View Full Version : The Ekocycle Cube Thread

03-14-2018, 08:45 PM
This is intended be a thread to discuss/share information about the 3D Systems Ekocycle Cube -- the poor cousin of the Cube 3. :cool:

Apparently the Ekocube was developed for Coca-Cola under the direction of Will.I.Am, who was (is?) working for 3DS on recycling issus. My understanding is about 300 units were made.

The Ekocube and Cube 3 share the same hardware. The only difference is labeling, and firmware. The Ekocube is restricted by its firmware to using Ekocube (only) filament cartridges containing around 25% recycled pop bottles. Only PLA and ABS were available, in limited colors.

All the wonderful ideas, hacks and accessories discussed in the Cube3 forum can be applied to the Ekocube, but with some differences. Hence this separate thread.

03-14-2018, 09:25 PM
Thanks for sharing the backstory John. I have never even seen these on sale.

I do like the red lights though :)

The one firmware difference is that the EkoCycle doesn't have the 70um resolution, correct?

03-15-2018, 02:56 AM
Yes - you are correct. No 70um for the Eko.
Also, my comment above about PLA and ABS is wrong. The Eko cartridges are "PETG" - whatever that is!

Some other differences I've noticed:

- the Cube 3 is faster on setup actions.
Auto-level: Eko = 2 minutes; Cube = 40 seconds
Auto-gap: Eko = 1 minute; Cube = 36 seconds

- when I printed using the right side on the Eko, it never moved the printhead over the right side wiper. When it primed, instead of dumping into the catch bin, it dribbled out about a half inch to the left. When I print using the left cartridge, it wipes the printhead as it should.

I'll try to notice other differences as I play around with it.

I wonder if the Ekocycles were not offered to the public, since they were tied in with Coca-Cola trademarks and such.

03-15-2018, 03:13 AM
Interesting. We have seen some odd motion behavior on some machines. Not sure what to attribute that too. You'd think that if the hardware was fine, any FW upgrade would overwrite a wrong bit or two. I once had a replacement Cube 3 take on an 8mm shift near the end of a very long print. It went back! It was a warrantee machine so I wanted nothing to do with a printer that was going to be unreliable after this much effort (filament and time expense). And the replacement is still my primary printer.

There were a lot of updates to the Cube 3 code over the year. Many were performance updates. I wonder if they quietly stopped supporting the EkoCycle before that. The little test print is certainly from an earlier version of the slicer. This may actually be a benefit on the EkoCycle because one update took out some "apparently random hesitations" ...
And I still have that 3D Builder variation on Marvin using ABS and an anomalous M$ provided slicer (authored by 3DS).
How is the EkoCycle in printing the loop on Marvin?

03-15-2018, 03:26 AM
The Eko cartridges are "PETG" - whatever that is!

Soda bottles are made from PETE. PETG is more appropriate for 3D printing. Both are derivatives of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) with different additives to make them more suited to their purposes. So it looks like they are mixing approximately 25% recycled PETE with PETG. You can print PETG with the Cube 3 although it is not an option in Cube Print software. I posted about it elsewhere.

03-15-2018, 04:36 AM
(worth linking here...)

03-15-2018, 07:10 AM
How is the EkoCycle in printing the loop on Marvin?

I have not yet printed Marvin, or Benchy for that matter. I did print one of MajorOCD's printhead from Thingverse. It came out ok after some manual cleanup.

Thanks, MegaloDon, for clarifying PET-G. My printer asks for PET-G sometimes when I try to print from a USB file. CubePrint really seems wonky to me, in the way it decides what material and extruder to use!

That's a quite informative article from matterhackers, TommyDee. They have several others I found to be helpful - such as the one about moisture, materials and drying.

I'm having a hard time finding out how to get ahold of a ReCube Pro... Any hints? (I have the files for the ReCube Lite.)

03-15-2018, 03:59 PM
You would contact Tomura on his site... http://www.haxtom.com/

I'm just curious about Marvin because neither ABS or PLA works from the Cubify app. In 3D Builder, the PLA version is also cr@p, but the ABS version is nearly pristine. This makes me curious as to which slicer the EkoCycle uses and compare that to other "marvins".

03-15-2018, 07:30 PM
I will try Marvin. Is he on ThingVerse?

BTW - I'll bet you could load the Eko firmware into your Cube if you wanted to test it for something else....
Of course, you would need to borrow one of my Eko cartridges to be able to print something! :rolleyes:

03-15-2018, 07:38 PM

Marvin ^

Interesting thought about converting my Cube 3 to EkoCycle.
Certainly an option when I get one of these ReCube's together and working.
Then I won't have to worry about the printer's firmware anymore.

