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Choosing Proper Nozzle for your 3D Printer and material

3D Printing can be fun at the beginning, but along the way users will find something annoying happening to their print. The printing surface is getting rough and not consistent anymore. The 3D Printer extruder does not clog and extrudes properly. There is just a small difference - the extruded filament is slightly bigger and not really round, or sometimes a bit jagged.

So what happened with the printing? Problem with the flow? Or something like partial clogging? No… When users recorded what they printed in the past, they were printing PLA, PLA fluorescent, some PLA Wood, and also a few times trying Nylon (PA) Filament and ASA Filament. That is the problem.

Standard nozzles are produced with brass material which is sufficient to print standard PLA, PETG, ABS Filament. Yes, Standard Filament not Fancy ones.

So what kind of 3D printer nozzle should be installed and available in the market to print those kinds of Filament? Here is the explanation.

Brass Nozzle.

brass nozzle 3d printer

Brass Nozzle is the Default Nozzle for almost all of 3D Printer. It’s cheap and has good conductivity to melt the Filament. This nozzle is only for standard Filament like PLA PETG ABS ASA print. But this nozzle is weak and not reliable after a certain time of usage especially at high temperature print. After printing 3-4 months continuously - users will notice some degradation of this nozzle and suggest replacing it. Fluorescent, Silk, particle-infused filaments like carbon, wood, or small particles like metal or marble filament with make damage to the nozzle hole faster. So avoid using a brass nozzle or replace it regularly after use a few times since this part price is just a penny.

Stainless Nozzle.

3d printer nozzle brass vs stainless steel

Stainless Steel Nozzle is good for high-temperature material 3D Printing. It is strong and can handle abrasive filament like wood or even carbon-reinforced. But stainless steel is not really good in terms of Temperature conductivity. So users have to slightly raise the Printing Temperature compared to Brass Nozzle. Just choose a good quality nozzle surface like a smooth mirror polished to reduce a lot of material sticking problems. In terms of pricing, Stainless Steel nozzle is considered cheap. The usage of this nozzle is practically often for food-contact safe 3D Printing - so good combination using PETG material print.

Hardened Steel Nozzle

Hardened Steel nozzle was created to handle abrasive material and run for long-term printing. It’s very hard with a hardness scale at 6-8mohs compared to stainless which is only 3-5mohs. Printing long duration with abrasive material is no issue with this, so no more reducing downtime to replace nozzle part. The main issue is only pricing - as you can buy more than 10 pcs of Stainless steel nozzle or 30 pcs of good quality regular brass nozzle.

Ruby Tip Nozzle

ruby 3d printer nozzle

Ruby Tip nozzle was first introduced by Anders Olsson around 2016. The main structure body still using brass which is a good material for thermal conductivity but at the end Tips uses Ruby Gems. This Gems is very hard and can take care of abrasive material, especially carbon-reinforced filament. Since it’s using Ruby Gems for tips - users can expect to pay USD100 just for the nozzle.


Nozzle Size Type

The most common size in Physical Nozzle is categorized in three models:

  1. Standard size: Only 12-14mm long, this type of nozzle has few models like E3D v5/v6, MK7, MK8, MK10 and a few more. Most of consumer 3D printers use this nozzle and available easily in market place.
  2.  Volcano Size: Sized about 21mm long, this nozzle is for higher speed and temperature 3D Printer. Some of High speed Printers like Voron use this nozzle.
  3. Super Volcano size: It’s not widely available in the market as it is specialized for very high-temperature printing purposes. This nozzle is capable of printing with max temp of 500C with material like ULTEM or even PEKK. The length is around 50mm so it needs a special design of heated block.


In the past 2-3 years 3D Printing users pushing the limit of regular 3D Printer with faster printing speed. Faster means more material melted and extruded in a short amount of time. Regular Nozzle design cannot reach that condition. Bondtech brand which is popular with Dual gear BMG extruder for commercial 3D Printer created a special nozzle CHT that can reduce melting time filament by splitting the incoming hole into 3 so it can melt the core of the filament faster than a regular nozzle. This method is very effective and even improves the flow consistency of hotend. CHT nozzle style has become common and solves a lot of clogging problems caused by material accumulated residue inside the nozzle.


Nozzle size diameter

When talking about nozzle size… it always mentions 0.4mm. It is the bore size or tip hole size of the nozzle. There are a number option of this nozzle hole size: 0.2 - 0.25 - 0.3 - 0.35 - 0.4 - 0.5 - 0.6 - 0.8 - 1.0mm

Why 0.4mm is a default? Because it’s commonly used since 3D Printer Open Source development begins it has become a standard. Based on that users can change the nozzle higher if want to print bigger at the same or less amount of time. Of course, the wall thickness will be thicker and less detail. On the opposite smaller size nozzle will print much more detail but much longer printing time.

What about 0.1 and 0.15mm Nozzle size? This nozzle size is not easy to setup - even at 0.2mm nozzle - average users have a lot of clog problem that occurs during print.

When talking about a higher number like above 1.0mm - the printing result becomes not consistent. Bigger output holes need more properly melted material. For 1.75mm diameter Filament - 1.0mm nozzle size consider the highest limit for that size.

Note: Above 1.0mm nozzle, 3D Printer usually uses 2.85/3.00 diameter Filament Meterial which means different extruder / hotend.

3D Printing material also comes in various types even if stated with just one name. For example PLA (Polylactic Acid).

PLA has a variety of Regular PLA, PLA+, Tough PLA, HighTemp PLA, Carbon Fiber PLA, Wood PLA, Metallic PLA, Metal reinforced PLA, Silk PLA, Matte PLA, Fluorescent/Glow in Dark PLA, and a lot more. Those PLA have a different abrasive characteristic that can affect standard regular Nozzle.

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