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  1. #1
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    Replacement Controller for CubePro Trio

    I'm working on a replacement controller for the CubePro. While I do plan to sell these, the code will be open source (Marlin) and I'll release the board design files at some point. Currently I'm still in the design phase, but things are going really well.

    Using a Teensy 3.6 as the base, I have Marlin 2.0 running with almost all of the original components.
    All original wiring is being used, and all the connectors will be in mostly the same spots as on the original board.
    cube_parts.jpg
    Through Marlin I have the endstops, steppers, extruder heaters, extruder thermistors, and LED lights.

    Now for the interesting parts. Most of this is tested through small programs, so I'll still need to integrate it with Marlin.

    I have the built in temp sensor board working, as well as the AC relay board that runs the heater.

    I ran a test program for the LCD and resistive touch panel, I don't know how Marlin handles a color LCD and a touch interface, but I'll cross that bridge later. I'll use a rotary encoder for now.

    Next I have the two encoders (per extruder) working, same with the filament sensor but only when connected directly to the Teensy. The original setup is for the filament sensor board (including the encoders) to go to a PCB behind the extruders. This board seems to handle the filament sensors, encoders sensors, extruder fans, and part cooling fans. Theres a 9 wire cable going back to the control board, but I haven't looked into what is being transmitted. There's a PIC16F on the board, and if I can't figure out how to control it, I can always write a replacement firmware for it. Worst case scenario is I make a second PCB and replace the extruder PCB entirely. For my testing right now I won't need the sensors, and I can just wire the fans myself.
    extruder_board_top.jpgextruder_board_bottom.jpg

    I'm using TMC2208 stepper controllers, being controlled via UART from Marlin. The connectors are 2.0mm spacing, so I soldered them to the surface of the pads and superglued the connector on the edge of the PCB. If you can see under the stepper board, there's the two large fans that are always running. I plan to have a cutout for the finished board to utilize these fans to cool the stepper controllers. For now I'll use a fan blowing horizontally, with heatsinks on the top and bottom of each controller.
    IMG_20190212_221320363.jpg

  2. #2
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    Hey Ryan, Welcome to the forum. I've been wondering about these for Cube3.

  3. #3
    Administrator bolsoncerrado's Avatar
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    Thinking the same!

    The cube3 mobo is also horizontal, there must be a way to port a Marlin fw to our cubys!

  4. #4
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    So I don't have a Cube 3 but if anyone wanted to send me one (or the guts at least) I'd be willing to take a look.

    I googled some images, and the motherboard's look very similar. Can someone take their cube 3 apart and give me some part numbers?


    - - - - - - - - - -

    You guys might be in luck here, it looks like the same exact board but with the 6th stepper driver unpopulated.

    I'm going off the last attachment from this post: https://openbuilds.com/threads/tear-...o-reprap.5689/

    I would like to keep my CubePro project moving, but if I knew the details about the Cube 3 maybe I could work on both at the same time, if they're so similar.

  5. #5
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    No worries, Ryan. We knew the boards were identical but didn't know about the unstuffed port. Good information.

    Anything you do to CubePro we can follow on Cube3. I was thinking of putting snubbers on my steppers to quiet it down a bit.
    However, I don't mind the Cubify interface.

    Someday I might look to upgrade it, but I would probably opt for a remote controller rather that try to stuff everything in the case.

    If a CubePro ever showed up in my area for the right price (so I can pick it up) I would get one. They're beasts, but they are decent printers.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TommyDee View Post
    I was thinking of putting snubbers on my steppers to quiet it down a bit.
    I'm using TMC2208 stepper drivers with 1/256th steps ... nearly silent running with first tests.

    Quote Originally Posted by TommyDee View Post
    However, I don't mind the Cubify interface.
    You and I must be using different software
    I could never get the fine tuning I wanted with 3D System's software. In fact I got more bad prints from poor slicing issues than good prints.

    Quote Originally Posted by TommyDee View Post
    Someday I might look to upgrade it, but I would probably opt for a remote controller rather that try to stuff everything in the case.
    My goal is to have all connectors in the right places, and all the mounting holes the same so no stuffing required, this should fit exactly.
    The finished board will look physically very similar to the original assembly, require no modifications, and very little configuration.
    As for remote, OctoPrint works nicely with Marlin, and there's plenty of room in my CubePro for a Raspberry Pi 3.