03-15-2018, 10:06 PM
I did print one of MajorOCD's printhead from Thingverse.

FYI, I am MajorOCD on Thingiverse. :cool:

03-27-2018, 05:13 AM
Well! Thank you very much for that Nifty Nozzle, Sir!!

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I finally printed Marvin.
This is Ekocycle filament (my only choice!). I think it did a fairly credible job - the loop doesn't look too bad to me.
What's your take?

2547 2548 2549 2550 2551

03-27-2018, 08:16 AM
Very nice specimen! It's as good as anything I could print. Could never get Cubify to do a nice job though. I had to use 3D Builder.
In that sense, you have added to my suspicion that the EkoCycle slicer is the same as the ABS slicer in 3D Builder.
I realize you have PETG but I was looking for some specific traits in the print. Your pix show them nicely.

03-27-2018, 08:58 PM
EKOCYCLES ARE FREE! (Free as in jail, not as in beer... :)

The Ekocycle ReCube Pro by Tomuro ( http://www.haxtom.com/?p=71 )now has the capability to switch the cartridge type from Ekocycle to Cube 3 to Cube Pro.

I've changed my Ekocycle printer fully to Cube 3 now.

I can now print PLA, ABS and other type of filament. I can print 200 micron or 70 micron layers (although generally 200 prints better than 70).

I have begun converting my cartridges. I may even grind the EKOCYCLE raised lettering off the side of the print platform, and strip off the plastic label at the top!

I'm a happy camper!

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On the other hand, the PLA filament I have did not do a good job on Marvin... (MAKERTREE 3D, LLC PLA 1.75MM LIGHT BLUE). But it was cheap. {:-|


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One other thing:
I found I can use the Ekocycle filament by telling the printer it is ABS.
The Ekocycle printed at about 250C, which is about what Cube3 prints ABS at.
It prints a lot better than my cheap PLA...

03-28-2018, 01:15 AM
So now my next question... being fully Cube 3 integrated... can you now make a Marvin as good as the red one from EkoCycle using any of the materials using the Cube 3 FW? I'm willing to lay odds you can't... at least, mine can't

03-28-2018, 02:32 AM
I'll try. I think my best chance will be with the Eko filament.

03-28-2018, 05:10 AM
Some backstory for you, John.

I really wanted some slicer options beyond Cubify (default app).
And I didn't want to go hacking files to get there... although I really appreciate the work others are doing in that regard.
(I'm holding out for Simply3D to see the market share they are giving up on by not making a 3DS print driver.)
So when I learned that Windows 8.1 and then Windows 10 provided an interface, I was ALL SMILES... <shortlived>
I had a Win8.1 PC but it wasn't quite that straight forward. Got it to work after much "deliberation".
I saw the potential... along with some serious revelations.
Windows 10 installed 3D Builder by default. It pretty much worked. No SDK's or other nonsense. Still had strange behavior issues though.
Recently M$ updated 3D Builder's interface and really hosed a lot of print managers up. It just lost all UI feedback to what is going on when submitting a print.
Go find print manager on Win10! You now need it to untangle your hardwired print jobs.

What am I carrying on about?
The actual print driver that 3D Builder provides is a piece of 3DS code.
The 3DB app just throws an STL over the wall into the same slicer built into the printer and built into Cubify.

When I print Marvin from Cubify in PLA, it is pretty bad, specially the hook. Tell-tale features that are related to the slicer directly... Which, when run through 3BD, although it has different rafts, makes exactly, verbatim..., copy of the Cubify version! ...that being a pretty bad Marvin specially at the loop.
Then I print Marvin with Cubify in ABS. Worse! The loop is now a puddle. But wait, 3DB in ABS made a perfect loop... in fact it made a perfect Marvin!

Go back and think... 3DS is the driver-maker for both platforms. There is a distinct difference between them when printing ABS. THEY (3DS) CAN DO IT! But why not from Cubify?
Would the cube 3 itself parse a .cube3 file differently if it was on a memory stick vs. sent via Wifi? Oh that begs yet another avenue. I have reason to believe this although you'd think I'd be reaching.

So again and THANK YOU... again it appears that the EkoCycle has a similar slicer to 3D Builder which really deals with Coke bottles much better... which is similar to ABS properties. Maybe the 3DB slicer is actually modeled on the PETG material?

