Considering a TAZ 5

After about a year of printing on my Printrbot, I’ve started to feel the “urge” to upgrade to something faster/larger, with better support for different materials. That, and my Printrbot has been down for 3+ weeks and I haven’t been able to get it fixed - and received very little useful support from Printrbot’s “support” team.

I’ve been largely comparing the Taz 5 and the MakerGear M2, and heavily leaning towards the Taz 5. I’ve been doing a lot of research, but I still have a few questions.

First, I’m curious about things like print speed. Since I don’t really have a basis of comparison (altho the printrbot seems awfully slow), about how quickly can a Taz 5 print something like this, at a layer height of about .2mm or so?

And I guess a secondary question related to speed is - how “typical” is that kind (.2mm) of layer height? That’s usually about where I print to get the best time/speed ratio. I can do down to .1mm, but it takes a REALLY long time, and I also have to significantly slow down the print speed.

Second, in the 3D hubs review of the Taz 4, they make a comment about small intricate objects not printing very well. That seems like a rather vague statement, and I was wondering what the typical community experience is with this? Also, is this something that’s been improved in the Taz 5 over the 4? From what I’ve been able to tell, the 5’s only key difference is the hot end

Third, how difficult is it to keep the print surface level? I’m so accustomed to having an auto-leveling probe that it concerns me that I would have to re-level the bed frequently.

Finally, how well do the Taz series printers (and I realize the 5 has only been out for a few months) stand up over time? Do they break down frequently, or are they (general maintenance aside) relatively trouble free? I don’t mind tinkering, adjusting, and making updates to my printer (I’ve done a lot of that), but I don’t want to get into another printer that I end up spending days and days trying to debug without making any progress.

Thanks everyone!

I owned since May of this year a Mini and in fact I still have and plan on selling. I picked up a used 2 month old TAZ 5 from a user here at a good price.

Design and quality wise the Mini is a hands down winner. Leveling the 5 is a pain in the rear, but again it was not rocket science. I miss the self leveling feature… a lot. But once its up and running even with a .35 nozzle (.5 is standard) it seems fine. I see a lot of printed parts being used, but you can’t argue with success. I have never seen a MakerGear M2 in person so I can not give any input on construction or design. It does have a Lot of Positive reviews. The draw back for me on the M2 is the plain glass heated bed, and the 1.75 filament, and lack of LCD control panel and it uses non standard parts. The T5 uses parts and nozzles you can buy anywhere. The T5 also has a much larger build area and can print from a SD card.

I came from a Printrbot Simple Metal. Similarly, I wanted a bigger print bed and wanted something “industrial” to be my last FDM printer.

The TAZ 5 won’t disappoint. The 2020 extrusion construction is sturdy. The connecters into the control box are solid. My machine has had a few clogs, but its been reliable and easy to maintain

The induction autolevel was missed at first. And th bed leveling was daunting and there was a short learning curve. The key is to use dial gauges for quantitative feedback and the Z-Offset G-code parameter (which is similar to the M212 Z##) in slicing software. easy enough when using dial gauges for quantitative feedback. Once the bed is level, you shouldn’t have to touch it for a while… The key is model removal and a good nozzle to bed distance (hence the software Z-Offset).

3D printing is slow period. Larger bed usually equlas larger objects equals long print times. The TAZ can print fast, I regularly print at 90mm/s at .3 layer height. As long as the outermost perimeter is set to a 30-40mm/s speed the finished results are good.

A layer height of .2 with the stock .35 nozzle is pretty common. I personally like the .4 and .5 with a layer height of .2-.3 for the majority of my parta… The .35 goes on for delicate / intricate prints… for best results printed at 60-80mm/s again with the perimeter at 30mm/s.

The common obstacle with both printers is the lack of enclosure. The PEI print surface works really well with ABS and PLA. The 24V heated bed and hotend make a huge difference (~7-8min preheat vs. 10+ on the PSM’s 12V). The 24V heated bed is much superior to the PSM’s 12V variety.

