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  1. #1
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    3D Systems Ekocycle Printer - The Cube 3's Strange Cousin

    Hello everyone, I wanted to make a thread about the Ekocycle 3D Printer because I don't think there is a lot of information about this printer available and the little information that is available is scattered around the internet. My goal is to have a central place where present and future owners of the Ekocycle 3D Printer can go to find software and hardware mods as well as any information to get them on their feet.

    This is not going to be a history thread on the machine so if you are interested in learning about the company, how the machine was made, and Will.I.Am, search elsewhere

    I've been going down the 3D Systems Cube product line rabbit hole for the last 24 hours and I have made some progress - both good and bad.

    Lets start with talking about the printer itself. The printer I have is a 3D Systems Ekocycle. It is a dual nozzle, 152mm cubed volume, heavy as hell 3D printer. The color scheme this printer has is a white casing with red accents. There are also a few other differences compared to its more common Cube 3 cousin such as the large EKOCYCLE lettering on the front of the printer as well as a Ekocycle metal sticker on the front left of the machine. Other than the color, Ekocycle branding, and - according to folks online - some differences in firmware and how the machine runs, its basically a Cube 3.

    How I got my hands on this machine is that the university I am working for had this little guy in a box in a closet and it looked like it hadn't been touched in years! It had, to my knowledge, the original power cable, an original black spool and an original red spool. When I got it powered on, everything seemed like it worked but I was unable to print with it because it has proprietary software and uses proprietary code - don't we hate that word? Proprietary - yuck. Anyways, after some deep Google searching I was able to find a link to a Google Drive folder which had original "Cubify" software - the original slicer for the Cube 3 and Ekocycle. Got that going and was finally able to test the machine past the small test cube that it has on the onboard memory. Got a little Easter Island Head printed off and so I figured out I have a pretty well working machine - no issues up to this point.

    My next concern was with the spools. Reading online, the printer will NOT print if there is not a spool with the chip attached or if the chip is reading 0%. Seeing what my current spools were at, the black spool was at 66% and the red one is at 2% - so still usable and could be fixed! Got to some more searching and was able to figure out that many people had done a firmware patch that basically stops the machine from reading the chip and so the chip never goes down in percent. Perfect solution right? Well... I tried all the steps many had done with the Cube 3 machines to get the spool chips to freeze there and to no avail, the Ekocycle would not read the firmware file. Looking deeper, I was able to find some files online and get some Ekocycle firmware. Bingo. So the firmware I tried right out of the gate was some "modified" firmware that was to supposed to disable the spool chip reader. However, didn't realize that this printer had an internal SD card and to copy the original stuff went right over my head - excitement over getting it running had overcome me. Ekocycle had taken the modified firmware and then asked to restart. Clicked the button to restart and when it booted back up, got the flashing screen on death. Basically I had just bricked it LOL *facepalm*.

    And that takes us to where I am now. The machine is now torn apart a few feet from where I am typing this now and is a big, heavy, not put together paperweight. I tried following some information on an Openbuilds forum (links below) and I am not educated enough in the realm of computer science to understand what the solution entails - I'm a mechanical designer not a computer wiz :P.

    I think worst case I turned this possibly viable machine into some scrap and replacement motors for when some motors on other printers go out but I would like to get this puppy printing again! Please share your experiences or information below so we can get a nice information thread going on this machine! I am more than happy to test anything you have on this machine to further develop understanding.

    Have a good one,
    Max

    LINKS:
    https://openbuilds.com/threads/cube-3-pro-hacks.8420/

    FOR ALL FILES AND INFORMATION AS OF 3/2021 PLEASE GO TO GOOGLE DRIVE LINK BELOW!
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...QJ?usp=sharing
    Last edited by Maxaye; 03-19-2021 at 01:32 AM.

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  3. #2
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    You probably forgot to wait when the printer was rebooting.

    Know it has two very important .BIN files on there that manages the serial number. These are unique to the printer.

