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The e3D volcano features an extended heater block of length 20 mm with the cartridge heater running parallel to the filament.

The purpose of this is to increase the speeds at which filament can be printed (of course the extruder and other factors may still be limiting factors).

My question is how capable would this heat block be of printing at slow speeds with a 0.4 mm nozzle?

Is printing still possible at lower speeds or is the filament heated too much that jams occur? Is the retraction performance okay?

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  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't expect jams from "heating too much", but retraction is a serious concern. I don't see how you could retract 20 mm of molten filament by pulling it back; I'd think it would just stretch, leaving material at the nozzle happily oozing out all over your print. Retraction would still relieve pressure, and the vacuum pressure from pulling the filament back might back it up a little bit, but I'd be hesitant to use one. I'd love to hear from users with experience with it, though. $\endgroup$ – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Feb 7 at 1:39
  • $\begingroup$ I'm in the process of converting to a Volcano hotend to increase the printing speeds for the same nozzle diameter, I'm using 2.85 mm filament (takes longer to heat up than 1.75 mm filament). Maybe it is helpful if you mention your filament diameter? $\endgroup$ – 0scar Feb 7 at 7:15
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Speaking from first hand experience running a Volcano hotend, mostly using a 0.6 mm nozzle, but I have used 0.4 mm as well. I can't really complain about any lower printing speed limit (low speeds are usually a solution to high speeds problems for me).

Just for completeness: I am using a DaVinci 1.1 Plus with custom firmware (modified Marlin) and an E3D Volcano hotend. No problems with the nozzle, clean prints! Note: I am using the Titan Aero as extruder but not using the included pancake motor! Went with the original motor of the DaVinci.

And as always: the parameters are key! Given a bit of tuning you can get amazing results! For PLA and ABS I can work without stringing. Although ABS seems to be prone to pitting (slight underextrusion at start of path). TPU and other flex are sometimes a bit of a challenge, but that's mainly due to my own lack of experience there.

The one important caveat here would be to also reduce the nozzle temperature. A possible theory here might be that the filament has more time and surface to heat up.

(Sometimes I go as much as 15 °C lower as compared to normal/high speeds! Usually lower speeds means small pieces for me and in term means a limit to the layer cooling time.)

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree that you can print at lower nozzle speeds because of the longer meltzone, but I find it often leads to lower layer adhesion and therefore strength. When printing for looks, I do recommend it, but when printing for function, stay high. $\endgroup$ – CarvedBlock Mar 1 at 20:46
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The worry must be about oozing and stringing. In general, no worries! Nothing a bit of tuning would not fix.

I have experience printing with Volcano with 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, and 1.0 mm diameter. PLA, PETG, Nylon, TPE, and TPU. (Volcano nozzles have been my default style for several years now. I don't even own a 10 mm heat block anymore (ok, maybe one)).

And yes, speaking of the classic 0.4 mm nozzle, you get higher stringing and oozing compared to 10 mm meltzone. You'll need to tune your retraction - it will be significatnly higher than 10 mm meltzone (I'm not giving numbers because it depends on printer style, material, nozzle diameter, temperature, and even slicer and slicer settings...).

I do like to print quite hot though with lots of cooling (PLA 220 °C for example) to increase layer adhesion and strength - so I experience this more.

For oozing, you may need to experiment with XY travel speeds, wiping settings, coasting settings, and similar (this also will help with stringing).

Also, keep in mind that the bigger the nozzle diameter, the more cooling you'll need (coupled with slower print) just to solidify that massive extrusion flow/mass.

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