Taz vs. Ultimaker, Series 1, M2...

Taz owners: what was your deciding factor for choosing a Taz?

I’m a total noob getting ready to buy my first 3D printer. I’ve been digging through endless amounts of information to distill down the choices, but having no practical experience it is hard to know what’s important and what’s not, and I’d like to hear from those with Taz experience how it compares to other printers in the market. As yet, I have found no direct comparison tests.

I’m looking forward to printing and tweaking airplanes, helis, etc with my 4 kids. It seems like the durability of ABS is the way to go, but very large, thin, and flat things like wings appear especially difficult to print without warping. I’m a PC tech by training, so a little tinkering doesn’t scare me, but saving time is important - pre-assembled is a plus.

So far the Taz is my front runner, but I wonder how it compares to other printers? Others on my list are the Ultimaker, Type A Series 1, or Makergear M2.


Build size was the main reason I went with the TAZ. but the open source hardware and design files were a close second since I knew I could add on a second extruder…which was a must for the parts I wanted to do.

The new Ultimaker is very nice and has an excellent reputation. But a factor may be shipping and custom taxes if you’re in the USA, since the Ultimaker ships from Europe. Also it has a smaller build volume than the TAZ. Does it have a heated bed? It’s mandatory for ABS printing.

I’m partial to completely open hardware design, and if I’m not mistaken out of your list only the TAZ and the Ultimaker are truely open source.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand the value of open software/hardware until you see it in action. Improvements in all kinds of things happen so quickly and files fly around the net. Progress can happen amazingly fast. If project leaders are good, improvements rapidly find their way back to the project “mainline.” Not every open project is a success - far from it - but it helps your odds. You’re not just depending on the company being great.

There are other good open printers out there too. Taz looked both well-designed and extremely versatile to me - though I’m self-conscious about making any claims, I’m not an expert. It just looked like an easy path to many materials, and to both very big/fast or small/high-detail prints. Other good alternatives like Ultimaker weren’t offering heated beds at the time I chose, though they do now, with the Ultimaker 2.

As far as I know, no one is making FDM printers that are “fire and forget” - everything at this stage requires an investment in time to experiment, tinker and troubleshoot. Maybe some smaller, lower resolution printers are easier overall, but that didn’t seem as interesting to me personally.

You should visit hackerspaces and public events like a Maker Faire where you can see what you’d be buying and ideally talk to people who use various printers face to face, if you can. That’s always fun and I think the best way.

Disclaimer: I don’t own a TAZ myself, but was involved in selecting it - work (small engineering company) bought it for lab prototyping.

Main critera, roughly in order were:

#1: Fully open-source design. The new MakerBot had good reviews, but as davidwood says, we saw great value in having the resources to fix something if it broke, print our own replacement parts and modify the machine as needed. The possibility of bodging in a future dual-extruder setup was a strong seller. (Some folks were looking at $$$, professional-grade printers, but after seeing the proprietary material cartridges and secretive non-gcode control interfaces, open source enlightenment followed swiftly…)

#2: Can buy preassembled. Granted, probably not as much of a criterion for hobbyists (building it is half the fun!), but I suspect there are many small businesses in a similar boat, where not having someone assemble and tune it on the clock lowers the total ownership cost quite a bit.

#3: Huge build envelope.

Thank you all for your thoughtful feedback. In the end I jumped on the Taz. I can’t wait for it to arrive!

I don’t think the plans for the Ultimaker are public. They do work on open source projects, but the printer itself is closed, afaict.


The Series 1 is supposedly open source, but the website doesn’t provide files for the now 1 year old model. The Github repo which is linked has been empty since day 1 of its creation.

It seems only you guys take the open source philosophy seriously!

Ya, maybe some year we won’t lose “Best Open Architecture” to a closed machine. :wink:

Actually, it looks like Ultimaker 1 files got uploaded 2 months ago, but under the proprietary CC-BY-NC-SA license.

The Ultimaker 2 electronics have been released under the closed NC license as well. As they state on github: “The rest of the parts and information will be put on GitHub in time” …

Maybe they have files somewhere else that I don’t know of, but I don’t think so.


Which happens to be close to the Ultimaker 2 annoucement I believe.

Open source license states that you release the source at the latest when you release your product, not a full year after.

Uh, had to google that one. :smiley:

I forgot about Printrbot. The other runner up in the Make article, Deezmaker, doesn’t supply the source files, only the stls.

I’m not sure what printrbot publishes. I have a good impression of the company, I hope they are really doing free/open and not advertising it if not.

Is deezmaker pushing out his buda clone files? He said he would but he was too busy to send them to me when I inquired, because he was busy at Makerfaire. Makerfaire 2012, I should point out, not 2013. So if he’s finally uploaded the files that’s great, I kind of gave up asking for them.