New Taz 5 owner needs help

Hello all. I am completely new to my Taz and also completely new to 3d printing. I did a little research and decided on buying a Taz over an ultimaker 2 basically because of the build volume and quality. I think that once I get the hang of making good prints the larger build volume on the Taz will be more often what I need. My problem is that so far everything that I have printed has been extremely rough looking. I’m not exactly sure how to dial the Taz in yet and I have been getting horrible results. I’m sure it’s more user error than it is machine or software issue. I just need a little advice. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not 100% sure that I have leveled the bed correctly. I have tried about 4 different times and all have had the same result. I read the manual on leveling and it said to make sure that you had firm pressure on the paper that you use. The Lulzbot youtube channel has a video and there it says you should only have light pressure on the paper. I am confused to say the least. I also tried to use the bed leveling wizard that is included in Cura. That actually has you raise the platform until it touches the nozzle. I did get ok results with that method for one print, but I still wasn’t sure if that was the correct way to do it. Does the bed leveling wizard work? Is there anyway that you can be 100% sure that you have the bed leveled to the correct height? Also, I’ll attach some pics and maybe you guys can spot other problems with what I am doing wrong. Thanks for your help in advance. I look forward to making some great prints with this thing when I get it dialed in. Hopefully I can share some nice things with you guys in the future.

I forgot to mention above what my settings are.
I’m using Lulzbot HIPS filament with the downloaded profiles from the Lulzbot site. The roctopus and the open hardware keychain were printed with no changes to the fine setting. The bull I actually slowed the print speed down to 40mm/s. I read that even if I use the quickprint settings in Cura, they are the same as the ones you download from the site. So I’m not sure what parameters I need to change to get better prints. The octopus that they printed on the machine before it was sent to me, turned out beautifully. It’s very smooth and even looking. I know they used abs but I’m sure I should be able to get the same results with HIPS.

BaltimoreBilly, I can only speak from my v/past experience as my KITTAZ is in transit. But, what I see is not primarily a first layer problem but an over extrusion problem. It looks like you get the first layer to adhere - it may not be perfect, thin or thick in areas, but it stuck well enough to build the part on it. Perhaps you can post your slicer configurations - even screen shots. What I’m seeing is that too much plastic is being extruded and there are multiple parameters that could be the culprit.

I’d also recommend reading my guide (See signature link), especially since you are just starting out. Spend a little time printing the simple single layer test in the Layer Tuning section at the bottom of the post. 15 minutes doing that and adjusting things will go a long way to produce better prints without wasting a lot of time and filament on bad parts.


As Micahel has said already your problem is probably related to over-extrusion.

You are talking about Cura. have you tried any other software ?
If you can, I would recommend to try Simplify3D with your TAZ5.
I have a TAZ4 with a Hexagon hotend (which is more or less equivalent to your TAZ5). Have found Slic3r profiles are not fine-tuned for the hexagon hotend. I have not tried Cura with this hotend but I can tell you that the default Simplify3D TAZ4 settings work much better than Slic3r Lulzbot profiles.

Of course any software can be tuned to achive better results but I value the ease which with Simplify3D achieves better results.


Getting the bed level:
What I did was use a business card as a gauge–gives me a little bit of initial error so I don’t scrape the bed up. I controlled everything through the LCD screen. Once I had it level the first time I’ve never had to re level it again and I’ve taken the whole Y-axis apart and put it back together since then.
DO NOT CRANK A BUNCH OF REVOLUTIONS ON THE BED LEVELING SCREWS I’m not sure about the PEI sheet but you could bust a glass bed if you put a lot of twist on it.
1)I started at the home corner and didn’t make any adjustments to the bed, just the Z-axis homing knob. Move the homing knob up the Z-axis 1/4 turn just to be safe. then hit the home button. If there is no resistance when you put the business card between the nozzle and the bed then screw the Z-axis homing knob down a little bit and repeat until you can slip the business card in and out with minimal effort. Its like holding a bird don’t let it go but don’t crush it either.
2) Once I had that corner where it should be–the bed and nozzle separated by the thickness of a business card after the Z-axis is homed–I moved across the front of the bed along the X-axis to the other front corner. Now instead of moving the Z-axis homing knob I unscrewed the level adjustment screw to get the nozzle and bed closer and vice versa.
3) Then I did the back two corners the same as the front right corner.
4) After all that I homed the machine and heated it up–everything will expand some and it will close up some of the gap.
5) Once everything was up to temp I checked the gap using a regular piece of paper.
6) I ran the bed leveling check.
7) If a corner seemed like the filament bead wasn’t being pushed onto the bed the same amount as everywhere else then I would make a fine tuned adjustment for that corner (1/6th turn ccw in this example).
During your print you should be able to navigate the LCD menu and tune the flow rate–this changes the extrusion speed. I suggest measuring your filament and making sure you have the diameter entered into your slicer correctly first. I get amazing prints with Cura 15.02.1. The most important part for you to notice with my profile is that the filament diameter is set to 2.80mm. That can/may/will change with every new spool you load up. If you don’t have a caliper you should get one–doesn’t have to be expensive. Hope this helps.
Cura_Work_Speed.ini (10.6 KB)

Thanks for all of the help and suggestions guys. I ended up releveling the bed and raising the height of the extruder nozzle a bit. This has seemed to fix my problems and I have been getting much better prints. I even went back and printed out the roctopus at .075 layer height and it came out very smooth. I am still learning of course and still trying to figure out all of the settings for Cura. I am also not sure what exactly is involved in the calibration of my extruder, although I have been reading up on it. One quick question though, does the Taz have a pause function in any of the software or does it automatically stop itself if it runs out of filament? I see some things that I would eventually like to be able to print, but they all say they are over 1kg of filament when I slice them with Cura. I would hate to be at work or away from the house and have a print fail after over a day of printing, because I wasn’t there to change the filament. Lol, maybe I should just buy the five pound rolls of filament. Thanks again for all of the helpful suggestions and comments.

