What should I actually expect from my TAZ 5 with minimal modifications


I’m getting a bit despondent with my TAZ 5 but perhaps my expectations have been too high. Would someone be willing to post a fairly complex but not impossible model as well a some photos of a print of it(printed with a stock TAZ 5). I would like to print it on my TAZ 5 and have something to compare it to so that I know what I’m working with here.

Here is a 3dBenchy I printed the other day http://imgur.com/a/lqQrj (Formfutura Premium Black PLA, 50mm/s, 180°, 0.2mm layer height) as well as a Make overhang test http://imgur.com/a/zEzxQ (Formfutura Premium Black Plan, 50mm/s, 180°, 0.1mm layer height)
I realize that filament can play a fairly big role in output quality so I can sort of understand the zits and blemishes on the benchy but I am disappointed with the overhang test - should I be? Are all of my worldly problems filament related?

I’ve also had a few problems with heat creep into the hotend barrel - Will all my problems(which I see to be cooling based) be minimised if I upgrade to the Mangrove/Nutmeg(?) toolhead mount as discussed here https://forum.lulzbot.com/t/severe-issues-with-pla-and-petg-questions/2780/1
Currently, I see this as my only real option as pretty much everything with even an overhang comes out slightly borked at best. I have spools of PLA, ABS and HIPS. I’ve only ever printed with PLA. If the solution is to go for the toolhead mount, can I print it out of PLA or is that just asking for trouble?

Your prints are looking quite good to me. What’s the problem with your benchy in your eyes? It’s always possible to improve specific things, but then I need to know what your goal is.

I guess with zits you mean the start and end points of the perimeters. You are quite good with them. You can use slic3r, if there is a corner slic3r will hide the start point in it.

I’ve reuploaded the benchy photos with indicators of annoyance http://imgur.com/a/o0LTX

The front of the boat:
Mainly ok but its the two lower blemishes are point of interest - are they caused by a lack of cooling?

Looking at the sides of the boat:
The doorway arches are just messy at the top again, is it a cooling thing or a filament droopy thing that can be fixed or am I stuck with it.
The change in colour on the walls of the cabin I assume are that the plastic hasn’t had enough time to cool down as much as all the other plastic - can this be fixed.
The blemish on the cargo box - I assume cooling problems again
The rest of the circles indicate the “zits” I was referring to - is it a filament thing, are they seam points? Is it a slicer thing because it seems like most of them happen in the same place when I print the model more times.

At the rear of the boat:
The blemishes on the sides I would maybe put down to inadequate cooling again? This is the side furthest from the main fan outlet.
The cabin window overhangs are a bit sad looking - how much of this is cooling, how much is filament and how much is printer?
I’m also a little disappointed by the illegibility of the text but I understand that it’s unlikely that that will come out well because the text is so small and the nozzle is pretty fat.

As for the overhang test - I guess I am just trying to establish whether this is as good as it’s supposed to be or whether there’s something I can do to make the overhangs less rough.

You can improve on that some through additional tuning and fan configuration, but if you want dramatic improvement from there, the modification route isn’t a bad thing to consider. In your case i would suggest starting with the taz 6 prototype extrude carriage and discojohn’s taller extruder body. That should improve the pillars and the hull blemishes without costing all that much or requiring a huge change in structure.

A lot of questions and i have only my smartphone at the moment, but i will give my very best :wink:

I can’t see a real lack of cooling. But you are right, the more shiny area at the cabin is most likely due to different cooling conditions. I never had something like this with my esun pla, so changing the filament supplier may eleminates this. But I never tried black pla before, maybe it’s some special behaviour of this color…

What you get at the top of the doors is drop of filament due to the overhang angle. There is not much you can do here, a lower layer height can help but wenn you go too low you will see other problems like curling up edges.

Most of your “bad points” are start and stop points from the perimeter lines also known as seam. As I mentioned before, changing to Slic3r will nearly eleminates them. Slic3r is very good in hiding seam positions in edges on each layer, which makes them invisible in most cases. That’s one of the things Cura can’t do.

For the text,that’s a limitation of the 0.5mm nozzle. You would need a very fine one to get a nice printed text.

I suggest to do the folowing:
.) Print another benchy with the fan at 100% to see what is eleminates by maximum cooling.
.) Try slic3r, you will love it’s features. Most of the visible seams will go away.

I had a feeling I would need to do something like that… Would you insist on printing the mount in ABS or would PLA be ok?

While I agree for the most part, when you look at all of the pictures of other models that people have printed on thingiverse, several people have had much better overhang performance on the print

The prints that I showed were with the fan at 100%
I will have a go at slic3r some time if you say it will clean those divots up.

Mount Can be PLA, but I would recommend ABS. The ducts and the extruder body almost have to be ABS as PLA will soften and distort.

