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An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500

An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 16, 2016 08:44PM
You can get a well engineered, industrial grade mechanism, fully assembled, for the price of a poorly designed kit of low quality parts:

[www.ebay.com]

Look how many of them have sold in the $200-300 range!

The CubeX Duo is badly reviewed, mostly because it uses proprietary filament cartridges and slicing software, and tech support is poor. If you've ever built a 3D printer, you know how to wire a controller board and tune things up. Swap out the controller for one of the open source boards and you've got a great machine for the price of an "i" kit.

The mechanism is a solidly built Cartesian with two Y axis motors. The X axis motor is mounted on and moves with the X axis. Build volume is about 270 x 270 x 240 mm. It has dual extruders with hot-end and print cooling fans. The Z axis is cantilevered, driven by a lead screw, and is reasonably stable. It uses a sensible 3 point bed leveling scheme and is solid enough that leveling will be infrequent. The bed plate is not heated and is removable. It uses glue to hold prints on some sort of white plastic surface. It even comes with a tool kit!

It also comes with two filament cartridges which you can turn around and sell on ebay for $20-40 each to recoup some of your investment.

I bought one today, new in box, for $258.74 including shipping. How could I resist? They're practically giving them away!

I'll be swapping out the controller board and modifying or replacing the extruders. I think it will cost another $200 or so and probably 20-30 hours of tinkering to get it working the way I want.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2016 08:47PM by the_digital_dentist.

Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 16, 2016 09:16PM
You can see some of the mechanism in this video: [www.youtube.com]

More here: [www.thingiverse.com]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2016 09:40PM by the_digital_dentist.

Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 17, 2016 06:28AM
Look forward to seeing how it works out. Sure looks like they are being sold well below cost. I guess for most people a discontinued brand with proprietary cartridges only has junk value. I confess to being quite tempted...

Edit: Ah, with the lousy exchange rate, shipping, duties/brokerage and taxes the best price I can find comes out to around 600 cad. A good deal, but a little too much for an impulse buy smiling smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2016 06:33AM by JamesK.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 17, 2016 12:15PM
ooh, the Canadian rupee really making it not seem worth it for ya? sorry to hear about that. But yeah, for an American ('Murica!) that looks like a sweet deal. Making me second guess going through the effort of building my own for my next printer.


If you need some help, or don't understand what I just said, feel free to send me a PM anytime

Printer: Prusa i3, 2 E3D v6 Hotends, Arduino + RAMPS 1.4 with a Bypassed 5V Regulator, 400w Insignia ATX PSU, Custom Designed Bowden Extruders
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 21, 2016 07:58AM
The new toy arrived in perfect condition! I immediately started checking it over and prioritizing "fixes", including replacing the plastic Z nut plate and X axis motor mounts with aluminum, replacing the controller board (the original isn't held in place by anything I can see except the cables it is connected to!). I pulled out and threw away the sockets for the filament cartridges. I will probably feed filament from the top of the machine instead of using the long guide tubes. Still deciding if I am going to keep the nozzle scraper and trash can...


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 21, 2016 08:55AM
Sounds great. I've often thought a scraper and a purge bucket would be useful.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 21, 2016 10:16AM
I think it might be useful for dual color/material prints- instead of printing a tower to prime the extruders just before they are switched in, you can just move to the scraper, extrude a few mm of filament, scrape, retract, and go print. Faster and less wasted filament.


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 21, 2016 10:26AM
What are the bearings? 8mm Linear ball bearings or just bronze donuts?

Read comment that the bearings go bad real quick?

confused smiley
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 24, 2016 09:19PM
Now now DD, a bit hypocritical don't you think?
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 25, 2016 05:05AM
All the frame pieces are 12 mm diameter steel. The Z axis bearing mounts are 80 mm long, the Z, Y, and X axis bearing mounts are 80, 100, and 120 mm long respectively. They are all linear bearings, not bronze bushings.

