Beginner's Tutorial for your CubeX 3D Printer
The photo to the right depicts the CubeX 3D Printer located in the DASL lab. The
printer works by taking a 3D model and printing it from heated thermoplastics.
The CubeX creates the model by melting these plastics at molten temperatures
and jetting them through the print jets. The 3D model forms as 2D layers of
plastic are made on top of each other in very thin increments.
The purpose of this tutorial is to give a quick run through on how to print a part
so you can eventually print your own part in the future!
Using the CubeX Software
The CubeX prints 3D models with .cubex files made on the CubeX software.
The software is available for download online at Cubify.
- Note: The computer next to the printer should have CubeX on it already, so
you won't have to download it if you're using that computer.
This software takes in .stl files and converts them into .cubex files.
You can also make last minute changes to the part on CubeX like changing size,
orientation, and color. Here you will be loading a sample part that you
can print yourself.
Download the sample .stl file here.
1. To Start using CubeX and loading the .stl file, click the CubeX icon.
2. Click "Open Model" in the top-left corner of the screen. Go to your
where you saved the sample file and open it. If you encounter a window that says "Is this object in mm?",
just select No.
3. Now that you've loaded the sample, you can edit it by changing its
orientation with Rotate geometry, scale it with Scale Geometry, move it
with Move Geometry, or change its color. For now, leave the sample where
it is now, but feel free to change its color by clicking on the model then
clicking which color you want it to be where it says "Pick Color".
4. Once you're satisfied with your model, you can build it into a .cubex
file by clicking "Build".
5. Clicking build opens the Build Settings. Here is where you can change
how the printer prints the piece. For this model, just untoggle Fine Detail Preservation so that the build settings look like the one on the picture below.
For now, we can leave it at their default
settings, but here's a general description of what each part does:
- Fast Draft sets the build settings to their fastest speed,
allowing the piece to build faster, but produce a part of lower quality
- Layer Thickness is the thickness of the plastic extruding from
the print jet. Having thinner thickness will produce a part of higher
quality, but will take more time to build.
- Part Density is how much plastic will be consumed to make the
inside of the piece. Having a denser part will make the piece stronger,
but consume more plastic and take longer to print.
- Raft Material allows you to place a raft under the part before
the part starts printing. A raft is disposable plastic printed first under the
part to prevent warping. Placing a raft allows for parts to be removed easily
from the print pad, but is better used for larger parts.
- Support Material is plastic that will be used to support parts
of the model that overhang or have no material directly under them. The
support material will be printed under any overhanging parts to make it
easier to print those parts.
- Support Type is the pattern of how the support will be printed.
Points are the default, but lines are better for larger models.
- Fine Detail Preservation will preserve the finer details of
your model, but may affect its accuracy.
6. Click "Build" to convert the model into a .cubex file. When it's done
building, a menu will appear that shows how long it will take to build the
part, how much the final product will weigh, and how much plastic will be
- Note: The time shown is an approximation. The build time will be longer
than this approximation depending on the size of what is being printed.
The sample approximation time is 31 min, but will probably take 35 minutes to complete.
7. Once finished building, save the .cubex file onto a USB stick by clicking
"Save print File" in the top-right corner.
Printing your Part
Here you will take the .cubex file you just made and print it.
1. Remove the print pad from the printer. If the print pad is too high and
you can't remove it, you can use the "Move" function in the main menu to lower
the print pad. The two arrows on the right side of the "Move" function
allows the print pad to move up and down.
Note: DO NOT lower the print pad all the way down. Doing so can damage
the printer because the motor will still continue turning even though
the print pad is at its lowest possible point.
2. Be sure there isn't any residue form previous prints stuck to the print pad. If there
is any, be sure to scrape it off with the scraper. When you are finished, place the print pad back in the
printer and insert the USB stick containing your .cubex file into the USB port
on the CubeX.
3. Select the "Print" function from the main menu. Using the arrows on the
bottom of the screen, scroll to the .cubex file you wish to print and tap on
the file name. Your creation will start printing.
If plastic does not appear to be coming out from the print jet, contact
one of the lab members to have them fix the problem.
Finishing your Part
1. When the printer stops, remove the print pad form the printer.
2. Using the scraper provided in the toolkit, gently remove the part from
the print pad.
3. Enjoy your creation! If some parts are rough or dangling, you can use
the sandpaper provided to make the surface smoother.
Congragulations! You now know the process of building and printing your
own part. This tutorial was meant to be a quick run through printing
your first part. For more information about the printer such as materials,
software, and maintenance, visit the extended tutorial here.
Below are some other models made with the 3D printer.
If you need any questions answered, email me at [email protected]