I know I should use different nozzles for filaments that use vastly different temperatures but what about filament types that use similar temperatures?

For example, PLA and PLA composites like ColorFabb Woodfill filament. Should I use a separate nozzle for that?


There is absolutely no reason to use different nozzles, not even if filaments do require different temperatures.

The only exception is when printing abrasive filaments (such as glow-in-the-dark and carbon-fiber) in which case you should use an abrasion-resistant, stainless steel nozzle. This nozzle can also be used to to print "regular" filaments but a regular brass nozzle has slightly more favorable properties if you do not require abrasion resistance.

  • $\begingroup$ I feel like the absolute in your statement is wrong. What if you print abs at 250 and then try to print pla at 180. The abs will not get removed from the nozzle and make it easier to clog $\endgroup$
    – easycheese
    Sep 29 '16 at 21:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You purge the nozzle with PLA at a slightly higher temperature. People switch between printing ABS and PLA all the time, using the same nozzle. $\endgroup$ Sep 29 '16 at 21:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ My printer's manual recommends performing a nylon nozzle cleaning when changing filament chemistries. It requires fairly high temperatures to soften the nylon, then as it cools and reheats, the nylon is removed at a lower temperature. This process is repeated until no foreign material remains. This process might be considered excessive, but if one desires absolute certainty, it's a good answer. $\endgroup$
    – fred_dot_u
    Sep 29 '16 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ @fred_dot_u and there's even "nozzle-cleaning filament" for sale, tho' I have not tried it to see how well it works. $\endgroup$ Sep 30 '16 at 14:23

It depends on the size of the nozzle you are using. If you are using a small nozzle, e.g. 0.2 mm, normally, you should increase the nozzle diameter (filament manufacturers often refer to about 0.5 mm nozzle diameters). Wood/cork, or whatever particle filled filament requires a somewhat larger diameter to prevent clogging.

In addition to Tom's answer, note that there are stainless steel nozzles and hardened steel nozzles. The latter is harder than the prior and should be used for abrasive filaments, like filament filled with metal particles or some sort of abrasive fibres like glass or carbon fibre. Note that the addition of fibres or particles may require you to increase the nozzle diameter as fibres or particles may cause clogging. A last nozzle discussed is the nozzle with an embedded industrial Ruby, a design of Anders Olsson, a research engineer at Uppsala University, more information is found on the Olsson Ruby website.

From the Olsson Ruby website, the following interesting image is shown, comparing the wear resistance of the various nozzle materials up to 0.5 mm (from left to right; brass, stainless steel and hardened steel by printing respectively 0.3 kg, 1.0 kg and 4 kg of carbon fibre filled filament):

Nozzle material wear resistance compared


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