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I recently purchased some glow-in-the-dark PLA filament (just "because"). Being new to 3D printing, I didn't realize you shouldn't run this type of filament through a standard brass nozzle and should replace it using a "wear resistant" type nozzle. This is true of carbon fiber type filament as well.

My questions are:

  • What types of nozzle material are considered "wear resistant" and are some materials better than others?
  • Can I use this type of nozzle all the time (ie: are there any downsides for regular use)?
  • What types of filament should you use a wear resistant nozzle with?
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  • $\begingroup$ The last point is maybe a bit broad, although it does tie in with point 2. $\endgroup$ – Sean Houlihane Aug 14 '18 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ Not all G-I-D filament is abrasive. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Aug 14 '18 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ Related 3dprinting.stackexchange.com/questions/3854 $\endgroup$ – Sean Houlihane Aug 14 '18 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft - That's good to know. I read the reviews after purchase (yah, go figure). It seems the one I bought does promote wear. There was an image of a nozzle after some (I don't remember the amount) usage ... In comparison to the .4mm (they posted a pic of a new nozzle for comparison), it looked like it was about a 2mm nozzle ... ugh. Things you learn after the fact. $\endgroup$ – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 14 '18 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ split this up into 3 questions, then you are fine XD $\endgroup$ – Trish Aug 15 '18 at 19:34
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E3D have a blog post on the subject of hardened nozzles. The common abrasive materials are carbon fibre, wood impregnated filament (or any other particulate fill), and some pigments. The blog describes that as little as 250g of the more abrasive filaments can wreck a brass nozzle.

For wear resistance, different manufacturers will have different options. Stainless steel is a little harder than brass, and hardened steel is a big step forward. If you fancy spending more money, aluminium oxide (i.e. Ruby) is an option.

The downside is printability and cost. Specifically thermal conductivity of brass (or copper) is very good when compared to steel. However, this may not be the limiting factor for your printing unless you're running a very large machine. The various materials may also give different friction/wetting performance which can affect jams.

Depending on the printer and the type of hardened nozzle, it probably makes sense to avoid swapping between hardened and standard nozzles most of the time.

Hardened nozzles cost between 3 and 20 times what you will pay for a branded brass nozzle (and arguably a bag of no-name brass nozzles can be treated as near enough free disposables in comparison).

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    $\begingroup$ The last line is what matters - unless you're exclusively using some nasty filament, it's faster and cheaper to buy brass nozzles in bulk and treat them as expendables. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Aug 14 '18 at 13:01
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    $\begingroup$ Wood filaments are not much more abrasive then plastic. The real issue are materials like carbon fiber, bronze, steel and other metals. $\endgroup$ – amra Aug 14 '18 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ Any material high in additives or with very hard additives can be considered abrasive: these "burn in kiln" 80% metal materials eat nozzles for breakfast, a PLA that contains real mineralic pigments would eat nozzles quickly, ceramic-filled PLA is quite abrasive too. $\endgroup$ – Trish Aug 16 '18 at 7:53
  • $\begingroup$ I saw on kickstarter a while back a tungsten carbide nozzle for about $40 bucks. Good thermal conductivity, about as hard as ruby, much cheaper. $\endgroup$ – Rafael Mar 22 '19 at 12:47

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