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Why 0.40mm?

Quantum mechanics makes me look at things in new ways. A recent browse through current topics on 3D printing revealed some pundits are questioning how in FDM printers, did 0.40mm nozzle become so dominate with the 1.75mm filament.

I am not going to explore the reasons here. Best to say, for the typical size prints made by hobbyist, it is a very good choice. It works very well.

That is not saying it is the one and only good option. 

AS with any tool, what works best is the one that gets the job done within desired parameters. Some parameters are; surface quality, speed, type material extruded, and material feed systems.

I am keeping the parameters very broad. One thing about 3D printing is there is an endless list of options, variables, settings, and requirements. Just like understanding quantum physics and engineering.

The take-away is there is not just one correct answer or nozzle hole diameter for every print job. 

Manufacturers of printers established 0.40mm was a good starting point. But some (MakerGear – 0.35mm) follow their own standards. 

Another example, Ultimaker has swappable core multi choice nozzle size (0.25mm to 0.8mm) for easy selection and uses 2.85 diameter filament. Nozzle change 2 minutes. This is a commercial level (and priced) brand.

Most hobby low end printers, changing the nozzle is a bit of a chore. So almost all users settle in on the 0.4mm as a good versatile middle range.

Enough of the history. 

What I need to explore is the advantage and disadvantages to using other than the “standard” 0.4mm. The FDM nozzle is intended to be changed either for maintenance or special materials use. Also for all the other needs of the project.

I have explored various nozzle sizes in the past. Especially with my small Tiertime Cetus printers. There is a good size selection available.

General rule. Small is for detail (small layers and widths) but but can exponentially increase print times to great length. Large looses fine detail but is a great time saver. Layers become more visible.

It seems that simple but really not. There are a lot of variables. but the “general  speed rule” is basic and true.

What I intend to do next, is explore in more detail the 0.60mm dia. nozzle size. It doesn’t seem like much, but… the area of a 0.60mm hole is 2.25 TIMES larger than the 0.40mm hole. So 2.25 times the raw flow volume, all other variables equal.

But with software variable the layer height and width are adjustable within prescribed limits (that work) I will be exploring these limits and (over time) showing my results.

My expectations are faster print times and some loss of fine details. Easy, do not try projects with fine surface details like small lettering.

My target printer is my AnyCubic Vyper. Shiney new 0.60mm nozzle on order. 

Rather than pushing hardware movement speed limits, another method to reduce print times is layer height and increased material flow volume. Going to see where this takes me. Stay tuned. 

One reply on “Why 0.40mm?”

Quick Update 7/16/22 ).06mm nozzle is installed. Parameters in Prusa Slicer updated for nozzle and several slice sizes (0.2, 0.3, 0.4). Results – extremely impressive! This may remain my long term Vyper nozzle size.

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