I know from experience that it cannot tell if it’s out of filament. Although I’m trying to work on a way to get it to stop if it runs out of filament. Your best bet is to find a 5lb roll. Kinda wondering what happened to the unspooled bulk rolls.

Dear Brother from another mother! It’s been 4 years since you posted this request but I wanted to reply for the sake of those like us who had trouble mastering bed leveling.

It took me almost 2 years to figure out the following because I was having problems with the thermistor on my printer and Lulzbot support kept giving me software fixes that didn’t work.

Step 1: Leveling the X-axis. I could not convince anyone I spoke with at Lulzbot that Iwe work with 3 parallel planes. My aluminum build plate needs to be totally parallel to the X-axis “track” on which the print head moves. In order to be completely level, the glass plate EG print bed, needs to be parallel to both the aluminum build plate and the X-axis. Lulzbot support people kept telling me that my assumption was invalid because I was not accounting for the level of the table. Use a digital level or an app on your cell phone. I found a helpful solution. I cut a 6" width of thin plywood that I am using to make cabinets ( Just happened to have it.) about 50 mm wide on a miter saw or miter box. (It’s really helpful with wrapping a piece of sand paper around when you recondition your PEI)

I got this through experimentation. It works for me but you may find your own measurement if you want.

Trying to judge the space between the aluminum build plate and the bottom X-axis is a pain in the rear because perspective affects judgement of the ruler ticks as anyone who has done the experiment with reading a ruler in middle school can tell you. The width of the plywood piece is always constant. You may not even have to be sober to get it right.

  1. Level between the glass plate and nozzle I love MacGyver mentalities but a business card to measure the distance between the nozzle and the build glass has a big disadvantage. Please check this out with a local print company if you think I am nuts. The quality of the business card makes a difference in the thickness of the business card. After measuring business card stock I found that the thickness of business cards can vary anywhere between .27 to .34 mm. When you level your bed religiously, you will also wear out the paper and the thickness will vary. A bent feeler gauge will never wear out. I settled on 0.3mm but you may want to go as low on the feeler gauge as .28. It’s up to you because the first layer is yours.

Now this point is important: whether you are using the feeler gauge or the business card notice if you are pushing the bed down on the springs. If that is happening the nozzle is too tight against the measuring device. You want the nozzle firm against the (in my case) feeler gauge but not so firm that when you pull the gauge out you can see the bed lift up. Not to over stress a point you also don’t want to push the bed down when you slip your measuring device between the bed and the nozzle.
We all have different levels of sensitivity in our fingers so this is the most objective way to judge the process. If on the other hand you are using a business card do not push the card in if it is tending to peel the paper on the outside of the card. It’s a cheap business card anyway but the nozzle is too close to the bed.

  1. Now here is where the rubber hits the road. I tend to be a bit extreme. I print 4 narrow rectangles on each corner of the glass and a 5th in the middle. This “targeting” technique is a principle of statistics. For my purposes I used a rectangular part from the Murobo Laser printer because I knew that it was designed to be exactly 4.5 mm thick. Yep! I asked. The longer parts will show if there is a variance in bed level from one end to the other. (I said I am extreme but that is what you get if you have a degree in Analytical Chemistry and a standard at the Bureau of Standards.) You can do this with minimum infill so they cost practically nothing.
    This works because there is something that not a lot of people know. Each full turn of the “sock headed” screws raises the bed .5 mm. Now if you think of the corner of the bed as being a quarter of a clock or about 15 minutes you have the ability to minutely adjust the level of the bed because each 12 “minutes” of the Allen wrench equals 0.2 degrees or .1 mm and each 6 “minutes” therefore equals 0.05 mm. There is nothing wrong with putting quarter clock faces on the corners of your bed till you get the feel of it. From a statistical point of view the middle print will be almost the exact average of the thickness of each of the 4 corners. Adjust your 4 corners to the thickness of the middle print.

For many other things I am a master maker and I really hate guesswork.

I forgot to mention that I use a digital caliper to measure the 5 calibration parts. Again, if your 4 corner pieces are the same thickness as your center piece your bed is level

Here is another help which if you are not lucky enough to have a TAZ 6 and an automatic bed leveler will be useful.

If you are starting from the beginning, that is putting down a new bed you can, screw the levelers down till they are snug but not crazy! You will strip your bed plate screw holes. Yeah I did that! There isn’t anything I am saying that I have not learned by hard experience.

This trick is also good if you want to start a fresh level.

Center your nozzle. You can do this by hitting the house button in Cura on the X and Y axis then the Z. In Simplify 3D you have the opportunity to key in the coordinate numbers which will be 0,0,0. Most of the other slicers use similar principles so extrapolate.

Now, using your Allen wrench as a “sweep hand” raise each bed corner by a single rotation so that you know how many times you have turned the screw and by knowing that each complete turn represents 0.5 mm. Here is a good place to use a business card if you want. Put the card under the nozzle and continue to raise the bed until the nozzle just touches the business card. If you took my advice and bought a feeler gauge put the card away and raise the bed until there is a bit of resistance on the gauge when you pull it out.

One of the support techs at Lulzbot told me that they don’t “support” the use of calibration squares but think about it!

Now here is something mathematically interesting. If you have printed calibration squares average the thickness of the 5 squares. That is how precise and accurate your bed level is. Remember that precision and accuracy do not always mean the same thing. You want both precision and accuracy. My thanks to Jack Cummins the former chair of the Chemistry department at Metropolitan State College in Denver for teaching me this.