Friday, April 17, 2015

1 Day, 70 students, 4 Cube 3s and Moment of Inspiration!

I have to admit, the challenge of introducing 3D design to 3 classes of students in a single day and delivering a 3D print of the student's design by the next day would have been more than a little daunting had it not been for my confidence in Moment of Inspiration and the Cube 3 printer.

Students are introduced to 3D design and printing in a workshop presented by YouthQuest at the National Society of Black Engineers Convention in Anaheim, California March 26, 2015

On March 26th I had the privilege to be able to introduce 3D design to 70 students at the Annual National Society of Black Engineers Convention in Anaheim, California.

Were it not for the ease of use of Moment of Inspiration and the four Cube 3 printers that performed flawlessly, we could not have pulled this event off successfully.   We hope to be at next year's convention in Boston and TRIPLE the number of student's having a 3D design and printing experience. 

For a more complete story, visit the YouthQuest web site.

It is very important to stress that while we walked the student's through the process of creating a 3D object, and printed it for them, that was NOT the primary goal of our sessions.  We see 3D design and printing as an OPPORTUNITY to learn that (1) failure is not final and (2) we now have the means. as no other generation, to turn our abstract ideas into concrete reality.   Based on the feedback from the event's organizers, that message was successfully delivered.

Since most of the student's had downloaded the Moment of Inspiration trial onto their own computers, we hope they continued to explore when they returned home.

New Firmware, New Client, 70 micron Success

After my early failed attempts at printing in 70 micron layers, I simply abandoned trying until I felt that the early clogging issues had been successfully addressed.

Given the success I was having with firmware 1.10A at 200 microns, I suspected that with the release of 1.11A and the companion client upgrade that it was time to try 70 microns again,

I'm happy to report, after a successful 5.5 hour print, that there were no issues at all with printing at the highest resolution.  I would not call the test a definitive one since the design for the objects being printed required very few filament in/out cycles.  The lines could be printed continuously, which is less stressful on the filament.  But, it is certainly promising and reflective of the steady improvements in performance delivered by the 3D Systems engineering team.

By the way, the print is stunningly beautiful.  Unfortunately, I cannot post an image because the objects are prototypes as part of a series of products that I hope to release in the near future.

We keep making progress.  :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cube3 Production Now Primarily Located at Rock Hill Facility

For me this news is both sad and good news.  It's sad because I loved the crew at the Herndon manufacturing facility.  I really appreciate the great work they accomplished from the very first Cube1 that rolled off the assembly line.

The sadness is offset by the realization that the demand for the Cube3 finally outpaced what could be produced in the smaller facility in Herndon to the point where it made the most sense to move the primary Cube3 production to the Rock Hill, South Carolina facility. 

I suspect that there is another benefit of having both engineering and production under the same roof.   I know that in the early days of the Cube3 production, the engineers from South Carolina made numerous trips trying to quickly identify and fix issues that came up.  It's only logical to believe that having the design engineers and the assembly line in closer proximity will result in quicker solutions to problems as they arise.

While the move definitely is a personal hit, it's one that I think benefits all future Cube owners.  I should be able to see the new assembly line next week.  Our South Caroline Youth Challenge cadets will be touring the Rock Hill facility and I'll be along for the fun. 

If I'm lucky, maybe I can bring back some pictures.  :)

But, I do not want to forget the hard working and dedicated crew at Herndon, Virginia that has always been great to me and given their best for ALL of us. 

Cubify Client 2.24 Released To Optimize the 1.11A Firmware

The next time you open your Cubify Client while connected to the web, you should get a notice that there is a new Cubify Client available.  It's version 2.24 and it is designed to take advantage of the 1.11A firmware update reported earlier.

It is a good idea to re-slice your objects 

In fact, I removed all of my previously sliced versions.  Sliced versions are shown in the color that was installed in your printer at the time the object was printed.   They can also be identified by a suffix appended to the end of the original STL file name. 

The suffix will generally have an underscore followed by a numeric value.

You do not have to remove the original STL upload (non-colored) version.   Simply select it again for printing to re-slice it as optimized for the new firmware.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cube3 Firmware 1.11A

The latest firmware for the Cube3, v1.11A,  has just been released.

