Creality’s hot end is a workhorse in the 3D printing world. Its simplistic design lends itself to being incorporated into one of the most sold 3D printers to date, the Ender 3. By default, the Ender 3 comes with a 0.4-mm brass nozzle, which fits in the heat block with an M6 thread.
The nozzle arrangement has the designation of an MK8 hot end from the RepRap 3D printer community. The printer uses the MK8 due to its simplicity, effectiveness and because it’s open-source, meaning that it has a large following amongst hobbyists.
Brass is Boss
In the world of FDM printing, the brass 0.4-mm nozzle is king, and the with the Ender 3, it’s no exception. What makes brass a good default material is that it’s cheap, easily formed, conducts heat well, and doesn’t tarnish or oxidize easily.
Naturally, brass also has its drawbacks, namely that it’s soft and doesn’t hold up well against the abrasive nature of more exotic filament types. Yet, given the Ender 3’s price point and the majority of hobbyists printing in your fundamental PLA, ABS, and PETG, accessibility and low price have made this nozzle the perfect match.
Sized to Standard
Considering the size of the Ender 3, the 0.4-mm nozzle diameter is a good middle ground. This diameter is small enough to produce proper layer heights from as low as 0.12 mm to as large as 0.24 mm without trouble. Additionally, it’s large enough that most particulates will pass through smoothly, lending to fewer clogs.
The question is, what other size options exist for the Ender 3? Keep reading to find out what opportunities you have for larger and smaller nozzle diameters. Additionally, we’ll take a look at some exotic nozzles available for the Ender 3, which have different material properties or specialty purposes.
While the Ender 3’s 0.4-mm nozzle diameter is the reasonable middle ground, there are other options. But why would you want to change your nozzle size? How are prints affected when you exchange the Ender 3 nozzle for a larger diameter?
Why go larger? (0.5 mm, 0.6 mm, 0.8 mm, 1.0 mm)
Verdict: If you need to print something huge, which needs to be strong, and layers don’t bother you, upgrade that nozzle to a 0.6-mm or 0.8-mm. Just be cautious of a 1.0-mm nozzle. The stock Ender 3 hot end has a challenging time pushing that much plastic.
How do you minimize layer lines? A smaller nozzle for your Ender 3 might be the solution.
Why go smaller? (0.2 mm, 0.25 mm, 0.3 mm)
Verdict: If you’re interested in making scaled miniatures with high accuracy, time is not a factor, and you can accept higher maintenance, consider using a smaller nozzle. The detail will amaze you and your friends, who won’t believe it didn’t come from a resin 3D printer.
When we discussed nozzles greater than 0.8 mm, we noted that the stock Ender 3 hot end isn’t sufficient to keep up with heating the filament. Luckily, there are companies like E3D and their volcano product line, which make it possible to add larger nozzles to the Ender 3 without compromising print speed. Their system works by adding more metal mass to the heat block and orienting the heater cartridge such that it makes a larger melt zone in the Ender 3’s hot end.
The material that makes up your Ender 3 nozzle also makes a huge difference. The extrusion nozzle can be more than the standard brass when printing abrasive filaments materials like carbon fiber or metal-filled PLA.
Here are some examples of nozzles you can attach to your Ender 3 if you’re considering abrasive filament, ordered from least to most wear-resistant:
With so many nozzles available, there’s sure to be one that matches your need and application. We hope you’ve enjoyed our survey of different nozzle sizes for the Ender 3 and their effect on your prints. As always, happy printing!
Feature image source: diyelectronics.co.za
License: The text of "Ender 3 Nozzle Size – Which Sizes Are Supported?" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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