Lulzbot Support is Horrible

Tell you what, I have never run across a worse company in terms of support than Lulzbot. If YOU are considering buying any product from Lulzbot, I would suggest you read through this first:

I purchased back on March 15, 2019 a top of the line combination package for the Lulzbot Taz 6 + HS 0.8mm + SL 0.25mm tool heads and heated enclosure, and still to this day I have yet to use either of the additional tool heads.

For starters, I just dropped close to $5K for a turn key printer that is supposed to print out of the box without a bunch of assembly and configuration. Nonsense, how about you spend 4 hours assembling about 400 pieces of cheap acrylic into the heated build chamber, and with everything affixed together with about 200 M4 nuts. Miserable.

Turn on the printer, the display is defective. No possible way they tested this setup unless they managed to somehow not look at the display when printing the test octopus. Support ticket, I need to send them back the LCD for evaluation, they will ship a replacement. I am super not happy, why am I being penalized for your faulty printer that was not tested prior to shipping? They then agree to ship me a replacement LCD, which after removal of 14 bolts I then have to remove the original LCD then re-install the replacement. Replacement has a stuck button defect, but I’m not about to pull everything apart again and go through the hassle of another RMA.

Using the default print head, good results on the first set of prints although everything in Cura is not dimensionally accurate for some reason; prints are about 10% off but I don’t have time to troubleshoot any of it.

Install the SL 0.25mm head, flash firmware, no go. Contact support again, they say it’s a Z-offset issue. I say how in the world can there be a Z-offset issue when I purchased a printer with autoleveling bed which is supposed to dynamically calculate the Z-offset with each print? Tech sends me instructions, none of them are applicable to the Taz 6, none of the options he is telling me to pull exist in the LCD menu.

Swap out the SL 0.25mm head for the HS 0.8mm head. The default piece of green PetG filament is in the extruder, but won’t extrude or retract. I let it heat for 10 minutes per support and then use needle nose pliers to try to pull the filament after loosening the bolt, no way this is coming out and it’s somehow completely fused inside the extruder. Tech sends me troubleshooting instructions for the default tool head, inapplicable to the HS 0.8mm head which has no way of servicing it that I can tell.

Oh and let me tell you about Lulzbot documentation, it’s a real jewel. Half of everything is based on Pronterface it seems, or they just leave old articles online and don’t differentiate between different makes and model printers I guess?

So this is where everything is at now. I get the email from tech support that I must send them PDFs of my proof of purchase receipts - from them (I bought the printer online directly from Lulzbot but they don’t have my purchase order history accessible?).

And then, they will grant warranty service. So for a $5K printer that has never worked out of the box properly and with two super expensive additional extruders that have never once worked or been used, I have to box everything up and ship it to Canada or wherever at my own expense, at which point Lulzbot will have their techs evaluate everything and determine if they can be repaired.

Ridiculous and absurd, a miserable company to work with and terrible support. I could have built two Prusa i3s by now and spent less than half the money.

BUYER BEWARE

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Sorry for your bad experience. I have had just the opposite action with Lulzbot Support. I was having a severe layer shift in the Y axis. It took some back and forth time with support to fully diagnose the issue but they were patient with me and ultimately got to the root of the problem and now I’m back up and squirting plastic. I felt their support did a great job in my case.

For the dimensional accuracy change the steps per mm for x and y on the screen under advanced menu. Its currently set to 100.5 when it should be 100. Unless printing abs, them keep it at 100.5

Also support likely doesn’t have access to your purchase record. But if you were reasonable and let them know you purchased it from Lulzbot, they likely have someone internal they can contact to confirm.

Posting this same thing in multiple threads also makes it look like your a hassle customer and will look for anything to complain about.

I absolutely agree…Lulzbot support SUCKS! Inova-1800 IS difficult to print…I’ve been having issues for 3 months with it. LULZBOT answer…thru threw up their hands and made absolutely no effort to find a solution. I’m not talking out of my ass…I was a Technical Support Manager for a company that manufactured electro-pneumatic equipment. I NEVER left a customer hanging when they had an issue. This event has soured me toward Lulzbot and believe when I say that I’ll never buy another of their products.

If you’re having difficulty with INOVA-1800 … I completely understand. But that’s not really the printer.

Have reasonable expectations. No printer just prints “out of the box” with any filament. There is a learning curve … for 3D printing in general. I had a friend who really wanted one … until he saw what I do when printing and realized it wasn’t like using the inkjet printer on his PC (he thought he could just send a print … and get a part a few minutes later). He NOW knows the reality is that you have to think about slicer settings, filament properties, when and how to use support material, etc. etc. and he wasn’t interested in any of that.

For me… I enjoy that. You are heating a hard material into a goo-like state and then trying to control it to enough precision to make parts or models. Just keep in mind that in a goo-like state… filaments have a bit of a delayed reaction to every mechanical thing you do to them.

INOVA-1800 is very difficult to print. I tried it … and tried it … and tried different spools and different colors and different temperatures and different fan settings and while I managed to get it printing much “better” … it was never “great”. I have a much easier time with filaments that are supposed to be more difficult (NinjaFlex 85A TPU, for example, is a breeze).

