Author Topic: Crap hack. Bulk filament  (Read 1202 times)

Dan

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Crap hack. Bulk filament
« on: March 30, 2014, 07:50:39 am »
While researching the Cube 3D printer, I became aware that 3D systems prevent users from using generic PLA filament by inserting a chip into their cartridges which allows the printer's internal computer to roughly gauge how much filament is left in the cartridge (preventing you from starting a print which there's not enough filament to print) . This hack however : http://hackaday.com/2013/04/26/cube-3d-printer-hack-lets-you-use-bulk-filament/ is "supposed" to be the answer.   In actual fact, all it does is waste time and filament, with zero net benefit... Here's why :

A little background.
The cube printer has an inbuilt chip in every single filament cartridge.  It, like many 2D printers provides feedback to the printer's interal computer to allow it know how much "ink" (filament in this case) is left in the cartridge.  It also prevents the user from using an empty cartridge, or reloading the cartridge with more filament once it becomes empty.  3D systems would like you to purchase more expensive filament instead of reloading your old cartridge. They even scare the user by issuing statements to the effect of "only use cube filament in your printer, using 3rd party filament may damage your printer and void your warranty".   

The hackaday article, provides reference to a seemingly useful part which you can print which allows the user to trick the system into using 3rd party filament, all one had to do is accept the Cube printers warning that it is running out of filament, and apparent problem solved.  Wrong.  Problem is, that even if you do use 3rd party filament with this technique, the printer will continue to reduce the "available filament" variable in the filament cartridge's chip.  When this figure reaches zero, the printer will prevent you from using even your third party filament as you are no longer given a warning of which you can accept or deny... You're simply prevented from printing all together. 

The solution. 
I argued with myself as to whether to make this public, as I'm pretty sure 3D systems will do an applesque fix for this in future firmware, but realized I have copys of firmware on my machine which I will make available should 3D systems patch their firmware to prevent this from working. 

Firstly, forget about printing the part in the hackaday article.  It's a waste of filament and electricity.  (Ill explain why in future articles).  Find and print a suitable spool holder for your generic PLA filament.  Make sure you continue to use the cube tube with your new spool holder though as this is actually a novel and useful idea which prevents your filament from malforming before it enters the Cube's extruder.

 To make things simpler, I keep the instructions in note form.  This also assumes you've figured out how to load generic filament into the extruder.

1) make sure you insert a cartridge which contains available filament into the cartridge slot.  This is to trick the printer into allowing you to select a file to print. 
2) start the print as normal.  If there "dummy" cartridge you used was nearly empty, you may be warned about insufficient remaining filament.  If so confirm your intention to proceed by selecting the "tick" icon. 
3) the cube will begin to old the file and heat the extruder.  At ANY TIME during this process, select the "stop" button.
4) you will be asked to confirm if you want to abort the print... DON'T select anything.
5) Now remove the "dummy" cartridge from the printer.
6) the cube printer will continue print the object despite the cartridge being removed and importantly, won't reduce the available filament variable on your dummy cartridge's chip while it is printing.  If you try and do this without pressing the stop button, the sneaky software will force you to replace the cartridge within 30 seconds before aborting the print.

A little messy, but this "hack" actually will allow you to print using bulk filament and provide you with a real net benefit ; cheaper printing. 

Any questions, feel free to ask.
Dan
« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 06:23:30 am by Dan »

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Dan

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 09:51:58 am »
Just thought I'd post some picks showing how I've attacked this problem.  Basically I printed a platform to go in the place of the cubes filament cartridge, then I printed a spool holder and glued it to the platform.  On the underside of the platform (not pictured) there's a small cutout which holds a chip I emoved from an almost used cartridge.  When a print starts, I hit the stop button, then pull the platform back a few cm ( and hence spool holder too -as its glued to the platform) to remove the chip from the pins on the bottom of the cartridge bay.  This prevents the chip from being written to while the print is taking place.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 10:37:30 am by Dan »

burcinpak

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 01:14:03 pm »
Thanks for the info. I have some questions though, appreciate if you can help.
What kind of generic PLA filament is necessary? I guess its diameter should be 1,75mm but should I care about melting point, do they differ by brand or is it common for all PLAs?
In between step 5 and 6 in your trick, when we remove the dummy cartridge do we press anything to continue printing, or does it continue itself after sometime.?
What is your firmware version? Is this applicable to new versions as well?
Thanks

