Lulzbot has gained a reputation as one of the top companies in the open source 3D printing movement. Their printers show an incredible amount of engineering, and their community continues to make their machines even better. With the Taz 6, Lulzbot has made this top level machine accessible to novice owners and experts alike.
The Taz 6 is a natural progression from last year’s top spot winner the Taz 5. Lulzbot didn’t start from scratch, but instead combined some of the best parts of their Taz and Mini platforms to create the Taz 6. New Z and X axis components show the inheritance from the Mini, along with the integrated power supply, eliminating the need for cumbersome external power supply found on the Taz 5. The new electronics tower also cleans up the machine by bringing the LCD and all of its wiring into the main box.
Of course, the most notable upgrade is the inclusion of an auto print leveling system. The new system is a direct descendant from the print leveling system found on Lulzbot Mini using the nozzle to touch conductive disks on the corners of the bed. One problem with the system found on the mini is that if the nozzle is not properly cleaned, the hot end can be over driven into the conductive disks. The Taz 6 has an additional sensor that is pressed by the hot end before it attempts to level. This sensor is spring loaded and allows the system to get a baseline of how low the z axis is. The system will try to find the leveling points three times before letting the user know if the nozzle is too dirty to continue. This system helps make the Taz 6 far more user friendly for the new or even experienced user.
The auto leveling is coupled to a large print bed with a fantastic PEI bed surface. The PEI sheet is attached to a glass plate and keeps prints adhered to the bed while warm and easily releases them when they cool. This is the same bed that is found on the Taz 5 and is one of the reasons the line has sold so well.
To pair with Lulzbot’s open platform, the team continues to offer an expanding number of filament profiles for the ever-widening number of material options available on the market. These profiles seem to be one of the larger problems with the Taz 6. While we found the print quality on the machine more than acceptable, it didn’t stand out like last year’s model. With a little tweaking to the settings, or swapping PLA brands, we found we could make big improvements.
The extruder on the Taz 6 is the same dependable Wade extruder that we have seen before on the rest of their machines. While the extruder is reliable, the decision to continue with a 3mm only is becoming limiting. The Taz 6 will run 1.75mm filament as is but a dedicated option would help many potential customers integrate a Taz into their existing setup and filament supplies.
For those who are serious about open source, Lulzbot’s line of printers are a top choice.
|Price As Tested:||$2,500|
|Bed Style:||Heated (with PEI-coated build surface)|
|Temperature Control:||Yes, tool head (300ºC max); bed (120ºC max)|
|Print Untethered:||Yes (SD card)|
|Onboard Controls:||Yes (scroll knob and LCD)|
|Host/Slicer Software:||LulzBot Cura|
|OS:||Windows, Mac, Linux|
|Open Software:||Yes, CC BY-SA 4.0 International|
|Open Hardware:||Yes, CC BY-SA 4.0 International|
|Hot End:||High Temperature|