I am still short one tool to compare the various .cube3 files. Since 3DB is hardwired to the cube via USB-A, you never get to see the file. The only place the file exists is on the printer's internal SD. If you "print to file", it just dumps an ascii RAW file with nothing. What I am saying is that 3DB doesn't generate .cube3 files that users can access.

So now we add EkoCycle to the mix. It is now quite tempting to make an EkoCycle out of one of my Cube3's.

03-28-2018, 05:49 AM
Well, you pretty well nailed it on the Cube 3 doing a worse Marvin than the Ekocycle.
Here it is with Cube 3 + EKO filament + via USB drive.
Full disclosure: This is a different cartridge from the one I used on Ekocycle. The filament could be older/younger/wetter/stiffer/ etc etc.
Yet another parameter to wonder about...

The body is close to as good as Ekocycle, but the loop is way not.
I'll try sending the file over wifi next, using the same cartridge.

03-28-2018, 06:19 AM
It is a little routine it goes through when the filament-per-layer is volumetrically challenged that this self-destruction begins to happen.

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Looks like you got the rest of the system dialed in pretty good.

03-28-2018, 06:40 AM
... which resulted in remarkedly similar results. I did notice this time the nozzle temp was 259C - about 10C higher than Ekocycle using EKO filament. Yet another factor!
It sure would be nice to have direct control of the temperature.

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It is a little routine it goes through when the filament-per-layer is volumetrically challenged that this self-destruction begins to happen.

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Looks like you got the rest of the system dialed in pretty good.

So, that implies it is a slicer issue? That is, does it mean a different slicing method may result in better handling of "volumetrically challenged" thingies?

I do seem to be able to print things pretty reliably. One difference I've noticed is the Cube 3 firmware makes quite a bit more noise - squawk, clank, etc. - from the filament drive/cartridge area. It seems to move the filament more violently/jerkily than the Ekocycle firmware.

Tomorrow I might try the other cartridge.

I can't see why Cubeprint would use different slicing code for the two machines. Same program, same hardware... doesn't make sense to me.

04-08-2018, 07:57 PM
The routine I am referring to is the slowing when it only has a few MM of filament to lay down. Cube3 does all kinds of different dances when it does this. And that is where Marvin works so well as a benchmark.

Noisier huh.... I can see that. In the firmware upgrade reports it talks about speeding things up and eliminating some unexplained pauses... or maybe they were explained and later forgotten about.

Anyway, you might be starting to see why I want to compare the gcode part of these files.

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I guess I should share my 3DB results... 3D Solutech clear... I always face Marvin to the right.
When you use the left spool, I use the right as my "face side" of the print.


04-09-2018, 05:42 AM
Darn. I may have to break down and get a win 10 box after all... {:0(

04-09-2018, 06:28 AM
That was my justification :)

raul aaron
05-12-2018, 02:24 AM
amigo, buenas tardes, disculpe, como convertir su ekocycle a cube 3 con el contador 0% apagado, pienso comprar una

05-12-2018, 03:00 AM
friend, good afternoon, excuse me, how to convert your ekocycle to cube 3 with the 0% counter turned off, I'm going to buy a

Welcome to the forum, Raul. Someone described how to make the change. I am not familiar enough to walk you through it though.

Someone will answer if you do not find it already posted.

raul aaron
05-12-2018, 04:49 AM
muchas gracias TommyDee, soy novato en estas cosas, saludos desde mexico

05-12-2018, 05:55 AM
Thank you. Someone should help here shorty for a link to the right posts. I have very poor luck with the search function.

Gracias. Alguien debería ayudar aquí shorty para un enlace a las publicaciones correctas. Tengo muy mala suerte con la función de búsqueda.

05-12-2018, 07:27 PM
Here's how to switch Ekocycle to Cube 3:


In the description,
flash drive #1 will contain the "ekocycle V1.05.ar" file,
flash drive #2 will contain the "cube V1.14B.ar" file (either stock, or modified) renamed to "ekocycle V1.05.ar"

Be aware that when the firmware upgrade process reaches 100%, the machine will turn off and look like it is dead for about 20 seconds (don't do anything, just wait!) - then it will power up as a Cube 3.

The process to modify the "cube V1.14B.ar" file to prevent updating the cartridge "% used" starts here:

¡Buena suerte!

raul aaron
05-14-2018, 10:50 PM
disculpe, los cartuchos no se tiene que modificar al pasar a cube 3?

01-16-2019, 04:12 AM
(Excuse me, the cartridges do not have to be modified when going to cube 3?)

Yes, you must modify the cartridges. The Cube3 firmware will not accept an Ekocycle cartridge, and vice versa.

