Hey Guys and Gals! Today I’m going to go over some of the finer points in using an all metal hot end, why you should ditch the knock off J-heads, and rock a Micro Swiss All-Metal hot end. In keeping with the transparency that I feel is important, I was shipped this kit for free to review.
I have in the past however, purchased Micro Swiss All-Metal components for use in my Tevo Black Widow and Monoprice Maker Select v2. Also, this kit was built for the CR10, but will bolt onto any printer with similar mounting holes.. like my venerable Tevo Tornado.
Why use a Micro Swiss All-Metal hot end? Why not? All metal allows you to run higher temps than PTFE lined hot ends AND they require less retraction!
This opens up your printer to all sorts of cool exotic materials that would normally melt a PTFE lined hot end. The PTFE tube that lines most other hot ends tends to melt at 260c but I have seen it soften and cause issues before that.
Who is Micro Swiss?
Micro Swiss is an American based company located in the great State of Minnesota. The ‘Swiss’ in their name comes from their machining quality. They offer plug and play options for many popular printers on the market, as well as popular nozzle and heat break options for the E3D v6 style hot end. Chances are, you can upgrade to a Micro Swiss All-Metal hot end.
What’s in the box?
The Micro Swiss All-Metal kit for the CR10 came with the heat break, nozzle, heater block, heat sink, silicone cover for the heater block, and some tools to put it all together. The packaging is simple and to the point. There were no instructions in the kit but there is a QR code on the back of the box to get you there in a jiffy. Just click on the picture of your printer and it will take you to Youtube video that breaks down the advantages and the install process.
Why is it called all-metal?
The heat sink and the heater block in the Micro Swiss All-Metal kit are aluminum. The heat break is titanium and the nozzle is a brass nozzle coated in what Micro Swiss calls their TwinClad XT coating. According to Micro Swiss, it is a nickel based wear resistant coating that helps lower the friction and increases the life of your nozzle when using abrasive filaments.
I haven’t had the opportunity to print much in the way of abrasives, but if you use wood, carbon fiber, glow in the dark, or other abrasives this could come in handy for you! No PTFE liner or other components to break down due to the heat.
Install is fairly straight forward. I chose to use the Micro Swiss heater block and swapped the components from the stock Tornado unit over. Make absolutely sure that the interior surfaces of the nozzle and the heat break are mated up tight to one another. After assembling cold, heat the Micro Swiss All-Metal up and re-tighten the nozzle.
Failure to do this correctly will cause leaking of your filament through the nozzle or heat break threads. Before running the ‘Home’ command on your printer, you should tighten the bed screws a few turns. On my Tornado, the Micro Swiss All-Metal was a few millimetres longer than the the stock hot end. It would be no good to have your brand new hot end nose dive into your print surface!
Setup and Tuning the Micro Swiss All-Metal
After levelling your bed, you need to make a few adjustments on your slicer. The Micro Swiss All-Metal requires a little more heat in most cases than what you used to print at. In my case, a bump up 5C was perfect.
Your mileage my vary, so do some experimenting on your setup. Also, since the lubricated PTFE liner is gone, we need to lower the amount of retraction than your old setup. You want to keep the molten plastic down in the hot zone of the hot end. After some trials and tuning I settled on 2.5mm at 40mm/s worked the best. If you run Cura, feel free to snag my profile by clicking here.
How did it do? Well, I’ve had random problems with extrusion for awhile on my Tornado. Swapping out to the Micro Swiss All-Metal cured them all. The printer prints amazing and I can finally feel secure about trying to print nylon on it now! I’ve been printing PLA with great results and am looking to finish up on my enclosure and start working with the nylon.
I initially had some minor stringing like spider webs, but tuning the retraction cured it. The pieces installed quickly and I didn’t have any issues with the install.
I had no issues of under extrusion that would occasionally happen with the stock nozzle and hot end. This mod requires no firmware tweaks, just a few screws and some slicer adjusting. There are reviews stating leaking problems, but I had no issues. I also made sure that the nozzle was re-tightened after preheating it.
The improvement in print quality, and the ability to print the higher temp filaments without issues, make this mod a no brainer! If you want to print higher temp materials on your printer, get the Micro Swiss All-Metal for your printer!
Interested in another printer? Check out my review of the Geeetech E180!