pics to this post.

Here is a picture of the first print I did:

First Print (600x800)

 

Here is a picture of my two printers side-by-side:

Side By Side   Copy (800x600)

My cat knocked my print platform off my counter and broke it, so I'm waiting for the free replacement they offered to arrive. I told them it was my fault and they still insisted on sending me a free replacement. Wow.

 

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The prints seem no better than the Ultimaker for twice the price, but then again, if you cant get the Ultimaker to work....

 

Yes, the print quality is similar. So is the price. The single extruder model of the CubeX is $2499. I spent $3000 on my Ultimaker replacing parts for 3 months before I was able to get a print of this quality. The Ultimaker is only cheaper if you live in Europe. The exchange rate and shipping make it more expensive to U.S. residents. Plus the build volume is MUCH larger and the printer doesn't look like it was built in somebody's basement. Currently, my Ultimaker stopped working again and I'm so tired of it, I haven't bothered fixing it or even complaining about it on here. I'm likely going to strip it for parts and build something different. No more hobbyist printers for me.

 

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Not sure why you spent 3000$

I have an ultimaker in Australia and upgraded it with V2 nozzle and extruder.

Shipping isa bit dear but twice the ultimaker price seems a bit high.

So how big is the print? What is the speed and I would be interested into a more color print.

Happy printing.

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Bill, I don't think that you can count the cost of replacing parts as I recall in your case, some of that was down to how it was put together or used? but not only that, most people can get the machine to print straight away with few or no issues so I think that to say that costs are similar is stretching the truth just a tad.

Paul

 

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The exchange rate between the Netherlands and the U.S. makes the price very competitive between the two printers. If they listed the prices in U.S. dollars, like 3DSystems does, it would be more obvious to people that they're similarly priced. When you see 1700 euros, it translates to nearly $2300 U.S. dollars (exchange rate is 0.75 to 1.00). The CubeX is $2499 U.S. That's pretty similar pricing, in my book.

It was worse for me because I spent hundreds of additional $$ on parts which were destroyed because I followed the very out-of-date assembly instructions on the web site to the letter. Despite it being their fault, they charged me for the replacement parts to fix everything that got damaged. Eventually, after I complained very publicly on 3Ders.org about my horrific support experiences with Ultimaker, they suddenly offered to replace the motherboard which had been faulty from the start. Then, they offered to replace the Ulticontroller, which displayed gibberish on the display when printing via USB. The replacement worked a couple of days and then started displaying gibberish, too. Now, I have two unusable Ulticontrollers in a drawer. At least I got another week or two of printing out of the Ultimaker before the temperature probe (or the small circuit board on the print head perhaps?) stopped working. The printer would say it was heating. The temperature shown never changed. Then, the print head would start smoking from overheating. At that point, I just unplugged the printer and stopped using it. Until there are replacement parts available in the U.S., I'm not going to mess with my Ultimaker anymore. Paying $40 to ship $15 parts is just mental. In the meantime, if I start up a project that needs stepper motors, my Ultimaker will likely be gutted for parts.

 

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Hello Bill,

how did you print this with your CubeX?

I have got the CubeX Duo Printer and its like having your Ultimaker.

It took me 1 hour to unpack it. Then it printed 1! time and since then it does not print anymore.

So i went to the store and they kept it 3 weeks. Now they tell me everything is fine.

It arrived yesterday at home.

The first print did not work because of to much PowerGlue.

The second Print worked, but its not ever near the Quality that you showed on your picture.

It messes everything up. It prints but it leaves stripes of filament on the borders. It looks horrible.

I wrote the store, but the people are not there at the moment.

it feel like you felt with your Ultimaker.

Could you explain to me what you did exactly. Which Settings you made, so that i have a chance to print anything usable.

That would be really nice.

Thanks

Reto

 

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Hi,

I have received the CubeX Duo too. The first jet with White ABS and the second jet with Red PLA.

I can say that I have the same problems. In case I only use PLA, the quality is aceptable but if I use ABS, the results are far away from expected.

I have used before the Afinia UP and iit's results are better than CubeX. The only problem for this 3d printer is that it has a very limited printable area.

I would appreciate if anyone could send it's setup data for comparing them with mine ones.

Thanks.

Miguel Angel.

 

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Sorry for the late response. I don't check these forums very often anymore. My first advice is, don't follow their instructions on the amount of glue. They say put three layers. You only need a thin layer and it needs to be tacky right before the print starts. People also say not to squeeze the bottle but just hold it upside down for 30 seconds to let some glue soak into the sponge, then move it around on the surface. Personally, I started getting odd results too, so I abandoned the glue in favor of blue tape sprayed with Aqua Net hairspray. Like the glue, the hairspray needs to be tacky right before the print starts. It can't be runny.

For ABS, I'd use the popular slurry mixture a lot of people are using. They dissolve scraps of ABS in acetone to make a milky fluid which they brush onto the surface before printing. I haven't tried this myself, because I don't use ABS. Eventually, I plan to buy the heated bed kit being sold for the printer by a third party. It includes everything you need, plus great instructions for installation. It's a little pricey, though. ($599 or so?) People are having much better results using the heated bed (as one might expect.) I'm also thinking of making magnetic doors for the openings to keep the chamber warm.

As you probably know, right now, there is a shortage of filament cartridges for the CubeX. So, in order to conserve the cartridges I have left, I decided to get my Ultimaker working again. (I have 40+ lbs of unused filament for the Ultimaker taking up space in my office.) So, I ordered $600 more in spare parts and they arrived yesterday. So, today I'm once again fiddling with my Ultimaker. Wish me luck.

 

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