E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

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626Pilot
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E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

Postby 626Pilot » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:58 am

Blog post: http://e3d-online.com/Blocks-Nozzles-Hobbs

Got an email about this last week. Shipping from UK was quite prompt. Filastruder didn't have these in stock at that time, but I suppose they will sooner or later.

Nozzles in many sizes
Heater blocks
Hardened hobbed bolt

Copper conducts heat better than aluminum, which they say may slightly increase heat-up times and improve fine temperature control. (I prefer hand-tuned PID... works great for me.) The heater blocks and nozzles are also rated to 500 C, whereas aluminum begins to soften at 350 C. Additionally, the nickel plating makes the surface more resistant to accumulations of plastic, yielding (in their words) "exceptionally smooth top surface layers" and "clean accurate perimeters". I'm looking forward to trying these with PETG, which does have a tendency to accumulate on their brass nozzles for sure. I'm just waiting for some extra V6 heat sinks and fan kits to arrive from Filastruder.

They claim that the nickel plating (which is done on the entire surface, including the inside of the nozzle bore) is less sticky, and will therefore flow more easily. I wonder what effect, if any, this will have on retraction. They say that it will reduce blockages with TPU and other filaments that like to degrade, because the gunk won't stick to the inside the nozzle. It will supposedly work better with filled materials, although I don't know how well that plating would stand up to abrasive materials like metal-fill or carbon fiber.

Speaking of abrasive material, they are selling hardened steel hobbed bolts (the thing that grabs and pushes the filament in the extruder). They have a photo of a non-hardened hobbed bolt that has been chewed up by metal filament, making it less effective and more prone to skipping. The hardened version should last much longer when printing with such filaments. This is a drop-in replacement on Titan extruders. The bolt is shipped pre-fitted into a delrin gear, which I suppose you could cut off and just use the bolt on another extruder, although I don't know what the inner or outer diameters are or whether the bolt has provisions for grub screws.

I also saw that they have an experimental 0.15 nozzle. They recommended using MG94-ABS, PC-ABS, or PMMA (which I think is acrylic) filament, so I picked up a spool of PMMA as well.

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Re: E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

Postby Eric » Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:27 am

Gotta love marketing non-specifics. There are thousands of "copper alloys", including ALL of the brasses and bronzes (they're still mostly copper). The functional gimmick here is the nickel plating, not the unspecified alloy.

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Re: E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

Postby TwoTone » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:40 am

My son has been running PETG for a couple months now on a stock E3D. Hasn't had anything issues. Can't see this being worth the money.

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Re: E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

Postby barry99705 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:32 am

All I print with anymore is petg. I use their silicone covers and it really keeps the crap off the bottom of the nozzle. The problem with them is they degrade pretty quick. I can get maybe 70 hours on one before it starts to fall apart. Anything that can keep the crap from sticking, then eventually falling off in a print would help.
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Re: E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

Postby ccavanaugh » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:18 pm

I'm assuming an electroless nickel is being applied. It's a relatively simple and cost effective process to plate parts with.

Depending on the phosphorus level used, it is very durable and tends to improve surface finish a bit. I use it a fair amount for rotating shaft/wear conditions and improved corrosion resistance. I would expect minor improved resistance to plastic sticking to it, but nozzle life vs. a plain brass nozzle should be improved significantly.

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Re: E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

Postby Xenocrates » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:46 pm

I ordered the copper heater block myself for 2 reasons. One, it should be more thermally conductive, which if I want to have the best possible chances of success with the .15 nozzle (yes, I decided to try one of those too. I figure I have a decent chance with it using the right polymers, and I want to see how well it does with my local filament manufacturer's high flow ABS), and two, considering I've otherwise done my very best to ensure that no matter the temperature my printer can handle it, I wanted to be less restricted by aluminum's failure temperature. Also, despite the fact I plan on covering it with a sock, I am a real sucker for shiny things, and that is really shiny. I guess I need to wait for at least the third though, since I ordered it after they closed for the holidays.
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Re: E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

Postby 626Pilot » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:15 pm

I have had issues with PETG. It tends to accumulate on the bottom of the nozzle, just a little bead of it, you know, but then after however many hours it degrades and turns black. Then it falls off, leaving a dark stain on whatever I'm printing. This happens pretty reliably. If their nickel-plated nozzles fix this problem, then hooray!

I don't think it likely that they are making any of their claims up. That would be bad for their reputation. When something is experimental (e.g. Cyclops) they make sure to say so.

Anyway, as soon as I get those heat sinks and fans in the mail, I'll know for sure. I do like PETG a lot. I just wish it was less messy.

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Re: E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

Postby Zesty_Lykle » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:28 am

The hardened hobbed bolts is a good idea.
Will make it all a lot more reliable.
Hmm....
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Re: E3D is now selling nickel-plated copper heater blocks and nozzles + hardened hobbed bolts

Postby 626Pilot » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:26 pm

I can confirm that the nickel-plated nozzles produce a smoother top surface with PETG. There is also less accumulation of plastic on the tip. Still a little, but not as much as before.

Five stars, will definitely buy copper-nickel parts the next time I need to build a hot end.


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