The frame isn't as rigid as my printer's 4040 frame, but it is a lot better than any other $250 printer I've ever seen. More importantly, it's all integrated, assembled, and it's a known working mechanism. Something people here tend to forget is the value of their time. Do you know how many hours it would take to design the mechanism, source all the parts, order them, then put them all together? I do because I've done it twice. Swapping out the controller board will take less time than wiring up my own design because the cables are already in place. Replacing a couple plastic parts with aluminum will be a small project and might take an hour or two depending on how fancy I want to get with the finish of the parts.


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 25, 2016 06:24AM
Absolutely. Took me a couple of years to get my first one up and running and it's still not 'finished'. There are lots of different paths to the goal of being able to make prints, and being aware of the options is a good thing. Taking an end of life design that's being sold at below cost and then improving it is very much in the engineering spirit.

I've just lucked into some parts from a silicon wafer handling machine. It's suffering from some corrosion, so I don't know how much of it I will be able to salvage, but I can see at least two linear guides in there that it would be really nice to get my hands on - I've been meaning to do something about my floppy x axis! Looks like some of the motors are servos with encoders on the back. Using those will be a long term goal I think smiling smiley
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 26, 2016 11:18AM
Hey DD, is it true that you have to buy their filament cartridges?
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 26, 2016 11:57AM
Quote
Hey DD, is it true that you have to buy their filament cartridges?

Yes, but not after removing their controller board and replacing it with a ramps/ Smoothie like he mentioned in the first post
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 26, 2016 06:13PM
3DS took a cue from the ink jet printer business and tried to make their $ on feeding the machine. The filament comes in cartridges that have a 1-wire eeprom that the controller reads and writes. When the chip says the cartridge is done, the machine will no longer print from it, so you can't just wind more filament into an old cartridge. Those cartridges cost about $100 and I believe they hold about 1 lb or 500g of filament. There are some hacks for getting around the chipped cartridges, but you're still stuck with their proprietary and limited slicer and whatever performance their controller is capable of.

Unless you swap out the controller board...

They use a 230K Ohm thermistor so you have to use the beta value (found on data sheet for the thermistor) in the controller's firmware to get it to read the right temperature.

Here's the X axis motor mount- plastic!



It's a little hard to tell from the picture, but the belt tension has caused the motor to tilt by flexing the plastic motor mount.



Extruder carriage looks pretty nice...



...until you look at the back side (I thought my printer's extruder carriage was ugly!):





For completeness, here's what it looks like from the bed:



Here's the Z axis- note: the piece that lifts the Z axis where the nut attaches is plastic!



This is what those proprietary filament cartridges look like:




Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 26, 2016 07:44PM
I spent a few hours at the makerspace today and fabricated an aluminum replacement for the plastic Z axis nut plate. I happened to have a piece of 5mm thick aluminum from a previous scrap-yard buy. The thickness at the nut needed to be 5 mm:



Then I took it home and tried it in:



Perfect fit!

Next up, aluminum motor mount...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/26/2016 07:46PM by the_digital_dentist.

Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 27, 2016 01:26AM
What do you think about this seller claiming to be selling an authentic Cube X Duo versus many Chinese clones being sold. Seller Warning of Chinese Clones

It is more than I would spend but just wanted to get your input on how to avoid "clones."

Thank you.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 27, 2016 04:34AM
He didn't say anything about clones, and I have no idea if 3DS did any manufacturing in China. I was surprised to see the made in UK sticker. Mine says it was made in the US.


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 28, 2016 02:43PM
Are those metal cylinders holding all the rods in a cube, is there 2 Z'z holding the x up?
Seems like a lot of useful parts in it. just watching vid.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/28/2016 02:48PM by MechaBits.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 28, 2016 08:30PM
OK, you asked for it (or maybe you didn't). Here it is in all its naked glory:







Right side Y axis belt clamp and X axis bearing:




Left side X axis bearing- motor and mount removed for measurement to fabricate a metal copy:


Left side Z axis bearing- look at the crazy machining they did to make it all fit together!:


Here's my self fabricated aluminum Z axis nut plate in place with the bed support cantilever mounted on the Z axis:


Interesting way of mounting the Z axis NEMA-23 size motor:


Underside of the cantilevered bed support- 4.8 mm thick aluminum plates:


X=0 switch (black cylinder in bearing block on left) and magnet (on extruder carriage, right), nylon grub screw to adjust switch position. No, not Hall effect sensor- reed switch!:


Controller board held in place only by the cables that connect to it. There are two cooling fans, one "attached" to the board using the weird rubber things, and the other "attached" to the bottom plate using the same rubber thingies. Uses a PIC32 uC.


