Screenshot of Cubify's Client software editing an object to be 3D printed. Source: WhiteClouds
Screenshot of Cubify's Client software editing an object to be 3D printed. Source: WhiteClouds

Cubify's Client software, like the Cube itself is designed to be clear and simple. Let’s walk through the steps to prepare your 3D model to print. This article is a detailed walk-through for those who might need a little extra help.

Basic viewing functions

Windows: Click and hold your left mouse button to rotate your build plate around its axes. Click and hold the right mouse button to pan the view but not rotate. If you have a wheel, you can easily zoom your view in and out.

Opening the file

For this tutorial, we’ve downloaded a free file from the Cubify website, “The Sphinx of Hatshepsut”. Opened the software application, click Import in the top left corner, browse for the file and open it. 

Adjusting the rotation of the object 

Let’s adjust the Sphinx on the build plate. Click the Orient & Scale button (on the row of buttons at the top) to change its size and position on the platform. This bar opens with 3 knobs and several small buttons underneath them. These knobs adjust the rotational axis of your object. Don’t be afraid to try them out. You can always hit the Reset button towards the bottom of the toolbar. Be aware that the Reset undoes all changes you make to the object, in Scale, Translate or Rotation mode (those are the buttons directly under the rotation knobs). I recommend playing around with all the knobs and buttons, hitting Reset as many times as you need to to get the hang of this toolbar. You can’t hurt the file or your print so now’s the time to get your hands dirty.

ack to the Rotation knobs. Take special note on the very bottom of the toolbar there are 3 numerical fields related to X, Y and Z axis degrees. As you click and drag your mouse over the knobs, these fields change their numbers. You may choose to select the field and type your number value (sensitive to 0.1 degrees). Of course you can change the number so it doesn’t have to be right the first time. This is a good way of fine tuning your axes whereas the knobs do a good job of getting them close.

The X and Y axes won’t be needed on this job since we want to keep our Sphinx flat on the build plate. We can, however, adjust the Z axis to position our guy at a 45 degree angle and increase his build size (diagonals are longer than a straight line across the square). Click on the Z(deg) field and enter 45 and then click Apply (Until you click Apply the object won’t move). Then click the Top view on the lower part of the screen. This is how he looks now from the Top view, rotated 45 degrees on the Z axis.

Rescaling the object

We need to shrink the Sphinx down. Under the rotation knobs are 3 buttons. Click the Scale button and this window appears. Again, we have a choice between mouse manipulation on the slider/knob or entering numbers in the numerical field. I drop my slider between 60 and 80. You’ll notice the object does not stay centered on the platform so it’s difficult to tell if he’s the right size. Click on the Center button on the top of the software screen so we can get a better idea. This scale and position work well. The object is about as large as we can size it but isn’t so big  it goes over the edge of the platform.

We can see from the Top view that we have plenty of space on the sides. If you change your view of the object by clicking on the boxes in the lower left of the software screen, you’ll notice in each view the blue line, or box representing the build plate, should extend beyond the object. This is exactly what you want to see and an important detail to check for before printing any object. You’ll have to click the red X on the top right of the Orient & Scale toolbar for it to close.

Adjusting the color themes for background and model

In the software menu across the bottom, there is a bright rainbow circle called Colors. When you click on that, a bunch of colored squares come up with 2 buttons below: Background and Model. These colored tiles roughly coordinate to the filament colors offered for The Cube. The buttons, as you’ve probably guessed, control either the background color of the software module or the model itself. It’s beneficial see what my object will look like in the color material we’ve chosen for it. Since the idea is to print this to look like a Sphinx made of sandstone, we’ve chosen a tan ABS to print with. Toggle the button to Model and choose the lightest orange you can find. It’s not really that close to the right color, but it’ll do.

A little note about color theory: The software background is set to a light grey. Since our perception of a color is affected by all the colors around it, it helps to have a neutral grey background so we perceive the model’s colors as close to the print as possible. Feel free to choose whatever colors help you see the model and the icon buttons most clearly.

When you’re done adjusting with your colors, click the red X on the color menu to close the toolbar. With the model color adjusted, the Sphinx looks like this from the “Front” view.

 “Heal”, “Model Info”, “Unload” and “Configure” buttons

At this stage of your editing, it’s a good idea to click the Heal button on the top icon row. This action will close up any holes that could damage your print.

Model Info will give you some basic numerical info about the digital model you’re using. Click Next on the lower right until the model’s title comes up. You might find this helpful, especially if you’re calculating how much material you use each print.

Clicking the Unload icon will remove your object from the application. In case you accidentally click it, don’t worry, it will ask you to confirm your choice. Beware: Unlike most programs, Cube’s doesn’t ask if you want to save your changes before closing the file.

Configure will help you connect to your Cube via Wi-Fi and load new firmware to it. Explanation and direction about these steps can be found in your Cube’s User Manual.

The most important button: “Settings”

The “Settings” button on the bottom icon row is the final and most important button to check before you print.

Our defaults are:

Units: MM*

Raft: On

Supports: Off

Print Mode: Strong

Print Material: PLA (This field tells the application what material you’ll be using to print with and will add that material abbreviation to your object title. If you select both PLA and ABS, it will save a file in both types)

Cube Model: 2nd Gen Cube*

*= These fields never change. All others change somewhat depending on printing project.

You’ll notice that these fields also appear on the top banner of the application so once you know what you’re looking for, you don’t even need to open the toolbar up. (image: Settings bar.png)  If you change anything, be sure to click “Save Options” before closing the toolbar. If no changes are made, you don’t need to save anything. We encourage you to play with the Raft, Support and Print Modes to see how they affect your object’s character. Try shrinking one of the standard files like the tea cup and print it in different combinations to see what happens.

The final step

We have reached the final steps of digitally customizing your object. After this, everything will have to be physically altered.

On the top row, click the Build button. This action converts your model’s .STL file into a .CUBE file that can be read by your 3D printer. If you are using the USB stick to transfer files to the printer, it should be in your computer now. When the software finishes preparing the model through digital slicing, it will want to save it to either the USB stick or your computer. If you choose the USB stick first, it’s a good idea to click the Save button on the bottom icon row before closing out of the program. That way you have a backup copy in case something happens to your USB. The reverse applies if you save it to your computer first.

You did it!

Now you’re ready to print your object. Congratulations!

The Cube is such an easy 3D printer to use, you’ll be mastering these buttons in no time.