In this blog post we will be discussing which 3D Printing Hot end you should equip on your 3D Printer. We will be discussing various parts that make up the 3D Printing hot end so you can be informed to create the correct decision when purchasing equipment. Now to get started we want to acknowledge that there is a lot of different types of 3D Printer hot ends. Listed just a few of them down below.
BZ 3D 2 in 2 Out Extruder
CR-10 Hot End
MK3 MK3S V6
Let's first find out what goes into a Hot end Extruder of a 3D Printer. I'll list them below for an ease of understanding.
Heating Element (Electronics)
Luckily there is no much that goes into them HOWEVER, make the wrong decision on for example the heat break and you won't be 3D Printing anytime soon. This is because the heat break is one of the most important parts in a Hot end assembly. Some are all metal and some are metal with a teflon tube inside them to provide smooth travel for the filament when it's being pushed through. The all metal hot end also has smooth travel but not as much.
I personally prefer all metal because you can achieve higher temperatures because there is no plastic in the "Heat Zone". The only plastic that should be melting is the plastic you feed into the Hot End Extruder however, When you do not have an all metal hot end the teflon tubing thats inside the heat break will also begin to melt at high temperatures. What does this mean? This means that harmful fumes are released and a clog is created because the plastic begins to bond with the filament.
This is why we suggest that you only use a all metal hot end so you won't run into that issue and have one less problem to worry about.
Heat Block, Heating Element & Thermistor
For the Heat block they're all pretty standard unless you want to have a metal thermistor which is 10X better than the brittle alternative which has become standardized unfortunately. You just need to make sure if you do decide to go with the metal thermistor the heating block can hold it and it is a "100k" thermistor. I say it should be a 100k so you don't have to update the firmware so that it reads temperature correctly.
Heating elements are also important. I made this mistake when building my own 3D Printers. You need to make sure you select the correct voltage (12 or 24v). To be safe it's always good to go 12V unless you know for sure that your motherboard supports 24V for your heating elements.
Heat Sink & V6 Connector
Heat sinks are pretty self explanatory. They keep the filament cool before entering the "Heat Zone" which begins at the heat break. You want to keep the filament as cool as possible so that your filament does not get soft and clog in the heat sink. The cooler, the stiffer, the better.
The V6 Connectors are pretty standard in 3D Printing and outside 3D Printing. They're normally used for pushing liquid & air outside of 3D Printing but inside 3D Printing we use them for Filament. The V6 Connector is usually used only for bowden setups which is a completely different topic in itself. We will be discussing that in a later post. The V6 connector just screws on top of the heatsink as the Heat Break connects on the bottom.
Hot End Nozzle
All Nozzles luckily screw in all the same but with different characteristics. There are really only 2 primary characteristics that make up a Hot End Nozzle.
The most common Nozzle Diameter is a 0.4mm but does not mean you cannot change or choose a bigger or smaller nozzle diameter for your 3D Printer. Nozzle diameters comes in many different sizes ranging from 0.1mm to 1.5mm. Yeah it's a big difference. Of course the larger the diameter the less quality you will get from your nozzle but increase in speeds. Larger diameters are only good for extremely large 3D printers like 500x500x500mm build areas.
You just need to be sure that when transitioning to a smaller hot end nozzle you need to make sure that your filament has tight tolerances such as +- 0.02mm. Your nozzle will clog due to impurities at a small diameter of 0.1mm just because of the how small the hole is. You need to understand that 0.1mm is 0.002 inches which is half a strand of hair. Your hair can't even fit through this nozzle.
Material is only something to worry about if your planning on 3D Printing with Carbon fiber, Nylon, Polycarbonate or metal. Other than that you don't have to worry about the Nozzle Material.
If you are indeed looking to 3D Print those materials then you should look into changing your brittle brass nozzle into a stainless steel or hardened nozzle. Brass will actually degrade overtime and break apart when 3D Printing with these hard and abrasive materials.
To Clone or not To Clone?
There has been a lot of debate against using the clone. I think that people should use the clone to see if it works for you. They are really poorly constructed so you will be experiencing a hit or miss on these products. Where the genuine products have more tight tolerances and almost never have a problem. We suggest before spending big money on the expensive genuine products you should look into the clones. But if you do have the money to spend then we believe you should save yourself the hassle and purchase the genuine versions.