The versatility of the LulzBot TAZ 4 is appealing, and the printing speed is absolutely fantastic. Add its vaunted reliability and precise quality, and you have an excellent 3d printer at a very reasonable price.
There’s no doubt that 3d printing is an exciting new technology that has engineers positively cackling with glee. Now they no longer have to expend all that much time and effort making their prototypes and checking out their designs. All they need is a good reliable 3d printer, and they can save so much time and money as they go about their work.
There are quite a few possible options when you’re in the market for a nice ABS 3d printer, as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a very common filament to use with 3d printers. But LulzBot TAZ does offer a very compelling argument for the LulzBot TAZ 4.
This 3d printing company was founded just in 2011, and it came out with the first version of the TAZ 3d printer just recently in May of 2013. The LulzBot TAZ 4 is actually the 6th generation of the TAZ 3d printer.
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Improvements over the LulzBot TAZ 3 3d printer
While the TAZ 3 was actually already good, the TAZ 4 came with a few notable differences that made it a better product. Here are some examples of the differences:
- Upgraded drive rod system. The twin Z-axis rods have been reengineered. This improves the 3d print quality considerably, especially with the first few layers of the print. This improvement didn’t slow down the speed of the printer as you may have thought.
- Improved Y-axis bed mounts. The new y-axis mounts really makes the set up much easier for your 3d printer.
- 400 Watt Power Supply: This greater power supply should be sufficient to allow you to use a lot more accessories and add-ons from LulzBot.
- Fully Assembled Electronics Case: What this means is that you are now ready to upgrade when LulzBot finally decides to release their line of dual extruders. With another extruder, you may finally be able to 3d print with two different materials or colors at the same time.
- Standard Extruder Fan: This is no longer an option you have to buy for your TAZ 4 3D printer. You can now get sharper corners and finer details at a low cost.
Assembling the TAZ 4
The TAZ isn’t exactly difficult to set up, although you may want to watch the instructional videos first. You’ll need to know exactly what to do, starting with just unpacking it. The instructions are quite clear, although it may take you some time to complete. About 2½ hours should do it.
Your main problem here will be the bed leveling. This will probably take up most of your setup time, and the given instructions may not be enough. You may also need to watch instructional videos on this to get it right.
LulzBot has quite a few fans, and this level of approval is understandable. After all, its products are all Open Source Hardware. That allows you to adopt any of the new technology in the 3d printing industry.
But there are several key features in the TAZ 4 that really stand out:
• You have numerous filament options. The use of standard plastics such as ABS, PLA, and HIPS is quite common. But you can also use nylon, wood-like materials such as Laywood, stone-like materials such as Laybrick, and rubber-like materials such as NinjaFlex.
• The quality of the print is exceptional. This is true even with basic software settings. When you tweak the settings, use a white low-gloss filament, and slow down the print speed, the results are just about perfect.
• The accuracy is also great. Just use the “fine” settings, adjust the filament diameter setting appropriate for the filament, and adjust the extrusion multiplier. That should result in an accuracy of +/- 0.05mm.
• The printing speed is phenomenal. Most of the other 3d printers boast a printing speed of 100 mm per second. But with the TAZ, you get double that at 200 mm per second. While you usually slow down the speed to improve the quality of the print, with the TAZ for you have a lot of speed to trade-off for quality.
• The print volume is massive. At this price point, the TAZ 4 has one of the biggest build plates in the 3d printing industry, with an area of 11.7″ x 10.8″. With the print height of 9.8”, you get a little more than 1238 cubic inches, or about 20.3 liters.
Reliability and Durability
All these wonderful features are nice, but only if you can get reliable results for a long time. And with the TAZ 4 you do. You can just let it work alone, and you get the fine results you want. You can even use it for professional tasks.
Just make sure that you clean the nozzle every 100 hours of use, as it will of course eventually clog.
Then make sure you heed all the warnings in the manual about proper use. You may short a fuse if you put a nozzle back while the printer is still on. You’ll need to replace the fuse, and it may take some time for the replacement to arrive. So you better have a few handy.
But all in all, the TAZ 4 can work for a very long time with very little maintenance.
So is the LulzBot TAZ 4 a good buy? That depends. If you already have the LulzBot TAZ 3 3d printer, it may not be worth the expense of a brand new 3d printer. LulzBot is actually open-source, so if you want the improvements you can just buy the lead screws and even print out the new parts you need.
But if you are in the market for a brand new 3d printer for the first time, then the LulzBot TAZ 4 3D Printer is great. The capabilities are superb, it’s very durable and quick, and the price is more than fair. The most noticeable drawback is the single extruder, but that will be addressed very soon. When you get it, you get one of the best “bang for the buck” 3d printers available today.