Please convince me to buy the TAZ5 instead of UM2+


I’m about to buy a new printer, and have been unable to think of anything else for the past few weeks since I can’t make a decision.

I’ve narrowed down the choices to the Ultimaker 2+ and the TAZ 5 (or 6, but I’m very impatient… Hopefully a TAZ 5 can be upgraded, right?). Some people mention the Makergear M2, but it seems impossible to get in Europe without enormous shipping fees, so I won’t consider that machine. Either way, as far as I understand, both machines are great choices.

I know that you folks obviously are biased towards the TAZ 5. And I understand. I really, really like the company and philosophy behind the machine and avidly want to support this. I also absolutely -love- tinkering, modding and upgrading my machines, so another one in favor of the Lulzbot.

There are, however, several things that make me doubt and consider the UM2+ instead:

Print quality - Wherever I go I keep getting mixed reports on this, I see a lot of people say the printers print equally, but some say the UM2+ prints better. I don’t know what to believe…

Print speed - The UM2+ can apparently print much faster due to the bowden extruder, which some people love and some hate. Again, I don’t know if this is a good thing or not by now…

Reliability - I’ve heard lots of people say either machine is more reliable than the other. Again, I don’t know what to believe. I do prefer the bed to move along the z axis rather than the y axis though, but I don’t know if either is more reliable than the other. The upgrades to the UM2+ over the old UM2 apparently fix a LOT of the issues people experienced with the machine, especially with a much improved feeder.

Noise - Now this is a big thing for me. I’m gonna be sitting next to the machine most of the day and want it to be as silent as possible. I keep reading that the TAZ 5 is somewhat loud, in part due to the bed moving along the Y axis and in part because it’s not enclosed. The UM2+ is also supposedly more silent due to using silent Sunon fans. I’ve already built a printer enclosure for my previous printer (Wanhao 4S), so the goal is that the machine is almost silent inside the enclosure if possible.

Removable bed - I still havn’t been able to confirm this, but it seems the TAZ 5 build plate cannot be removed. Is this true or false? When printing on PEI it’s great to remove the plate to let it cool down faster, so I’d like that.

So in short, I really, really want to buy the TAZ because I love the design philosophies behind it much more than the UM2+. But I’d love to know if the above things are true or false.

If they are true, is it possible to silence the TAZ by installing astrosyn motor dampers, for example? And mod it to allow removal of the bed?

Thanks a lot

I think you got most of the details right!
I had the same decision last year, but at this time the M2 was not shipped to EU except to GB so it was out of scope for me…

My two cents:
.) You can exchange the hole print bed (glas with PEI and heater) in short time, but I never tried if the bed level is OK after that. I think it’s not neccesary at all, it takes about 5min to cool down and remove. OK, maybe 10 for ABS and PETG temperatures…
.) Astrosyn dampers seems to work great, there are some users of them in this forum. You might get responses from them in a short time… They are possible at X and Y axis, Z seems to be problematic that Z is not moving much so who cares. The loudest part of the TAZ 5 is the fan of the power supply. There is a Mod here how to change the fan…
.) Print speed / Quality: What is good is in the eye of the user. Yes, you can go faster with same quality with a UM due to the lightweight extruder, but you can compensate that on a TAZ with the Openrail X and Y axis mod. With this mod, I guess the TAZ is way over the UM or at last equal…
I never tried it, but I can’t imagine how a bowden system can do good quality with different print speeds. For example if you have some fine details that will be printed quite slow, but big areas of infill where you want to go fast, there is a problem with unequal nozzle pressure even on the direct drive system of the TAZ. For example, if it finished a slow printed perimeter and starts fast infill, it may result in stringy lines instead if solid ones because the nozzle pressure has to build up before you get a stable flow. That’s a minor problem with our extruders where you have a “spring length” of about 6cm between hobbed bolt and the nozzle, but with 0,5-1m of filament in the tube of a bowden system that should be a nightmare… At last as long as Marlin has no working pressure control. That would be a no-go for bowden for me.
The second reason against a bowden system: You can’t print flexible filaments like ninjaflex. With a TAZ it needs some Mods, but it’s doable if you need it some time.

The biggest drawback on a TAZ 5 are the loose standard bearings. They work fine for normal (not to high) print speeds, but your prints could look much nicer at higher speeds if they would be better. But that’s not a big deal, search for piercets Openrails X and Y mods. Not too complicated and you get a much more silent printer with 0 bearing tolerances that is able to achive 400mm/s if it’s realy necessary for a fast print :sunglasses:

Hey and thanks for the comprehensive reply :slight_smile:

Most of what you wrote sounds very promising.
I’ll check out the OpenRails mods (and other mods too - I see there’s a nice list here).

Do you know if there is any dB measurement of the printer in action available (preferably with those mods installed) anywhere? I can’t seem to find anything.

Thank you!

Now there is one :wink: I have the X axis mod installed Y is in progress, currently printing at 65mm/s and the power supply fan is off. The measurement is highly influenced by the direction of printing (infill or only 1 axis active for rectangular perimeter). In about 50cm distance I can measure between 60-70dB, peaks to 75dB.