The quickest way to improve prints is to slow down the print speed. Try an overall print speed of 70mm/s (4200mm/min), set the perimeter outline to 40mm/s (2400mm/min).

Here’s a picture of a recent Benchy I made from ABS. Sliced in S3D using the above at a layer height of .2 using a .5mm nozzle. The print is scaled to 120%, so a lot of detail in the design is more prevalent.

My TAZ 5 is stock.

The areas you highlight on the hull is a designed curvature. Slowing down the print speed especially, will mitigate the ghosting and blisters.

You can get some pretty good prints with the TAZ 5.

Looks like I’ll be printing with ABS soon then. Thanks for the direction

Thanks for your suggestion - I’ll give it a go printing at 40mm/s your door arches look much better than mine so perhaps the change in speed will do something for me.

So here’s my print at 40mm/s - http://imgur.com/a/yYx7R I reckon it’s actually not much better than the 50.

I don’t know, this does seem a little substandard to me for a stock Taz 5. I’m currently running a stock setup and I feel like I’d expect a slightly better print than this.

Granted I only print exclusively in ABS and don’t know much about PLA.

The Z scaring won’t ever go away, I fight this also in cura, especially when printing cylinders or spheres. I need to still try slic3r or something else… But I’ve got other things I deem more important to improve on. Lowering your extrusion rate will help this some.

Your print looks like it is running hot to me. Maybe this is just PLA. You’ve upped your fan speed which is good. What is your bed temp at? Maybe the heat from the bed is keeping the rest of the print warm and melty?

Slowing down past 50 mm/s print speed won’t see significant improvements. I pretty much always keep it at 50 mm/s unless I’m going for super low layer height.

Do you hear any popping noises coming from the nozzle during the print? The random blemishes that don’t look like Z scaring shouldn’t be there. Unless I’m just not seeing the pictures clearly

Its getting a little better… :slight_smile: At least the ghosting around the doorway arch is essentially gone. And the sides of the wheelhouse look much more uniform.

Looking at your other layers, you may be underextruding a bit. Looks like some of the layers are starved of filament.

What do you have the fan set to for PLA? With ABS, the rule of thumb is none to little fan for cooling. I think with PLA, its pretty much fan on all the time.

Finally - someone validates my opinion that this is sub par.

I did a print with slic3r and the zits all but disappear. Have a go with it and you may see a difference.

Bed is at 50°C

Yep, saw that

Nah, very little popping - maybe one or 2 a print - The PLA hasn’t been sitting round for long so I don’t think it’s sucked up much moisture.

I don’t know whether I would entirely agree with you saying that. The front of the boat looks more borked but yes, the arches are slightly improved. That said - having to run this printer at 40mm/s is unacceptable in my opinion - this is supposed to be a top tier desktop printer.

Good call - I hadn’t calibrated my extruder because I didn’t really see any trouble there but after a calibration, I did have to adjust my e-steps up a bit - good catch

Fan jumps straight to 100% after a few layers when I print with PLA. More cooling is more better :stuck_out_tongue:

My first 3D printer was a makerbot r2. Before I bought it I did a ton of reading and found out all the weak points and bought the upgrades when I bought the printer. I never printed a single object from that printer as stock. As a result the R2 I have is nothing short of amazing. I get near injection mold quality and the size is better than .2mm tolerance, everywhere on the part.

I needed a larger print volume and wanted to explore dual extruder. I bought the AIRWOLF HD3D printer and returned it immediately. The reseller recommended the Taz 5 so I went with that.

Out of the box it was better than the airwolf, just about anything would be. But I was really disappointed with the speed, and the controls, basically requiring a computer be connected to the printer to handle typical printing operations is a huge pain. Over time I have gradually gotten the Taz 5 to make prints that are pretty close to what my R2 does and also have it printing with fairly reasonable speeds and accelerations. But it took quite a bit of research and additional money.

What you need to fix to make the Taz 5 the awesome printer is should be:

The bearings and shafts on each axis have too much play. All linear bushings and the shafts they ride on need to be replaced with linear bearing and harder shafts. Stock you can wiggle each axis by hand noticeably. Why does this matter? It limits the speeds and accelerations you can use and still get decent print quality.

The extruder. The extruder has too much play in terms of rotation about the x axis. Use the stiffened extruder mod to allow for faster printing and better surface finish.

X axis sag. The extruder is heavy and because the x axis rods are small in diameter relative to their length, the sag when the extruder is in the middle of it’s travel in x, is significant. This effects the first layer and may also lead to other problems especially on wide prints. This is one area that is quite a job to fix and I have not addressed it yet.

No enclosure. You need an enclosure to make large ABS prints. Also you need one for your health, especially if you print with exotic materials. But even PLA and ABS give off nanoparticles which can seriously hurt you over long term exposure.

