I got question, there is a lot of them!

Hey all I was not for sure whee to post this so here it is!

I am new to 3D printing but I do a lot of prop making, prototyping, tinkering, build projects ( metal, wood, plastic, you name it) and about every thing else. I am a jack of all trades but I find my self asking questions all the time. If your not learning something your not doing something.

SO! Here is my situation and questions.

I am looking to get a loan (yes a loan) to buy a 3D printer and supplies and to dive head first in to printing for others and myself because I have a many goals and many projects that I am aiming for. Because I know 3D printing would make many of my processes go faster. I have also looked in to quite a few printers and the print size of the lulzbot Taz 5 comes close but I still need bigger and its open source which is a big advantage. I love me open source. SO!

Q…Lulzbot Taz 5 If I buy this within a few months will there be something bigger or better???

Is the Dual Extruder worth it???

What is the best material to print with when selling right off the print bed. Meaning if I print a custom figure or a replacement plastic part or a custom fixture, ect. ???

Can I expand the LulzBot Taz 5 printing bed area???

Will the NinjaFlex be a good material to print drive belts and other functioning parts like that???

I heard the Taz 5 can print very fine after tuning what can be the finest that it can conceptually print (mm or inches are fine)???

I like the tie die nylon filament look how harsh is that on the standard provided nozzles???

What supplies will be needed for starting out (Generally speaking) ???

What parts goes out or need to be replaced often to keep on hand???

Filament how much should I start with???

Any one know any medium to large scale 3D scanners they could recommend???

What tools if any would I need that may not be provided that comes in handy or is crucial???

I have a few threaded designs that does not need high tolerance but pretty close will this be a problem to print???

I have a great sander/grinder I made what are good sanding grits to have on hand???

Once I get in to this process I know I’ll have many more questions so I hope no one will be heavily aggravated with me or my questions. I will search your posts to see if the answers will be there before I ask but for now I hope I can rely on the community too.

Thanks and Happy 3D printing.

Clayton Sampel

I’ll take a stab at some answers… I’ll start off by saying that there’s a lot of experimenting that you’ll need to do on your own with the printer.

There’s a great user on youtube that is doing some awesome things with 3D printing bits and pieces for costumes. The following is an alien hand which uses ABS, Ninjaflex and acetone welding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd4KW0MpwLs&list=PLpwJoq86vov-U0lQYB6evHsyzOBR3aJ0d&index=2

He uses a TAZ with a dual extruder, so that should help you understand the capabilities and limitations of material and dual extrusion. A dual extruder setup, allows multi-color and multi-material prints… the most flexible options if you ask me.

As for the size of the printer… there will always be something bigger and better. Here’s a video of a “walk-in” 3D printer used to print car parts (see 1:01 for the printer): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUSg92lbgwA
The TAZ has one of the largest print volumes out there. And the good thing is once you understand the mechanics of the printer, the same principles can be applied to build a larger machine… with the properly sized parts and pieces for rigidity.

You’ll be happy with the mm precision. More importantly, the resolution and quality of prints are awesome. I print figurines and toys for my nephew at a layer height of .15 and they turn out very nice… almost store bought quality. Needless to say specific tolerances should be easily achieved.

As for supplies, the TAZ 5 comes with a nice toolbag full of nice tools … enough to get you going. And if you’re a tinkerer, you’ll have enough other tools in the shop. A pair of long curved forceps are nice to have and I’d add a dial guage to help with leveling.

Spools of filament… Start with your basic colors (black, white, grey/blue or red). You can find eSUN ABS filament online for $22 a roll… ABS does a little better overally, but may be finicky. PLA is good, sturdy and light, but can melt if left in the hot sun (like on the car seat). Nylon is definitely a bit more advanced. I’ve had the TAZ for about a month, and I’ve probably gone through 2 spools. So I would say that’s a good start point.

Lastly, if you need a loan to get into this, it would be a bad start. You’ll just end up sinking more and more money into the hobby…


Thanks for the reply! I was not for sure if anyone would. (LOL) I have been lurking in YouTube and watching videos for future reference, ideals and tricks. I think I saw the one your talking about and I think he is the one that did the printed R2 frame. Which is one of my goals is to build an R2 with printed parts. But I will go back and watch them all again.

