All-metal hot ends are a great upgrade for the Ender 3, Pro, V2, and S1 3D printers. While the stock hot ends that come with these machines are reliable and easy to use, their limitations can be holding you back from unlocking the full potential of your printer.
In a standard hot end, a PTFE tube passes all the way down to the heat block. Due to this tube’s inability to withstand temperatures beyond 250 °C, printing materials at such an elevated temperature is unfeasible. As if that’s not enough, any attempt to print these hotter materials leads to dangerous emissions from the melting PTFE tube.
Also, this type of upgrade has a special feature, in that the tube isn’t inserted all the way down into the heat break. This feature allows for far greater flexibility when it comes to selecting material types that can be used in the 3D printer. Some of these materials include flammable polycarbonate and versatile nylon, as well as harder, more durable carbon fibre – all three being desirable materials for various engineering projects.
In this article, we will talk about different types of all-metal hot ends for the Ender 3s. But first, a few words about the benefits, drawbacks, and options…
Advantages & Disadvantages
Installing an all-metal hot end on your Ender machine could offer some significant advantages However, there are also some potential disadvantages also. Make sure that the advantages of an all-metal hot end outweigh any potential negatives before making the switch.
- Higher temperatures: This type of hot end is designed to heat up faster and maintain higher temperatures than its traditional counterpart, allowing you to print with materials that would otherwise be incompatible due to the temperature requirements.
- No need for PTFE replacement: The PTFE tube, which is usually used for high-temperature printing with materials such as PETG and ABS, has a limited lifespan and will degrade over time. Thus, if you’re looking for a longer-lasting solution for this kind of task, consider switching to an all-metal hot end. This type of hot end does not put the PTFE liner in direct contact with the heated parts, meaning it won’t need replacing as often compared to other methods.
- Finnicky retraction settings: It’s important to keep an eye on your retraction settings as they tend to stick to the wall of the heat break if retracted too far. To get just the right balance, start by lowering your retraction distance to between 3.5 and 4 mm and reduce the speed to 45 mm/s. This is only a general guideline though; everyone experiences different results depending on intrinsic factors such as material type and hardware capabilities.
- Clogging: While the heat break is great at conducting heat quickly and therefore helping with cooling, it can also be a source of clogging if not properly managed. During heating, the filament may partially melt, and when it is subjected to the drastic temperature difference in the heat break without a PTFE tube to slow things down, you could end up with a clog. To avoid this, you’ll need to fiddle with your cooling settings as well as your retraction settings to ensure that any oozing or overheating along the way is taken care of.
When it comes time to upgrade your 3D printing setup with an all-metal hot end, you’ll be presented with a dizzying array of choices. Big-name brands and their third-party clones are both readily available and offer reliable results in terms of temperature performance and compatibility.
However, With the ubiquity of clones across the internet, it can be tempting to purchase a product simply because of its affordability. However, cheaper often means lower quality in the world of online commerce, and while some brands may claim they offer the same functionality as their famous counterparts, beware: buying a clone could cost you more in the long run if the product fails to work properly or if there is no support or quality assurance provided with your purchase.
By supporting companies that develop great innovations in 3D printing, we can ensure the high-quality and precision manufacturing that ultimately allows us to get the best printing performance out of our machines.
Hot-end upgrades are a key component in this regard, and many popular brands offer quality products for Ender 3, Pro, V2, and S1 models. Of course, the latter model is a bit different than the rest so it’s important to select upgrading options for the S1 carefully. By choosing well-established brands with tested models, you can be comfortable knowing your printer is up to any task.
Taking it to the Next Level
With the many mods and upgrades available, you can unlock endless possibilities when it comes to your Ender 3 and its prints. Whether you’re adding a BLTouch for more precise bed levelling or extending your build volume for larger prints, it’s easy to take full advantage of the best budget 3D printer out there today. And don’t worry, folks with the Ender 3 S1 – there are options available for you as well!
The E3D V6 hot end is a classic design that has found its way into the hearts of many 3D printer operators due to its unmatched reliability and material compatibility. With a stainless steel heartbreak that prevents PTFE from coming in contact with the heat block, this product is an excellent choice for those wanting an extra layer of protection for their prints. Experience the power of the V6 with ease; all you need to do is 3D print the mount and then it’s ready to go on your Ender 3!
The Mosquito hot end is a fantastic way to upgrade your Ender 3 and get more out of your 3D printer. It separates the heat break from the structural components, which leads to an increase in thermal performance, resulting in better printing quality. Although the cost of this product may be higher than other options, it’s worth every penny. Installation is relatively easy, but you’ll need to 3D print a mount to attach it properly, so make sure you’re well-versed in 3D printing.
E3D has really outdone itself this time. Introducing their new product, the Hemera – a printhead combo that combines advanced technology with maximum efficiency. This powerful device includes both an all-metal hot end and an extruder, making it perfect for any 3D printing job no matter how complex or challenging it may be. With a maximum temperature of 300°C, the Hemera’s hot end is designed to be just as good as the popular E3D V6.
It features a powerful dual-drive system and a special built-in stepper motor that can handle even flexible filaments with ease. You can attach the Hemera to compatible models like the Ender 3 Pro and V2 using a T slot mounting system, but it is not yet known whether it will work with the Ender 3 S1 since this version has a different type of carriage mount. Upgrading to the Hemera is an easy and cost-effective way to make your 3D printing experience easier and more efficient.
This hot end is designed for an easy fit with the Ender 3 printer and does not require additional brackets or mounts. Its titanium heat break keeps the heat confined, resulting in more efficient performance and better quality prints when printing with abrasive materials like metal-filled filaments or carbon fibre filaments. The nozzle is also equipped with a wear-resistant coating, making it an ideal choice for printers who use their Ender 3 regularly and are worried about nozzle wear over time.