The new firmware for the Ekocycle will follow shortly.

I wish I had more information regarding the features of the new firmware.  Unfortunately, I have no details.  Even so, I urge you to update your firmware as soon as possible.  3D Systems has never failed to make important refinements with each firmware release in terms of both quality of print and reliability.  So, the minute I heard it was available, it was installed.  :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Introduction from John Pennington

Hello Cubify Fans!

As mentioned earlier (in this Blog) by Tom, I am going to share my journey with you in “Experiencing 3D Coat".  3D Coat is a unique tool for modeling as well as painting / texturing 3D models. I am enjoying this software's abilities.
I have had my hand on it now for about 90 days and feel comfortable with the things I have used. This software has a huge array of features so much that at first it may seem intimidating. I hope to alleviate some of that.
There are many things we use with little knowledge of how they work. An example; As I am using this word processing software to type this article. Things called routines are going on (in the background) that I do not need to know about nor do I really care about them I only want to type. Often the programmers who make some of the best software are also the worse people to represent them. They start talking things that are often important for the program to be what it is all the while losing a potential user who only cares for what it does. I do not need to know how the software makes best use of the processor. I just need to see it perform in a way that pleases me.

My goal in the "3D Coat Experience" series is to bring 3D modeling to the average user, the one who is more concerned about creating than the process itself. Your feedback will help keep me on track in this goal.
A little background about myself:
Tom and I met on path crossing journeys back in 2007. My side of that is about once a month I do a regular search for new and/or simple 3D modeling software. That year I came across CB Model Pro. I was impressed by this simple to use software and fell in love with its User interface (that's one of those words we don't need to know LOL). That means I liked the way the tools were designed and drawn up. It really had virtual clay like control.  I joined the community I met Tom saw his tutorials and with his help from them got my feet wet, and pretty much dived in. The program was a beta that never saw Alpha (those words again). It was in test mode but never got to final stage. And it has since then been abandoned since 2009. Heartbroken but like all who have tasted love I kept looking.
Tom and I have overlapped a few times in this similar journey communicating our findings back and forth Via E/mail. Many programs looked promising, but no real replacement for CB model Pro. 6 years have gone by. I revisited 3d coat and this time I saw it had evolved into a very powerful program and to my surprise the tools were easy for me to grasp. A couple weeks into the 30 day demo I sent the info to Tom.  He was impressed as well and agreed we should give this one a run through and that brings us to the place we are now.  I am currently making the first video tutorial. I hope you will watch it and download 3d Coat demo I truly do believe that in a short time you will be inspired to create the things you imagine.

Long story I know but hope it helps you to get to know me better.
For those of you ready to jump in I have 2 starter videos ready for you to watch. The first one is an introduction to 3D Coats and it's layout.

After that I take you on your first project. In this video we design a simple Pencil cup with some embelishments,

Take a moment and post your comments to the blog here to let Tom and myself know what you got out of the videos as well Try to direct you posts to me (John) so I can be sure to respond to them. 

Have a great day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Limit Glue Layer Buildup to Minimize Start Up Clogging

I'm guilty.

After many complaints to the Cube3 engineers about my printer working for job after job only to fail when starting a new print job did it dawn on me that the user, in this case, might be to blame.

I believe that I was applying glue over old glue too many times and finally closing the critical gap.  And, since I was letting the glue completely dry, it was acting as if it was the hard surface of the print plate and stopping the flow of filament.

My bad!  :(

Now, you would think that with several years of 3D printing experience, I would know better.  However, with the Cube2, the first layer of glue over a newly cleaned glass was less successful than a second coat of glue over a dried previous coat.

But, the tolerances for the gap was greater in the Cube2 than with the Cube3 gap.  You can get away with one thin second coat and maybe even a third.  But, beyond that it's probable that you will hear the dreaded "click, click, click".

Please don't let Cubify Support or the engineering team know that I made this confession.  Who knows what they might do to me the next time I stop by Rock Hill next time I travel down to South Carolina to visit our Youth ChalleNGe cadets!  If I suddenly disappear, you'll know somebody tipped them off.

Hmmmm.... I think it might be wise to start using an alias when contacting 3D Systems support with vociferous complaints.