TAZ 5 and long PLA prints help


I am looking to purchase my first 3D printer in the next few weeks. I am wanting to build some longer build-time PLA prints and was reading some concerning posts on this forum regarding the TAZ 5. These were posts about long PLA prints on the TAZ 5 failing due to inadequate cooling and “heat-leak”. I read a bunch of these and the fix seemed to be to print a new fan shroud and install a bigger fan. These posts were from April 2015.

My question is: Is this still an issue with new TAZ 5 printers? Is this something I should be concerned with if I am primarily planning to do 6+ hour PLA prints? Do all TAZ 5 printers suffer from this issue?

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Adding additional Cooling fan capacity to the barrel is probably a good idea if you will be doing regular very long prints, but there are several existing designs you can use. The easiest ones to add are the ones that replace the stock squirrel cage style fan with a 40mm fan. You will probably want to print the duct out of ABS though since it will be very close to the hot end barrel.

Is the 40mm fan require an external power supply or would it take the same plug as the stock fan? Where does one buy one of these?

Same wires, you might have to crimp a different plug onto it. You can get them from a variety of places. ebay if you do a search for 40mm x 40mm x 10mm fan, performance-pcs.com has the fancy quiet noctua ones if you like a bit less noise and don’t mind paying an actual human arm and leg for a fan.

edit: the stock fan is a 5.5 volt unit. A 12 volt 40mm fan will work for that purpose as a replacement

Is this issue unique to PLA? I’m primarily making models and pieces of models to glue together into bigger objects. Could a different material avoid this problem? I am hesitant to use abs due to the smell I hear it can generate while printing.

I looked into TIPS but it seems most use it for only supports. Could this be an alternative? Any other filaments I could try to avoid this issue?

PLA fillament is very prone to heat transfer, and when it heats up, it tends to expand slightly. What happens is that the barrel gets warm enough over time and heats the PLA over enough surface area that it will cause the PLA to expand and sometimes lock in the extruder bore. Adding additional cooling keeps the upper end of the fillament cold enough that it won’t jam before it gets to the melt chamber.

There are other fillaments, all of them with their own unique challenges. I print mainly in ABS, and it is possible to print large things with ABS, and print them well. PLA is probably an easier starting material to print large things with though, on account of the whole “ABS tends to lift and warp unless it is in an enclosure” thing. ABS does not need a cooling fan to print well, and the stock TAZ fan will work forever with ABS filliment. It has its own issues but Bore lock isn’t one of them.

HIPS plastic can be used for printing as well, though it will disolve in certain citrus based solutions. It’s basically the worst of both worlds of PLA and ABS to try and learn with so I would avoid it.

The higher temperature fillaments are also usable, and you can make large things with them, but I wouldn’t reccommend them as your first fillament due to higher temperature and complexities in printing them.

PLA is probably going to be your easiest option to start printing large, not particularily strong or heat resistant objects. ABS can be a pain to learn at first but once you master it, you can print things like a trombone, or a small ROV with it (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:451236) .

Also, I find the ABS smell to be minimal. If you are concerned, building a heated enclosure and venting the smell outside is a viable option that would actually increase print quality. If you do build an enclosure remember to make sure the electronics control box has access to fresh cool air.

Is this problem unique to the TAZ 5, or is this something that other printers like ultimaker 2 do not suffer from? I am not incredibly technical when it comes to stripping wires or replacing plugs/fans and would like something as easy to use as possible. I have read a great deal about the most popular high end printers and really like the lulzbot the best due to its open source nature and large print area.

Maybe when they release the TAZ 6 this issue will be resolved.

Many of the printers that use all metal extrudes have similar issues with very long prints. The prototype taz 6 carriage does have a 40mm fan shown currently.

Swapping a fan is not very complicated. Its literally just 2 color coded wires, a red one and a black one. You are the best judge of your skill, but I would rank that as a very easy swap comparitivly.

3d printer designs all have their individual quirks. I wouldn’t let the fan issue persuade you away from the taz.

this was briefly discussed in another thread but a piece of electrical tape on the end of the heat sink fan wrapped about halfway around the heatsink keeps enough airflow in the area that it works.

I printed a 46 hour print (iron man mask) with ONLY this change with PLA. im a believer.