Print quality degrading?

Maybe I got a really good stock Taz 5 regarding wobble. But recently I’ve notice not as smooth of surfaces and some rippling on my prints. It’s significantly worse than months ago.

My problem is, is that nothing is obviously wrong so I’m not 100 percent center on what to trouble shoot.

I plan to eventually upgrade to piercets open rail builds. But in the mean time it would be nice to get print quality back to its original state. Rather than banging my head against the wall I thought I’d ask the community.

(I should note that there does seem to be higher than usual play in the back Y axis bushings. Could this be the cause?)

Attached picture was printed at 30 mm/s.

First would you please raise your tool head off of the bed. Then measure from the metal plate under the heat bed to the bottom of the X carriage guide rails. Please disable your stepper motors from the LCD display. Then adjust the side that is higher than the other down to be equal to the other side. You can do this by turning the silver coupler that attaches the motor to the threaded rod.
Once you have done this, Go to configuration (or control), then select advanced settings, then select V max Z and move it to 3, then go back one screen and click “store memory” to save the change.
Once you are done with this please try to raise and lower your Z axis again.

To adjust the Z binding on the Taz, you must first locate the 4 Allen head screws that attach the X carriage assembly to the Z nut mounts. Once you have located them, then you will loosen all 8 Allen head screws, 4 on each side. After this you will need to Auto home the printer. Then move the Z axis to close to the top of the printer using CURA (245mm from home). Then re-home the printer again. Please do this 2 times bottom to top and back. Then please move the Z axis to the middle of the printer. Once you have the X carriage in the middle of the printer, re-tighten the 4 Allen head screws connected to the Z nut mounts on each side.
Please do not over tighten the Allen head screws.
Once this is completed, please run another print and see if the Z binding is decreased.

While good information, this has nothing to do with Z-Wobble. Start by checking the aforementioned 8 screws. Check for play in the x carriage also. The wobble you are seeing is from the z-nut moving, not binding.

Yeah my Z axis is moving fine (super minor clicking on the left side though and only when manually moving the Z axis via controls.)

What is the definition of Z binding anyways? Is that what I’m experiencing?

There is definitely a little play on the X carriage (it’s always been there). But what is the solution to this?

I know this is a noob question… But what is the Z nut? I just want to be super clear on what you mean. I’m sure I know what it is but I call it something else.

I’m now noticing a non uniform… Humming? Vibration? Coming from the right right side of the printed (Z rod?) when moving the nozzle in the Z direction. The mainly a occurs in the height range between 90 and 180.

I then attempted to do what David.h suggested and it didn’t help. A few more test prints and things are getting worse.

Looks like it’s only happening in the X axis and it’s always drifts to the right side. What causes this?

I think you initially were seeing wear on the Z Nuts that was allowing the X wobble to increase giving the banding you were seeing. After your work on the Z axis I am not sure what you are seeing now on the X axis.

Z binding is a change in the layer heights as the Z motors have trouble raising the X carriage while printing. You will also hear increased motor noise as the steppers work harder overcoming the increased friction caused by it. If it becomes enough you will start getting one side no longer matching the other side in Z distance from the bed surface. But that is not what you are seeing.