Taz 6. Do i need to ABL every print?

If I am doing lots of small test prints do i really need to ABL every time?

It takes quite a while.

I assume it stores the mesh in memory?

I understand that i would have to be carefull and ensure i do it on normal prints.

I have a Taz 6 with the standard 4 corner bed leveling system. I’ve never tried to bypass the leveling, but I have a friend with a Taz 5 who does not level his very regularly and he seems to get good prints.
Bed leveling should not take very long, maybe a couple of minutes, although I have never timed mine. If its taking more time than that you may have something wrong with your printer.
Are you using Cura from a computer to control your prints or printing directly from an SD card?

Thankyou for the reply.

I am using octoproint with prusaslicer at the moment. It is only approx. 3.5 mins from pressing print for it to begin the job but when doing temperature tests and flow rate tests etc that are only 10 mins long it does add time. Especially when im not touching the bed in-between as such.

Maybe I’m trying to do something that i don’t really need to.

If you disable bed leveling, you may run into offset issues as the TAZ 6 uses that information to calculate how far down to move for the z-offset value.

The TAZ 5 does not use automatic bed leveling, so it will not run through that process.

Thanks. Ill not try it. Not worth screwing it up.

Thanks for your help.

My contrarian 2¢. I run all my Lulzbot printers sans Lulzbot ABL every print. And Taz 6 Zmin and ABL are independently operable processes.

There is a reason that any search for in this forum or online will return a disproportionate number of inquiries about bed leveling problems and whether it’s possible to disable ABL before every print: it’s a fine system when it works, but it’s often unreliable and technically problematic. It was an interesting hack when the mini was under development back in 2014, but more reliable technical solutions have emerged since then. IME over years of running lulzbots, conductive nozzle sensing can actually introduce leveling issues.

Bed leveling is about ensuring the precise spatial relationship between nozzle and bed. Any time that the nozzle and bed are pressing into one another (e.g. less-than-perfect bed leveling, nozzle wiping) you are physically displacing the very mechanical assemblies you are trying to keep precise. So all else being equal, the less often your nozzle and bed are forced to physically touch, the better-off your bed level will be maintained across prints, and the less wear and tear on these assemblies that can lead to increasing mechanical slop over time.

I have a suspicion that ABL+wiping works best for low temp plastics and part production where the same parts are printed in the same material over and over. But I print a lot of different parts in a range of plastics, almost none of which are PLA, so it works best for me to only level when needed, and when I do level to make sure the nozzle is perfectly clean and does not depress the bed at all. Since I do this infrequently, it’s easy to do well. By not running ABL every print my prints start fast, they print consistently, and I spend a ton less time babysitting printers. And for my taz I use a BLTouch and mesh leveling which does work great for ABL, but that’s another screed :wink:

Sorry for the semi-rant, but I wish Lulzbot would do more to help support users who don’t always want to run ABL, rather than claiming that it’s the only way to roll. One of the key benefits of open source hardware and software (which is a huge asset and market differentiator almost completely unexploited by Lulzbot from a brand strategy standpoint, but I digress…) is that users can not only maintain but modify and evolve their printers as technology improves or initial product design choices prove suboptimal over time. Actively helping users route around problem areas like enforced ABL helps make the printer a more useful and reliable tool, which ultimately helps to justify the price premium of owning a Lulzbot in the first place.

@intelinc - If you don’t mind me asking, I have had some recent troubles with ABL and getting a good 1st layer consistent (barely good adhesion in a couple corners, but smashed down in the middle). How much of a PIA is this mod/install? I have perused the github for the 1.1.9.XX marlin w BLTouch firmware but it’s a little hazy on the practicalities of the hardware install itself (mainly just speaks to what pin assignments are necessary.)

Depends on how you define PIA. :wink:

You couldn’t realistically use this toolhead with stock Lulzbot firmware. The hotend is moved in towards the gantry a bit, which helps limit ghosting in X, but also means the nozzle is not precisely where the lulzbot firmware expects it to be. As a result, it requires modified firmware. (which is also the case for anything using a BLTouch BTW, and really any solution to your bed leveling woes)

I run Klipper on all my printers now, which makes things a whole lot easier for me. The setup is slightly more involved than just flashing firmware, but the payoff is that you can change any printer setting you need to by editing a simple text file, with no refreshing of firmware required. So if you change/modify your toolhead, you just change a few settings in your clipper config file and you’re gtg.

There are a ton of other high-end features in Klipper (resonance compensation, pressure advance, etc) but in particular it makes it really easy to add a BLTouch and implement mesh bed leveling. So rather than just measuring the tilt of the bed using 4 corner points, the BLTouch will map out a grid of values for the entire bed, allowing Klipper to compensate for irregularities (like being too high in the middle) that are inherent to larger beds.

All that said, Building an extruder means dealing with wire crimping and connectors which are full-on black magic and not to be trifled with. Fun to learn if you’re into it, but it will add a lot of overhead if you’re just looking to get your Taz to print better.

If the goal is just to fix the leveling issues, then I would start with the BLTouch – simply best bang for the buck/hour there. You can do this using the stock toolhead: you just need to do three things: physically mount the BLTouch; wire it up to the board; flash new firmware that knows how to use it. Something like this mod can be printed out to physically mount the BLTouch to a stock toolhead. I have not used this, but there are a number of different BLTouch mods for stock Taz setups if you look online. Honestly, BLTouch brackets are easy to find and print (or even buy on Amazon) and there’s plenty of room to just drill a couple holes in the Taz modular plate.Then you open up your Taz and connect the two connectors from the BLTouch to the Rambo board. (much hand waving here) Finally, you could use the excellent Drunken Octopus firmware tool to create new firmware for your taz that can use the BLTouch. Flash it as normal and something interesting will happen! Easier than building a whole toolhead from scratch, and it should largely ameliorate your leveling issues. Also puts you in a good place from a hardware/software familiarity standpoint if you subsequently want to upgrade your extruder. hth.

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Thanks for the reply. Been busy at work. Sounds like it’s straightforward enough but just have to block the time out to do it and troubleshoot it.

I will eventually likely get around to doing a klipper upgrade on it - but only if the Taz needs a new home after we replace it with a Prusa XL at work :wink:

I recently added a BLTouch to my old TAZ6, put on Drunken Octopus (which allowed switching to Marlin 2.0’s new and awesome “unified mesh leveling” process) and you have no idea how great it feels to just start a print and walk away. Before, I had to sit there through the LulzBot ABL process holding a scour pad making sure not even a tiny glob of plastic was remaining on the nozzle and that nothing invisible would still offset one of the washers… Needless to say it did at least a third of the time. Overall the TAZ was a great printer for its time, but their method of probing with the nozzle was highly questionable, for reasons described above by @intelinc.

So yeah, if you have the time and will be using this printer going forward - do it 1000%.

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I’m not quite ready to do the BLTouch upgrade (though it’s defnitely on my wish list now) but I found this thread because the wipe + ABL was taking forever, and failing more often than not because my nozzle wasn’t actually getting down to the wipe pad.

I swapped the startup gcode for one that I found in Ultimaker Cura and it is MUCH faster, by at least a minute. The nozzle goes straight from wiping to probing. It uses a bunch of G1 movements to manually wipe instead of the G12 code used in Lulzbot Cura and I’ve been getting much better results with it.

I have a Mini 2 rather than a Taz 6, so I’m not sure if the startup gcode is similar, but it’s worth looking into if it is.