As for tools yes I got a lot but never thought about getting forceps I will be getting some just because you said something. I have a set of Dial gauge’s they come in handy when I machine things.

The ideal with the basic filament’s sound nice like I mentioned before I want to get this to print a real nice fine quality in many materials so I am all for the tinkering part and I have patients to fine tune each material before I go hard core on printing. Also I will check out eSUN ABS thanks for the go to.

As for the loan my goal is only for the printers so not to much of a bite in cash there I am also debt free and only have my month to month bills so the loan will not be a bad thing for me.

Thanks again for the info and I will be checking out everything you mentioned and if I have more questions I will be asking.


PS…((Also I just want to add the print bed size I am looking for to make is 30x30x30 it is big but it is not enormous and I think it is doable.))

Yep… Its all out there.

Here’s a 30x30x30 printer.

Ya I saw them before the 16 thousand dollar price tag is way to high. Rather spend $4,500 on two Lulzbot Taz 5, mod one and keep the other just as is. I want to get familiar with the machine before I go and buy one to mod but hopefully by then I am making some profit with the one that I get. Easier to spend 2 grand than 4 grand and understand what I am dealing with. Plus this might be a new Lulzbot thing 30x30x30 plans or a fully functional machine for the community. Never know???

Yep… If you want one just to play with and familiarize yourself, there area a lot of sub $500 Chinese knock-offs that are built on the same general idea. This could be good and bad… cheap and expendable. Good experience with troubleshooting. Print quality may not be that great (unless you spend some time strengthening the frames).

Getting to 30x30x30 with the TAZ would probably require some beefed up components. Specifically sag on the X-axis rods with dual extruders. Maybe the Y-axis rods and stepper due to the larger alu print bed. The general concept would stay the same though.

You asked about 3D scanning. The larger 3D scanning machines I’ve come across are usually homegrown. But the concept is pretty simple: Scanner at fixed distance to object. Either the camera or object needs to rotate. Here are some leads:


This is funny as heck I think I am right behind you in watching these vids. I just watch that 3D scanner one with heck. I don’t think that scanner is high enough on the detail scale. But I did like the like you sent me. I have some sculptures I have done and would love to 3D print them. But $20,000 for an Artec Eva 3D scanner WOW!!! At least the Sense is $400. Little expensive for my need at this point in time.

I looked at the Chinese stuff no support. If I got questions I would like to know that people have been perfecting the unit or at least improving on the ideal and right now the Taz 5 is looking like the best choice. Need the community man I’ll have questions this noob will need help.

But ya on the 30x30x30 a friend and I have worked the weight and movement with a 12 to 12.7mm dia. harden linear shafts should do the trick this may be an over kill but we wont know until we get our hands on one. All linear shafts would be the same and the nema 17 stepper motor should have no problem moving the weight.that is only 6 of them but carriage needs to be wider and to carry the weight of the glass bed with heating source 19mm dia. the nema stepper motors might not work??? But we wont know.

So until then I am buying my time and waiting for the right amount of interest to kick in and pay off my last few loan payments then another loan.

Could look at using C-Beams. Or search makerslide.

Might need nema 23 steppers to move more mass.

All the scans I’ve seen have been pretty bad… Maybe a system with lasers. See ciclops for an adaptable open source scanner.

C beams would twist I have seen these before. Makerslide I think would wear really fast. I have a steel place close buy that I can get about anything.

Nema 34 is the higher torque of the ones I know Maximum Radial Load for a low end 34 is (lb [kg]) 39.0 [17.7]
Maximum Thrust Load (lb [kg]) 25.0 [11.3] Maximum Holding Torque (lb [oz]) 27.12 [434] This is the lower end one, but there is 3 others that are a step up. They are Maximum Holding Torque are (lb [oz]) 27.12, 50.00, 80.50 [434, 800, 1288]

I was a graphic designer so I got to see some hefty plotters out there and custom made ones too. There stepper motors where amazing. Not just that but I ran quite a few printing presses and they are nothing like 3D printers but they where built like tanks. A good and sturdy platform for continuous usage with little keep is the goal.

