Upgrading Taz 6 - what are my options?

Any topic I see that’s similar is like 5+ years old so starting a new one. I’ve got a Taz 6 that I’ve had for at least 8 years with light duty. It runs fine, and I’m getting back into printing. Ideally I’d like to put a dual extruder on it, and also switch to 1.75mm filament unless someone has a good reason not to. If I put the universal toolhead on a 6, can I use any of the toolheads on the lulzbot store, like the galaxy series? Also, is it worth putting klipper on it?

I’ve toyed around with my 6 quite a bit, and if I was to do it again with the lessons learned, there’s two paths I’d choose:

Build Back Better Upgrade:
32-bit board. BTT SKR Turbo or BTT Octopus 1.1. Both are good. I currently run the Octopus 1.1

To ease the re-wiring of installing the new board (and gain other benefits), change from the standard tool plate to the Hermit Crab quick change plate. Since the board comes with a nice wiring loom, you don’t have to extend the old toolhead wires to reach the new pins.

New toolhead: 1.75mm. Either a Biqu H2 Revo or something resembling a Voron Aftersherpa. With a few extra parts, you can keep your 2.85mm toolhead in service by adding an Orbiter dual-gear extruder to it. It’s easily swapped on the Hermit Crab toolplate.

You can also consider doing a linear rail swap for the X axis to make the toolplate swap part even more rigid.

Magnetic spring steel PEI build plate. Easy upgrade. Well worth it. I use the FYSETC textured dual-sided one.

Klipper is your choice. This machine won’t ever be fast enough to require it, but it won’t hurt either, since you’ll need to do custom firmware regardless with this build.

Basic upgrade:
Swap the 2.85mm hexagon hot end for 1.75mm V6-style ceramic heater with an orbiter extruder on top. An adapter plate to mount the orbiter is dead simple and a v6-style hot end will slide in place of the hexagon.

BLTouch. Requires custom firmware, but you can get a pre-built version of drunken octopus for the BLTouch if you don’t want to learn to compile marlin or Klipper.

Magnetic spring steel PEI build plate. Easy upgrade. Well worth it. I use the FYSETC textured dual-sided one.

The Galaxy series are probably overkill for most people, but they’re built with good components… but there’s been a couple reports that the 2.85mm galaxy stuff had bad quality control. 1.75mm might be better.

For a dual extruder, the nebula might be able to get to work with some custom firmware, but I doubt lulzbot will ever support it in the Taz 6. The Dual Extruder v2 and v3 were both pretty problematic, and with modern components you could easily build your own dual extruder that far surpasses them.


I see this question come up a lot since the printers themselves are super rugged.

Glorious self promotion - here’s what I did recently https://youtu.be/ent6j8qXqBc?si=08vxMiWG7Xf-4MPl

Wrathernaut is an advanced user and it takes me a few reads to absorb everything he offers :slight_smile:

For me, the Wham Bam bedsheet has worked extremely well.

In my home YouTube studio / print lab, I have 23 machines. (I know, one more machine and someone needs to send me to a self help clinic or something!) I really love rebuilding the machines I find and modernizing them. For the Taz 6, my next purchase is likely to be the M175 hot end. Just going from 2.85mm material to 1.75mm opens up a lot more materials I can utilize. I don’t have anything against 2.85mm but only my Taz 6 and Ultimaker 2+ use it.

The board upgrade mentioned above sounds very interesting. I wish someone would do a video on that entire process since I think 99% of us are scared of the firmware side of it and loosing the toolhead swapping capabilities we have stock.

But I would love to shush those loud stepper drivers too!

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It’s a lot less involved than you’d think. Physical space is a bit tight with an Octopus board, but fits fine. The SKR is small enough to make it easy. Most of the rewiring I had to deal with when keeping the stock toolhead wiring isn’t even a thing if you go with the Hermit Crab, since it has its own cable. If I remember right, this leaves just the X/Y/Z motors and bed thermistor (and even that might be long enough) that have to be re-pinned for the new board.

Tool head swapping is 10x easier with the hermit crab, and if you specify your nozzle and probe offsets, e-steps, PID tune, and motor current settings in the slicer’s startup GCODE, you don’t really even need to select the toolhead from the menu.

I do wish there was a way for the machine to verify that the attached toolhead matched what the slicer was using. Probably possible with a CAN setup and Klipper or Octoprint?

I recently acquired a used Taz 6 that could benefit from some minor upgrades. I am new to 3D printing, so I am not familiar with the recent progression of the technology. My intention is to use 3D printed parts for engineering prototype parts, not for toys, so I am looking for as much precision as I can reasonably expect with speed not being a factor, and the possibility of using the higher quality engineering plastics. I am working on a temperature regulated enclosure. I would like to keep using 2.85 filament as I have enough in stock.

My stock toolhead has had enough use that the extruder pinion is quite worn. Is the Orbiter dual-gear extruder a drop-in replacement? It looks very sturdy and the price is attractive.

Can you provide some links that describe how to put together a dual extruder toolhead using those modern components to which you refer? I would really like this as an option upgrade for when I want to use support filament.

Can current technology stepper driver hardware be retrofitted to the original hardware to quiet and smooth the stepper operation?

Can Klipper be installed directly on the existing TAZ 6 controller?

I use it with an (printed) adapter plate. You will need to do the wiring for the new motor and adjust the current and steps/mm of the extruder to compensate. This is all done with a few lines of GCODE.

For a new dual extruder, I would probably try and build a dual orbiter-based system to keep weight down, but there’s at least a couple projects to use the BMG X2-m Bondtech Mini Geared X2 Mosquito interface - Dual Extrusion 3D Printers

I think you’d lose a bit of X movement with that thing, but with a proper mounting plate, wouldn’t be bad.

With some firmware and wiring tweaks, you could get the upcoming new dual extruder from lulzbot working when it’s released, but I think for the cost it wouldn’t be worthwhile.

Not much, but a new controller board with silent stepper drivers makes it extremely quiet.

Yes. Good starting point for config is here: klipper/config/generic-rambo.cfg at master · Klipper3d/klipper · GitHub

" Wrathernaut:
I use it with an (printed) adapter plate. You will need to do the wiring for the new motor and adjust the current and steps/mm of the extruder to compensate. This is all done with a few lines of GCODE."

Is a ready to print design for such an adapter plate posted in an archive somewhere? Can you provide a link? Modifying the JST connector on the harness shouldn’t be any trouble. Thanks

I just posted it with a small write-up here: Orbiter Extruder Adapter Plate for Taz 6 Single Extruder by Wrathernaut | Download free STL model | Printables.com