If you're in the market for a 3D printer, there are plenty of qualities to weigh. Price, ease of use, size, and print resolution are all factors that could influence the types of objects you're able to create. If you want a printer that fits on your desk and can print objects the size of a basketball though, you may want to consider the latest model from Aleph Objects, Inc. The LulzBot TAZ 3D printer boasts an open source hardware approach in design and claims to have the largest print volume for desktop printers in its price range.
Once assembled, the TAZ takes up a space of 680 x 520 x 515 mm (26.8 x 20.5 x 20.3 in), but it's actual printing area measures 298 x 275 x 250 mm (11.7 x 10.8 x 9.8 in). According to the developers, this gives it the largest print volume for 3D printers under US$5,000, That distinction may be taken away once re:3D's massive Gigabot printer enters distribution, though the TAZ still has a leg up with it's tool-free assembly and pre-calibration, among other features.
Aleph Objects follows an open-source design philosophy with its products, so TAZ users will be able to alter or switch tool heads or switch to a different one if they want to. In a statement, the company has even pledged that the hardware and included software "will not be locked down, become obsolete, or require licensed upgrades over time." To that end, the assembled TAZ is designed to have a long shelf life while requiring very little maintenance.
Out of the box, the printer can build objects with a layer height of 75 to 300 microns at speeds up to 200 mm/sec (7.9 in/sec). The latest version of the Budaschnozzle hot end will ensure a smoother surface on objects and a finer resolution. The TAZ will also accept a variety of print materials, including ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, and wood filaments.
The LulzBot TAZ 3D printer is currently available to order online for $2,195, which includes manuals and some tools to get you started as well as a 90-day warranty.