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I recently ordered some spare E3D 0.4 mm nozzles. However, there was a mix up at the factory and they delivered 0.2 mm nozzles instead.

I usually print at 0.3 mm using a 0.4 mm nozzle. Can I still use the 0.2 mm nozzles to print at a resolution of 0.3 mm?

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To get the best results, the plastic coming out of the nozzle needs to be squished/ironed down by the nozzle. If you are using a higher layer height than nozzle size, this does not happen. Instead, you are taking a 0.2mm diameter string of plastic and folding it back onto itself to create a thicker 0.3mm bead.

Triffid_Hunter's calibration guide recommends using a layer height that is not higher than 80% of your nozzle size, so with a 0.4mm nozzle you should not print layers thicker than 0.32mm, and with a 0.2mm nozzle you should not print layers thicker than 0.16mm.

While it is not impossible to print thicker layers with a smaller nozzle, the results won't be as good. Moreover, if you are used to working with a 0.4mm nozzle then swapping to a 0.2mm nozzle may take some getting used to, as printing with smaller nozzles is more difficult (for example, the smaller the nozzle, the higher the likelihood of clogs).

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  • $\begingroup$ And the print time will be much longer.... You only get a quarter the plastic at half the diameter, and you have to make many more passes. Your feeder may complain/skip/chew when trying to feed at 0.3 rates into a 0.2 nozzle, as well. That's 2.25 times as much plastic as the nozzle would be expected to feed. $\endgroup$
    – Ecnerwal
    May 5 '17 at 0:24

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