    If you remove the folder on the internal drive, it may just try to repair itself. Use the original F/W to test this theory. Its worked for me on a similar incident.

    NOTICE FOR THIS THREAD - IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR MODIFIED EKOCYCLE F/W - we've had an incident
    And a special thank you to buddybu for providing his awesome talents.
    Don't forget to find his latest Cube3Editor.
    The F/W file is cross-posted from HERE
    Last edited by TommyDee; 03-27-2021 at 03:09 AM.

  4. #3
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    I thought I waited long enough. When it was done it said to press the button to reboot, which I did. Then it shut down for 20ish seconds then started to flash. During the reboot procedure I didn't touch anything and even waited a good minute or two before I unplugged it as I figured the modified firmware was a dud.

    So you're saying if I remove which folder or file here on the card? Attached is a screenshot of what it currently looks like. Ignore the date modified on the .hex file. Last night I cut it off the card and put it back on in an attempt to get it back up and running. The thing is if I remove the Image695.hex file, the printer will not boot - not even flash the LCD. It has to have that .hex file in order to do anything. If it makes things easier I can take some more pictures or even video of what it does?

    Capture.PNG

    I don't know how to use the original firmware to test anything. When I turn the printer on it just flashes a blank, white screen. No access to reflash or do anything else. On top of that I don't know what to do with these .ar files. Can't find anything on the web to open or access it. Once I figure out how to add files I'll go ahead and share what I have.

    If you need any information to assist me don't hesitate to request. I'm here to work things out and will try to be as thorough as possible!

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Decided to use Google Drive for right now. Folder should be available to anyone. There, the files I had got to flash the firmware are.
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...QJ?usp=sharing

    Going to be throwing other files and all information I get so if stuff goes down, I have an archive that I can share with others. Seems that dead-end websites and missing files are a common occurrence with the 3D Systems Cube printers...
    Last edited by Maxaye; 03-18-2021 at 11:40 PM.

  5. #4
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    I might be the last one with good S/W from the Cubify site. Hopefully we'll get that resolved in short order.

    You have more .bin files than Cube3 has. But yes, I am suggesting removing files or the folder and see if it initiates a reload of the F/W.
    That is how we recovered a friend's bricked Cube3.

    Yes, it is like 20 seconds for the reboot. What version of the toolbox did you try to load? V1.0 is valid.

    I do not know anyone who's upgraded the Ekocycle. Can anyone confirm that this should not be an issue?

    Obviously we need to get your menu back.
    Last edited by TommyDee; 03-19-2021 at 12:31 AM.

  6. #5
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    I found a lot of files for not only the Cube 3 and Ekocycle but also CubePro and such, I'll link it so you can check it out.

    This is the Ekocycle so I wonder if it is supposed to have more than the standard Cube 3? Either way, guess I'm going to remove one, try to boot, remove a different one, try to boot. I'll let you know what happens with that. What I've done is put the copy of the original firmware .ar file I have on a flash drive and am just pressing the power button. Not sure if this is the correct way to initiate a reload of firmware?

    I don't know what the "toolbox" is. What I used was a firmware file that worked for another person over on Openbuilds. Link to his post below. Took a gamble on whether it would work for me or not and it didn't, surprise. I've read from the Openbuilds forum that people have been able to patch Ekocycle firmware as well as upgrade the Ekocycle to Cube 3. User JohnTee here has done it apparently but have not heard a reply from him yet.

    LINKS:
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...SK0VGAgWejfUZ7
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...FTTioNLWPYNO3i
    https://openbuilds.com/threads/cube-...-17#post-66131

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Here's what one user did, I am just having trouble following along. https://openbuilds.com/threads/cube-...-16#post-66074

  7. #6
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    Oh, interesting. I have not converted a Cube3 to Ekocycle yet. John is pretty good with this stuff.

    The firmware resides within the microprocessor. The copy on the flash drive is an install copy.

  8. #7
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    I'd love to decode what each of these files is and how important each one is. Is there a way to do that and document the findings?