I really liked PB’s compact direct drive extruder, but the Wades seems bulletproof. The ability to quickly swap out toolheads is nice. I hope to have a variety of toolheads dedicated to each type of material, and possibly other toolheads with varying nozzles. The other nice thing about the Wades extruder is printing replacement parts if they break. Which leads me to LBs open-source philosophy, similar to PBs.

You’ll have no issues with intricate and/or delicate models… just slow the machine down as necessary, and dial in your slicing software ( I use S3D on both machines for great results).

Overall, I’ve been really happy with the TAZ. Incorporating technologies from both companies could result in a killer pinter… dual compact direct drive toolheads, capacitance autolevel probe, sturdy frame, large form factor bed, PEI, 24V, quick change toolheads… Rumba/Smoothie controller capable of controlling 3 hotends.

Heck I forgot about the dial indicator suggestion for leveling. I was messing with the cardboard/paper method. Dial indicators good enough for what we are doing can be purchased at Harbor Freight as >

I designed and printed a holder for one to use on my lathe tool post, I will do the same for the T5.

The other minor annoyance is that they use dual steppers for driving the Z axis up and down and they can get out of sync. Perhaps it happened in shipping for mine. But a measurement to the aluminum plate under the heated glass plate to a rail above and then turning the thread rod on one side or the other makes it right.

Otherwise I have a learning curve on my new machine to master, and the poor Mini is over in the corner feeling lonely and it needs a new home.

Some very good information from everyone. Thanks so much for the input!

I would have never thought of the dial-indicator leveling. So it sounds like it’s possible just to print a fixture that can be hung on the extruder head to hold the dial indicator during leveling? Very interesting concept - and a lot more appealing (and precise) than the idea of using a little piece of paper.

Again, just wanted to say thanks for the input…now I just have to convince myself to make the (mostly financial) decision to jump into one.

Bed leveling and nozzle height are two different things.

The dial gauge measures each corner and ensures they are level in relation to the toolhead. Thingiverse has a few dial guage holders for the Taz. I like the version which holds the dial gauge to the side of the toolhead… snaps on and off. Many prefer holders that are carried in the toolhead mount… but obviously the extruder needs to be removed from the carriage.

Once the bed is level, on to adjusting the nozzle height which requires a metal feeler or cardstock (business card). Essentially turn a knob which serves as the endstop for the Z-axis. Adjust knob until the nozzle just touches the metal feeler or when the business card can pass through with a little friction.

Again, these aren’t things done every time you need to print… usually just when things are off or go wrong. :wink:

Interesting - so adjusting the z-offset isn’t a software function? It’s a manual adjustment? I’m so used to adjusting the Z-height using M212 commands…

Well… on the machine itself its a single mechanical endstop with a screw type adjustment (z-endstop knob)… which replaces the PB induction sensor for autoprobing. Once you get the nozzle height initially set through the feeler or business card, the nozzle height can be further adjusted through the slicing software. In S3D its called the Z-Offset G-code. I think there’s something similar in Cura and Slic3r.

I was actually trying to find this thread to mention that you might be on to something there using the dial gauge to set the nozzle height too.

After getting the nozzle height with the feeler and through prints:

  • Attach the dial gauge
  • Raise Z so that the dial guage isn’t touching the bed
  • Home the Z
  • Take a reading.

That’s the golden measurement, essentially the height of the gantry (x-cross bars) to the bed.

I’ll have to try that out soon…

Excellent post on the dial indicator holder and it fits the one I have. Downloaded and will print it out today.

I’ve had my Taz 5 since they launched. After some initial issues with the power supply failing, and the PEI delaminating from the glass (both which were covered under warranty), the printer has been killer. I have upgraded the X and Y axes to linear rods and bearings, and added the reinforced extruder mount and am getting amazing prints.

As for small parts…

That is 1,620 1x2mm sections printing in ABS, Flawlessly.