The bed. The bed is a disaster. The PEI either sticks way too well or not enough. Leveling is a ridiculous chore and requires frequent adjustments because you are often wrestling to get parts of the bed. It also has mounting points that can collide with the extruder.

Esteps calibration. The method outlined in the manual is not precise enough to get good surface quality because it is too difficult to measure the length of filament used during the process accurately enough. Instead, I print a square thin flat object, e.g. 40 x 40 x 3mm at 20% infill and 4 or 5 solid layers for tops and bottoms and adjust esteps until I just barely get a solid outer top layer. Often, using the esteps calibration method outlined by lulzbot leads to extreme over extrusion which results in poor surface quality, dimensional problems, and vertical wall issues. ps If your slicer supports it I recommend about .3mm of coasting.

The control box. It is cumbersome to use and lacks a lot of functionality. Essentially you have to have a pc or hand held device of some kind to adequately control the printer movement. Jogging from the control box is slow and cumbersome. Also, The fact that connecting or disconnecting via usb causes the firmware to reboot is also quite irritating. Stopping a print at the control box leaves the nozzle either buried in plastic or early on buried in the bed. Sometimes when I stop a print on long extrusion passes, the printer just keeps going until the head or y axis crashes, so the only alternative is to power off. At a minimum the box firmware needs to move the nozzle up a few mm in Z when a user interrupts printing at the control box.

Anyway this post may come off as a bash of the Taz and it isn’t. I love my Taz 5 now. The promise of the Taz 5 is amazing. I am getting great prints after addressing most of these issues. But out of the box, as is the case with 99.9% of the consumer grade 3d printers, the Taz needs a lot of work.

If using cura only the “Outer shell” parameter needs to be at 40mm/s (or 50mm/s). Leave the travel speed and infill at a high speed.

I guess, I try to keep any exterior face printed slower for accuracy… but all my infill and supports are pretty high… YMMV. Keep tweaking, the machine will provide some quality prints.

The trade off will always be between speed vs quality. Patience is a virtue… :slight_smile:

I don’t think you come off as bashing the TAZ particularly hard. I have owned 4 other printers before I bought my TAZ 5 - 2 FFF (An ultimaker original with some mods and an ultimaker original clone(Don’t ever buy a clone - it’s crap)) and 2 SLA printers (A littleRP and an Uncia) and so far, the TAZ 5 has given me the worst experience(despite the messiness of resin printing). I read many reviews and watched as many youtube videos as I could find and narrowed my printer choice to the TAZ 5 and Ultimaker 2. I ended up going with the TAZ 5 something I currently regret(I would like to get to a point where this isn’t the case and seeing what some others have done with their machines, I do think it’s possible). The one thing I didn’t do was delve deep into these forums but I didn’t think I needed to as I didn’t read any major negative experiences from anyone anywhere else(yeah, that was dumb but most people seem to not have any cooling problems). Everyone was running around touting the brilliance of the printer and then when Make magazine crowned it, I was sold.

Out of the box, the TAZ 5 that I received has been a tale of annoyance and frustration. I am getting the Z-ribbing which can supposedly be fixed by removing the bearings, The part cooling for PLA printing is horrendous which can be fixed by changing the toolhead mount to allow for more cooling fans and the mini blower fan is giving up the ghost which means I can’t even print in PLA anymore because I get too much heat creep and the hotend jams after about 3-5 minutes of printing which again, can be fixed either by calling support and having them send a new fan or by upgrading to a better (probably axial) fan which I will hopefully manage to do this weekend. Then, there’s the issue of the motion - I see that there’s the option to fix again, by upgrading either the rods to hardened rods and linear bearings instead of the IGUS bearings or even going piercet’s route and going for linear rails. The motion system isn’t the major issue for me - at the price point, I can understand they needed to keep costs down so went the IGUS route. It seems that this is a known issue that many people have and I feel that Aleph Objects should at least have a hardened rod/bearing upgrade kit that you can buy as a “pro” option.

I am really frustrated because I bought the printer in December and have yet to print out something with a decent overhang - see the original post in this thread. I am just kicking myself because there’s a local reseller for Ultimaker where I could have got an Ultimaker 2 and with our consumer protection laws, I could easily have returned it at no cost to me if it had turned out to be a lemon. I just wish I’d gone that route because the UM original was an amazing machine that printed really well even before I did any mods on it.

