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  1. #1
    Regular 3D Printer
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    Feb 2018
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    Help with 3D Builder

    Microsoft's 3D Builder program comes pretty much void of any instructions. I could use some pointers!

    So far:
    - booted up a 2 year old .ISO of Windows 10; 3D Builder was already installed; did an update
    - loaded a test object .stl into 3d Builder
    - connected the Cube 3 to the PC with a USB A-B cable; 3D Builder noticed and added "3D Systems Cube 3" to the Printer list

    First question:
    When "3d Print" is selected, the object is shown Upside Down (!) on the print bed, and appears to have no thickness (i.e., Z dimension).
    How do you get the object right-side up?

    Second question:
    "How to Use" information for 3D Builder appears to be Very Sparse. What is a good source for information on things like setting material, setting temperature, adding multiple parts to a print job.

    Third question:
    Is there a way to capture the .bfb file that 3D Builder sends to the printer?
    Then, is there a way to edit a .bfb file and then send it from the PC to the printer?

    Fourth question:
    When I sent a print to the printer, it began printing the object about 10 times it's designed size.
    Why did 3D Builder change it's size? Did I forget to check the dimensions setting?

    Fifth question:
    I want to look at the configuration files for the program.
    The program is located in C:\Program Files\WindowsApps
    But Windows 10 will not let me open that folder, even though I am running with Administrator privileges.
    When I check Effective Access for the folder, I have Read, List folder, Traverse folder access - but it still will not let me open it.
    How can I look at the files for the 3D Builder app?
    Last edited by JohnTee; 12-27-2018 at 06:57 AM.

  2. #2
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    Ha! Been in all those corners.

    The Cube3 drivers are 3DS drivers prefixed with "3DSYSTEMS_" They are otherwise nearly identical. I checked (and posted about it).

    Have not had scale issues. Seriously, this is like pushing the file out of CubePrint. The settings are a bit wonky though. They don't match what actually happens.

    The only place you are going to see that BFB is if you take the SD drive out and copy the .cube3 file on the drive. Then decode it. It will look nearly identical to your CubePrint file. Unless you have some sort of inline file capture app, that's about it. If the printer is missing, it just writes a "RAW" file to a generic printer.

    Also know that the driver is extremely sensitive to being "looked at". If you try to go to the printer's properties, it could well end up being a non-special printer. It has to handshake with your printer to function. There is almost no way to know where the file is going. Just walk away and have a drink. See if it is ready to print afterward.

    Scaling, rotating, and moving are done with the green arrows near your object and the floating dialog. It is -painful- but you get to save the build plate.
    Bottom line, 3DB only manages object file be they STL, OBJ, MODEL, etc. It just wraps them u in a zip file wrapper with an image (sound familiar?).

    It is still a very simple program. Once you commit to print, you get your printer's options, as the manufacturer defined them. 3DS and Microsoft didn't fully communicate.

    Now, I'm going to give you an even better one... plug in your Win10 with CubePro 2.02 loaded. Hit "print to USB" ... ;O

  3. #3
    Regular 3D Printer
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    Thanks, TD. I still have a lot of fiddling around to do.
    I'll take a look at CubePro 2.02, as well.

    At least it did start a print from 3DB...

  4. #4
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    The printer has a port tied to it and as long as it remain untouched, it will remain valid. As soon as you go to the printer's properties, it removes the port and it now stand in the way with the name the real print driver needs. The only fix I've found so far is to go to Microsoft and repair the SDK for 3DB.

    I did have CubePro pop up a Windows 10 dialog on what type of print you want. The bare basics that is supported by the print driver. It will give you what you ask for as close as it knows to get based on that setting. Supports and sidewalks or rafts are all managed by the "renamed" 3DS drivers. They negate to apply a version number in the M$ version of the driver. They also have one velocity setting different.

    Do you have Excel, John? I've got a lot of this mapped out.

  5. #5
    Regular 3D Printer
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    CubePro 2.02 looks interesting. I like that you can select different materials.
    However, when I select Print over USB, the Print Dialog does not show any printers in the Printer pull-down, even though the Cube 3 is shown in the Windows Printers and Devices dialog.
    I think it is something wrong with my printer driver (which I guess is in the 3D Builder SDK?) because it does not allow me to select the Cube as Default Printer. Maybe CubePro knows it is not a CubePro printer?

    Oh, and I did get a proper print from 3DB.
    Last edited by JohnTee; 01-06-2019 at 04:43 AM.

  6. #6
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    The driver is only valid as long as the printer is present on the USB and Windooze sets up the driver -anew- to create the comm port.
    If you changed the printer to be default, you changed it and it is no longer bound to a port... AND it is taking up a dedicated search name which it cannot duplicate for some reason. It really is a painful interface. You can thank M$ greed for setting up the handshake protocol based on dollars per time on a particular machine. Another very closed compensation system.

    Maybe your CubePro print settings didn't match the machine settings?

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Does anyone know how to create a pseudo device? What I am asking is if anyone knows how to make a dongle or Arduino module look like a Cube 3 printer? If this were possible, then it would also be possible to capture the file streamed through the USB.

    This is the inverse of hacking the driver to write to a file other than RAW. I suspect the 3DS part of the driver doesn't support any kind of "write to file" unless it has done the handshake and validation with the physical hardware to ensure "compatibility". This seems to have everything to do with the automation of monetizing 3D printing jobs with minimal human intervention. This would avoid charges and order deficiencies for incorrectly directed build files. This is where Microsoft got in the 3D printing business... monetizing and distribution management. That's what's cool about the SDK. Not only is it the appropriate drivers from the OEM, but it also has all the ingredients for creating your own interface up to a degree. That "degree" may or may not require this hardware handshake. That is where I lost the trail through the driver creation. I suspect that the driver is completely autonomous once it is pointed at the printer's onboard credentials. So I go back to the posed questions: Can we fool the driver into thinking a Cube3 is connected and force it to puke up a .cube3 file. Obviously, this is a windows hack, not a 3D Builder hack. Part of the SDK will make it clear that apps that interface with the print drivers don't do any slicing! However, I suspect that the print driver from some apps simply sends the STL to Cura or some other app to generate the g-code. Since the Cube3 is closed, they only need to provide a few options. And even those few options are not directly supported by the driver. That's how you know the little windows interface app is just a quick subset of the 3D Builder app.

    I wish you could see it behaving normally. It is pretty straight forward if you remember the thoughts above. Again, the windows drivers are nearly identical to CubePrint drivers! But the Medusa aspect of the SDK driver makes it a completely unmanageable implementation. If you "...look at her, you'll turn to stone!" is a very apt analogy! Looking at the driver in the print driver list appears to change the driver into a generic RAW driver with a name that is now interfering with finding a real Cube3 attached. Queries and changes definitely affects the driver. That's as close to describing the experience as I can express.

 

 

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