Brand new at this stuff

Brand spankin new at 3D printers other than have seen one before at work. So I am thinking I want one… I’m not positive why I want one, but I do. I started out looking for a el-cheapo model somewhere around 3 or 4 hundred bucks, whil;e doing searchs for the best rated printers the lulz-bot line kept coming up and I was intrigued, now I want a 2,100 thingy that I am not even sure how to use. And to make things even worse I am pretty sure I want dual extruders and probably want to print with the flexi filament also.

So after a few weeks of reading I have questions if anyone is willing to give some advice I am quite sure most of these questions have been answered before but when I search for them I didn’t find simple direct answers so here goes
A. I see the website has a LulzBot TAZ FlexyDually Tool Head v1 which I assume will extrude any of the filiments…is this correct?
B. I also see there is a v1 and a v2 for the dually heads is the FlexiDually an old version?
C. auto leveling is it worth the money to add on?
D. I also see alot of mods being made to these taz 5’s which ones are good and what order should they be made?
E. Software needed… I see curo, but also alot of talk about slic3r, I do currently have autodesk Inventor as well as access to solidworks
F. when I order in a few days what type of filament should I order to begin with?

Any rough guess as to how much money I will need to invest into this thing to make it REALLY REALLY cool

To be honest I may not need everything, like the flexi stuffs or alot of other add ons, but I am a machinist by trade and expect my equipment to be able to perform to my standards even if I don’t need it at all times

Any encouragement or comments will be appreciated

Dave H.

You might look for a good used or refurbished TAZ Mini, very solid little 3D printer. I would not worry about anything dual until you get a few months under your belt, so to speak.

Solidworks or Inventor for the 3D model STL out into Cura and it does the gcode conversion for you. The TAZ version of Cura is already setup up and makes it simple. Later on you might want to go with something like Simplify 3D but Cura works and its free.

I have never printed with anything other than ABS or PETG as I use my printer to make things I actually use.
Others will have more suggestions. Don’t go cheap, its just better to get something that works.

A. Yes, the flexydually v1 can print all (or most) non-flexible filaments on the back head and can print flexible filament on the front head.
B. Yes, the V1 (flexydually) is the original and the V2 (Dual Extruder tool head) is brand new. Primary difference other than the improved design is that it uses two Hexagon hotends rather than the original Budaschnozzle. The Hexagon’s can print at significantly higher temperatures and subsequently a higher range of filament types.
C. That up to the buyer. If you are very new as you mention you are, then auto-leveling would be very helpful in your initial learning curve and success rate. Prints take a bit more time to start since the auto-level process adds some time to the beginning of a print but that price comes with the advantage of more successful prints.
D. One of the best things about the Taz (in my opinion) is how much you can upgrade and change if you desire. There aren’t really any that you absolutely should do first. It’s all up to what you’d like to do and how interested you are to try different things. If you’re mechanically inclined, many of the changes are quite straight forward.
E. Cura and Slic3er are free and come with the printer. Inventor can render STL files so you can use it for modeling but Cura and Slic3r are used to prepare the 3D model to send to the printer. It generates all of the paths and behaviors of the print head (layer by layer) to print the object.
F. Filament… Now that’s a big question. The easy answer is to order a couple (2-3 colors) of a particular type (HIPS, PLA or ABS). Practice printing some models, observe any differences between the different spools and then begin to buy some different types over time. I would personally recommend PLA or HIPS to start and then move to ABS. PLA specifically has a lower melting temp and is generally considered one of the more forgiving materials. HIPS is very good as well and ABS is great. I print primarily with ABS but having gone through the new-user experience almost a year ago, these are my recommendations. Even if you had hundreds of dollars to spend on filament and went off and immediately bought 5 spools of every type of material you could find, you simply need time to become familiar with the differences of each. And ultimately, all the reading in the world can’t replace getting a spool of a new material and hitting the print button and watching it up close and then touching it with your own hands.

I hope this helps.

PS: If you do get a Taz, I sincerely hope you enjoy it. If you consider yourself marginally impatient or if your adverse to trial and error, I might recommend the Mini. My Bro and best friend both have Minis and they love them. But like me, my brother is now considering upgrading to the Taz 6 as soon as it is released which i’m hoping is very soon. If you hadn’t seen/heard about the Taz 6, it’s the next one coming and it has all of the functionality of the 5 plus more, including bed-leveling and many more…

Good luck.

I’d recommend getting acquainted with the stock machine until you understand how the mods will help. Lulzbot support will also be more accommodating to a stock factory machine.

With that said, I think openbeam gantry (X-Axis) mod from piercet… or the 12mm rods would be the most impactful to the printer. The toolheads (especially dual extruder v2) get heavy and the stock 10mm rods need some help.

An enclosure would be highly recommended. This will keep the print environment consistent.

