Creality’s MK8 hot end is well-known amongst 3D printing enthusiasts for its affordability, reliability, and ease of use in the popular Ender 3 series. Each printer shipped from the factory comes with a 0.4mm brass nozzle pre-installed in the existing M6 thread heat block.
This standard nozzle provides excellent performance for its price point and can easily be swapped out for alternative materials based on user preference or for specialized jobs.
As a result, many hobbies have taken to customizing their Ender 3 printers with various different nozzles depending on their specific needs and requests. In this article, we’ll explore varying sizes and materials available when choosing to upgrade or replace your stock nozzle.
What quality is the nozzle that comes with your Creality 3D printer, then? Let’s examine the standard size and substance of the stock nozzle for the Ender 3 series in more detail.
In FDM printing brass is the default material used to make 0.4-mm nozzles due to its strength and thermal properties enable it to resist corrosion and wear over long periods of time.
However, there are also disadvantages to using the brass nozzle in Ender 3 series. Brass is soft and doesn’t last long when used with higher-quality filaments, like those made from exotic materials.
Despite this limitation, brass remains a popular choice for users of these budget 3D printers as it provides excellent performance when printing common filaments such as PLA, ABS or PETG.
But Still the combination of low cost and somewhat decent performance, for many hobbyists on a tight budget, outweighs any potential issues brought up by utilizing brass nozzles with more unusual filament types.
However, brass isn’t the only nozzle material compatible with your Ender 3. Later, we’ll look at various alternate nozzle materials with differing material features or particular applications.
Standard Sized Nozzle
The Ender 3 printer comes with a 0.4 mm diameter for its nozzle and this size gives you a lot of breathing room. It’s small enough to get some remarkably fine layers from 0.12mm all the way up to 0.24 mm, something other printers might struggle with. Also, it’s large enough that particles can move through fairly easily without causing clogs or jams in your workpieces.
But the 0.4-mm nozzle isn’t always the best choice for every print design. What other sizes does the Ender 3 series come in, and when should you change sizes? Read on to find out what you can do with nozzles with bigger and smaller diameters.
Can a big-size nozzle print faster?
Even though a nozzle with a diameter of 0.4 mm is a good middle ground, there are other choices. Why go larger? The sizes of the nozzles that are available are 0.5 mm, 0.6 mm, 0.8 mm, and 1.0 mm. How do these sizes affect your print?
If you’re printing something big that doesn’t need fine details, thinking about a 0.6-mm or 0.8-mm nozzle upgrade would be helpful.
Bigger Nozzle Sizes
- Faster print speeds: The most obvious benefit of using a larger nozzle is that it takes less time to move the nozzle around in order to create the same physical model size. Also, larger nozzles reduce the number of retraction steps necessary to complete a print, which further increases speed.
- Produces Stronger parts: In comparison to technologies like injection moulding, the way the layers are made is one of its weak spots. When you use a bigger nozzle, you need fewer layers to print, and the layers that you do need are bigger and more consistent. Also, these larger layer strands tend to stick together well during the printing process because they have more surface area between them. This makes for a better end result.
- Hot end demands: If you want your prints to stand out more, you need nozzles with a larger diameter. They let more plastic come out, making the design look much sharper. The bad thing is that it takes a lot of heat to keep the plastic liquid until the heat break in the nozzle. Some 3D printers might not be able to handle the extra heat, but there are a few ways to fix this problem. One option is to slow down your print speed, which will keep the printer’s hot end from working too hard. You could also think about upgrading your printer’s hot end with something like E3D’s Volcano. Its innovative design gives it a larger melting area and a higher volumetric flow rate, which both help you get better prints.
- Visible layers: A larger nozzle can actually make layer lines more pronounced and easier to see, meaning that items printed with a large nozzle are sometimes quite visually unappealing. This means that while there may be some advantages to large-nozzle 3D printing, you likely won’t find anyone who will be very happy with the finished product.
What does a smaller nozzle mean? High quality?
We can therefore conclude that large nozzle sizes are the best choice for quickly printing huge models. But why scale down? The 0.2 mm, 0.25 mm, and 0.3 mm nozzle diameters are supported by the Ender 3 printers.
A smaller nozzle can be what you need if your goal is to print little components with good accuracy.
Smaller Nozzle Sizes
- Subtle layers: While you should attempt to specify a printer’s layer height at roughly 50% of the nozzle diameter if you want to print something really small with great detail, a 0.2-mm nozzle can easily accommodate 0.08-mm layers.
- Fine detail: The size of the nozzle affects not only the height of the layers and the roughness of the surface as a whole but also the X and Y resolution of the prints. By using a thinner nozzle, prints can capture finer details that would be smoothed out or lost with a thicker nozzle, especially when slicing software without nozzle compensation is used.
- Clogged nozzles: The tiny opening of a 0.2-mm nozzle can easily get clogged with the smallest impurity or even speck of dust, leading to an increased likelihood of jamming. One way to reduce this risk is by using a filament wipe sponge with mineral spirits before each print run.
- Slow print speeds: One of the biggest downsides to smaller nozzle sizes is their impact on print speeds. A 0.08-mm layer height requires at least three times more print time than its thicker counterpart at 0.24 mm, and that’s just the inner layers; adding in support material and then accounting for infill will increase that even further.
Other Nozzle Material Alternatives
Your Ender 3 nozzle will also perform differently depending on the material it’s made of. When printing abrasive filament materials like carbon fibre or metal-filled PLA, the extrusion nozzle may need to be sturdy than the usual brass.
If you’re thinking about using abrasive filament in your Ender 3, here’s a list of different nozzle materials you can upgrade to, from least wear-resistant to most:
- Brass is an incredibly useful material for many industrial purposes, especially when it comes to resisting wear and heat transfer.
- Stainless steel’s superior wear resistance makes it well-suited for both internal and external applications, while its smooth surface makes it hygienic and very easy to clean.
- Hardened steel is an ideal material for nozzles due to its exceptional wear resistance, despite its poorer heat transfer capabilities. To further improve its performance, different finishes can be applied to hardened steel nozzles such as blackening and nickel plating.
- Copper with sapphire ruby offers the greatest resistance to wear. Olsson provides a ruby nozzle that is both the industry standard and a variant that is optimized for use in environments with high temperatures.
- Nozzle X with “polyphobic” coating resists wear and is ideal for the most abrasive filaments. It works with the E3D V6 hot end to maximize 3D printer performance.
In conclusion, upgrading the nozzle on your Ender 3D printer can bring many benefits, such as improved print quality, reduced clogging, and increased durability. When choosing an alternative nozzle material, it’s important to consider the type of filament you’ll be printing with, the temperatures you’ll need to print at, and the frequency of use.
With all the nozzle sizes available, it has never been easier to find a nozzle that meets your needs and applications. Whether you want greater accuracy or a smoother finish, 3D printing with an extruder of the right size can make all the difference. We hope you have enjoyed finding the right nozzle size for your Ender 3 series printer. Once you have reached a decision, it’s time to start printing!
I am Ganesh Divte. I work as a Quality Assurance Engineer at Dhruvtara WireTech PVT LTD. I have experience in SLS, DMSL, FDM, and SLA additive manufacturing processes. I am very enthusiastic about additive manufacturing and its potential to change the way we manufacture products. I believe that Additive Manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry and make it more efficient and sustainable.