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  1. #1

    [OLD PARTS NEEDED] Working on Cube filament cartridge ROMs

    TL;DR: I need empty or almost empty Cube filament cartridges, any generation and material, pls halp

    Yesterday I was given two Cube printers (a gen 2 and an Ekocycle) from a fellow robotics team mentor who no longer had use for them (since one was jammed up and the other stopped recognizing the only cartridges they had for it, even though they weren't totally empty). I'm more of a DIY hacker type, so the proprietary setup 3DSystems uses bugs me, and it took me all of two hours to start getting the cartridge ROMs dumped.

    The ROM chips seem to be standard Maxim 1-wire EEPROMs, and with the help of this project, I managed to get an Arduino hooked up to dump the ROMs into binary files on my computer. I'm currently combing through the ROMs to figure out what all the bytes do. The next step will be to reverse the process and write the ROMs back to the cartridges so I can set arbitrary capacity, material, and color values. If successful, I will of course share this information with everyone else,particularly robotics teams which were offered these printers at little to no cost and then left with the realization that filament is $50 for 300g.

    NOW I NEED YOUR HELP. I only have PLA cartridges in a few different colors for the gen 2 printer, and I only have the two stock PETG cartridges which came with the Ekocycle. This isn't really enough to reverse engineer the ROMs. I've converted the firmware on the Ekocycle over to the Cube 3 firmware to open up the ability to use PLA and ABS, so if anyone has any old Cube filament cartridges, it would be awesome if you could either dump the ROM yourself using the above tool (or any other 1-wire tool to your liking, I don't judge), or mail me the ROM chips out of the cartridges since I'm not going to make you mail the whole thing. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Now for the caveats. I know someone is going to mention that this is amoral to be stripping a poor little engineering firm of their hard-earned profits and I'm what's wrong with this mp3-downloading generation. Look. 3DSystems has already officially discontinued support for these printers. We don't know how much longer they're going to continue offering consumables. And everyone here knows already that those filament cartridges are a complete and total ripoff, especially 3DS (they count on it). I'm not trying to make money off of this, I want to save some money particularly for the middle- and high school robotics teams which were given a great deal on these printers and then bait-and-switched once they found out how much the filament cost. This really is for the children.

    I'd also like to mention that in the process of dumping the ROMs, sometimes the filament cartridges don't register again once I put them back on the Cube gen 2. I haven't figured out if it's something out of sync on the EEPROM or if I'm just not getting the cartridges seated right in the machine, but I can always get them back to working again by going through the process to install a new cartridge. Still leaning toward mechanical issue, I'm a little clumsy.

    I'll post updates on this thread as they come.

    -Aaron

  2. #2
    Well, looks like I got ahead of myself. The ROM chip in the cartridges is a DS28E01, which is an EEPROM with SHA-1 encryption. You can read whatever you want, but you have to know the secret encryption key to change any values. So this may be a dead-end. I might see if I can find anything about the way they're implementing SHA-1 and figure out if there's a why to hand the machine a new chip with encryption disabled and have it still work. My guess is no, but I'll look into it.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ajosmer View Post
    Well, looks like I got ahead of myself. The ROM chip in the cartridges is a DS28E01, which is an EEPROM with SHA-1 encryption. You can read whatever you want, but you have to know the secret encryption key to change any values. So this may be a dead-end. I might see if I can find anything about the way they're implementing SHA-1 and figure out if there's a why to hand the machine a new chip with encryption disabled and have it still work. My guess is no, but I'll look into it.
    You'd be much better off swapping the controllers out for open filament versions. Getting the steppers / extruder hooked up wouldn't be that much trouble and you could use whatever filament you with.

  4. #4
    Oh I know, and I'll probably eventually swap the brains out on the Ekocycle so I can put a rocker on the dual extruder that likes to drag across the print, but it's kind of like LS-swapping a Miata vs. putting a junkyard turbo on it. Both cool ways of doing it, but I think I'll learn some interesting things playing with the stock control system.

    As for the Cube 2, I've pulled one of the chips out of an almost-full cartridge and put it in a little 3D printed fob. Turns out there's a trick for this printer where you insert the cartridge chip, start the print, hit the stop button, and pull the chip out. If you leave it on the stop print screen, it forgets to check to see if there's a cartridge. It then finishes the print and never overwrites the capacity on the chip, and you can run whatever filament you want.

    For now on the Ekocycle I'm trying to get a cartridge on the Fleabay to see if it'll run on the modified Cube 3 firmware I found in the internether regions without decrementing the capacity on that too. I'll report back when I do.

    Next stage will probably be trying to trick it into running ABS settings while thinking it's PLA so I can try to run ABS with the PLA chip. I found some config files for ABS and PLA, but I don't know if they're for the slicer or the machine. I'll have to find my temp gun and see. I know the Cube 2 doesn't have a heated bed, so I'm hoping gratuitous use of the glue will work. I think the Ekocycle/Franken3 has a heated bed, so I'll probably order an ABS cartridge for that and see how it works.

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