My head is Spinning
When it comes to choosing a printer nozzle, many users stick with what the printer came with.
For the majority, there is no reason that brass will not do everything you want it to and perform admirably. Having good thermal conductivity and reasonable resistance to wear, a brass nozzle can work well for weeks at a time. However, if you want to print something a little unusual, say a glow in the dark filament, like Geeetechs, or a composite type filament such as wood or carbon-infused PLA, you will find the nozzle wears at an increased rate. This is down to the particulates in the composite materials being abrasive. As a result, it scrapes away tiny portions of the nozzle material.
Your options for replacing a brass nozzle to print abrasive filaments are many. Steel, hardened steel, ruby or now Tungsten Carbide – Which is the nozzle I am testing. Shipped to me by Dyze Designs this Tungsten Carbide nozzle is being touted at the last word in durability and performance. Currently available on their website for $55, it’s not a cheap investment, but after testing, we hope it will be a worthwhile one.
Tungsten carbide is not a metal its a ceramic that has a heavy resistance to wear and abrasion. So much so that it is often used to cut hard metals and in mining for crushing rock! Not only that, but it’s fantastic thermal properties make it an ideal material for nozzles. As a result, it means that the diameter of the hole will remain consistent despite hard use over time.
Dyze design claims that the output flow on a printer equipped with a Tungsten Carbide nozzle can be raised as much as 80%. This is without any loss of quality! Bold claims and I would assume this does not take into account whether the rest of the printer is up to the standard needed to run at those speeds.
Fitting – Tungsten Carbide Nozzle
Fitting the Tungsten Carbide nozzle to my Ender 3 Pro standard hotend was no different from any other nozzle change. Heating the block to 220C, I shut off the power and unplugged the printer. I removed the old nozzle using a large spanner to hold the heater block and a socket to remove the standard brass nozzle.
A quick rub over with a brass wire brush to ensure everything is clean. I then slowly screwed the new Tungsten Carbide nozzle into place. Besides, being careful to avoid burning my fingers! Reconnecting the power and turning it back, on I reheat the block assembly to 220C. I allow the temperature to stabilise before tightening the nozzle into place. I then will enable the heater block to cool before I refit my silicon sock.
Obviously, before printing, I level the bed and clean the glass again.
Test -Tungsten Carbide Nozzle
Once that’s out of the way, I decided to jump right in with some Wood PLA from Eryone. Previously I had used about 800G of this roll on my CR10S5 producing the base for the Diaz Printables Batman Samurai. I have intentionally used a large brass nozzle and a considerable layer height for this base for a couple of reasons. A) it’s enormous and B) I wanted it to look weathered. I don’t paint my models, so I needed the layers to show for effect. But after 75 hours printing this piece, the nozzle was destroyed. It was only a cheap 0.6mm brass one from an Amazon multi-pack. However, if I were doing this print regularly, I wouldn’t want to lose a nozzle every time.
Taking what’s left of that Eryone dark wood PLA, I’ve decided to print a wooden Moai – if you read my articles you may recall I printed one previously in Geeetech Marble filament and was impressed with the filament. The only other abrasive filament I have to hand is Geeetechs glow in the dark, so I printed another Moai in this!
The results speak for themselves. However, there was a lousy layer on the wooden Moai caused by a draft where my printer is poorly positioned. Both abrasive filaments printed nicely after the testing. I ran a small PLA print to see if there were any signs of deformation in the layers to show nozzle damage. Nothing…the print was perfect! I then removed the Tungsten Carbide nozzle to inspect it, and I found no deformation at all.
To sum up, I can only base my judgment on what I’ve found with my testing and will continue to use this nozzle in this machine for PLA & PETG and eventually when I get my enclosure set up ABS. This Tungsten Carbide nozzle performance was superior! This is compared to the hardened steel nozzles I received from Brozzl and the basic brass ones from Amazon. Even those that came with my Creality Ender 3 Pros! It isn’t a cheap purchase, but I’m thinking about one for all 6 of my machines over time.
3D printing.com has an interesting article on this 3D printer nozzle check it out