The Lulzbot Taz modification community is “The” largest, most comprehensive and most knowledgeable 3d printer modification community on the planet as far as I am aware. A fully modified Taz is The best filament based 3d printer on the planet as well. I will put my printer up against any you care to name up to and including those big stratsys monsters.

The ultimaker 2+ is a CoreXY based design. Since the bed doesn’t move in and out like a gantry style, they generally don’t have as many issues with parts falling off or initial layer adhesion, but it also means that UM2+ users generally don’t need to learn how to get really good bed adhesion. The CoreXY design can be susceptible to Z axis wobble (which isn’t unkown on an unmodified TAZ either). Bowden designs generally aren’t great at retraction, which means you can get stringiness or problems printing flexible filaments. The stock Taz is a decent quality printer, comparable to the Ultimaker units, and both have strengths and weaknesses. A fully modified Taz however is much better than what you can achieve with a fully modified UM2+ in my opinion.

A modified Taz can print significantly faster than just about anything. Out of the box with stock units and a person that knows how to ensure good Bed Adhesion they both can print about the same speed. the Taz belt path may be able to go slightly faster, but the lower mass of the UM2+ head may allow it to travel faster.

Here are 2 overly long and quite boring videos of my modified Taz printing at maximum speed. The second one was the Ludacris speed attempt.

A Taz is generally a tank. The Wade style extruders rarely break, the electronics are usually quite stable, the frame components almost never fail for any reason, and the power supply issues you will find referenced in earlier threads on the older style Taz 5’s have been entirely eliminated by the newest power supply revision. The Ultimaker UM2+ is generally a really solid machine as well.

A stock taz outside of an enclosure sitting next to a stock UM2+ is going to be a little louder, due to the more enclosed box nature of the UM2+. They both use the same motors and belts, and the ambient fan noise is about the same. The Astrosyn dampers do reduce noise on the Y and X axis (I find they aren’t needed on X with the openrail mod, which acts as its own Damper) They do help on Z as well, but Z doesn’t move enough during a print to really make it worth the effort to install them on that Axis. The Taz PSU and cooling fans are somewhat loud, but replacing them with Noctua fans can reduce that noise substantially. I find my Taz isn’t loud enough to really annoy me very much.

There is a removable bed modification by BillyD, and there are removable PEI replacement plates such as zebra plate out there. The Stock Taz has a PEI layer glued to a Glass core with the heater adhered on the bottom.

You can make it quieter and you can add bed removal modifications. The fans are actually probably a bigger source of Noise on a Taz than the motion segment.

Hope that helps!

Thanks both of you! I appreciate it :slight_smile:

I’ll need some time to think it over, but I’m almost certain I’ll pick the TAZ now. I’m curious though, in regards to the mods and improvements, I realize there is a very nice, comprehensive list of mods on here. It is quite long though. Is there a “recommended mods” list somewhere for starters?

The question now becomes, buy the TAZ 5 now or wait for the TAZ 6? Or does it not matter, since it can be upgraded 5->6? The auto bed leveling feature is very appealing to have.

With the understanding that I designed most of the mods I am about to list so I am probably somewhat biased, here is what I would consider the list of essential modifications for the Taz, in order:

  1. The Openbuilds V-slot X axis
  2. The openbuilds V-slot Y axis (the Z axis helps a little, but it isn’t a dramatic imprvement like X and Y. you may also want to do the nozzle wiper mod a the same time
  3. The taller extruder body
  4. either the reinforced extruder mount, or the Taz 6 style extruder mount or . If you plan to print alot of PLA, the Taz 6 style is probably better due to additiohnal side cooling fans. The reinforced one is better for ABS.
  5. The Aluminum bed plate replacement for the Glass plate (replace the glass plate with a 12" aluminum plate)
  6. The Y axis bed cable chain (removes the potential for a bed destroying cable snag)
  7. The Anti wobble - Only necessary if you are seeing Z wobble or Z banding with your Taz. If you have heavy Z wobble I would move this up in priority

    Other modifications I would consider desirable for most users include the Light bars , the Z axis mod , the micrometer endstop retrofit , the X and Z axis cable chians, reinforcing the frame with these brackets in 7 corners (won’t fit where the LCD mount is , replacing the stock main frame mounts to Y axis mounts with metal ones (techsavvy34 makes them here in the forums)

About the only thing not on that list somewhere is the blinky light box in the front of my taz, which is somewhat difficult to install.

The Taz 6 will be out most likely around August-ish. It has bigger rods and auto leveling. You can also add auto leveling to the Taz 5. If you are thinking about modding the printer, a 5 might be an easier path.

This is excellent - thank you very much.

Looks like it’s gonna be a TAZ 5 then. I’ve gotta build a new enclosure though - the one I made for my old machine is too small! The TAZ is indeed a giant. Hah…

This community seems awesome aswell, looks like it’s the right decision :slight_smile: