New User seeking advice

Hello everyone,

I am looking at getting a 3D printer. I was formerly looking at a Hyrel 3D given it can go to 4 print heads and has the ability to print malleable substances like play dough and clay as well as Sugru. However, I am tired of waiting to see availability (over a year).

So, I have moved on. I am now looking at the TAZ as well as Ultimaker. I am expecting to place an order within the next week. For several reasons I am leaning toward TAZ but I had some questions that the FAQ didn’t seem to cover or cover well.

As for me, a little about my background and abilities might help in answering some of my questions later.

I know the Taz has a rep for not being easy to assemble. Its really a non-factor for me. I don’t have an issue with assembling things. I am an avid reloader and reload several pistol and rifle calibers. I assembled and run two reloading presses and I have an eye for detail and accuracy. Frankly if I can assemble, tune, repair and run these:

I am pretty sure assembling a Taz will be a walk in the park. There was considerable assembly of my laser (mentioned below) machine.

I have a strong electronics, computer and mechanical background and I have been a web/sql programmer for 15 years. I have a strong 3d background (Modo, SolidWorks, ,etc) as well.

I currently own a 50w CO2 laser cutter/engraving machine so I am no stranger to computer>machine linking and programming. In fact some of my questions tie into the laser.

Some things I intend on printing include add-on parts for my reloading presses as well as some tools I have thought up and would like to print economically. A couple things right away that I am looking at wanting to do is lids for the above pictured press’s brass and bullet feeder hoppers. They are damn noisy and lids (with maybe some foam core sound absorbing layers) will make a big difference. I have several friends with the same press so I am likely to want to run multiple copies once I work the design out. I am also looking at eventually printing gun parts (grips, cases, holsters, mags and lowers for example) mainly for the fun of having creative colors. I was looking at the wood filaments for pistol grips as a creative idea. Also on the list are some every day items for the kids. Maybe unique Christmas gifts and such. Lots of other stuff running around my brain but yet to get a good grip on how to do them. Experience will sort those out I suspect.

So, here come the noob questions…And if there is a guide or FAQ somewhere that covers a question, hey, links are appreciated too. I like to read up on stuff, I just need a nudge in the right direction.

  1. Do yall think the Taz is the better machine? I am looking for accuracy, reliability and eventually build size. Ease of assembly, not really a concern. Reasonable ease of getting started but I don’t need a Cube if you get my drift. I do Arduino programming if that helps :slight_smile:

  2. Until recently I had only heard of ABS and PLA filaments. I see there are quite a few new ones on the market now. Can someone explain the different ones (and their advantages/disadvantages) or point me toward a guide somewhere that does? I mean on this site alone there is ABS, PLA, NinjaFlex, SemiFlex, T-glase, Taulman Bridge Nylon, Taulman 618 Nylon, Laybrick, LayWood, Natural PVA, HIPS, Polycarbonate. Of all those there are only 4 video profiles. From other sites theres stuff like ColorFabb metals and PET/PET+. Then there is lots of crazy stuff like foam and gel as well as oddballs like PCTPE.

  3. Are there fumes to worry about when printing? I have an air handling system for the laser (obvious fumes there eh?) but its in the basement and I was looking at putting the Taz upstairs in a computer room. Wondering if thats a good ide or not.

  4. I see a multitude of nozzles for the Taz. Is there documentation as to why to use one nozzle over another on particular builds? Is there a commonly bought nozzle that I should consider buying along with the Taz right out of the box?

  5. Is there a dual head capable of ninja flex in both nozzles and ABS in both nozzles? I would rather not have to swap heads if I want to use 2 colors of ABS or 2 colors of flex or 1 abs and one flex. Not a deal breaker if its not a possibility for technical reasons.

  6. I have seen reviews complaining about the mass of the Taz’s head. Is that really a big deal?

  7. Are there certain filaments that are good starters for learning techniques on without breaking the bank on scraps?

  8. Does the surface the Taz sits on have to be absolutely level? I am assuming not but thought it a good question to ask.

  9. Does anyone have any experience and knowledge on laser cutting/etching printed parts? Are there dangers involved? PVC is an absolute no-no (produces corrosive and hazardous gases). Any common filaments that are also known to be a bad idea to laser?

  10. Are there any suggested accessories or spare parts I should get for the Taz right away when I order the Taz? I hate needing something and waiting on it to be shipped.