As for 3D scanners I may be looking in to a homegrown one myself I need to learn more about them.

Here is the link to the nema motors where I got my info if your interested. My friend sent it to me but there are other places to get stepper motors too. http://www.automationdirect.com/static/specs/surestepmotors.pdf

The 34s might be overkill… They are almost twice the size of the nema 17. But you will most likely need a 23 or 34 to move the bed. And possibly for the Z also yo move the beefier extrusion.

Oh well… Keep reading and researching.

Hey Easter weekend not a lot of time to do more research. But I was looking in to the weight of the bead for the glass and heater and a high end nema 23 or low end 34 should work. Other than that I would like to pass a question by you. I was looking in to the lulzbot tool heads and was wondering if anyone ever removed the extruder drive from the tool head to lighten it up and if this would make a more efficient tool head? Not just that but the linear bars for an upgrade to 30x30x30 would not have to be much larger to support the weight of the full extruder/tool head. Just a thought I was having. Hit me back if you know any pro’s or con’s about this.

Its possible to use direct drive or bowden… The mount may need to be redesigned to keep the toolhead centered. At least those are things that I was considering. Definitely would be a lighter toolhead especially for dual extrusion.

I am not for sure what bowden is?

Since the horizontal bars are all ready there the tool head after a small redesign should be centered about the same. There maybe no to very little redesign too. My overall push would be to have all of the filaments in a central location with each one on a separate extruder drive going to the printer and when printing you just select the color and go from there. In all this would be a multicolor extruder system.

I also want to try and build a filament joiner so that it is seamless printing.

Ya i got big ideals and I don’t even have a printer yet. LOL!

I’ll poke my head in here and try and answer some of these.

I have a TAZ 4 that I have been upgrading and mad science-ing on for about a year now. From what I can tell, the TAZ 2-5 are relatively similar to each other - essentially evolutionary changes, not revolutionary. Upgrading a TAZ3 to a TAZ5 spec isn’t that difficult. Elsewhere on the forum, there’s a thread about Kauri, which is the next generation TAZ - it seems to be quite different in terms of structure, but I’m also quite happy with my TAZ 4, I don’t think you would be upset with a TAZ5.

This one is a bit weird for me to answer - I previously had a Lulz-style Dually mounted on my printer, and recently switched it out for a thing-of-my-own-design. The Lulz Dually, to me at least, caused me a lot more headaches than it should have. Leveling the nozzles is annoying, but more importantly it’s just REALLY heavy. There’s a good deal of flex in it - and paired with the stock smooth rods that hold it, there’s a good deal of wobble. I replaced all my smooth rods with hardened ones, and all the pillow bushings/bearings with ball bearings – MUCH more rigid now. My new extruder works with the E3D Chimera (a dual-nozzle single-heatsink jobby) and a DGlass 3D HPX2-MAX extruder. The HPX2Max is nice because it uses only a single, small stepper motor - along with a servo - to drive two filaments. It’s rigid, the nozzles are ALWAYS levelled because they fit in the same heatsink, etc.

All that said, get a dual extruder. Maybe not IMMEDIATELY - get used to printing with a single extruder first - but dissolvable support is heavenly.

PLA tends to be easier - except for one major thing, which is heat creep. In all-metal hotends, for some reason, PLA tends to jam. There’s a couple fixes I’ve heard, namely ‘seasoning’ the hotend by coating a small amount of filament in oil. The other is to use thermal paste on the heatbreak and nozzle threads when assembling, but I haven’t tried this.

ABS is great, but does require a bit more effort at first - I personally use a very thick ABS/Acetone slurry, atop PET tape. PLA can be printed on the bare glass bed, or use a gluestick to put a thin coating on the glass. I actually usually use a mixture of wood glue (PVA) and water to coat my bed for PLA.

The TAZ 5 has a PEI build surface, which I haven’t used but is apparently great for a lot of materials.

Yes. It won’t be EASY, but I don’t see why you couldn’t. You’d need wider aluminum extrusions, wide smooth rods, different belts, lots of stuff.

I’ve printed at .06mm layer height on my TAZ4, using an E3D all-metal hotend. Takes forever but man does it look good.

