FDM 3D Printer Instructions


  • all the slicers and profiles are on the PC by the printers
  • always watch one homing and make sure nozzle is not crashing or dragging on the bed.
  • Always check the slicer profile you’re using, that the settings make sense
    • we usually use Simplify3D for the FDM machines; sometimes Cura, or Slic3r.
  • double check the profile is correct one for the printer you’re using!
    • the printers need different G-Code!
    • different pressure advance settings
    • different maximum fan speeds
  • if you need to change an existing default profile, then save your changes as a new profile
  • filament accuracy is very good these days; but for really accurate prints, you may want to measure the filament diameter and adjust the nominal 1.75mm entered in the profiles
  • save g-code to SD-Card, or USB stick rather than printing via serial USB
    • printer can read g-code faster and more reliably from SD card; serial can cause pauses
    • won’t be affected by OS going to sleep, updates, etc


  • make sure there are no loose cables or other obstructions
  • watch the first few layers when printing, they’re a common point of failure
  • if you’re changing filament, make sure the hotend is at the highest required temperature
  • check the filament extruder is clean, especially the driver gear


Every Use

  • check for loose parts, missing bolts, loose wires


  • check for loose or missing bolts
  • clean up around machine
  • lubricate linear bearings with silicone grease
    • DON’T lubricate the Taz 3 ball screws


  • check belt tension


All machines are running Marlin. The source is in our github repo.

Each machine has it’s own branch, based of the bugfix-2.0 branch.

Update Procedure

  1. pull from upstream
  2. push to origin
  3. pull upstream/bugfix-2.0 into MakeItZone-base-bugfix-2.0.x. This is the branch w keep all the common changes and configuration.
  4. Resolve any conflicts and push to origin.
  5. Checkout the branch for the printer you want to upgrade
  6. Pull in the MakeItZone-base-bugfix-2.0.x branch.
  7. Resolve any conflicts, compile and upload to the printer.
  8. Push update to origin.



  • machines are typically kept at <0.1mm of error
  • typically use a 2cm cube with ‘X’, ‘Y’, and ‘Z’ embedded in it
  • remember to ensure the slicer settings are outside-in. Memory/old research/anecdote says this is more accurate than inside-out. (But inside-out can be useful for shapes with steep angles…)
  • set the start point to be in the same location for every layer
  • larger deviations are probably belt stretch - time to replace

Extruder Calibration

Temperature Calibration

  • should only be needed if a thermistor or heater is replaced
  • both bed and hotend are configured for PID

Machine Specifics

So far, all our machines have been setup to use 1.75mm diameter filament.

LulzBot Taz Machines


  • PLA, PET-G, TPU, Nylon, ABS, Polycarbonate, etc
  • With tweaking, can do 0.05mm layer height
  • 0.4mm nozzle
    • other sizes available, ask for help to change


  • PEI print beds
  • E3Dv6 nozzles
  • Adafruit 1.75 Extruder Mounts
  • 2nd cooling fan

KitTaz 4

Our first printer. Bought as a kit and constructed by Julian.

Known issues:

  • glass bed has been chipped and has a cracked corner.PEI sheet is now mandatory for use.
  • original controller failed
  • 2nd controller is a refurb; digital pot control is not working, so couldn’t adjust motor current. Bodges applied to allow manual adjustment of Y and Z drive current.

Taz 3

Bought second hand. Was a prebuilt, but has been heavily modified:

  • ball screw lead screws for Z
  • shock mounts for all steppers
  • custom mounting brackets, including some milled aluminium parts

Design Files

Original design files and upgrades

Design files are mirrored on Luggage at \infrastructure\CAD Files\Taz Printers

JG Aurora Machines

Kindly donated to the space.


  • has two controllers, one for the LCD and a RAMPS compatible board to run the machine
  • LCD firmware has been upgraded to allow Z micro shifting
  • RAMPS compatible board firmware has been upgraded to latest Marlin

Known Issues:

  • Z dimension seems to be slightly off (low)
  • don’t set print too close to the bed; the print will stick to it excessively/be damaged
  • Z motor driver may be failing- has had to be adjusted up in power twice to be reliable
  • to adjust drivers, have to remove three screws at back, and screws from front two rubber feet
    • whole top has to be lifted off!


  • RAMPs compatible controller
  • uses painters tape as the printing bed
  • bed springs/bed configuration is a bit loose, leads to some vibration wobble
  • aluminum bed is slightly warped; so bed looks to be at an angle- it’s not relative to the X axis.

Known Issues:

  • bed struggles to reach temperatures >50˚C even with the bed temp watch-dog time relaxed to 5 minutes