I had a new Extruder tip on my Ender 3 3D printer. the tip looked like the left tip in the below image. After I have been using it for about 5 months, the tip got dull/flat, like the tip on the right in the below image.

The only filament I have used is a spool of PLA (from hatchbox) and a spool of PETG (from sain-smart)

About the Filament

From the time that I replaced the tip, to now, i have only used my 1 spool of PLA filament.

I don't believe it has any carbon-fiber in it, the only other things I can think of, are that the filament has a tough time sticking to the bed, so I have to print pretty close to the bed.

3D prints using my PLA filament enter image description here

my PLA filament enter image description here

I don't 3D print a terribly large amount, Is it normal to have to be replacing the pen this often?

How do I prevent my extruder tip from getting dull so soon? Is there a way to prevent the pen tip from getting dull at all?

Images: enter image description here

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I realize the pictures are only illustrations emphasizing the kind of change you see, but since a change that severe isn't plausible, it would be helpful to see photos or some sort of measurement of the actual change you're experiencing. How many nozzles has this happened to? Are you sure you didn't just get differently shaped ones to begin with (there are at least 2 common versions with same orifice diameter but different tip shape). $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 7:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ are you sure that you have gotten the right stuff? Hatchbox PLA should not be that abrasive, and that nozzle really has seen a super abrasive filament. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 20:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That's extremely atypical. I printed about 10 spools or such on my current nozzle and lost not any brass. Could you show a picture of a print and/or a piece of filament? $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 23:53
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, the new pictures stun me... that is the result of that very sort of filament only? No woodfill or other filled filament, no glow in the dark, nothing ever? $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 0:43
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    $\begingroup$ I bet you have way too smooshed 1st layers. That brass looks cheap too, better nozzles last longer. for PLA, get one of those magnetically removable flexible build plates. I haven't touched gluesticks or hairspray since I invested in one; love it for PLA. Only downside is that you can't heat the bed past 70C. $\endgroup$
    – dandavis
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 5:08

2 Answers 2


Your extruder nozzle will wear from the inside out if you are using abrasive filaments, which include carbon fiber, wood type filaments, glow-in-the-dark and many other types.

Because they are abrasive, removing material from the inside also thins the cone shape of the outside (point) of the nozzle.

The solution is to not use abrasive filaments, or to use a hardened nozzle specifically manufactured for abrasive filaments, or to change the nozzle frequently.

If this is a 3D printing pen as your post suggests, please clarify, as the answer is likely to change but only slightly. If this is a nozzle for a 3D printer, consider to edit your question to reflect thusly.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ OP claims to use an ender3. possibly an exotic filled pla or glow in the dark... $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 20:22

in a printer

abrasive filament

You probably are using an abrasive filament. The most loss on abrasive filament happens when the nozzle runs over the printed material as it extrudes and less from the bore itself. As a result, the nozzles get ground up from the tip. How carbon-fiber filled PLA grinds away nozzles can be seen on this page of the Olsson Ruby webpage (no affiliation), where they printed circles till the nozzles were ground away half a millimeter: it took just 300 grams for brass, a kilo for stainless steel and 4 kg for hardened steel.

enter image description here

To reduce the wear of the nozzle, one can swap to such from harder material (as seen above), for example, stainless steel or hardened steel, which then needs to get replaced less often. On the flipside, the machining of these materials is harder and thus the nozzle costs more.

The only way to get virtually no nozzle grind-up from printing abrasive material - especially PC filled - would be to go for a ruby nozzle.

mechanical damage

In case you have misleveled your bed and print too close, you might also ram your nozzle into the bed to a point that the mechanical impact dulls your nozzle. Make sure your bed is leveled properly.

in a 3D-pen

3D pens often come with really soft nozzles and mishandling - as in pushing against a surface - can grind their tips faster than a normal printer would. The other things still apply.

  • $\begingroup$ @XBuilder that would mean you have set our printer up in a way that literally rams it into the build platform again and again $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ Well, honestly, either my PLA has something in it (which from where i bought it from) is unlikely, or some sort of mechanical damage. I don't know what else would have caused it to wear down like that so fast. @Trish $\endgroup$
    – X Builder
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ @XBuilder which is exactly what baffles me so much. Either the PLA is filled with something as abrasive as fiberglass or the nozzle gets damaged... which would happen at the start of the print usually... Would you do me a favor and possibly swap the nozzle, measure its stick out, level, repeat the measurement and then do a test cube, then measure again? $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 22:08

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