The default nozzle size of the vast majority of FDM 3D printers is 0.4 mm, an excellent compromise between print speed and quality. Changing the nozzle is relatively easy and only takes a few minutes. And different nozzle sizes can bring you a number of benefits. But in a mass survey, only about 20% of users said they had tried another nozzle. It’s like buying an SLR camera and never try another lens. It works without problems, but you limit your creative possibilities. Smaller nozzles allow you to print in more detail at the cost of longer printing times and larger nozzles print quickly, but not in such detail, or perhaps not? In fact, it’s a little more complicated and we’ll show you with concrete examples advantages of larger and smaller nozzle diameters. But first we have to look at the relationship between the nozzle diameter and the layer height. The nozzle diameter limits the maximum layer height you can print with. A good rule of thumb is to keep the layer height below 80% of the nozzle diameter. If you set it even higher, the layers would be harder to connect because the nozzle they will not push the current layer against the previous one. The change in nozzle diameter affects the resolution almost exclusively in the horizontal plane, which is parallel to the heated pad. On the other hand, changing the height of the layer affects the vertical resolution, so it is mostly visible on the sides and sloping walls of your models. 3D printing is not a fast process. Even a few centimeters high print can take hours to print. So it’s quite remarkable how overlooked is printing with larger diameter nozzles. Larger nozzles lay wider perimeters. For the same width of the wall, you only need to print fewer of them. The larger nozzle also allows you to print with a higher layer height. The combination of these two factors leads to a significant acceleration of printing. However, when printing a vase with one perimeter, the printing time will be the same regardless of the nozzle size. The printer simply has to perform the same sequence of movements. But before we get into really fast printing, let’s start with examples with smaller, nozzle with a diameter of 0.25 mm As already mentioned, the smaller nozzle increases resolution in a plane parallel to the printing surface, making it ideal for printing small text As you can see, some of the letters on this 3D printed business card are simply too small for a 0.4 mm nozzle, which is already visible in the G-code preview in Slic3r. But with a 0.25 mm nozzle, all the letters printed are beautifully legible. And just by the way, in this case the layer height has no effect on the print quality Another use for a smaller nozzle is in jewelry printing. With a smaller nozzle, you get clearer thin lines and smaller gaps in the top fill. What about thumbnail printing? Honestly, the standard 0.4 mm nozzle no longer has a problem with printing thumbnails. Do you know the difference between these chests? Where you will see improvements is if you need to use support. Supports printed with a smaller nozzle are thinner, easy to remove and leave smaller footprints on the printout. This is the main reason why a goblin from a 0.25 mm nozzle looks better. And what are the disadvantages of using a smaller nozzle? First, the printing time is extended compared to a 0.4 mm nozzle. The printer must make multiple movements to place the same amount of filament. For example, to create a 2 mm thin wall, you need to set eight perimeters instead of just five with 0.4 mm nozzle. In addition, there is an increased risk of clogging the nozzle. Dust particles and other impurities that are large enough to pass through a 0.4 mm diameter nozzle they may get stuck in the 0.25 mm diameter nozzle. This also means that you can forget about filament printing with a metal or wood admixture. So a brief overview. You get more resolution in the XY plane, better printing of text, jewelry, nicer logos and really easy to remove supports. But longer printing time, increased risk of clogging and less choice filaments for printing. What if we use a larger than standard 0.4 mm nozzle? The 0.6 mm nozzle is, at least in our opinion, even more interesting than the smaller nozzles. If your model does not contain small details, it will be almost impossible Recognize the difference between a 0.4 mm and 0.6 mm nozzle, but save hours of printing. This flowerpot? Three hours difference, but that’s at the same layer height for comparison. Remember that with the 0.6 mm nozzle you can print much higher layer heights, saving even more time. Voronoi lamp? Almost 9 hours faster than with a 0.4 mm nozzle. And both of these characters took 3 hours to print at the same layer height. Be sure to guess which one was printed with a 0.6 mm nozzle. As you probably understand, you can simply print quickly with a relatively small reduction in quality. But beware, there is another advantage. In the impact test, the 0.6 mm nozzle models absorbed 25% more energy than those printed with a 0.4 mm nozzle. The test was performed as the average of 10 samples, with the lowest and highest values crossed out in each series. Therefore, you see 8 samples in this graph. Of course, small details, such as this text, look worse with a 0.6 mm nozzle. Aid is harder to eliminate, which is probably one of the biggest disadvantages. To sum it up, you get up to twice as fast printing, in the form of 0.4 mm nozzle qualities stronger prints and very low risk of nozzle clogging. But you have worse resolution of small details and it is harder to remove the supports .. But what if we use an even bigger nozzle? One millimeter? Clearly! Does your printing take tens of hours? With a 1 mm nozzle, you will be able to complete it in two to three hours. Half a millimeter layer or even bigger. I think I know what you mean. The prints must look awful, right? Although it is true that they have a specific look, for some models it is not harmful at all. This pencil holder lasted over 11 hours with a 0.4 mm nozzle. It printed in just 1 hour and 40 minutes. And there is another surprising advantage. The nozzle with a diameter of 1 mm automatically rounds all sharp edges. It is thus ideal, for example, for printing children’s toys. And you can print five in time, which would normally only take one. Prints with one perimeter of transparent filament also look interesting. Otherwise they refract light. Okay, so you get extremely fast printing, very robust prints, an unusual look with high layers and essentially zero risk of clogged nozzles. But your prints will lack detail, visible layers may not always be what you care about support is really difficult to remove and also the filament seems to disappear from the spool 🙂 So … did we convince you that you should give nozzles of different diameters a chance? Even the original nozzles from E3D cost only about 200 CZK. This small investment can have a surprisingly large impact on how you print. And how to replace the nozzle? We have a separate video about it, which you can watch. If you like these videos, we’ll appreciate thumbs up and consider subscribing. if you have not already done so. See you!