Skycube Mods: Save the Aladdinbox from Sucking!

Who Wants Skycube Mods!?

Well, if you didn’t get a chance to check out my review of the Aladdinbox Skycube.. do it now.  If you are too lazy to read that or you already have, the quick synopsis was that it sucked.  So you have a few options as an owner.. save it from itself and fix it, send it back, give it to a unsuspecting friend, or throw it away.

  I’m not the type of guy to throw away something unless it’s truely outlived it’s purpose.  So, enough of the jibber-jabber.. Let’s do some Skycube Mods!  I’ll start off with the free ones and then get to the ‘expensive’ ones!

My first gripe about the printer was the terrible leveling routine.  I managed to find that this printer is a clone of the iNSTONE Easier/mini, so I joined the iNSTONE 3D Printer Support Group on Facebook and learned a few things. 

There’s an alternative way to level this machine that seems nearly as unhelpful as the original way.  By flipping the machine on it’s side you will have access to 4 screws located under the mounting points for the Y carriage linear rods.

  You tighten these screws to push the rod UP into the plastic clips that keep them in place, or loosen them to let the Y rods get a little sloppy in their holder.  Remember how I said you have to set the printer on it’s side for all of this?  Yeah, SUPER unhelpful.

The First Skycube Mod

Marlin status screen skycube mod
Status screen with the Marlin firmware

So the first of the Skycube Mods will be the leveling process.  There’s only one way to overcome all of these issues. Through live Z axis corrections!  And this locked down version of Repetier just won’t cut it for that.  So, now I get to kill two birds with one stone.. fix the crappy bed level AND the locked down Repetier!  All in just one of the Skycube Mods?!  Efficient right?!

I’m going to skip all of the technical stuff for this article and just post up links for my custom cut of Marlin 1.1.x bugfix for you to all enjoy.  There are instructions and all the drivers that you will need in the zip file.  Get the Skycube Mod firmware here!

Now, Print like it’s a REAL 3D Printer!unloaded spool holder skycube mod

Now you have full fledged firmware running on a printer that you can actually level the bed on.  What’s next in the lineup of Skycube Mods?  With all of this extra awesome you are going to want to use it more, and that mini spool holder just ain’t cuttin’ it.

Grab my handy-dandy Skycube ‘Big Boy’ Spool holder.  You just take out the screws from the mini holder and slap this puppy in it’s place.  It’s a two piece design that functions pretty well.  It’s an original design and will be updated with any changes as I see fit.  You are also free to edit the STL files as well.  It’s also printable on the Aladdinbox Skycube!

Spin that Z Axis!

The next of the Skycube Mods is purely for convenience sake.  When raising the Z, I would just twist on the lead screw.  This got old quick because there wasn’t really a nice way to do it without sticking your hand inside the Skycube from the top. 

I ended up editing a Cr10 lead screw knob off of Thingiverse for my design.  I knew I had to make the threads longer so the knob would sit high enough out of the top of the chassis.  This Skycube Mod also allows me to watch my fancy bed level mesh work it’s magic!

Want Some Sweet Prints?  You’ll Need This!

A real nice print profile is the next of the must have Skycube Mods.  I’ve spent a few kilograms getting this dialed in nice and tight with the firmware.  Using my custom profile also saves you from adding in the M420 line into the startup code.  That’s the command for Marlin to pull up that swanky mesh leveling job you just nailed.  Seriously though, download the profile here and get the Skycube printing like a pro!

Break out the Billfold!

spool holder skycube mod loaded
All-metal extruder and 1kg spool!

I’m not a fan of cheap plastic extruders.  I decided to get a nice all metal extruder with a better teeth profile for feeding in filament.  The stock extruder gear worked flawlessly for me.  Any all-metal extruder for a bowden setup will work just fine here. 

You can find these online, in prices ranging from $10-$30.  Just get whatever you can afford with decent reviews.  The most important things for me are filament path and teeth profile. 

I like finer teeth because it tends not to ‘chew’ up the filament and cause feeding/retraction issues with it hanging in the feed tube.  This should allow for trouble free flexible filament feeding and less problems further down the road.

Time to Level Up!

The most expensive of the Skycube Mods on this list is a new main board.  WHAT!?  Why purchase a new main board?  Well, the old one just wasn’t really any good.  It was missing a bunch of the headers for accessories.. like extra fans and internal lighting.  I also could never get the steppers to be as silent as I thought they should be.

  I am not sure what caused this.  The replacement board I purchased was a One+ by FYS.  It uses the same form factor and LCD pins as the original board, it just has the optional headers and quieter stepper drivers.  Both of the boards use the same A4988 steppers.  I am stumped as to what caused the loud noises from the stocker board.  The screen on the One+ also has a green back light.

There are a few issues while performing this Skycube Mod.  The first is that the connection for the two pin extruder heater cartridge is upside down from how the original board was.  You can either resolder the connector on the right way, or mod the case. 

Also, the pins for the steppers are reversed, and the end stops aren’t all correct.  Luckily for you, I made a 2nd copy of the firmware specifically for the One+!  This board runs quieter and a little cooler than the original one.  I like the green back light.  You can pick this board up from a multitude of suppliers for under $30, and honestly it’s money well spent.

Past the Essentials

There you have it, my essential list of Skycube Mods.  I plan on trying out some 3D printed bearings and also adding case lights that I can control via Gcode.  There will also be some upgrades in the parts cooling department as well.

So, was it all worth it?  If you did everything I said, you probably have about $220 into your printer.  This is of course if you got it on sale.  I can tell you first hand that the modified Aladdinbox Skycube will print just as nice now as any other printer under $400USD, save for the tiny build platform.  Before I had a noisy printer that had a 50% failure rate because of things getting knocked off my crooked build surface.  Now I’ve been using the printer more than I have some of my other ones!showing the firmware for the skycube mod

If you like this article be sure to check out some of my other work for Inov3D.  Honestly, it’s all good stuff here! 

I am trying to come up with a catchy phrase to end all my articles with.  If you have something PG13, post in the comments and let me know.

If you liked what you read, feel free to send me a donation to help me provide FREE 3d printed prosthetics for kids and adults all over the world!

 

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