Your spacer idea is rather clever!
Thanks so much for this post CWAVE6K. I will be looking to do the exact same upgrade once I return home later this year. In the mean time CWAVE6K would you be interested in sharing where you have sorced your parts from. Bearings, Led screws etc etc. I am in Canada as well on the west coast and sourcing the parts was a concern of mine.
It’s been a while now since the conversion, and thought it’d be time to give a one year (well… not quite) review.
First off, I’ll address a request that I’ve had on my plate for some time. Sorry for the long delay… life intruded…
Here is a summary of the parts I used on this. The most expensive parts are the lead screws, nuts and couplers. Once you have those, the rest is easy.
Leadscrews and Couplers:
Lead Screws - One End Stepped and One End Double Stepped :
Site Address: https://www.misumi-ec.com
Part Number : MTSBRK12-420-F7-R8-T9-Q8-S20-E5-FE0-FW7-FY1
Resin Lead Screw Nuts - Heavy Load Type:
Site Address: https://www.misumi-ec.com
Part Number : MTSRR12
Couplings/Slit Set Screw/Clamping Long/Cost Efficient Product (GSASL16-5-5)
Site Address: https://www.misumi-ec.com
Part Number : GSASL16-5-5
CAP Screws & Heatsets:
Refer to this link to figure out which screws you’re going to need for your conversion. The KitTaz assembly instructions are perfect for this, as you are basically constructing a kit TAZ, utilizing your TAZ3 as a base.
You’ll want the black oxide cap screws if you want them to match the rest of the screws on your TAZ.
The washers used are Stainless Steel, and are quite inexpensive.
The 608 bearings I picked up from United Cycle (a local cycling/skateboard/sporting goods shop). I bought probably mid-quality bearings and utilized them in this build. They’re holding up just fine.
Now the review. There was some question early on in the build as to whether one should use 3D printed parts for the X end plate when constructing the X end idler assembly. Some people were having that piece machined out of aluminum or steel. Lulzbot support in an e-mail I found commented that it would be fine to use the 3D printed version. Given that I don’t have access to a CNC mill, and didn’t want the added expense, I figured I’d give the 3D printed version a try. The X end plate has performed perfectly. There is no flex at all. No issues. I honestly don’t see the point of machining this part out of metal for this application. I mean, if you want a polished aluminum piece to give your printer a bit of “bling factor” then sure. But if you’re looking to do this as cost effective as possible, then print it with 100 percent fill. You won’t regret it as there’s no downside to using a 3D printed part for this application.
I had also ended up using HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) for printing all of the upgrade parts. This seems to have been a good choice of material for this task. There has been no failures at all of any of the parts used for the TAZ 3 to TAZ 5 upgrade. I would absolutely use HIPS again for this task should I ever do another TAZ 3 to TAZ 5 upgrade. Might just use a different color other than black just for fun… but black was probably the right color in the end. Althought I never tried PLA (the other material I print in), it might also be an alright material to utilize. When assembled properly, there shouldn’t be any flex on the parts so the fact that PLA is a bit more brittle shouldn’t have a bearing on use in this application.
I’m pleased to report that the printer has been working flawlessly this past year. It also has not been sitting idle. The printer has been running hard for the past year. I’ve really gotten into 3D design, and have been honing my skills. As such, I’ve been developing all sorts of models leading to products that I’ve been chruning out on this and my other TAZ 5 printer. I can say unequivocally that the converted TAZ3 prints EXACTLY the same as my TAZ5. There is absolutely no difference in the quality of prints coming off either printer.
There is nothing that I would have or could have done differently. This conversion has proven to be one of my great successes.
I have since added two more TAZ 5 printers to the stable. Both of these printers were purchased as damaged as-is for parts off ebay. This I have to say is a really great way to get an inexpensive TAZ 5 printer if you’re willing to put in some time to put it back to rights. Having converted a TAZ 3 to a TAZ 5 gave me the confidence and experience to tackle any problem that one of these printers may have.
Hopefully this thread has given you the confidence to repair/convert or build your own TAZ 5, saving you much hard earned money in the process while at the same time giving you a measure of accomplishment upon completion.
Have fun 3D printing!
I know this is a digitally ancient post, but I thought it would be fun to do a 5+ year review of the TAZ3 to TAZ5 upgrade I did back in 2015. Gosh, it has been a lot of years since I did this, even though it doesn’t feel like it. A lot of changed in my life, but some things have not. This printer for one.
