Hex hotend review, **** out of 5 stars

Hi everyone, long time no see, of course I’ve been busy with my TAZ 4 for a year and a half and it’s been an adventure. I burnt-through my E3Dv6, and finally my Buddaschnozzle died a few weeks back. But those are the things that led me to my new favorite hot-end, the HEX extruder. After a 47 hour print with no problems, I ended up with a smug look on my face and a cool model too.

A few things to note: I swapped out my printer bed for a non-glass bed, I’m currently employing a 3003H14 aluminum .125" plate which seems more than flat enough to print on, and strong enough to pry large models off the bed without messing it up. It appears light enough to prevent over-motions by the kinetic forces of printing as well. For machine longevity I did slow my non-print movement speed down to 100mm/s to prevent what I saw as chassis wobble where the print chassis slightly angled and the printer head ran into the models just slightly, at 100mm/s it does not do that. I think it may be the polymer bearings, would have been nice to have real ball bearing sleeves instead of polymer guides. Maybe the Taz 6 should do this. They could turn up the speeds even more. While waiting a long time for bigger models to print, it makes me wish this thing was a bit faster, but it is fast enough for it’s level of accuracy. For now.

I designed a new hot end holder for the Hex head, since the little plate that came with the insufficient hex kit I bought from lulzbot didn’t fit or work with my Taz 4 extruder holder chassis. I would have paid more to have the newer chassis, and the fan BTW…

A fan and mounting screws didn’t come with the Hex head either- although it is required to use some sort of direct, forced cooling or you get melt-jams while printing. I used my old E3Dv6 fan as I had one laying around and it works pretty good to stop the heat creep up the extruder barrel, and since this little fan needs to be on all the time a 120vac to 12vdc power supply with quick connect wiring should also be included for those TAZ units that do not have 12VDC bus available for accessories.

The new version of Cura (ver 18) is excellent and you should re-flash your Taz 4 with the included software there are no apparent issues with this particular build while v17 has some.

The base settings are ok, but you should tweek these down a bit to get better adhesion, layer and bed. I suggest between 50-60 mm/s @ 197c for PLA from Makergeeks.

Interestingly, I removed the directed fan shroud and have my cooling fan just kinda screwed in at an angle which is more of an area-effect hot end cooler instead of a directed on the tip cooler. I also installed a cross-fan that lightly blows over the entire build plate and this improved my infill considerably.

I had to remove the little TAZ plate logo due to back of hand injuries when clearing filament jams, I suggest moving that plate out of the working area, because when the filament lets go out of a jammed hot-end, it does so under pressure, and the little sharp plate right above this area is very annoying.

All in all, a great head for a good price, I would like to note that I think that Lulzbot should make a “Kit” that includes everything needed to deploy the Hex head if used on any applicable TAZ model not just the head and good intentions…