Does 3D Printer Nozzle Quality Affect Results?

By on November 26th, 2020 in Hardware

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Does 3D Printer Nozzle Quality Affect Results?
Two different 3D printer nozzles [Source: Thousandly]

I’m reading an interesting Twitter thread where two 3D printer nozzles are compared for quality.

The thread (in Japanese) was published by Thousandly, which appears to be a site that evaluates all sorts of low-level hardware and electronics.

In a recent Twitter thread, they compared two different 3D printer nozzles and came to a conclusion. However, I have some thoughts on that, and I’ll bring them up a bit further down.

The Thousandly folks decided to microscopically compare 0.4mm nozzles from the popular Creality Ender 3 desktop 3D printer and one sourced from TecDia, a large Japanese corporation that provides high-quality components to industry.

At top you can see the two nozzles side by side.

You’ll notice that the TecDia nozzle on the left appears much smoother. But let’s get closer:

TecDia (left) and Creality (right) 3D printer nozzles [Source: Thousandly]

Here you can see the two nozzle tips close-up. If you look very closely you can see that the right nozzle’s opening is not quite round. Certainly it’s not as circular as the TecDia nozzle.

But does this mean the nozzle is bad? Thousandly decided to 3D print some to find out.

Here we see the two 3D prints using each of these nozzles. On the left is the print using the TecDia nozzle, and the stock Ender 3 nozzle print is on the right.

3D print comparison using different nozzles [Source: Thousandly]

Thousandly says (via Google Translate):

“Comparison of boat print results. The left is the TecDia, the right is the attached nozzle. I feel that the laminated surface has become smooth.”

That appears to be true. If a nozzle is oval, then the shape of the extrusion line would be different depending on which direction the toolhead moved: it could be thicker or thinner. This could indeed alter the surface quality of a 3D print, and appears to have done so.

Does this mean that the TecDia nozzle is better than the stock Creality Ender 3 nozzle? Probably.

But there’s more to the story here.

Creality’s goal is to produce low-cost 3D printers that are affordable by as many people as possible. To do so they optimize the design as much as possible and use parts that fit into the cost envelope.

Does that mean that machines designed in that way are not good? By no means!

If you buy a low-cost device that happens to use parts that are not quite the best quality, it doesn’t matter if the machine already does what you need it to do. In fact, you’ve SAVED money to achieve your goals over buying a more expensive machine.

Just because you can identify that there could be a better part available does not mean that it should be used. Always, in every situation, the cost/benefit should be analyzed. If a machine doesn’t do what you need it to do, then you should get another machine or upgrade your machine.

It doesn’t mean the original design for the device was wrong; it means it was designed to specifications different from yours.

If your goal is a low-cost 3D printer that works reasonably well, then Creality is one of the manufacturers that can achieve that.

Via Thousandly, TecDia and Twitter (Japanese)

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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