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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    29

    Default Prusa i3 vs Taz 6

    Those of us who own 3D printers know how useful they can be. I guess most of us have also experienced the frustrations when things donít go as planned, especially when it takes several time-consuming attempts to achieve a successful print.

    In the quest for greater reliability Iíve tweaked everything that can be tweaked on my Taz 6. Iíve tried half a dozen slicers, various firmwares, laboriously ground down the bed levelling washers to an exact match, replaced the bed, tried a different toolhead, thrown out defective filament, yet still struggle to achieve successful prints without hours of fiddling.

    After 5 years of this Iíve finally concluded the Taz 6 has some fundamental design flaws, the worst being the automatic bed levelling system. It relies on detecting electrical contact between the nozzle and washers positioned at the corners of the bed, which means that the nozzle and washers must be clean and remain that way while the nozzle is positioned at each corner. There is a cleaning felt that the nozzle is dragged over before commencing the washer touching cycle, however the felt soon ends up clogged with filament, which then ends up back on the nozzle. And if that doesnít corrupt the levelling measurement, then loose fibres from the felt will do it for you, or oozing PETG.

    You might be wondering why not disable the automatic bed levelling altogether? Well Iíve tried that too, but there is just as much fiddling required to set the levelling parameters, and they need to reset virtually every time you use the printer, so that isnít a viable option. The only solution that works most of the time is to inspect and manually clean the nozzle and bed levelling washers before the automatic levelling takes place, then get ready to cancel the print when it fails. Painful.

    Time to try something else, so after some research I ordered a Prusa i3 MK3S+ kit direct from Prusa. It took about 5 weeks to arrive, and ended up costing me approximately $1,300 AUD by the time Fedex and the government each took their cut. You might ask why I paid a lot more compared to buying a clone, but I wanted to make sure all the parts were exactly to spec so I would know if issues were caused by design or manufacture, and the altruistic side of me thought it was about time I rewarded Prusa for their excellent slicer which Iíve been using for a while.

    My impressions so far:

    - It took me several days to assemble, partly because I decided to print a larger enclosure for the electronics so I could include a Raspberry Pi running Octoprint and increase the frame rigidity, and partly because I found the instructions a bit unclear in places. Judging by the volume of comments on the Prusa site, I wasnít alone in this.

    - Everything worked as soon as I switched it on. The first thing I did after carrying out the initial calibration was to print 2 small items designed in Fusion 360. Each printed perfectly on the first attempt using standard profiles available in SuperSlicer. No mucking around cleaning the nozzle and waiting for something to fail.

    - It is a lot quieter than my Taz 6, and smaller. While it isnít as rigid, the smaller size and lower mass of the tool head seem well matched.

    - The automatic bed levelling system uses an inductive sensor, completely avoiding the issues I have with the Taz 6, and operating much faster.

    - The Prusa has a more professional feel to it, both firmware and hardware. Everything seems more refined than the Taz 6, which I guess is to be expected given that Prusa is still under active development. Overall Iím very pleased with it.

    - Prusa could do more to reduce shipping costs. They unnecessarily include a 1 Kg roll of filament and 2 thick printed manuals, helping to push the price just over the magic $1000 AUD Ė enough to send Fedex into a frenzy of emails demanding payment of additional processing fees and taxes, delaying delivery by a week and significantly increasing the cost. Apparently Prusa took steps to keep the US price below $800 to avoid similar issues for US customers. They might lose less customers to clone vendors if they did the same for us Aussies.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Helensburgh
    Posts
    492

    Default

    I have had a Prusa for about 18 months and it simply works and I have had no issues with it at all.
    CHRIS

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