All You Want to Know About 3D Printer Nozzles

As the last part to be in contact with the filament, the nozzle has been the last thing on your mind. It’s often overlooked. Selecting the correct nozzle has a significant impact on print time and quality. Today we will go through all the things you have to know about the 3d printer nozzle.

3D Printer Nozzle Length

The length of the nozzle will affect the heat transfer. The bigger the nozzle, the more contact area available for filament, which means the filament inside will be heated up faster.

There aren’t many different nozzle sizes available on the market, the option is among standard, volcano and super-volcano.

Standard 3d printer nozzle is the most common size that complies with V6 hot ends and MK8 extruders, whose length is about 11-12 mm. The MK8 hot end is commonly seen on Bowden-style printers such as Anet ET4, ET5X series of machines.

3d printer nozzle

Volcano and Super-volcano are designed for higher speeds and temperatures, which can process at least 3 times plastic at the same time than the standard extruder. Hence, the length of Volcano hot ends is about 21mm, while the Super-volcano’s length is up to 50 mm.

3D Printer Nozzle Size

The diameter of the nozzles will make a difference to how much filament is extruded and how fast. The standard diameter in 3D printers today is the 0.4mm nozzle, which provides a great balance between speed and precision. But for more flexibility? You could try some other options, which range from 0.1 mm all the way up to 1.0 mm.

In theory, the smaller nozzles will provide higher details. It’s great for those indicate prints, such as texts, jewelry, logo, etc. And it’s perfect for printing supports, which will be easier to remove.

But with the smaller nozzle, it will take longer print time. You might think that the amount of filament a 0.2 mm nozzle extrudes, is about half of the amount that comes from a 0.4 mm nozzle. Due to the area, there is only 25% of filament on a 0.2 mm nozzle compared with a standard nozzle, the wall of the prints is thinner. As a result, it will take about two times longer to get both the high detail and strength that you need.

If you need to get more prints in a shorter time, a larger nozzle is your choice. With a larger nozzle, commonly 0.6 or 0.8 mm, you will get faster printing speed and sturdy prints. It’s great to print things that don’t rely on tiny details, such as headphone stands, racks, especially flower pots. The large nozzle provides thick layers, which means the overall porosity of the part is reduced and there are fewer potential voids where fluid can leak through.

There is no single best printing nozzle diameter for all prints, you just need to consider what’s appropriate for what you’re wanting to print.

Settings for the 3D Printer Nozzle Sizes

The two most important setting for different nozzles is the layer height and print speed.

layer height of nozzle


Layer height is the thickness of each line of extruded material that makes up each layer of your print. The thinner layer height provides the finer detail of the print on the Z-axis.

It also leads to more layers and longer printing time. The range of the layer height is from 20% to 80% of the width of your nozzle. 50% of your nozzle width is the most common setting.

The print speed will affect the heating effect of the filament. More material is extruded through the larger nozzle than a standard one during the printing process at the same speed. You have to reduce your print speed to give the material enough time to heat properly while traveling through the hot end.

How to Clean a 3D Printer Clogged Nozzle

The most common cause of the clog is that cold material stays glued to the inner of the nozzle. Also, it usually happens when you use a nozzle with a small diameter to print some particle-based filaments.

The first thing you should do is heat the extruder and the nozzle to soften the clogged material. The temperature depends on the material. Normally heat the nozzle to around 250℃ to melt the remaining materials in the clogged nozzle. 

3D Printer Nozzle Cleaning Tools

We highly recommend to keep some nozzle cleaning needles at hand. It's much easier to use the needle to clean a clogged nozzle. Once the inside clgged material cleared, you can clean the extra filament on the nozzle with a nozzle clean brush with copper wire.

If the clog can’t be pushed out, remove the nozzle from the print head and leave it in acetone for a few hours. The acetone will melt the material and you will be able to clean it with nozzle cleaning needles.

How to Clean a 3D Printer Clogged Nozzle

How Long Does a 3D Printer Nozzle Last

The lifespan of the nozzle depends on the type of filament, the frequency you use the 3D printer, and the material of the nozzle.

  • It’s obvious that the more frequently you print, the more worn out to the nozzle. Normally, if i could detect the clogs in the nozzles, I would change for a new one. And if the nozzle turns too dirty, like remains on the nozzle are too much, I would change for a new nozzle as well. If you use your 3d printer daily, then for the standard brass nozzle, i usually change for new every 3-4 months. For the stainless steel one, 8-10 months of use.
  • Abrasive filament such as carbon fiber, metal-filled or wood-filled will cause more worn out to the nozzle and lead to a shorter lifespan. 
  • You could choose nozzles with more wear resistance materials. The three most popular materials are brass nozzles, stainless steel nozzles and hardened steel nozzles. The latter one is stronger and more expensive.

How to Change a 3D Printer Nozzle

To change a 3D printer nozzle, you just need to follow the steps below:

  • Heat the hot end to printing temperature (at least 200℃).
  • Use a tool such as a wrench to steady the heat block. At the same time, use a socket wrench to turn the nozzle.
  • Remove the old nozzle, and make sure the hot end is still hot when installing the new one.

    3d printer nozzles used for a certain period may affect the print quality. For better printing quality, you should clean the nozzle frequently, and choose the right 3d printer nozzles for different print materials.

    Previous article Cost of A 3D Printer
    Next article Enable Retraction to Prevent 3D Printing Stringing or Oozing in Simplify3D

    Leave a comment

    Comments must be approved before appearing

    * Required fields