Showing posts with label Cube 3. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cube 3. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cube 3: A Stategy for Easier Printed Part Removal

Jim Ward, in a comment on an earlier blog post pointed out that using a raft might make it easier to remove printed items.  And, he is right.  The crisscross construction of rafts allows for water to penetrate under the piece which dissolves the water soluble CubeStick, making it easier to lift the piece off the print plate.

But, then we are faced with the challenge of removing the raft from the item.  And, I have had very little success cleaning the raft off an item completely.

In line with Jim's basic premise, that allowing water to dissolve some of the glue under a piece would facilitate removal, I've been using channels cut into the bottom of items to accomplish the same thing.

While he didn't mention it, the second benefit of Jim's observation is that having a raft makes it easier for us to get the palette knife under the item we are trying to remove.  To accomplish this without a raft, we can chamfer the bottom edges to give us leverage for a palette knife to pry the item off the plate.

Both systems work.  It's just a matter of preference as to which one you use in your own designs.  But, when printing downloaded designs, Jim's suggestion of using a raft is the best alternative.

In Moment of Inspiration, the process of creating channels is very easy.  Here is a short video that demonstrates an alternative to using a raft to facilitate easier removal. 

The ease with which these kinds of operations are done in Moment of Inspiration is just one of the reasons why we chose it for our cadets as they learn to design and print in 3D.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cube 3 and ABS - Video

I created a video to demonstrate that it is possible to print ABS with the Cube 3 with the proper CubeStick application.  One of the things I fail to point out in the video is the special nature of the new print table that seems to act like a heat sink.  After printing the piece in the video I was surprised that the print table was as warm as it was.  It didn't get as hot as that of the 1st generation Cube; but, definitely was warmer that I'd experienced with the Cube 2 print table.

I could be wrong; but, I do not think the table is heated by any other means than simply absorbing heat from the printed object.

There was ever-so-slight warping at either end of the piece once it was removed from the print table.  But, NOTHING like that I had seen previously with my other 3D printers... including the heated 1st generation Cube.  I now believe it is possible to be completely successful when printing properly designed* ABS parts.

This is very important to me.  In fact, it's way more important than being able to print in two colors.  ABS has a very resilient quality to it that is quite different from PLA.  So, I am very happy to know that I can at east start experimenting with ABS again at an ever finer print resolution.

* By properly designed, I mean the strategic placement of holes and other structural relief elements that reduce stress from uneven shrinkage due to temperature changes.  Think of the ways iron bridges are constructed with triangular elements, etc. to use less iron while keeping the same structural integrity.  A bee-hive is another great source of inspiration for strength without too much bulk.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"We must be Getting Close"

I am amazed by many of our Cube owners and among the most amazing is Eric Albert of Renaissance Engineer.  Eric has the the tenacity of a bloodhound and the eyes of an eagle when it comes to discovering new developments on the Cubify site.

As far as I know he is ALWAYS the first to discover new uploads and is marvelous at analyzing issues related to the many 3D printers that he uses in his university lab. 

Since both of us have or use multiple Cube 3D printers, and expect to be early Cube 3 owners, we've had a lot in common as we wait for the first shipments of the Cube 3 printers to leave the factory.  One of those things is looking for clues that might portend that shipping is getting closer.

Of course, he is ALWAYS the first on the scene when new developments unfold.  I NEVER get there first.  RATS!!!!

Putting that grudge aside...

On September 11, he alerted me to the fact that the Cube 3 Client software was on the "Activate" page for the Cube 3 printer on  This morning he scooped me again by alerting me that the Cubify iPhone/iPad App was now available on the iTunes store.

Because both the Windows Cube client and the iPad/iPhone Cubify App require a Cube 3D Printer to fully do them justice, I'll refrain from actually reviewing them at this time.  But, I agree with Eric's assessment.  The fact that the software is now online, probably means that shipping is getting very close.

You'll hear more about Eric Albert and the work he does with teachers and young students in the near future.  In the meantime, thanks to him, I can report that the software is up and the Cube 3 printers are probably not too far behind.

Thanks Eric!

P.S.  While both Eric and I are longing to get our hands on the new Cube 3, we both agree that shipping before the machine is absolutely ready for prime time would be the worst scenario for Cube 3 owners.  We appreciate the patience and discipline that 3D Systems has shown in this regard.  Eric is especially familiar with the downside of premature shipping.  It would be well worth your time to visit Renaissance Engineer to check his experiences with the Cell-Robox and MakerBot Mini.