I recently found out carbon fiber and glow in the dark PLA can damage the printer nozzle, now I'm suspicious of all the "exotic" filaments.

So, does wood filament cause damage to the nozzle? (under normal use, or at least what someone who only used PLA/ABS before would consider normal use)

Let's assume a normal quality brass nozzle - not some cheap stuff that didn't even came in the correct size to begin with and not some premium reinforeced nozzle - and reasonable quality filament.


4 Answers 4


EDIT: It seems many haven't shared my same experience and have their own input and proof, please view others answers below! For the record I've been using Hatchbox Wood PLA

Original Answer: Wood filament has the same effect on the nozzle as PLA, so, no, it shouldn't. It's just some wood shavings mixed with PLA, after all.

Materials like Carbon Fiber and Stainless Steel are abrasive and will wear down a brass nozzle. You would want a hardened steel nozzle in that case.

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    $\begingroup$ This answer is wrong, and also based on hypothesis, not experience. $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2021 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ Wood filled filament often is regarded as abrasive for brass nozzles. This answer is wrong. $\endgroup$
    – FarO
    Jan 19, 2021 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Routhinator and FarO Thanks for your comments. Just fyi, it's been 5 years since I wrote that comment. So 5 years of continuing to use wood filament. My same stock brass nozzle on my i3 mk2 is still doing great, even with long wood prints. So...it is based on experience, but not your same experience :) I'm sure different filaments and different nozzles cause much variation though, so it's definitely worth being mindful in all cases. $\endgroup$
    – Alex
    Jan 20, 2021 at 18:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Alex Maybe you could add which wood filament you're using, in case other people want to try what you've found to be a non-abrasive variety. $\endgroup$ Jan 21, 2021 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ this is highly dependant on which filament you use - a very low wood filler is much less abrasive than high wood content. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Feb 26, 2021 at 18:23

If you haven't been to their site before, you should check out the forums on 3DHubs. There's a lot of how-to's. A quick Google search yields this link to a similar question.

The key thing to note is that in all technicalities, any material you run through the nozzle is going to cause some sort of wear on your nozzle. How quickly depends on the material or composition.

The answer to the question linked above relates it spot on to sandpaper. If you have sandpaper made out of metal (ie stainless pla), it will scratch your skin fairly easily. If you have sandpaper made out of tree bark (ie laywood pla), it probably won't scratch your skin as bad, but it'll still scratch. And just for poops and giggles, lets say you have sandpaper made out of pla; it'll take a while, but you could eventually make your skin raw if you rub the plastic against your arm long enough.

It is typically recommended to use one nozzle for each material type as to avoid cross-contamination of materials in your printing. With this idea in mind, if you are using many types of materials, you can also minimize failed prints due to clogging and other "damaged nozzle" type troubles.

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    $\begingroup$ "Sandpaper made out of PLA isn't a reasonable analogy here because the PLA melts when passing through the nozzle. The embedded wood or metal particles do not; they retain their rigid solid state. $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2021 at 17:02

Wood PLA is too abrasive for a brass nozzle and will wear it out until it becomes a straight pipe after about 12 hours of printing with it.

This answer is based on first hand experimentation. I'm attaching photographic evidence of what to expect if you do not use hardened steel at minimum for Wood PLA.

This image shows that the nozzle after a 48 hour print is a complete straight pipe. It was mostly a straight pipe after about 12 hours. I let the print complete to take stock of the entire result. Nozzle Straight Pipe

Here I am measuring a piece of filament that's been extruded after running the Wood PLA through the nozzle for 48 hours. Extruded filament measuring at 1.7 mm

And here is how the layers degrade. When the issue started I thought maybe I had a clog, however my extruder was exhibiting perfect extrusion behaviour. The result looks like inconsistent flow, and it is. The extruder is moving at a rate appropriate for a 0.4 mm output, but the nozzle is now 1.7 mm wide. Layer degradation as print continues


I haven't used such fiber myself (yet), so this is an educated guess rather than experience. Assuming you mean the kind that has real tiny wood bits embedded, it shouldn't wear a brass nozzle badly, because the nozzle is considerably harder than the wood. Carbon fiber or steel embedded in filament are much harder, so would be expected to wear the nozzle much more.

That said, wood-based filament will still wear the nozzle slowly -- even a hardened steel drill bit gets dull with use, even if you only cut wood with it.

  • $\begingroup$ Then again, so will normal plastic by that logic. $\endgroup$
    – Daniel M.
    Feb 5, 2016 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ -1 for guesswork instead of either personal experience or reference to a reliable source. If you can find some references to support your answer (other than those provided by other answers), I'll gladly switch it over to a +1. $\endgroup$
    – Mar
    Feb 6, 2016 at 0:07

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