Dan

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 05:31:32 pm »
Thanks for the info. I have some questions though, appreciate if you can help.
What kind of generic PLA filament is necessary? I guess its diameter should be 1,75mm but should I care about melting point, do they differ by brand or is it common for all PLAs?
In between step 5 and 6 in your trick, when we remove the dummy cartridge do we press anything to continue printing, or does it continue itself after sometime.?
What is your firmware version? Is this applicable to new versions as well?
Thanks

My firmware version is 2.07.  Basically the latest version.  The only difference between the various PLAs you need to worry about is spool size.  I use repraper 1kg spools.  (The short fat ones). I too am realatively new to using 3rd party spools.  One thing I have noticed with the repraper stuff I'm using is that it appears to extrude with bubbles in the extruded filament.  Also, I notice its not as smooth as the 3d systems filament.  It shouldn't be a problem though as long as you regularly clean your extruded nozzle with a long pin.  If anyone finds a close alternative to the 3d systems stuff, or has comments on the quality of any other brands, please let us know.

When you remove the dummy cartridge, the unit will start and continue to print, regardless of the absence of the cartridge and the fact you have initiated the first stage of the print cancelation.

I hope this helps.

Dan

burcinpak

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 03:32:45 pm »
Tested and working fine. Now I ordered makerbot 1.75mm filament and see whats going to happen. It is almost half the price of cube cartridge.
Thanks

anikin

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2014, 10:05:39 pm »
Must the dummy be almost empty filament ?
If it is not a almost empty one, does it works ?

Dan

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2014, 06:27:11 am »
No, the dummy can be full, almost empty - whatever - as long as its not completely empty. 

Regards
dan-

bobobobicsek

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2014, 09:39:54 am »
Hi burcinpak
Would you post your opinion and results using the makerbot filament?
I would love to know how the extruder handled it.
Thank you!

bobobobicsek

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2014, 11:02:56 am »
Hi Dan,
I really thank you for starting this forum. It is really hard to find online communities hatching out ideas and sharing information about 3d systems printers.  I am going to attempt the bulk filament option due to the high price of the cartridges.  So far i am satisfied with the cube2 3D's prints.  (I was excepting less from a consumer oriented 'high priced' entry level printer.)
My question is about the bulk PLA filament options.  Burcinpak posted using makerbot's PLA filament.  On other blogs i came across people using Octave filaments but the quality doesn't seem to be too good according to the reviews.  What are your findings using various bulk materials? What i would really try to avoid is a clogged print head.
Thank you.
Best
Bobo

Cube2 3D
Firmware: 2.08 with leatest Cubify slicer

bobobobicsek

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2014, 12:34:47 pm »
Follow-up on bulk filaments.
Did some more research....  And it seems to reveal that the CUBE 3D uses 1.60mm - 1.70 proprietary filaments as supposed to the standard 1.65-1.75mm. Has anybody experienced the bulk filament being too thick for the extruder/print head?  MatterHacker filament seems to be the closest one in thickness according to some.
Thanks.

ejayerik

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2014, 10:37:25 pm »
I have. I actually finished this hack tonight and the feeder on my 2nd Gen Cube keeps jamming (slip-click-slip-click) because the 1.75mm filament is too thick. After disassembling the head unit, I've discovered that 3DS makes it very difficult to adjust the gap between the gear and the roller. All of the machined and pressed metal parts seem to be fit so that you can't adjust it.

I'm sure it can be done with some grinding (more than I've already done) as well as some parts purchased online but on the fly = no-go.

I'm researching a parts list to allow for creating a gap and I'll be sure to post it here when I finally get around completing it. 

Finding a filament manufacturer that extrudes or presses the filament closer to the tighter end of 1.70-1.75 would be nice but I've yet to find one that is reliable. Mostly because that's not what tolerances mean in manufacturing. 

diperata

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2014, 08:00:24 am »
Hello, this trick worked for my Cube 2nd generation. I want to know if we can hack the CUBE3 to use bulk filament.. is there a way?
Thank you!

HittinBottom

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2014, 07:35:48 am »
I have some questions about the bulk filament.  I can get the printer to feed the material but I don't think it is getting hot enough to melt it.  The PLA I have is 1.75.  Has anyone else had this problem?

sf56e

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2014, 01:27:52 pm »
I am using Afina premium PLA and it works just as well as the cube plastic. Also, has anyone upgraded to firmware 2.08? Does this trick still work with that version?

storm4077

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Re: Crap hack. Bulk filament
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2014, 08:06:38 pm »
Im just trying it on 2.08 at the moment. Fingers crossed. Ill let you know if it works.
Its just lifted the bed up to the head so its looking promising so far!