Laser cut acrylic(?) back panel with laser cut cable guides fit into slots and held in place by the cables:


15V 5.33A power brick:


One of two teflon tubes to feed filament from the cartridge to the extruders, and trash bin height adjuster:


The right side Y axis belt clamp also acts as the end stop- the plastic just bangs into the metal corner cylinder. Note- there is no tension adjuster- just grab the belt with pliers and twist until it's tight, then tighten down the clamp screws:


USB connections- the printer can print from thumb drives and can be connected to a computer via USB:




Top left front corner showing ribbon cable for LCD panel and plastic wrap that keeps it firmly stuck to the frame rods:





Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 28, 2016 09:51PM
I love it, pity the sides need to go back on, would look great on my hifi stand, doubt i could get one in UK for that price,
are the frame rails larger than 8mm? interesting double rail welded for the z,
is the Y only driven with belt one side? love the motor mounts.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 29, 2016 03:58AM
Quote
MechaBits
is the Y only driven with belt one side? love the motor mounts.

I think I see a belt and motor for each side of the Y axis.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 29, 2016 04:14AM
Two motors, two belts on the Y axis. The X axis motor is off while I fabricate a metal mount. 12mm steel frame rails.

If I push on it I can make the frame flex visibly, but I have to push pretty hard to do that. I suspect it's a little more rigid, at least in some directions, when the enclosure is screwed on because the plastic is screwed to the sides of the frame at the corner cylinders.




A tool kit, 2 filament cartridges, and two bottles of glue came with it:


Here it is with the top off while I was unpacking it:



Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 29, 2016 09:43AM
Wow, looks like a solid machine especially considering the price. I wonder if they are selling at a loss with hopes of filament cartridges will pay off.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 29, 2016 10:18AM
Quote
DaGameFace
Wow, looks like a solid machine especially considering the price. I wonder if they are selling at a loss with hopes of filament cartridges will pay off.

That was the business model when they were being sold at $2k. The line has been discontinued, so the current prices are clearance and look to be well below cost of manufacture.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 29, 2016 11:01AM
This one's £3k
[www.ebay.co.uk]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2016 11:02AM by MechaBits.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 29, 2016 01:25PM
Quote
elwood127
Hey DD, is it true that you have to buy their filament cartridges?

Never mind, if all else fails read instructions.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 30, 2016 11:04AM
I logged on to reprap for the first time in a while to see what people were saying about the Prusa i3 mk2 and the new quad-color system they announced, I almost fell out of my chair when I saw DD advocating something that didn't cost an arm and a leg. :p


After reading this thread I now have a dilemma. I was planning to get a mk2 and pre-order the quad-color system, but now I kind of want to do this.....

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/30/2016 02:02PM by TheJones.
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
September 30, 2016 04:50PM
So, this happened when I got home... (check the picture)

I will be watching this thread with great interest in the near future.
Attachments:
open | download - Screenshot_20160930-165600.png (417.1 KB)
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
October 01, 2016 04:35AM
Great! Welcome aboard!

I don't see this as inconsistent with my previous posts. I am all about reusing quality stuff and getting it at bargain prices. I like to get used linear guides, scrapped 4040 aluminum extrusions, scrapped balls crews, discounted tooling plate cut-offs, etc. These machines are relatively well built and their flaws can be fixed relatively easily by anyone experienced with 3D printers. While they aren't perfect, they sure are cheap for what you get, especially when compared to the alternatives at the same price.


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Re: An alternative to buying a bad kit for $300-500
October 01, 2016 07:24PM
I get what you mean, I was just poking fun at you because of how much crap you talk on the budget ebay kits. This thing looks really solid for the $300 that I paid for it, though I never would have paid it's MSRP.

I'm really excited for mine to get here. I'm thinking of turning it into a fully enclosed heated chamber. What are you planning on doing for the bed ? Also are you planning on trying out the stock hotends or scrapping them right away, and what controller are you going to use?
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