E3D Revo CR
The E3D Revo CR is an innovative addition to the hot-end market, designed with convenience and precision in mind. It is marketed as a drop-in replacement for Creality 3D series, such as Ender and CR-10 printers. Its clear advantage over other competitors is its ability to reach a maximum temperature of 300 °C while utilizing RapidChange Technology to offer nozzle swapping and clog removal at lightning speed. This all-metal design carries the added convenience of HeaterCore onboard electronics that ramps up temperatures faster than ever before, allowing you to fine-tune the printing precision without sacrificing print time.
Its robust design includes all the necessary components without requiring any extra mounts or time-intensive firmware adjustment. This is because of its unique thermistor, which boasts the same response time as Creality’s stock thermistors, while simultaneously providing improved accuracy and better temperature control.
The Phaetus Dragon hot end is another great choice for the Ender 3 3D printer. Offered in two variations, one standard and one high flow, this tool has become a popular pick among the 3D printing community. The high flow option is well-suited to users that require larger filaments and wider nozzle diameters to produce bulkier prints. All of this is possible without having to worry about whether or not your hot end can handle the heat. That’s because both versions of the Phaetus Dragon Hot End boast an impressive 500-degree Celsius heat resistance that ensures stencils and patterns stay cleanly extruded during the entire printing process.
Constructed with an inner and outer shell for its heatsink, the Dragon’s cylindrical top shape gives it a strong resemblance to the E3D V6. It also seems to be quite convenient; Phaetus has thoughtfully designed 3D printable mounts that are suitable for both the Standard and High Flow version of the Dragon, allowing them to be firmly attached, but not too tightly, to the Ender 3 (Pro/V2).
Finally, for anyone looking for an upgrade over the Standard Phaetus Dragon, the Dragonfly is a great option. The BMS version, which has been tested successfully on Ender 3 (Pro/V2), boasts higher flow rates than its predecessor and comes with four versions: the BMO, BMS, UHF, and TAICHI. All of these versions come equipped with high-temperature capabilities along with reliable melting performance that makes them ideal for avid 3D printing enthusiasts.
It is specially designed to work with the Ender 3 series of printers and has superior features compared to the stock hot end. Its all-metal construction means that its temperature capability is significantly higher, reaching up to 500 Celsius—a real improvement on the standard option! It’s easy enough to set up once you follow an online guide, and some users also report excellent results with this upgraded version when used with the Ender 3 Pro or V2.
Compatible with S1 Models
The Ender 3 S1 has quickly shot up to one of the most popular choices among makers since its release in February 2022. It’s easy to see why too; the extruder, dubbed the Sprite, has become a well-deserved favourite among many due to its solid performance packed into a vibrant and sleek design.
This is especially impressive considering there is very little discussion about upgrading it, a testament to the power of the Sprite. That being said however, some point out that the 256 °C heating limit on the original model could be improved upon – but thankfully they don’t have to look any further than Ender’s own upgraded version of the Ender 3 S1 – the aptly named Pro. With a variety of new all-metal upgrades available, it looks like Ender knows its formula for success – high-quality extruders and plenty of upgradability.
Creality Sprite Pro
The Creality Sprite Extruder Pro is an exciting new printhead combination that allows users to get great prints with a variety of materials. With its integrated hot end capable of reaching temperatures of up to 300 °C, you have access to the full range of 3D printing filaments available on the market, including PLA, ABS, PETG, and PC with the help of an enclosure. It comes standard on Ender 3 S1 Pro but can be added to other previous models in the series such as Ender 3 Pro, V2, and S1.
The Sprite printhead combo comes with an eye-catching direct drive extruder configuration situated directly above the hot end. Furthermore, it boasts dual-drive capabilities and includes a torque-enhancing gear ratio that provides much more pushing power than other designs available on the market. To top it all off, the assembly has a special spring screw you can easily adjust to give you great control over the tension applied to your filament.
Adding the Sprite Extruder Pro to older Ender 3 models should be relatively easy because the manufacturer is the same. Moreover, Creality has provided a few different pre-configured firmware files on their website that support the Sprite printhead on different versions of the Ender 3. An Ender 3 installation guide for the Sprite can be found in the “PDF & Files” section of Creality’s website. It goes over exactly how you can mount and wire the printhead to your printer.
Adding the Sprite Extruder Pro to an older Ender 3 model should be a breeze–after all, both are supplied by Creality. To make things even easier, they provide users with detailed instructions in their PDF & Files section on how to install the printhead onto different versions of the Ender 3. Pre-configured firmware files are also available which support the Sprite printhead, making it more straightforward to configure the printer accordingly.
Creality All-Metal Hot End Kit
Although we’ve seen a few makers swap the stock Sprite Extruder on the Ender 3 S1 out for the Sprite Extruder Pro, it’s also possible to just upgrade the hot end on the stock Sprite. With their full metal hot-end kit and links to both their own and outside instructional videos, Creality makes this incredibly simple.
However, it is only compatible with the Ender 3 S1 and two other non-Ender three models. The included heat break won’t fit into the heatsink of the other Ender 3 versions. Fortunately, YouTuber Chuck Hellebuyck has pointed out that if you have any of these non-Ender 3 models, upgrading to the Sprite Extruder Pro is still your best bet.
Experienced Project Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the field of Product Design & Development industry in Mechanical Engineering. Skilled in 3D Printing and Re engineering Technologies with CATIA V5 , Materials Science, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Mimics, ANSYS Workbench and Casting Simulation software. Strong engineering professional with a Master’s Degree focused in Industrial Metallurgy from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore.