Taz 5 vs Makergear M2e

Hi all,
First off, forgive me if I’m committing a faux pas by asking for input that compares the Taz 5 with a competitor, but I’ve scoured the internet and it’s really difficult to find forum type comparisons of this sort (most info is found in individual reviews). I’d really like to hear from the experienced community of 3d printers, understanding that experience is a currency I lack, but want to base my decision to include the experience of people who know what the heck they’re doing…I hope you’ll kindly indulge me.

I’m new to 3d printing, put am pretty nerdy. I’m currently enrolled in an online class learning Blender because I know I won’t be satisfied just printing other peoples designs alone. For me part of the thrill of 3d printing is being able to create. While I’m at it with my true confessions, I built a kit printer last November (a very inexpensive GEEEtech). I’m pretty mechanically inclined, but software discussions make me glaze over. Once I had the machine built, I got very bogged down with all the little glitches I ran into just trying to load software so I could calibrate stuff, nothing seemed to go right (I’m pretty certain it was ignorance on my part). My fascination with 3d printing has not been dampened, but I don’t want to start in the canyon (for me) while scaling this learning curve, so I’ve decided to get a printer professionally built and loaded and start from there.

As the title implies, I’ve pretty much narrowed my search to the Taz or M2. Up front, if cost were not a factor, I’d pretty much go with the Taz 6, and honestly it’s still in the running. But the Amazon price on the Taz 5 just came down from $2200 to $1875, making it comparable with the M2 price of $1825. Beyond cost, here’s where I’m at in my comparison:

Both Lulzbot and Makergear seem to have vibrant, helpful and informative communities. Both companies get high ratings from users for customer support, though the Lulzbot warranty is double that of Makergear (which I honestly find a 6 month warranty kinda cheesy). Both machines get high marks for print quality, though the M2 seems to be slightly better in resolution? Along that line, the Taz 5 seems to need beefing up structurally (or have subsequent revisions corrected rod issues?). The Taz has a bigger built bed, and it’s PEI on aluminum vs glass, both seem better advantages for heat distribution and sticking? The bigger build volume is important to me, I work in healthcare and FDM is being used with prosthetics and casting… bigger is better. The M2 uses 1.75 vs 3mm filament, which they claim makes for a finer print (which I would think is more of a nozzle factor?), but it also seems more common (VHS vs Betamax?).

Re the Taz 6, I know it’s been beefed up, has the dual cooling fans, easy to remove print head (did they fix the wobble factor by notching it?), and of course, the self leveling bed. I’m sure Ive missed stuff. Are the differences worth the $700 difference? (at this point, they do not seem that way to me, but again, I have no experience).

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, feeling pretty alone and overwhelmed (in a fun sort of way) at this point.

Thanks for your indulgence.

The dual cooling fans is a very easy fix. There are a number of left-side fan ducts. This does make a difference.

For me, the auto-leveling isn’t an issue as I only re-level my bed when I need to change heads, and it’s not that hard.

The beefier rails, flex washer, and a couple other items are maybe worth considering. But I know I got a second taz 5 refurb through ITW for what I though was a steal, made some modifications to improve z-banding, and it runs just as much as my first taz 5. I did this as my first taz 5 is just a workhorse. Maybe not the best at fine detail, but otherwise a great printer.

That said, I do hear really good discussion on the makergear. However, I have found Lulzbot support to be better than anything else I own.

I will say that the software side will always be an issue. These machines do need calibration, tuning, and fiddling. Each material works a little differently on each machine. You don’t need to know how to program, but you do need to know how to methodically make setting changes to get the best results.

catzcradle,
Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I’ve noticed that the M2 takes a frontal approach to cooling while the Taz 5 left sided and the 6 dual. I’ve seen modifications on the M2 that employ a frontal duct, but I do not read of many stick issues on either printer if they are leveled properly. While auto leveling seems like an elegant and nice tool, both machines seem stable enough that once leveled it’s not a frequent issue? That’s my sense anyway from what I’ve read.

Making adjustments using software apps is kind of fun. My problems involved getting the software loaded according to what the manufacturers very vague instructions recommended. They’d give links to stuff that didn’t quite work, and I didn’t know enough to know what I needed. The extent of my software knowledge is knowing i need a slicer to convert 3d designs. Learning how to use a modeling and slicer program will be fun, as will using pre installed system to adjust temps, distances, etc. The problems I had involved not having software that worked to do things like operate motors or adjust temps, there were so many things that were wonky, I felt I was re-inventing the whole thing (may have just been my perception).
thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience.

The print heads of almost all fillament based 3d printers have almost identical resolutions. They use the same steppers, the nozzle holes are drilled the same size, the controllers they use in this case are essentially identical with the same firmware. This is true of most 3d printers in this class, not just the Taz and the M2. You can essentially safely ignore that number in your considerations.

The M2 has better bearings than the Taz 5 out of the box, and the Taz 6 X axis is probably equivelent. The Taz 5 can be modified to a better setup than the M2 if you like. The M2 has an offset frame, which can lead to issues with the far side of the bed, the Taz 5 tends to have the apperent hump in the middle issue, this is mostly resolved on the Taz 6.

3mm vs 1.75mm on fillament largely comes down to preferance. You can get fillament readily in either size, there are a few more specialty fillaments available in the 1.75mm range, but for these particular printers either choice is fine, and the Taz can have a 1.75mm extruder added easily.

Spare parts availability is better with the Taz printers, you can find aftermarket spares and whatnot, and the modification community for the Taz printers is the best around.

Either printer will print great. There are modifications to get a superior print with the Taz if you want to go that route (anti wobbles, the openbuilds rail replacements, etc.) The bearings on the M2 are very nice, their extruder setup is less so. The Extruder on the Taz is basically a tank, it takes a lot to kill it.

