3d Resurrection - Getting your Cube 3 Working again

Perhaps, like us, you unwittingly chose a Cube 3d Printer for your school or classroom, either because of it's iOS air printing capabilities or because you were sold on the fantasy of it being seamless and simple. LOL... Then, when 3d Systems announced it was discontinuing its line of consumer machines, you may have felt abandoned and hurt and confused. For us, it was a pretty low blow, considering there was no prior announcement about this and we had just purchased one of these bad boys for nearly $800.00; no small amount for a public Middle School.

We may have gotten a lot of distance out of this machine, nonetheless, as we had stockpiled quite a few of the proprietary filament cartridges. If you've used one of these at all, though, you know the filament cartridges are crap, and definitely the weakest link when it comes to this printer. The filament is terrible and you're constantly disassembling and reassembling cartridges. The filament cartridges are also this printers version of DRM, as the machine will not run bulk filament and measures the amount in each cartridge, using some kind of chip.

Hacking the Firmware

So the solution for this problem was provided by Eychei, over at OpenBuilds, who has basically done all the heavy lifting for you on this one. Here is a link to the first release of the Cube Toolbox for Cube 3 and Cube Pro firmware. "By patching the firmware you can stop the counting process of the filament chip and thus use filament of your choice" (Eychei).

I actually recommend that you Download Cube 3 1.14B *PATCHED* firmware file here, and skip trying to run the exe, as your classroom machines are likely as locked down as mine are. Then, Unzip patched firmware file to usb stick and flash firmware by going to Settings -> Firmware screen.

Hacking the filament cartridge.

I got the inspiration for my spool set up from Gunspinner, also on OpenBuilds. Below are pictures, of the process I used to "hack" one of my filament cartridges.

First, You need some tools for disassembly. 
Follow the directions here for disassembly. Note: I used a flat head screwdrive instead of a lego breaker.

Then, use the lighter to remove excess PLA from the print nozzle. 

Now grab a power drill with 1.25" hole saw. 
Drill a hole right under the little square window thing

Grab yourself some bulk filament. 

Feed it through the top piece you drilled and up into the printer with a T20 x 100mm torx tool.

Snap it all back together.
Swap out your cartridge and print like the boss you are!


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