I don’t think nylon is particularly harsh on the nozzle - something like the Carbon Fiber infused PLA filament will destroy a brass nozzle VERY quickly, however. The biggest problem i’ve had with nylon is adhesion - to both itself and the bed.

Assuming they’re for sale, I would suggest getting another PEI surface. I actually have two print beds now - one I use for ABS, one for PLA/soft filaments. For the glass and the heater I think it’s about $90 total.

You’ll also want some acetone, and a few acetone safe bottles. I now have a supply of zip ties, a lot of various M bolts, springs, connectors, etc - because I am apparently addicted to modding my printer.

Firs thing I would do after getting used to printing, is print some more extruder gears (they should be on the SD card that came with the printer) - I’ve had a few of these fail, or nearly fail on me, and it’s a pain to be out of commision while you try and source more. I’d also suggest, if you’re going to be modding the printer, to buy a bunch of the Littelfuse fuses (I don’t have the model number off-hand, sorry). I’ve ‘killed’ my printer by accidentally shorting a fan connection briefly - I just blew the fuse, but with no extras on hand the printer was dead until I got more.

Other than that, nothing has ever broken on my printer.

Where I live, Matterhackers is about an hour and a half car ride away from me - so I get most of my filament from them, because it’s free shipping and it gets here the next day. I would say get a roll of PLA, and a roll of ABS, to start. Once you’re more accustomed to printing you can get more colors or find more interesting materials.

Digital calipers. I have two and I need more - I want one in every corner of my apartment. Needle nose pliers, wire cutters.

The TAZ’s come with a ‘direct drive’ (ish) extruder - essentially the filament leaves the gears/motor section and goes directly into the hotend, and that’s it. A Bowden system has the extruder (the gears and motors) mounted on the frame of the printer, with a PTFE tube leading from there to the hotend/nozzle. The benefit of a bowden is that the X-carriage is much lighter - it doesn’t have to pull a heavy motor around. The downside is that soft filaments (like Ninjaflex) essentially can’t work in them, they’ll kink up. You get a lot more oozing of filament with a bowden, so you need a much higher retraction to prevent it. I ran my Chimera extruder as a bowden briefly while I waited for the HPX extruder to arrive - I did actually manage to get it printing Soft PLA, which was surprising, but overall bowden felt like more trouble than it was worth. I also found myself wasting a lot more filament, because the stuff left between the extruder and the hotend was a bit chewed up from the extruder.


A lot more information and just as much searching and looking up.

Thank for the info on the dual extruder. I still would buy one at the beginning but work up to actual use of one. Maybe a dedicated printer just for that.

The lulz juice I have made already just to get an idea of the use for it. I have a friend that has filament that he never used because he has no 3d printer. ??? Ya weird but hey it was free. LOL

I like that you got a .06mm layer height. This is a great goal to go for. Time will only matter if I was to need this right away or printing for someone else. I will be looking in to the hot ends too.

The nylon I was just not for sure but still good information thank you!

I have been looking for different printing surface just because I want to try for the 30x30x30. I have found a few that other blogs have mentioned but ill run through that information when i am about to buy one through this community first. (Always best to start off at the beginning)

You mentioned the extruder gears to print them when I get a printer. What are they made of and what would be a good material to print them from??

I need to try and find a local place or something not to far away that sales Filament. I live in Kansas so this might be a stretch.(LOL)

Tools I have most of what I have seen online in videos and mentioned from this site and others. I also have been buying others. The digital calipers I have a few I do basic machining and dial gauges, calipers, and feeler gauges are a basic need.

So the bowden system I have been looking in to and nice to know about the heat creep. I have been looking in to a cooling system and maybe a locking mechanism so the filament would not have constant pressure and would not kink. I have been looking in to the smallest electric torque stepper motor motor that I can fine to maybe still have the direct drive buy a much more substantial weight reduction.

I am now looking in to buying 2 printers this is a higher cost than what I wanted but i want to learn from one while upgrading the other. I hope I can actually do this though. Little more money so a little more wait. I need to find a local person that has a taz and chat them up with questions.

Thank you mushoo for the information I will be keeping all of this in mind.