INOVA-1800 is based on Eastman Amphora 1800. It is that it was pricey because once upon a time it had a unique market niche. It is a non-toxic food-safe filament that can safely be printed indoors without ventilation and doesn’t require a build-chamber, etc. etc. it isn’t brittle like PLA and it has properties somewhat similar to ABS except without the problems that come with ABS. So Eastman charged a bit of a premium.

Fast forward to today, and there are loads of filaments that do everything INOVA-1800 does and more … aren’t nearly as pricey, are much easier to print, etc. etc. PETG has pretty much replaced the need for anything like Amphora 1800.

PETG is much easier to print … slightly more nuanced than PLA… for example it wants very low fan speed (perhaps 5-15% … or none at all) and it likes to stick to everything (so adjust the Z-offset so it doesn’t squish so much) … but apart from that, it’s much easier.

Another tip: Cura LulzBot Edition has quite a few filament profiles pre-installed but… these are grouped by difficulty level. PLA is easier. PETG is … slightly more work but not too much. TPU is advanced (they might even classify it as ‘expert’).

Start with the easy stuff and work your way up as you gain experience. Use recommended filaments so that you can take advantage of the built-in profiles and as you gain experience understanding why those profiles work and what happens when you tweak things (because you will) … you’ll get the point where you don’t have to use “recommended” filaments, you can grab anything reasonable and get it to work … because you have experience.

I’ve really enjoyed my printers. I went through a bit of a learning curve. My Workhorse had bed leveling issues until I discovered the extrusion nozzle wasn’t snugged up against the heat-brake tube inside the heater block. It was oozing filament into the gap, the filament was acting as an insulator. The insulator was giving me high resistance as it tried to level the bed, and things were not reliable. Once I adjusted the heat-brake and nozzle, those problems went away and now it prints like a dream.

My TAZ Pro was a bit tight on the X-axis gliders (the Drylin glide bearings) … it went back to LulzBot where they took care of it (they had it roughly a week) and came back working great.

When I initially got these printers, I didn’t know much about them. But I did once workin a machine shop and programmed CNC vertical milling machines from scratch (either keying the code in on the console or typing the G-Code on an EIA tape-punch typewriter. (And at one point I wrote some software that, given part geometry and tool offsets would generate the machine cutting path). This meant that understand how the 3D printer works came easier for me … the harder part was learning how to compensate for the fact that filament does not immediately respond to a change in mechanical motion. Fortunately much of the complexity of dealing with the non-linear problems are handled by the slicer software. But make no mistake… you will have to tweak the slicer software as you run into issues (you will run into issues… with any printer).

Own a multi-meter. That’s important. It need not be an expensive multi-meter. You’ll need to be able to check things like basic continuity, ohms (resistance), amperage, and voltage. That’s about it. Pretty much every multi-meter does this. You can get a basic Fluke-101 multimeter for about $45 (or you can spend $500 … your choice). But you NEED to be able to check very basic things.

For example… if my bed-level fails, it usually means continuity either failed or the resistance was too high to register as a touch. Typically I start by making sure the nozzle and washers were ‘clean’ and snug. But recall that I mentioned I had an issue with a leak through the heat-brake… the way I found that was by touching the multi-meter probes to each washer (and the other probe grounded to the bed) to check the resistance on each corner (should be less than 1Ω). That checked out. Then I went to the nozzle … and that’s when I noticed that the resistance from the nozzle tip to the heat-sink (there’s a red wire that acts as the “zero sense” were on the extruder) had high resistance. When you have metal on metal and things are clean, that shouldn’t happen… so I worked my way up until I discovered the resistance was high across the heat break and that’s when I found the leak – filament was acting as an insulator.

But the multi-meter comes in handy often. And this isn’t unique to LulzBot. Most of the people I know who are passionate about 3D printing … own a multi-meter and aren’t afraid to use it. It doesn’t matter which brand/model 3D printer you have. It’s a simple tool that really helps.

Lulzbot support… not so bad in this covid era.
I’ve been bugging Lulzbot every couple weeks about this and that since January when they were in limbo, and through their start up period in Feb-Mar. That was a tough period to get a hold of experienced people. Then the outbreak hit S. Dakota, and Lulzbot seemed to be harder to reach for almost two months. In July, they started responding faster and during different parts of the day. Now, in August, they’re contacting me to see if I need any help! They’ve practically been holding my hand through my learning process and damaging mistakes…And, I bought a used Taz6 off CraigsList!

I own a factory and most of my sales are via internet in one form or another. Operating hours are cut, employees are few and working from home, and supply chains are broken during the covid nightmare. I think their support has been lacking in the past, but is doing pretty good right now. Try talking to someone at a printer factory in China. My Taz6 is an amazing dependable machine. I’m always upgrading or adding to it, and Lulzbot mostly has what I need and certainly is there to give me answers, do me favors like getting me onto a first-served list. One staff member went through the production area hiding places to find a part that I couldn’t find online…they had just that one and he found it for me.

I’ll be buying the Taz Pro. And maybe a couple more Taz6.

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