Essentially you will be happy with either printer. I think we have a better community and better support here, and I think the Taz is a superior platform when taken to it’s full potential, but the M2 is a very solid machine as well. I would probably put it after the Mendelmax 3 on my printer choice list, but that one requires assembly.

Wow piercet, thanks!

This is awesome info for me, just the kind of stuff I was hoping for, very helpful. If pretty much affirms my growing impression from all I’ve read that the Taz has the better overall potential. I know I’ll end up being one of those who plays around with improvements, that’s one of the cool things about open design.
Kind of kicking myself for not going with the Taz 6 when it was on sale about a week ago.

I started my 3d printing adventure a little over a year ago. When I took the plunge and bought my TAZ, I had absolutely no experience with 3d printing, 3d modelling or anything related. In that time I have gone from someone who struggled to level the bed to now making complex working prototypes for work and making customised items and car parts which I sell. My printer is, for now (until the current projects are finished), absolutely standard, and I can get excellent quality prints, it will print layers as fine as 0.04mm with a fine touch levelling the bed and setting the Z height. Whenever I’ve got stuck or run in to a problem, either Lulzbot themselves (who always reply swiftly) or this forum has helped me solve it. Every time.

If you decide to press forward with a taz 5, from noob to fellow noob, my one piece of advice would be to buy a dial indicator for bed levelling. They’re not expensive and it makes levelling an absolute breeze, it can be done in around a minute or so. Not only that, but until you see the readout on a gauge, you have absolutely no idea just how easily the height of each corner is manipulated by fiddling around with the bolt and Allan key. Seriously, if the Taz 6 is enticing mainly for auto levelling, save yourself a ton and just get a dial gauge. You can’t really go wrong with one.

Hi “idiot”,
(lmao, I feel a little strange addressing you by your chosen moniker).

Thanks so much for your input. It’s encouraging to hear from someone else who doesn’t have an engineering background haha (assuming since you state “anything related”).

Print quality, and the ability to improve it because of using an open sourced machine that can be tweaked and added to, are big decision factors for me. The fact that you are making auto parts for resale suggests a level of quality and usefulness to me. One of the things that got me interested in 3d printing was the lousy material of the cup holders on my BMW Z4, very brittle plastic that was always breaking. Being able to make stuff like that, or design better, is one of the coolest parts of this whole adventure for me. I’d love to see some pictures of what you’ve made. Close-up pics of maker stuff from specific printers can be hard to find, even in a forum like this there doesn’t seem to be a lot of pics showing details (I may just not have found them yet, still fairly new to the site and have only found one thread that shows what people have made).

A dial gauge seems a brilliant idea to me. I’ve restored several historical homes, so I’m pretty familiar with a level and had been wondering about using one for bed leveling. I’m not used to using tools as precise as a dial gauge or micrometer, but like the idea of measurement over feel (paper or feeler gauges). After your suggestion, found this discussion on how to use a dial gauge for bed leveling https://forum.lulzbot.com/t/dial-gauges/3480/1 , still wrapping my head around it, I was thinking of placing he gauge on the bed itself, need to think 3d lol. I’m a kinesthetic/visual learner found this very helpful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXoqrR2SOTs
Thanks again.

Check out the various threads in the hardware development forum and the user gallery forum. They tend to have more pictures

cool, thanks piercet.

Personally I’d upgrade to the TAZ 6. You’re getting improvements to the printer on top of the auto bed leveling and especially if you’re new to 3d printing I think you’ll find auto bed leveling pretty handy.

Regarding TAZ vs Makergear, in my personal opinion both make really nice printers, but Lulzbot seems to be more innovative and more frequent in bringing out improvements that you can often times do yourself even if you own a previous version. In addition the stock TAZ has some nice features that the stock Makergear lacks, for example auto bed leveling and a PEI print surface.

Also, Lulzbot fully supports dual extrusion and makes it easy to do the upgrade yourself plus you don’t lose any print volume w/ their dual extrusion setup. If dual extrusion is something you might do in the future I’d ask Makergear about these points.

In addition Lulzbot has awesome technical phone support. I know they work long hours, but not sure exactly how long. I’d ask Makergear what hours their technical phone support is available especially if you’re new to 3d printing.

Lastly, I’d check around the Forums / YouTube to see if anyone has prints from both machines to compare print quality.

Edit: Keep in mind w/ any print quality comparisons that nozzle diameter, brand and color of filament, slicer settings, etc will all affect print quality so unless these variables are all the same it will be difficult to get a true comparison of the capabilities of both printers.

Thanks Inventabuild,
I’m close to pulling the trigger. I have a professional certification that I am testing for this week and I’ve been holding off purchasing so I wouldn’t be distracted from studying :unamused: .

At this point I’m pretty much deciding between the Taz 5 or 6. The M2 has a nice group of folk on their forum (though the organizers are a little reluctant to allow comparisons between printers), I like that this group is less exclusive. I agree that makergear seems a little more staid in its design, less innovative. I’ve seen some discussion that Simplify3d is better than Cura, but that’s an additional $150 cost for the M2 while the Taz comes loaded Cura. Also the has no LED and glass vs the PEI… all to say that the cost is pretty much equal to the Taz 5 when that is added in. The offset frame design of the M2 that piercet notes had also caught my attention, seems to have sag potential in an arena where microns count, though I have read of no issues from the many M2 users, so it may be an unfounded fear.

Though I have no experience, I’ve learned a great deal from the helpful 3d community through discussion and just reading tons of posts on printing, hardware, filaments, etc…

Thanks all