After over 5 and a half years of printing, I’m happy to report that it’s still going strong on the original conversion. Since then, I started a 3D design and printing company and have been running this printer (and five others like it) hard for the past 5 years. And I do mean hard, printing on the printer virtually ever day over this time span.
In terms of maintenance, this printer has needed very little. Same bearings, same motors, same belts, same rambo. I have upgraded the raspberry Pi a couple times over the years to newer faster ones (use Astroprint to drive all my printers). I have also jambed up a couple nozzles so they have been replaced too… I’ve replaced the gears in the tool head a couple times, and upgraded the fan to eliminate heat-creep. But it’s still the same guts in the toolhead.
The printer still has all the same HIPS parts that I printed and installed in the conversion and they’ve held up remarkably well. The prints are still nice and smooth.
I think this speaks volumes to the durability of the TAZ3/4/5 design. I now have 7 of these beasts chugging away every day, and can honestly say I have no intention of moving away from my printers.
I do have a couple TAZ6’s now, and do enjoy the auto levelling it has (when it works). I think they could have come up with a better design than using conduction… but I have my own work-around for that to ensure a perfect level every time.
All in all, I’m thrilled with the performance of the conversion and am happy to be able to post this success at the end of the aging thread.
In the middle of doing the same conversion on an old battered and smashed TAZ3 that I did so many years ago. I’m sure when it’s done, it’ll be as reliable as the first conversion. This new one, I’m going to be running a dual print head for fun.
Thanks for the update and the comprehensive guide!! I’m preparing to do this same upgrade myself - I was wondering how to identify which parts one would need to print for this upgrade. I’m trying to eyeball what you’ve got in the picture and I’ll add to this thread on what I end up printing.
I did a screen print of the parts that I’ve printed to do the upgrade. Don’t know if the image will display. If not, I’ll type them all in manually.
These are the parts that I found on the SD card that came with my original TAZ5 that I purchased from Lulzbot.
Here is a photo of my new basket-case TAZ 3 that I’ve started converting to a TAZ 5.
It was an e-bay purchase from a couple years back. I never got around to working on it. It was “supposed to be” functional when I bought it. The seller put it, fully assembled in a cardboard box without any packaging around it. Well, you can imagine in how many pieces it arrived in! Needless to say, it needed pretty much everything. I find myself with lots of spare time these days, so am digging into it. If there’s interest, I’d be happy to post my progress on this conversion as well.
I for one would love to follow your new conversion & thanks for the screenshot!! For the benefit of others I have converted it to text with OCR. Never know if bitrot will strike and we lose it.
As before, I’m upgrading a TAZ 3 as well - this one is at least a much loved (but not well maintained) makerspace printer - the makerspace decided to go full Prusa for their fleet.
My TAZ 3 largely works but is suffering from very significant sag on the X axis. After replacing the bed with a modular TAZ 5 kit (mostly due to the chunks of glass missing), I’m figuring its the rails that are sagging unless the bearings can cause that. Have you experienced such an issue and did you replace the rails? Presume the below is related…
Thanks for converting it to text.
Sounds good, will be happy to post my progress as I go. I have not experienced any kind of sag on my printers. I have over the years lost level on the print bed, but noted that the linear bearings have been wearing quite a bit. Every year or so, I find I need to re-adjust bed level as a result. The “right” thing to do is to replace the bearings, but I have found that even though they have worn, I still get nice prints. Not to say I won’t replace them, but a bit of wear isn’t the end of the world I’ve found.
I can see that there could be sag as a result of the rods bending, and going with hardened ones or even 12mm rails like in the TAZ6 would be of benefit.
Have you seen the openrail work that’s been done for the X and Y axis? I have been thinking about trying that on one of my printers. But, don’t feel like spending the bux needed for that at this time. When I originally bought the parts to convert my first TAZ3 to a TAZ5, I bought two of everything, so converting this printer I’m working on now, is just a matter of using what’s on hand. So that’s what I’m going to do.
Certainly in your case, if your rails are bent, then replacements will be in order and you’ll have to decide which to go with.
I was going to mention the OpenRails work that @piercet has done as an option I was thinking of, since this is a hobby printer I think it would make more sense to go OpenRails even if its a lot of work. Would love to push this machine to its limits.
Thanks for posting a photo of your modified printer. I really like your openbuilds modified printer. Think I’d like to try that modification!