  11. Lastly, is there any good software that I should expect to need? I own Modo though its an older version. Anything else I need to be looking at?

I will greatly appreciate any help yall can lend to a noob just getting into the pool.

Well, a rather lackluster response to a new user asking for some startup help :frowning:

Just ordered my Taz 4. Hope I didn’t make a $2k mistake. Ordered it from MakerGeeks due to the free 2kg of filament along with a couple of their sampler packs and their surprise pack so I should have a nice variety of material to test with.

Don’t mean to sound rude, but basically your first post quickly becomes a tl/dr situation.

I’ve only printed with ABS. So I can only answer a few quick things.

#1) no hazardous fumes to worry about with abs. That said, I wouldn’t sit there and breath the fumes for 12 hours a day.

#2) you’re going to have to find the sweet spot for anything you do, it takes practice, patience, and experimentation to get the end product you desire.

#3) if you print with abs you’ll want to fully enclose the printer to trap in heat and prevent “cold” cross drafts from damaging your parts

#4) the TAZ4 comes with a .35mm nozzle. It’ll work just fine for getting started. Don’t worry about head weight or nozzle size. Just print and learn.

#5) any regular desk or table will work fine as far as a base for the printer. Nothing special required.

#6) you can print spare parts if you print with ABS

I doubt you’ll be disappointed with your TAZ as long as you don’t have unreal expectations and you take your time to learn a new skill. We tend to refer to it more as witchcraftery here as it definitely isn’t always intuitive.


To address some of your questions-

The TAZ shipps 99% assembled: You’ll need to place the Y axis onto the printer frame and tighten 4 screws. The hot end mounts with one screw. Connect things up and you’re going from box to a 3D printer in minutes.

1- We use the TAZ in our 3D printer fleet- of over 128 printers- they’re in use to produce more 3D printed 3D printer parts for the TAZ and LulzBot Mini.

  1. Here’s something that may help: Filament Guide

  2. If you print with ABS you’ll notice it has a smell- but it’s not overpowering. PLA smells like maple syrup. Many users have the TAZ right on their desks.

  3. We use the 0.35mm nozzle as the standard nozzle size- it’s the best balance we find for speed and finish. You can go larger or smaller, but most users will pick up an additional hot end, equipped with a 0.5mm nozzle to make changes quickly, rather than having to disassemble the printer hot end. It also helps you get that much closer to a second extruder.

  4. You can adapt them to do that- we sell a dual extruder with one flexystruder and one standard Wades extruder. Here’s the item link: Since our designs are open you can print another flexystruder and mount that instead!

  5. It’s what we print with internally in our 3D printer fleet. It works well for us!

  6. HIPS is inexpensive and PLA is easy to work with.

  7. The printer will print well, on pretty much any surface:

  8. You’ll want to steer clear of any plastics containing Chlorine, for your mirrors (and lungs) sake.

  9. Purchase different kinds of filament, so you can see what they do.

  10. is a great place to start. Then look in to Blender, FreeCAD or OpenSCAD.


  1. If you like to tinker with your machine, then this is the printer for you. All designs are opensource and available online. Half the printer is printable/replaceable/upgradeable.

  2. PLA is a common low temp, biodegradable material able to easily print large parts. Rigid slightly brittle, it is well suited for models, show prints, and light duty functional pieces. New special types of PLA are being released such as semiconductive PLA, UV-responsive, and glow in the dark.
    ABS is a higher temp, durable material that we use to print all our own printer parts. Wears slowly as opposed to snapping like PLA, it is good for smaller structural parts. Printing large parts is a challenge due to contraction and layer separation.
    T-glase, polycarbonates, and high tensile polyester materials like Tritan from Taulman are all beautiful, strong, translucent materials, though some require higher temperatures than the standard Budaschnozzle permits. Upgrading to an all metal Hexagon hot end from Lulzbot is highly recommended for these as well as other high temp materials like Nylons, which are also incredibly durable, acetone safe, and easily colored using water-based dyes.
    Ninjaflex (TPU) is a highly durable elastomer, suitable for many applications in which you require a rubber-like material, whether flexible or fairly rigid thanks to the new Semiflex material. Ninjaflex materials all require the upgraded Flexystruder to print, and print quite easily with this upgrade.
    Exotic materials like LayWood and LayBrick are fun to make novelty models mainly, although I have seen some beautiful wooden prosthetic hands printed a few months ago, proving that useful models are also very possible.
    Much if this info and more can be found on Lulzbot’s filament guide here:

  3. Unlike edlink, I do sit next to two printers 8+ hours a day and never have any issues with fumes at standard operating temps. Our cluster operators are in a room with 135 TAZ’s round the clock and it has never been an issue.