  7. #7
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    Indeed, you have a lot more space in the CubePro I'm working on getting access to the Cubify configuration files. That should solve some of the issues. And yes, I learned to design to Cubify's awkward slicing techniques. Then again, I am also very allergic to dialing in recipes. I have zero patience for that kind of thing. A little more freedom would be great and I know it is not going to happened if no one does anything. So my focus is still on the config file. Bottom line, I want to run CubePro to drive files for Cube3. That is a real enhancement for Cube3.

    However, I am not lost in Cubify land. I was able to get a vase-mode print into the Cube3 from Cura! And it wasn't too difficult. If I could get a proper recipe for Cube3 on Cura, I have no doubt I could get it into a .cube3 or .cubepro file. What is really missing is a comprehensive compiler that would to the stitching and cleanup. Cura even put the right headers and footers in the file for me! Now this is progress... but I'm not that comfortable with Cura. It doesn't do what Cubify does in treating walls the same way or I haven't found the settings. The feature I am getting at is the "backing" that Cubify puts in when a surface is angled in to create more support for the next layer. This really is what gives Cubify very strong prints even in 2-wall prints.

    What I find most annoying, and I'm sure there is good reason for it, is the 0.5mm wall spacing when the trace clearly cannot merge that seam between walls. That is one setting in config!

    Anyway, yes, there are hardware pieces that beg for more. You're making "more" Thanks for sharing!

  8. #8
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    Sounds good Tommy,

    Now on a bit of a side topic, you remind me of when I first got my CubePro (back in 2014). I didn't like how they sliced their files, and wanted vase mode so I could 3D print some stretchlets (back when thingiverse numbers were still in the 10k's, not the 3 Millions). They wrote it in .NET and I was at the time a .NET programmer. I decompiled the windows slicing program and started to modify it to my liking. I was able to add vase mode pretty easily, with their methods I was able to hobble together quite a few features. I even still used their encryption methods. I did want to find the password for the file encryption, and I couldn't initially find where they saved it in code. I think I ended up finding it with a known-word attack, and I only recognized it because it was something like "221BBakerSt". Clever, but maybe next time use a password generator, and I wouldn't find it.

    I eventually got tired of the printer, and left it sit for 4 years before picking it up again. I finished printing the material I had, and started this project.

    I wonder, do you know of anyone attempting these types of modifications now? I'm sure the code is different now, I had to upgrade to the latest firmware before it would even let me print. I just wonder if they're still programming in .NET. If that's the case, you could use something like MonoDevelop or the one I used from Telerik, decompile the program and start modifying things the way you want them. I used C# but I think you can choose your decompiled language.

  9. #9
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    motherboards are super similar. slightly more robust steppers in the pro if i recall. very interested in you project here :-)

  10. #10
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    There is a couple of decoders out there. They seem to stem from an early CubePro de-convolution similar to what you describe. There was a significant update to the file set, and a rewrite that is linked right here on the forum. So yes, I'd say they've stuck with the same process.

    I've spent a fair amount of time looking at the code the old fashion way... reading! turns out that the current .cubepro / .cube3 file decoders also decode the config files. The header gets distorted and has to be pasted back. It has been reported that these config files can be recompiled with the existing encoders.

    I have a lot of detailed posts here on the forum regarding my search... but this is where I am today:

    Cube Print 4.03 (Cube 3) has two associated config files; one for the app, and one for the slicer. Everything is there! The slicer is a recipe server that receives the app's input and has all the different material and platform dependent data. Copy upon copy of the same stuff just tweaked for different materials, many which we will never see on the Cube3 because the app doesn't support it. But there is an easy workaround recompiling the configs. To be clear, the same decoder for the .cube3/.cubepro files decodes the config files.

    Then onto CubePro; 2.02 is structured seriously different! V2.02 CubePro print files would also not decode with the current decoders. This presents two problems for my development; the Cube3 and the CubePro hit synthesis around CubePro V1.87. I can look at these files side by side and they are less than 2% different in variable names. Easily crossed between the two programs. V2.02 would probably be similar, just harder to complete all the cross-references. the other problem that 2.02 presents is that I cannot crop the BFB data out of file to splice into a Cube3 file... simply because I don't have a current decoder.

    As to F/W... doesn't matter. Most firmware will run older print files meaning they are backwards compatible. Added slicer functionality may require a specific minimum version to ensure support for the function. Say a new BFB command.

    Cura has a BFB profile. BFB is still what 3D Systems is. There are some minor differences that were introduced into the Cube series but what existed in the day 3DS made BFB printer using AXON code. They've milked that cow all the way to the end.

    You probably need to some time to get familiar with a lot of informational posts. They read more like blogs but it does make it easier to continue a conversation with regard to each subject. And in that way, not disturb your most excellent thread on another frankenquub!

 

 

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