Desktop 3D printer manufacturer LulzBot has announced the launch of a flexible new addition to its machine portfolio known as the ‘TAZ SideKick.’
Marketed as an accessible yet highly-customizable system, almost anything on LulzBot’s latest machine can be configured, from its size and color to build surface and toolhead type. Whether designers and makers choose to buy the ‘SideKick 289’ or larger ‘747’ iteration, both also come with Cura-based software and arrive ready-to-use out of the box, allowing adopters to get going as soon as they arrive.
LulzBot’s 3D printing pedigree
With the launch of its new SideKick system, LulzBot now offers a total of six TAZ 3D printers, ranging from the compact 160mm x 160mm x 180mm Mini v2, to the heavy-duty Workhorse and Pro S iterations. Compared to the firm’s existing range, both SideKicks have a slightly larger build volume than the Mini v2 yet they’re priced at less than $1,000, making them an affordable entry-level addition to the TAZ lineup.
At the top end of its portfolio, LulzBot also offers its TAZ Pro and Pro XT 3D printers which at $4,950 and $5,495 each, provide clients with a more premium experience and ‘industrial’ printing capabilities. The latter, for instance, features a reinforced nozzle and massive heater block, allowing it to 3D print using high-strength composite polymers with ease.
By comparison, LulzBot’s new SideKick is more compact and stripped-down, but its form factor also lends it greater flexibility, thus its addition to the TAZ range means that entry-level users can now build a system from scratch, which contains only the features they want and need, without shelling-out on complicated extras that they may never use.
A tailored desktop experience
Designed to be flexible enough to meet the needs of each individual user, the SideKick enables adopters to personalize their system to their heart’s content. Among these options, LulzBot allows users to choose from custom black or green aesthetics, a Glass/PEI or magnetic OctoGrab platform and a selection of nine 1.75mm or 2.85mm toolheads.
LulzBot also offers an array of add-ons for its new system, including a dedicated gLCD controller with ‘scroll and click’ functionality, and a filament runout sensor to stop users running out of material and ruining an active print. Elsewhere, in terms of compatibility, the SideKick lives up to the LulzBot name, and it remains compatible with feedstocks like ABS, PLA, PETG, TPU, PP, Nylon and more.
With regards to performance, both editions of the SideKick feature automatic mesh bed leveling, in addition to the firm’s proprietary high-precision belt drive system on all axes. As a result, LulzBot’s latest machines are able to print freely at various layer height resolutions, eliminating the Z banding and wobbling issues seen in lead screw machines.
Size-wise, the two SideKick versions slightly differ, with the 747’s 231 x 231 x 248mm build volume dwarfing that of the 289, and its weight is suitably higher at 20.35lbs too. However, LulzBot has been keen to emphasize that both systems’ folding control boxes and Y axis travel mounts make them highly-portable, and therefore ideal for “bringing along on weekend trips or from classroom-to-classroom.”
Finally, as an added bonus, more than 50% of the TAZ SideKick’s parts are actually 3D printed themselves and open-source, thus users can easily and affordably replace any worn components away from the workshop, safe in the knowledge that if anything more extensive goes wrong, they’re covered by the firm’s one-year factory warranty.
Technical specifications and pricing
Below are the technical specifications for the LulzBot TAZ SideKick 289 and 747 3D printers. The standard machines will be available to order from July 15 2021 for $795 and $995 respectively, with the pricing of customized machines varying depending on chosen setups.
|SideKick 289||SideKick 747|
|Build Volume||162 x 162 x 181mm||231 x 231 x 248mm|
|Bed Leveling||ANTCLABS BL Touch|
|Filament Diameter||1.75mm or 2.85mm|
|XYZ Motion & Resolution||Belt Driven,10, 10, <5μ|
|Build Plate||Glass/PEI/Octograb Magnetic Bed|
|Power||24 VDC, 150W||24 VDC 350W|
|Supported File Types||.stl, .obj, .x3d, .3mf, .png and .jpg|
|Operating Footprint||22” x 25”||24” x 28”|
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Featured image shows a black LulzBot SideKick 747 3D printer. Image via LulzBot.