Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thoughts on nozzle size

My first RepRap was a MakerGear and came with a 0.35mm nozzle.  I’ve been using that as my standard up until recently when I bought a couple of 0.5mm JHeads.
It seems to me that the main difference is how well you can print thin objects. If I have a wall that’s only 2mm thick and I’m laying down 0.75mm wide perimeters, Slic3r may not be able to put any infill inside of it, leading to weak, hollow objects.
EDIT (March 6 2013) - Newer versions of Slic3r have even remedied this problem.  It seems to be able to do reduced extrusion and infill narrow gaps.  So IMO 0.5mm is just fine and tends to clog less.  I think the only remaining downside is that it does dribble a bit.
On the plus side, I can run the layer thickness up to 0.33mm rather than the 0.25 that I usually print at – and I could probably go even higher for some objects, which results in a significant reduction in print times.
One interesting thing that I need to investigate – a few days ago I was printing the aquarium pump bushing shown in a previous post, and I forgot to put Slic3r on the “big nozzle” settings – I sliced the object with the settings for 0.35mm.  It actually printed beautifully.  I guess the volume of printed material is going to be correct regardless.  I haven’t taken the time to think about the actual consequences of using an incorrect nozzle size in the final print.

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