Once you’re comfortable leveling the bed and able to do that in your sleep, upgrade to a dual extruder to achieve the max capabilities of the machine. The dual extruder can be challenging, but its a great addition.

The flexystruder is really for softer flexible filaments, but can be used for harder filaments like ABS, PLA. It will incur faster wear on the PTFE tube that guides the filament. But the tubing can be replaced and is fairly inexpensive.

The current flexydualie or flexystruder comes with the ceramic hotend which can only heat to ~250C. This can limit the types of filaments printed… polycarbonate comes to mind which need extrusion temps of 300C. With that said, there are mods to the extruder which allows the all-metal hexagon hotend to be fitted (need a firmware flash also)… the hexagon can heat to 300C.

Coming from a machine which auto-leveled, its a great feature. With that said, its not hard to manually level the bed. Dialing in the nozzle height can be a trial and error process involving examination and learning the smoothness of the bottom layer touching the PEI. I’m not a fan of LB’s implementation of auto-level… I think any auto-leveling which requires touching the bed or nozzle is a little flawed, simply because hot filament can ooze and affect the probe surface. I’d recommend the capacitance auto-level probe mod if looking to add auto-level to the TAZ.

Cura is probably the best free software out there for slicing. I struggled through Slic3r on my PSM and jumped to Simplify3D. Well worth the investment for me, but I think Cura can be dialed in to produce equally impressive prints. I take that back… once you’re familiar with the printer and your print environment, you’ll start to realize how speed, extrusion multiplier and object placement can really get good print.

The TAZ is a great machine. I bought it for the larger print bed with hopes that its my last FDM machine. So far the industrial grade considertaions are living up to my expectations.

Thanks guys for the advice, as for getting the mini, great idea, but the print footprint is smaller than most anything I can think of that I need to print… A bezel to mount a touchscreen monitor into my CNC mill, as well as Misc. gun parts to test form,fit and function before actually making them in steel, I do a fair amount of work with Titanium which is not a cheap material to play with just to try out new ideas.

I have been looking and thinking hard about the FlashForge creator pro, which does come with dual extruders, 3 point auto leveling I believe, enclosure, and costs half as much out of the box. Its downfall is a print area that is about half as big at 8.8 X 5.7 X 5.7 or so (me an the metric system don’t get along very well) This is just barely big enough for one of my first projects which is a AR15 lower receiver and a 1911 frame. Which is why I am so interested in the dual extruder as I am quite sure that support material is going to be needed in almost all my ideas.

So in reality how much accuracy can I expect from either a taz5 or any 3D printer for that matter, If I design something in solidworks or inventor and use that model to create a print using something like curo how much accuracy can I expect compared to what I make on a CNC mill using the same model, Yes I realize this is dependent on my abilities but lets assume I am as good as I think I am :slight_smile:

Okay decision is decided I just put in my order for the taz 5. My girlfriend may say size don’t matter (funny she does not act that way during one of her marathon shoe shopping experiences ) but when it comes to print beds I’m sure it does, I drew out both sizes the other night on my desk blotter and every time I started leaning towards the flashforge I just asked myself…are you ever going to be satisfied by that little thingy?

So I ordered a roll of hips and a roll of abs, have decided to wait on dual extruders as suggested (partially because they are unavailable) but while reading though this discussion the last couple days there is alot of mention of .035 nozzles is this something I need to get the best prints I can from this machine?.. yeah I know get to know the machine first… but I do feel that a guy should learn on what he is going to be using, I have found at work it does no good to spend three weeks training a person to run a Mazax Mill only to have him run a Mori seiki Lathe :slight_smile:

Another question, I have a windowless room in my house with my boiler system in… it stays very hot in that room year round…maybe 100- 115 F maybe higher? I do know it has 185 degree water flowing though pipes in that room at all times…open door and start sweating…would this be a good place to install the printer for use and would it substitute an enclosure?

It might be a good room but install a dehumidifier. Many plastics we use in 3D printing absorb moisture like a sponge and water will destroy print quality.

edit: Also the smell can get overwhelming, so you should put in a ventilation system as well. Even if the fumes aren’t toxic they can still be unpleasant, and nanoparticles emitted during printing can be dangerous in a concentrated environment.

You made a wise choice.
I have stopped using ABS and all I use now is PETG from eSun. Moisture does not bother it all and its not as room temperature sensitive. Forget all the posts about modifying your TAZ it works just fine out of the box. I think personally I would have waited for the 6 but it might be a long ways off.
Just wondering IF you can 3D print a lower and have it function correctly? I know you have a mill hopefully with a DRO and can do the holes perfectly. It would be an interesting project.