  4. .35 nozzles are a good balance between detail and speed. Move to a .5mm if you want improved speed and reliability (harder to clog). I wouldn’t recommend changing nozzles much due to stripping issues unless you apply a nice antiseize.

  5. There is no DualFlexy head yet, just the FlexyDually which prints with one firm and one flexy material. To print with two standard materials you will want to save one Budaschnozzle for use with Ninjaflex only, as it is hard to purge with standard filaments. Then swap out another Budaschnozzle with a .5mm nozzle and a standard extruder body onto the front extruder and voilà.

  6. This means we cannot print quite as fast as printers with a lighter head in theory. So far, pun intended, it has never really slowed me down.

  7. HIPS is a cheap and easy to use filament. Its properties are smack between ABS and PLA and looks nice.

  8. We have printed upside down without any issue, and I am hoping for zero-gravity testing, which should work fine.

  9. I’ll leave this one to someone else. I’m sure you can find material properties for any of the common printing materials heated to laser etching temps.

  10. And extra resistor is always a good investment, and printing a small herringbone gear with the ABS that comes with the TAZ is a good idea too:

  1. Cura!

Enjoy the TAZ!

Well, I bought a Taz 5 :slight_smile:

So, now looking at a dual head for it.

If I understand the comments above…The dual head has two independent extruders. And they can be replaced or swapped out on the mount?

What IS the difference in the flexistruder and the regular head? I mean other than one being green and the other black :confused:

Since there is not flexi-dualie in the store (OOS). Can I purchase a dual extruder and a separate flexi hot end and simply swap out one of the two hot ends on the plate thus creating a flexi-dualie? If so, can someone link me the purchasable items I would need to accomplish this? Given I have the TAZ up and running (and a spool of black ABS), I could print the appropriate parts if needed. Is the wiring harness for the flexi head and the standard head the same?

The Flexy extruder uses a bolt and a sleeve tube to apply pressure to the filliament against the hobbed bolt instead of an idler arm and idler bearing. The advantage is better pressure control right at the hobbed bolt for softer materials. You can technically use the same head with ABS or PLA filliament, but the flexible inner plastic sleave will wear out much quicker with the more ridgid, more abrasive filliaments.

You can purchase a dual and swap out the flex head easily enough. You can even print and make your own without too much trouble!

The hot end is identical between them both (assuming you bought the same hot end model), so the wiring harness doesn’t change.

Ok, so I get this…

That gives me the plate, wiring harness, and 2 ABS/PLA heads.

Now, the Taz5 comes with a hex hot end. Can it be fitted to that dual extruder tool head (to replace one of the existing two heads)? And then convert the replaced head (with parts I can print) into a flexi head?

Or what would I need to purchase to accomplish making a flexi-dulie out of the above dual head purchased and still maintain dual ABS capability?

Or can this be done at all?

I will likely be using dual ABS/PLA most of the time rather than ABS/Ninja. But I want the option for flex (Flex EcoPLA or Ninja). I have at least 3 projects I will need flexible material.

My Taz5 WS delivered today, so I’m fairly new to the machine… but have almost a year under my belt with a smaller printer.

Dual extrusion is definitely on my list of upgrades. My understanding is that a dual hexagon hotend is not available at this time, but seems to be in the works.

I’m also under the impression to switch from a single extruder to dual requires different firmware… which seems fairly cumbersome. The same seeds to apply when switching between the hexagon and buda hotends.

For the time being, I’ll get to know the printer with the single head. Then look into a second/third all metal hotend, or equivalent, for each type of filament. When the dual extruder models are available, ill print those and slap on the appropriate toolhead. Just have to be patient… or develop your own.

Hey! Forgot to ask. Why that specific gear? And which resistor?
Wouldn;t this be the proper gear for a Taz5?

Seriously looking at Simplify3D. And Modo seems to be fine for a modeler as I can export to OBJ with it.