Tech Breakdown: An In-depth Look At The LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer
MatterHackers' pros take a detailed look at why the impressively large TAZ 6 is the workhorse of the 3D printing industry, making it a machine we rely on daily.
The LulzBot TAZ 6 3D printer is a staple in the industry, making it our go-to printer for long print jobs, larger-scaled prints, and even taking it on the road to showcase at conventions. Read on to learn why this printer will elevate your 3D printing capabilities.
Our Experience with the LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer
Unboxing a Lulzbot Taz 6 is a breeze; a handy step-by-step guide with pictures and text leads you through the process of unboxing and initial setup. With the “assembly required” steps just being a couple screws here and there to connect all the big pieces, you can go from box to printing in an hour, even less if you’re knowledgeable. As an Open-Source company, you can find all the necessary documentation to print replacement parts, upgrades, or modify the printer to your heart’s content. Not only is the unboxing and assembly of a TAZ 6 easy, it’s really easy to get a print started.
Using a MatterControl Printer Profile and preset Material Profile, all the settings are ready and tested and you can start your first print. When the machine actually starts, it will run through it’s auto-leveling routine, making sure your first layer is always perfect and level, and the PEI build surface grips strongly to the print. Once your print is finished, the PEI sheet on the build plate cools, releasing your print from its strong grip, leaving a smooth surface on its base. We love the Lulzbot TAZ 6 for its size, ease-of-use, and material accessibility, making it an easy choice in the office when we need anything printed big and easy.
The LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer in all its glory
Overview of the LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer
The LulzBot TAZ 6 3D printer is the latest large format printer from LulzBot. With a build volume of 280mm x 280mm x 250mm, the TAZ 6 is flexible enough to make prints both large and small while supporting a broad selection of filaments. The TAZ 6 has the same look and feel of its predecessors sporting an open frame of aluminum extrusion. It follows the RepRap standard where many of its nonmetal parts are printed from companion 3D printer.
There are defining features which set the TAZ 6 apart from its predecessors and peers. First is the automatic print bed leveling system where the nozzle progresses through the touching of four metal contacts, one on each corner of the bed, to complete a circuit and to calculate the offset adjustment. Next are the idler retainer latch and hinged idler configuration which allows for easy access when loading and unloading filament. Last is the single electrical connection and bolt on the tool head which compresses the time required for the swapping of tool heads, like the MOARstruder or Flexy Dually, to less than one minute. All these features allow for the smooth configuration and operation of the TAZ 6 3D printer.
Metal contacts for automatic leveling
The LulzBot TAZ 6 is the largest footprint universally adaptable RepRap standard 3D printer on the market. Its versatility and flexibility is especially geared for adoption by engineers, fabricators, and low unit volume manufacturers. Its open standard allows for straightforward modifications, e.g. an all metal hotend and/or Bowden extruder configuration. The stock hotend can heat up to 300°C which means that it can handle high-temperature filaments such as nylon. The print bed is covered with a material called Polyethermide (PEI). Most 3D filaments adhere to this surface really well, especially when the bed is heated. Finally, an SD card slot and large LCD screen allow the printer to work in standalone mode without connecting to a personal computer. However, use of MatterControl through a USB connection allows the most extensibility for setting up, slicing and controlling prints through the 3D printing process.
Excellent material adhesion to the PEI print bed
The TAZ 6 3D printer uses 3.00mm filament from any supplier with two exceptions: filaments with carbon fiber and flexible filaments. Filaments with carbon fiber are discouraged for use, as the material can be quite abrasive. Upgrading to a hardened steel or stainless steel nozzle helps to reduce abrasion, thereby mitigating wear to the hotend.
To print with flexible filaments, LulzBot offers the Flexystruder Tool Head v2 upgrade. The Flexystruder is a tool head that is interchangeable with the stock tool head and can be switched out on the TAZ 6 in less than one minute.
The Flexy Dually Tool Head
The TAZ 6 has excellent print speed and print quality. With the .5mm nozzle width, the TAZ 6 can print layer heights from 50-500 microns (.05 - .5mm). The top print speed is listed as 200mm/sec, but most users will want to keep their average print speed between 30-50mm/sec for the highest quality print within tolerance. However, do not expect the TAZ 6 to be a quiet 3D printer. This is a direct result of the extruder gear movement and the cooling fans. Even with motor dampers, the extruder gear and the cooling fans will drown out any noise reduction gained in the vicinity of the stepper motors.
Final Takeaway on the LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer
The LulzBot TAZ 6 is a workman style printer that provides excellent results on a proven, flexible, and reliable platform. The large, heated build platform, automatic print bed leveling system and diverse filament selection make this an excellent addition to any 3D print farm, as well as the sole printer in a home environment. Take the step today to enhance your 3D printing capabilities with the LulzBot TAZ 6.