A smaller nozzle diameter will be better for detail and intricate parts… like figurines. If you’re just trying to print lowers and prototyping in general, the .5mm nozzle is fine. It never hurts to buy spare nozzles… they can be found at makerfarm for hexagon specific nozzles, but the E3D V6 nozzles work also and they come in stainless steel in case you start printing in abrasive materials (for instance CF… but I’d say don’t buy into the hype).

I’d just learn to deal with ABS, its an durable, industrial grade thermoplastic… they make dashboards out of the material.

I second the suggestion of going to PETG. I’ve switched to it versus ABS for most items I print. There are exceptions, but 95% of what I print now is PETG.

I find that for small items (say 1.5 inches in diameter or so) I can print with PETG on a room-temperature print bed. No time needed to heat/cool the bed, so it’s quick.

Bigger parts will need the bed to be heated, but if I go over 35 deg. C bed temp, I always use a very thin layer of glue on the bed. Just enough to leave a light haze on the surface. It’s there to keep the PETG from sticking too strongly to the PEI bed, and it really is needed. Search the forums for the instructions for using PETG on PEI.

The glue I use is highly-thinned Elmer’s Washable School Glue, but there are lots of others out there.

Warping is much less of a problem with PETG, compared to ABS. With the size of parts you’re working with, I’d sure suggest trying PETG. It wouldn’t hurt to start out with ABS, it’s a very forgiving material to learn to print with. But the warping issues are likely to pretty quickly drive you to using PETG.

And PETG is stronger, more durable than ABS. That’s about all I have in my inventory, might have 1 or 2 rolls of ABS.
MikeO thanks for the tip on Elmer’s School glue for the bed.

Not according to this sledgehammer comparison

I read another comparison that did not use a sledgehammer but “real world” testing. I believe it used printing replacement parts for 3D printers and usage life, a more plausible use than standing up to a sledgehammer!

I tried a roll to print some printer parts and found it too brittle just like the hammer test. :frowning:

Link or it doesn’t exist… just kidding. :slight_smile:

Yeah… the sledgehammer can be swung at various speeds. So a more quantitative stress test would be more credible. Though I still think ABS is more durable than PETG. Maybe PETG is more modern (I’ll caveat that I haven’t done much research on the material), but when I pull the dash panelof the car its clearly labeled “ABS”.

Regardless, PETG is definitely an easier material to print with than ABS… and its food safe when printed with a SS nozzle.

I am sure injection molded ABS is great stuff, but we are talking about 3D printing here. PETG is much easier to print, less splitting and warping and regardless of what has been posted here more flexible and stronger than ABS. PETG does not require a enclosure or warm room for printing nor does it need to be kept away from moisture. I just leave a roll hanging on my printer in case I need something printed ASAP.
If you need something to hammer on, keep using ABS in the mean time everyone else is going to PETG.

What would be the recommended material if I’m more concerned with wear, rather than impact? For example when printing replacement herringbone gears for the extruder.

ABS is easy to print with. You just need to get your settings right and have an enclosure. I don’t print anything in PLA. I have a spool of PETG but haven’t tried it yet.

ABS: No Fan, 100c on the build plate, enclosure, and extruder temps between 240 and 250c. That’s all there is to it. Because you don’t use a fan you need to be more diligent with small features and or small parts. The easiest way to fix problems like that is to print more than one part. Also you should disable island optimization. Also same with overhangs. With those you want lots of time between layers to let the previous cool. Some do use the fan in these situations, just have to be careful not to over do it.

Yeah… so that’s the difference here. The decision of which material to print is dependent on the final use of the print. If the final purpose is to sit on my shelf as a display piece, then sure PETG, PLA and ABS are all in play… but PETG and PLA could be a better fit for the color and effect. If its something I’m putting on a RC model and expect it to be functional and require durability from crashing and wear/tear, its going to be ABS. Not to say that PETG isn’t formidable when it comes to durability, I just don’t want people coming back to me saying, it broke and why I printed it in PETG (or talked them into the material) vs the more common ABS.

From a maintenance perspective, I know ABS dissolves in Acetone and uncloggng nozzles or clean up is fairly straight forward. There are solvents for PLA and I think PETG, but they’re less common and more detrimental to health than acetone…

In the end, I’ve spent the last two years fighting it out with ABS. PETG is still fairly new, maybe it will become the dominant printed material.

Well here is a print I am doing in PETG, its set open on that reel for maybe 6 weeks and I am printing a license plate holder for another trailer. Since it gets flexed and hit a lot, :slight_smile: when backing up the ABS one did not last long. This is for my jet ski boat trailer the other one was for the gokart hauler trailer.

The machine has been leveled once since August and I am ashamed to admit I just used it out of the box and its never been calibrated.
Nozzle .35, 245/75 settings for eSun. The OEM printhead holder out of ABS had a hairline crack, I printed this one from PETG. One clogged nozzle since August. Biggest issue is keeping the Cat from walking across the printer when its running!