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  1. #1
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    Cube 3 printing blobs - please help

    Background - I'm a high school librarian who is putting together a small maker space and my district, in its infinite wisdom, bought a number of Cube 3 units some time ago that were simply sitting in storage because nobody really knew what to do with them. Anyway, not one to turn down something free (and not knowing about the proprietary filament, sigh) we took one in and we had some kids experiment and get it working. We printed several dungeon-type tiles and walls (the Gamers Club kids had visions of a building an entire dungeon for their D&D games, until they realized we could only essentially print one or two pieces a day!) and the kids even figured out how to do the chip hack so we could purchase regular filament. Note that we had no print problems for several weeks after updating the firmware with the hack and haven't even used any other filament yet (we had a small supply of cartridges - we were just thinking of the future). Then, all of the sudden, it started printed nothing but blobs.

    IMG_8638.jpg

    This was the first one...we didn't realize until it was over and we checked that it was so messed up...that's supposed to be a 2x4 base with a wall...the base kind of printed (although you can see that it was off from the very first layer) but once it got to the wall it just printed upwards in a giant mess that eventually broke off. Since then everything, even the test prints, are just lines and blobs until we just shut it off after a few layers. We've changed filament, but no good.
    Searching troubleshooting guides just has suggestions for specific printing problems and not an apocalypse like this. We are not technological here at all...so please bear that in mind if you have ideas...but we're at the end of our rope here! Thanks so much.
    Last edited by ArizonaTeach; 03-05-2019 at 05:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator bolsoncerrado's Avatar
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    Probably the whole print dislogged from the printing plate and just the normal flow of the filament happened naturally on a single point... Try lowering the nozzle to print closer to the print plate or add a Lokbuild surface like some of us do or add some hairspray to the print plate

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  4. #3
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    Welcome to the forum, AT!

    I have real appreciation for schools and teachers who understand that students simply have to touch things to make it part of them. The fact that the students went on their own to investigate the 3rd party software "upgrade" is even more telling as to the power of real curiosity.

    The problem is likely what Bolsencerrado is suggesting in that the print, or part of the print broke free from the build plate and started building the plastic into... well... a turd.

    However, I also see some thinning in the print that may suggest under-extrusion. In the Cube3, I always go to the bowden tube first (the tube between the cartridge and the hot end). These are horrible. And they vary between cartridges. I'm going to suggest that 50% of 3DS cartridges are not recoverable. Note the performing cartridges and they can be reused.

    However, we can overcome this. What age level are you working with and how many printers have you got running? There are options we can discuss if needed.

    Sticking to the build plate is important. And also a challenge. Indeed it appears that the print is barely held to the build plate meaning the gap is insufficient as long as the glue is not the issue. If you are using a different glue, you might have this problem. But for the Cube3, setting the gap correctly is important.

    Is your class able to hack together some kind of web cam to keep an eye on prints? You'll have a better chance of someone intervening when something goes wrong.

    Don't let the slow times fool you. I thought the same thing until my wife pointed out that everywhere you look in our house, there is one of those slow printing colorful plastic something. Meaning that even a slow process will accumulate over time.

    These are great printer with a little foreknowledge. It doesn't take much to get them to a highly reliable state. Lokbuild as a build surface is highly recommended, even with glue for serious hold. You may have noticed the glue comes off with the part on the original build surface. On Lokbuild, the glue stays on the plate and can be re-used. In a matter of 2 bottles of glue, you've paid for Lokbuild. And I swear I'm not shilling for Lokbuild! It just works. Of course, I am aware your makerspace has a limited budget. There are alternatives to glue that may also help.

    Last word for now, We've done a lot of mods to improve the Cube3. I can help in some ways by providing some solutions. We can work out those details in PM if you decide to make some simple changes to the cartridges with some help.

    Again, thanks for what you are doing for your students. This really is a great thing you have done.

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  6. #4
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    Thanks for the kind words. I've envisioned a maker lab pretty much since I took the position six years ago, but school budgets being what they are...! I've picked up a lot of Snap Circuit sets which the students love (and I admit they're pretty cool to me too) and even a couple simple sewing machines (the theater kids are putting those to good use) but the goal was always a 3D printer. My TA (a senior) and my Gamers Club kids (all levels, really) are the most interested in it, but it's my TA who has done most of the grunt work. We've made some keychains and dungeon terrain on campus here. Open Forge stuff...nothing too hardcore - no dual colors or anything. Worked fine for about a month. We've used the same glue from the beginning, but hairspray, you say? In conjunction with the glue? I'm looking up Lokbuild now...we can certainly try that. I don't believe that's the problem because it's still clinging firmly to the surface after we shut it off.
    We'll do a test tomorrow morning and I'll send a picture of it. I appreciate the help, believe me!

  7. #5
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    Happy to help. I'm not one to spend a lot of money of these types of tools either. Lokbuild was one that took me a while to buy into. Once I used it, all the printers got it.

    I will help with this, A.T. One thing that I look for it a clicking sound when the print is trying to push out a lot of filament. You will hear the same sound when you purge... which is normal but not while printing. That is a sure sign that filament is not flowing well for one of several reasons.

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  9. #6
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    You might be right with the flowing...my TA and I ran a test this morning and we kept looking at each other asking, "Does that sound right? Is it kind of grinding?" We felt it sounded off. Not a clicking so much as a louder-than-normal grinding that was a little lower pitched than we thought it should be. Anyway, this is the test print we ran today...it's supposed to be a flat smiley-face type square with the word "hi!" underneath. It seems an extreme case of over-extrusion?
    IMG_8639.jpg

  10. #7
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    Did it at least try to make the square but the filament just gathered? You are talking about the test print, right?

    Growling and clicking are different. Growling is normally from hard filament. Something that may feel a bit grainy of you can notably tell the motor is straining more than "usual". Usual meaning 3DS filament. The Cube3 is not amiable to exotic filaments in that it has a fixed gap for the filament.
    Or it could be that the whole thing is clogged and it is just trying to do the best it can.

  11. #8
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    Yes, this morning's test print, the default test print.
    Yeah, it moved left to right before we shut it off near the end (we were afraid it was only going up and down at first, but it moved along) but now I'm thinking it just didn't move enough. Looking at it, it seems that it didn't move far enough...like that first line underneath the "square" is supposed to be an "h", then an "i" then an exclamation point...but the gap in the hump of the h isn't there...like it got scrunched up. The more I look at it, the more I can tell it's the keychain squeezed to about half size. It's the ABS red filament that came with the Cube.
    There definitely wasn't clicking.

  12. #9
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    Aha! Yes, that we've seen manifest in a different way on very rare occasion.

    The only thing that can re-scale a print like this is F/W.
    I'm going to suggest you need to reload the original 1.14B F/W to see if that clears it up.
    Somehow it is interpreting the X-movement wrongly.
    This could be as simple a bit flipping for some unknown reason.

    This is a rare occurance... only one other has been noted and that is where the print went to the edge and skewed everything inboard of the plate.
    3DBenchy would be flat on one side and the other would be leaning over. Really odd behavior.

    Anyway... you can apply the toolbox after we get this back to a known state.

    One thing that is very important with F/W updates... let it finish! It puts you through a gut wrenching wait after you touch the power button once.
    You have to wait until the machine wakes up again.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    ... and that certainly doesn't mean we need to work on the extrusion... but this is a higher priority.

  13. #10
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    Darn, was hopeful about that...no, we reinstalled the original firmware direct from the website this morning and it still happened. Will try again just in case we did something wrong there.
    3DBenchy is cute...downloaded that one.

 

 

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