New Taz 4 on-order

Hello Tazites,
New to 3D printing, but following it closely for the past couple years.
I’m looking forward to getting started with my new Taz 4 which should be arriving next week.
Any tips or tricks or pointers for getting started would be welcomed.

One thing that looked odd to me is step 17 of the Quick-start guide. It looks like if you’re not careful you could easily drive the extruder into the glass plate… And then on 18A, I’m assuming you HOME, slide paper, move the Z-Stop a tiny bit, HOME, slide paper, etc. until it’s aligned. That sound about right?

Also, after I print something, do I leave the filament in or remove it?
I have both ABS and PLA on order. Thinking about doing a few prints with the ABS and then trying the same ones with PLA, different temps of course. However, I read elsewhere that it’s recommended not to use the same extruder for both. Is that really the case? If so, should I start with the PLA or ABS? And then wait until I have a 2nd extruder.
I was planning on getting a 2nd one anyway “eventually”, to have a dual setup. Although I was planning on a flexi-struder. Unfortunately, I read the hard ABS/PLA/HIPS wouldn’t be good in that though. Any thoughts?
I’d hate to have to buy 2 or 3 new extruders, one for each material I want to print with…
Thanks in advance for your insights.

The limit switch prevents you from hitting the glass plate unless you knock it wildly out of allighment. and it homes on Z at a relitivly slow rate to prevent accidental damage even if you did. Is it possible to hit and crack the plate? Yes. But i’ve only ever heard of that happening once or twice with non lulzbot machines.

The machine itself will ship pre dialed in and ready to go after assembly. assuming you don’t knock it around too much while putting it together it should be level from the start. Avoid turning the Z endstop target when you are putting it together in particular. If you do have to allign it, then yes, the process you outline will work, with one tiny additional variable. You want to do that allignment with the machine at full printing temperature, because the nozle itself expands slightly when heated. The 2.1 nozzles are less prone to that than the older ones, but it’s still something you want to account for. To that end, you may want to use a thin metal rular as the feel gauge rather than flammible paper.

After you print something, in an ideal world you would remove the filliament and place it in an air tight dessicant filled box to ensure no humidity permiates the plastic. In reality almost everyone just leaves it on the machine unless you plan on not printing for a while.

The ABS and PLA in the same extruder being a problem is due to the different melting points of ABS and PLA. After you print something there is usually a bit of plastic left inside the nozzle. if you start with ABS, which melts at 230c, and then go down to PLA, which melts at what, 160c? any remaining ABS in the nozzle will act as a plug and cause you major issues. You can overheat the PLA to ABS temperatures, which will cause the PLA to burn but probably clear the ABS plug and eventually after a bunch of wasted PLA be able to print. Going from PLA to ABS, you just end up burning out the remnants basically at ABS temperatures.

It’s just easier to stick with one type of plastic

A flexystruder will work with ABS, the ABS will just wear down the liner faster than the flexible stuff, You can get a 1 foot long section of replacement liner from Mcmaster carr for about $0.50 cents, so it’s not a huge problem.

One thing you will run into when you start swapping out extruder and hot end assemblies, is that not all hobbed bolts are dimensionally identical. The lulzbot ones are closer than most, but even there i’ve found that the correct extruder firmware setting for one hobbed bolt tends to be slightly over or under for the next unless you take extra care and order a pile of extra hobbed bolts and match them all using calipers. Easy enough to work around using the filliament width setting in slic3r, but somethign to be aware of.

I’d start with the ABS plastic personally. thats what I started with. PLA seems like it would be easier because of the lower temperature, but some of the properties of the material itself make it more dfficult to work with. PLA can expand slightly under heat and can lock itself into the bore of the hot end unless you have a fan on the hot end itself. It also transfers heat an unbelievable amount back up the unmelted filliament, which can cause problems on slower prints. A fan is usually the fix for that as well.ABS can be a bit more difficult to get to stick to the bed at first, but once you have that part down, I find it easier to work with ABS,

Thanks for the suggestions and comments.

Dear Wizard and piercet,
Greetings! Wizard I should have followed your lead and posted on the forum. I did get my TAZ4 and tried to level the bed with the MatterContorl Software. Well…In the process of leveling, the Matter Control software crashed the extruder was shoved into the glass plate, the PET melted and the steppers made a horrible noise. Thankfully that noise is ok and I don’t think I cracked the glass . Turns out the zaxis was just so our of wack that it was stuck. So, I got the z-axis to go up before I had to leave work(this is a new printer for work), but did not level the bed yet.I freaked and called support and they were great! They talked me down and at least all three axis were moving except…also I am no longer using Matter Control!

piercet…I had the Z-axis moving up just fine, but it would not go down. I did not use the home Z button because I wasted to have more time.I’m assuming you can only press the home z button to get it to go down initally, and…Do you think the extruder could have been damaged? Any pre cautions I should take Monday?

Thank you!!!


Hiya BT_134,
I printed some pictures and thoughts over in the user gallery, under the subject “Some print mistakes and one good one”.

Well, I would start over with the bed leveling procedure that came with the printer. The tricky part is the Z-axis knob and once it’s close to only turn about a 1/4 turn at a time. It takes a while but I was afraid of driving the extruder into the glass.
Right now for me everything looks level with one sheet of paper being able to slide under the extruder at each of the 4 corners. I did this adjustment with the extruder at temp. Being quick so the paper didn’t get too hot.

Also, the first couple prints out of the box stuck great, then nothing… I didn’t want to make the acetone juice because my printer is in the same room as my furnace and I didn’t want the fumes, so I’m trying out using the Purple, WASHABLE, Elmer’s School gluestick. So far it’s working great. Put it on the bed cold, then warm up the bed and start printing. Then WAIT until the bed is cold before trying to take the print off. So far they just pop right off the bed when cold.
Happy printing.

Thanks Wizard! Hopefully I’ll get some time to work on the re leveling tomorrow. I’ve been dying to get in there all weekend!

Hey bt_134,
How did your first week with the Taz go?