Also, I had a rather unpleasant exchange with one of the founders on a different forum where instead of trying to assist me with my problem or offering tweaking suggestions or even pointing me to this forum, he blamed the problem on bad filament(FormFutura Black Premium PLA) or more specifically the fact that Aleph Objects have no profile for it and when I said I wasn’t satisfied with that as a solution because it wasn’t a solution and asked for pointers to correct the issue he just said “Then return it” which is something I’d rather avoid as I would lose out on $800 because of the shipping, return shipping and import costs involved (I live in South Africa and there is no local reseller)

Sure, patience is a virtue but I don’t feel that 50mm/s is particularly fast and it is certainly not pushing the limits or this printer’s capabilities. I’m unimpressed with the quality of the prints, notably the overhangs. It looks like it’s really bad part cooling and I’m going for the toolhead upgrade that piercet suggested. Dual cooling fans will hopefully do the trick and then I can look at all the other upgrades to make it a really good machine but for now, every time I look at it, I get annoyed.

In closing, it seems that I should have expected print quality of a sub $1000 printer out of the box. Once I have completed discojon’s tool head mount upgrade I will report back.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about the ultimaker but sorry I can’t stand Bowden extruders. Until they change that I would never buy one.

Print quality is a matter of opinion. If a printer is your first printer and prints an object well enough to be recognized you are excited. So going by reviews online is a bit of a minefield. Because many of the people making those glowing reviews of the Taz (or any other printer) flatly just don’t know there are better results to be had.

I’ll throw my 2 cents in.

The Taz 5 is my second printer , first was a Flash Forge Creater Pro. The FFC Pro turned out great quality after it was setup properly, as does the Taz. Whoever said it a few posts back nailed it, All of these printers need a skilled hand to tune them. A stock Taz is a very capable machine, however my recommendation is to firstly ditch the .5mm nozzle and go back to the .35mm. I feel that was a move to aid in reducing the number of clogs and warranty claims Lulzbot was seeing.

My taz 5 was one of the very first batch to ship and had several issues that Lulzbot and I were able to sort out. Now though, It is heavily modified and churns out awesome quality prints consistently. YMMV but here is the path I took to get here.

Stage one:

I did the hardened rods and ball bearings on X and Y. Actually saw a decrease in quality. Many more ripples in the print and corners were bad. Z-Wobble is apparent.

Stage one.5:

My Juniper extruder mount was rocking like crazy so I ended up reworking the mangrove mount to suit my needs. This resulted in a rock solid mount. I also remodified the strengthened mount that another member had posted to fit the Mangrove back plate. Z-Wobble not improved.

Stage two:

I used Piercet’s Open rails conversion on all three axis, redid the extruder mount again, added a second cooling fan, and replaced the 5v blower with a 5v ducted fan all from the mangrove extruder setup from lulzbot. This provided cooling on both sides which greatly helps PLA and overhangs. The design of the fan ducts is less than optimal though as part of the cooling hits the heater block and can lead to thermal runaway when using Marlin 1.1 or later. Also at this time I added a inductive sensor for auto leveling and upgraded to sebastians Marlin 1.1.

This resolved all of the ripple, wave, and overhang issues. There is a bit of z-wobble on tall parts still.

This is where I am at currently and I am very pleased with the machine. I haven’t had a nozzle clog since Stage two, even using old filament. No more grinding or skipping of PLA either. I actually may reprint the motor mounts and some other parts for the open builds conversion now that the printer is dialed in.

I have posted all (i think) of this information on thingiverse if you choose to go my path.


The only other upgrade I’m considering is to convert to bowden like Mhackney (i think it was him) did with the cyclops nozzle and bondtech extruders


I had similar feelings about the Taz in the beginning. I stayed with the printer because I knew I could make it better. Unfortunately like I said there are few consumer level printers that are perfect. Even with the glowing reports of the U2… I have seen parts printed by them and they are nowhere near the quality I get with my modded R2 and even now with my modded Taz 5. Remember any printer can print something pretty well slowly. But who wants their printer to take 12 hours to print something that should take 4? I don’t. So there is that to consider.

Consumer grade 3D printers for the most part are research projects. And a lot depends on the end user and what they expect. Like I said in the other post some people are happy if the print looks recognizable and doesn’t fall apart when they take it out of the printer. Others, like myself, are unhappy unless the print is printed fast and looks injection molded.

I will say that filament quality has a HUGE impact on the printer and can make or break many prints. I have had recent experiences with a print that simply would not print well and it was driving me crazy. So on a whim I changed to a different color, which also happened to be a different brand, and the print came out perfectly! It’s really hard for the printer to give good quality when the filament diameter changes along the length substantially. Many cheaper brands (and some expensive ones) have constantly fluctuating diameter which will wreak havoc with a print. btw I have had excellent results with Gizmo Dorks ABS 2.85mm filament. It’s relatively cheap and very consistent in diameter. Highly recommend it. Amazon carries it.

You may want to try one of the Anti Wobble nut mounts. That ended up being the ultimate fix for wobble on mine.