My preferred solution is Tomuro's "Recube Pro", which can program the cartridge type (Cube3 or Ekocycle), material, color, and % used.

See http://www.haxtom.com

============= 1/14/2019 =============
Yoshimyster asked:
I have been researching for a while and been trying to convert my ekocycle to a cube 3. I have a fair idea of how to actually change the software on the 3d printer itself, but what I am stuck on is trying to convert the cartridges to cube3. I have tried Emailing Tomuro to get more details, I bought all the materials for the adruino nano setup but not exactly sure how to go about flashing the chips on the catridges. So I was hoping you can give me some incite to how you were able to do so yourself? Did you follow the schematics that Tomuro posted and what else did you have to do? I feel like it is probably really simple, I just yet have grasped it. I really appreciate any help!

============ 1/15/2019 ============

Hi there, yoshimyster -
Yes, I simply wired up the nano per Tomuro's schematic, even including the pushbutton -- which I never use.
He also provided good instructions about loading the microcode into the nano, and with some additional web search help I was able to get it all working. Tom has done a terrific job of making this useable by mere humans!

I printed an attachment hub to hold contacts for the chip that makes it easier to do. It's kind of crude, but with some cleanup and assembly work it can be made to do the job.

Look here:

The following comments refer to the PRO version of ReCube - the commands may be different for the Lite version, which doesn't set the printer type.

One thing to be aware of: When you get the nano hooked up to your PC and the COM port all set up (115200 bps, if I remember) and open in the terminal program (I use PuTTY - putty.org), you use the semicolon key to enter a command - not the Enter key!

So to display the commands list, just type "0;" ( zero followed by semicolon -- no quotes, of course)
To switch from Eko to Cube, type "11,0;"

The response will be <command #>,<error #>,<result value>;
The error # should be zero - non-zero means something was wrong
The result value may be null for some commands

This is all spelled out briefly in Tomuro's instructions in the .zip file.

I set all my cartridges color to red ("10,0,13" for PLA, "10,1,13" for ABS), since the printer lets you override the color when you print. It just makes things simpler for me.

01-16-2019, 06:05 AM
Chip Clips :)


01-16-2019, 08:34 PM
Aw, shucks...I can't figure out how to clip them on to my chip!



02-08-2019, 09:19 PM
Drill two little holes right next to the chip through the case. :p

Now I get your design intent :rolleyes:

Obviously I have a lot of loose chips floating around from the hub project.
I need to find the right foam tape to put them back.
They use a very thin black "auto trim" type of affixing system. Not quite foam cored.

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Aw, shucks...I can't figure out how to clip them on to my chip!



Hey John, others - I've made a wand-only print based on the NANO work.


Again, non-indexed but well fitting. About 40 minutes to print.

02-08-2019, 09:51 PM
Very nice!!! So elegant compared to my attempt!

Does it hold itself in place, or do you hold it down with your hand to make contact?

Is your nano baking Cube Chips yet?? :)

02-08-2019, 10:58 PM
No. I need to learn more about NANO F/W. Got a post into Tomuro's site to know if I can program and confirm the NANO took the ReCube before committing it to the motherboard.

But I did get a second motherboard build and documented in the ReCube thread. Somehow Mechanical CAD doesn't do justice to designing boards :p

The wand will keep centered beautifully and the little pointer is held between the two lands on the chip. I suggest wrapping the wire around the bar and soldering a wire onto the contact side (parallel and spread apart) and smoothing things out a bit with a nail file or 240 grit sandpaper. The wand should lift about 1/2mm when engaged at the chip. I suspect a weighty book on to of the setup would make it hands free while still seeing the chip alignment.

Also got the new tape today. .015" supertape seems to be the answer. Still has enough compliance to tip the chip for removal but otherwise stuck very well. This seems to be what 3DS used.


09-22-2019, 10:50 PM
The Ekocycle printers were given to schools for FRC robotics teams. We would have rather been given a pile of plastic to carve parts out of than these printers.

09-23-2019, 03:16 AM
They can make a few bucks on eBay for the team :p

09-23-2019, 04:25 AM
Or you can convert them to the Cube3 and then use the B2B solution to make them print anything...

02-26-2020, 05:53 PM
Our team got one and we arn't even part of a school and never have been.

02-26-2020, 06:25 PM
Hello Sofa_Kingdom! You are able to convert it to a Cube3, use the tools to break the firmware to not decrement cartridge amounts, then use the B2B solution to use any PLA, ABS or PETG you'd like...