    I found that the CONFIG.BIN is where the wifi SSID and password are stored, just because when editing with Notepad++ I saw my wifi's SSID in there haha.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by TommyDee View Post
    Oh, interesting. I have not converted a Cube3 to Ekocycle yet. John is pretty good with this stuff.

    The firmware resides within the microprocessor. The copy on the flash drive is an install copy.
    I don't know a lot about microprocessor and firmware stuff. I have made a SUPER modded Anycubic Kossel Pro - nicknamed the KosselMax with my own version of custom firmware - but Marlin is a walk in the park compared to this stuff. I can screw the firmware up on that all I want and using Arduino to reflash everything goes back to perfect. It's been my main and daily printer for sales and personal stuff for almost three years now.

  9. #8
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    That looks like a corrupt archive.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TommyDee View Post
    That looks like a corrupt archive.
    Which part is corrupt? To my knowledge everything is corrupt. Basically the firmware install has a incorrect checksum and that ties in with the Image695.hex file but I don't know how to edit that file.

    Here is a screenshot of the CONFIG.BIN file. CONFIG.BIN File.PNG It also continues to the right and has the name of the printer as well, so I guess not only WIFI info but also printer name?

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Working on a scientific method kind of test with the files. Will have results soon.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Here's my findings trying to force initialize a firmware flash:


    Procedure: plugging USB with ekocycle V1.05.ar file in, putting SD card in, plugging cable in, waiting 10 seconds after plugging cable in then pressing button once. After 30 seconds of flashing or changing results, pulling power cord and then pressing button to drain capacitors.


    After each test, I revert SD card back to having ALL files on card and remove a different file, then continue testing procedure.


    1. ALL files on card (no changes) = flashing screen, power to USB and motherboard
    2. Removing "gr" folder on card (no other changes) = flashing screen, power to USB and motherboard
    3. Removing "Image695.hex" file on card (no other changes) = does not power on, power to USB and motherboard but no screen display
    4. Removing "wpr.bin" file on card (no other changes) = flashing screen, power to USB and motherboard (seemed to turn on quicker, as soon as I clicked the button rather than taking a second, but probably not related to anything)
    5. Removing "CONFIG.BIN" file on card (no other changes) = flashing screen, power to USB and motherboard
    6. Removing "cfg.bin" file on card (no other changes) = flashing screen, power to USB and motherboard (turned on AUTOMATICALLY after 10-12 seconds, nothing after turning on)
    7. Removing "bintp.bin" file on card (no other changes) = flashing screen, power to USB and motherboard (turned on AUTOMATICALLY after 10-12 seconds, nothing after turning on)
    8. Removing "boot.bin" file on card (no other changes) = flashing screen, power to USB and motherboard (turned on AUTOMATICALLY after 10-12 seconds, nothing after turning on)
    9. Removed ALL files on card = flashing screen, power to USB and motherboard
    10. No SD card installed = does not power on, power to USB and motherboard but no screen display

    In the end nothing worked. Only significant change was removing the Image695.hex file resulted in no boot at all.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    If I could get a copy of the original Image695.hex file or even better a copy of all the original files I think I would be able to get the menu back. Really sucks I forgot to copy the original files

  11. #10
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    I am saying the location you linked to the google drive has corrupted files. I cannot open image files from there. All my images from Cubify are opening. Same with PDF.

    Has anyone checked to see if the online WiFi F/W updates are also unsupported?

    You can try the reverse of your procedure... only have one file or folder available - then pair them... anything that show signs of intelligence.

    So what may have happened is that, and I'm reaching here so John, chime in, is that a corrupt v1.14B firmware file was corrupted further with the ToolBox. The printer took the code and rebooted as expected.

    These are my SD files; The print file is always the latest printed.

    Cube3_SD.PNG

    I'll need to upload a virgin copy of the Ekocycle F/W for you and the toolbox. The toolbox does work on Ekocycle, right? And you got a clean copy of the v4.03 app to work?

    - - - - - - - - - -

    You got a boot.bin... what's readable in there?

 

 

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