Upgrading the 3D Printer

After some TLC was offered up to Tog’s 3D printer, by way of a little restoration and tuning, it became very clear that the current hotend was on its way out.

Tog’s Lulzbot Taz 3.0 FDM 3D Printer has been deprecated and is approximately 3 versions behind the current technology. What’s worse is that the nozzles for the extruder were not standardised, byt comparison the E3D V6 style hotend and nozzles have been almost universally adopted. Even by manufacturers.

So, in case you’ve been wondering why Tog’s 3D printer has been out of action for approximately the past 2 weeks, thats why. I have started the process of upgrading the extrusion system to use an E3D V6 style hotend. Initally I tried some chinese clones (the designs are GPL’d after all!) but found their quality seriously wanting. I cannot comment on the genuine article as the order appears to have been lost in the UK postal system for the time being.

The main issue with changing from the Lulzbot Budaschnozzle v2.0 configuration to an E3D V6 is that there is apparently no models or designs we can draw from to make a mount. So I had to design one from scratch. I say design one, but actually there were many designs. The first was a laser cut wood mount – It worked but it just didnt feel like it what I was experiencing was truely level.

As I am lucky enough to have a Prusa i3 MK3 printer of my own, so I have been iterating over the design and protyping a lot of different variations to see what works. When I say a lot, I do really mean a lot…


I think now I have finally I settled on this design:


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The current backplate – which is already a reasonably good hot-plug-able system, is replaced with an altered one. This new one comes with a 5 x 7 grid (14mm spacing) of 4mm hex cavities which will be used as a ‘mechanical key’ to home whatever tool is installed. This way we come a little bit closer to achieving “true level”, mostly. It also has the added feature of supporting many different applications in the one piece – wheras originally it only supported the extruder assembly and the stock nozzle, this new design could even be used for things such as drawing circuits or as a plotter.

As I’ve been using AutoDesk Fusion 360 to design it, you can use this link to see the current model and download it if you so desire. It is still very much a work in progress,  however.


Memory Lane -> 2009

Sometimes we get a bit nostalgic for the early days in Tog.  We had our first tiny place in Arran Quay, a small three room office unit. We started running our first workshops and open days for the public there. We have changed a lot in the last nine plus years. To showcase the early space and show oof photos of when we were all much younger, we have created a photo collage of what we got upto in 2009. It was started way back during Science Hackday Dublin but only finished during our recent finishaton.  You can now see it hanging on the wall in our space or view the individual photos on our gallery

Supporting Dublin Raspberry Pi Jam

We are supporting the great Dublin Raspberry Pi Jam crew to put on their first jam.  It will be hosted in the Science Gallery on Saturday August 11th from 12:30. Unfortunately as of now all tickets are sold out. You can join the waiting list on the main event page -> https://ti.to/dublin-raspberry-pi-jam/first-pi-jam


Join us at Dublin Maker, Saturday, 21st July in Merrion Square

TOG is delighted to be accepted into Dublin Maker again in 2018. We are really excited to join the maker community from Ireland and the world to show off our projects and meet other makers and the public.

A duck shooting stand and tent with TOG's stall at Dublin Maker in sunny Dublin

TOG at Dublin Maker last year

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3D Printer Restoration and Tuning

In 2014 Tog won a Lulzbot Taz 3, since then it has been used on and off and mostly off for the past 2 yrs. During this time, there was very little, if any maintenance carried out on the printer. As a result, it had become gunked up with the remains of previous prints. From shavings in the extruder to melted plastic stuck all over the nozzle and heat brake, it was pretty messy.

As I had recently ordered a Prusa i3 MK3 for myself, I thought it was as good an excuse to reintroduce myself to the nitty gritty of 3D printing – by restoring the Tog Lulzbot Taz 3.

The first issue was that because the Lulzbot Taz 3, or at least our version of it, had no endstop switches on one side of the Z Axis (they’re are actually only one for each axis, presumably only used for homing), it was incredibly easy to instruct the 3D Printer to break itself – and that’s precisely what had happened.


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One of the Z-Axis followers had been broken into two while the X-Axis and Extruder assembly was being raised too high and hit into the main frame of the printer. This resulted in a broken part. 

The emergency fix for this was to use zip ties to hold the follower together just long enough to print replacement parts (pictured right). We were actually incredibly lucky that this worked! If it hadn’t there would’ve been no way to fix this part without finding another 3D printer to produce the necessary part – but as it was, the temporary fix worked just long enough for us to do a few test prints and to print an actual working replacement part. Albeit in PLA which is not ideal, but it works!


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Once the 3D Printer was back to being somewhat functional, I set to task to begin calibrating and cleaning and doing basic maintenance on it – something which has been sorely missing for the past 4 or so years of its operation.

The print bed had years worth of hair spray caked onto it, so a lot of time was spent scraping that off and wiping it clean with isopropyl alcohol (99%). Then doing basic tasks such as levelling the bed, re-homing the z-axis etc. After all that we printed some calibration prints


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After a little tweaking, we measured that the prints were +/- within 5% of the expected outcome. So for a 20mm part, it could be anywhere between 19 and 21mm. This is far from ideal for mechanical fitting parts, but its a good start. 

The next task on the docket was to clean up the hot-end. It had accrued quite a lot of grime over the years, so I set to task to cleaning it up. First I tried some acetone, which removed some of the lingering ABS plastic, but the PLA was completely untouched. After inspecting the nozzle, it became clear that it has been seriously worn out after years of use, so I was okay with being a little less delicate with it than I would ordinarily, so I used a wire wheel to clean and polish both the heat brake and the nozzle itself.

3D Printer Screen Shot 09-06-2018, 23.12 (1)

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This is only the start, we have a lot more maintenance and upgrade tasks. 

CNC Workshop

This July 7th TOG will be collaborating with guest Prof. Steve Potter and hosting a CNC wood milling workshop.

The event aims to introduce CNC wood-working and computer aided design (CAD) for beginners. It will cover the design and creation of items in free CAD software (Fusion 360) and the carving of those designs out of wood using the Handibot, a portable CNC router.

This event is open to both TOG members, and members of the public over 18 years of age,

Attendees will be required to bring a reasonably powered laptop and a 2-button wheel mouse (see f360spec), if not otherwise arranged.

Cost to members of the public is 25 EUR, including evening snacks/catering.

See eventbrite page for details.