3D Printer Advanced Tungsten Nozzle
Frankfurt-based 3D printing startup DDDMaterial has recently launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for their most recent product: a 3D printer nozzle made of a premium tungsten material. The company’s founders, German tech innovators, Patrick, Christopher, and Philipp were inspired to develop their own 3D printer nozzle after finding dissatisfaction with the durability and print precisions of existing brass nozzles, especially with abrasive filament materials. With their new Tungsten Premium Nozzle, the tech startup is hoping to introduce a more durable, robust, and affordable 3D printing nozzle onto the market.
The idea to make their nozzle from tungsten, a hard, rare metal with an extremely high melting point (3422 °C or 6192 °F), came from the material’s existing use in the plastic industry for making extruder dies. As the company explains on its Kickstarter page, they essentially scaled down the tungsten extruder dies used in the plastics industry to the size of a standard 3D printer nozzle.
Christopher Peterwerth explains, “Professional print-shops, prototyping services and designers want to offer their customers high-quality products at a fair price. Any failures in their printing machinery will raise the costs, so we had the idea to scale down the tungsten extruder dies of the plastics industry to the size of a common 3D printer nozzle. Our Tungsten Premium Nozzle was born."
Because of the material’s strength and high melting point, the 3D printer nozzle developed by DDDMaterial reportedly offers several benefits over regular brass or steel nozzles, such as a higher energy efficiency because of its thermal conductivity; more stable calibration even over the course of long prints; and no extreme tempering effects. Additionally, the tungsten nozzle has been designed with a flattened nozzle head to prevent the scratching and breaking of the glass print bed.
After much research and development, the German startup found that tungsten would be the most beneficial material for creating their nozzle both in terms of quality and in price. While they explain that diamonds would be superior in quality to tungsten because of their high thermal conductivity and hardness, and their low expansion coefficient, the cost of producing a nozzle out of the pricey materials would be extravagant. Additionally, using only a diamond tip for the nozzle could risk scratching or breaking the glass print bed if the tip was displaced from the expanding and contracting brass or steel body of the nozzle.
Compared to steel, DDDMaterial maintains that their tungsten nozzle is of higher quality because of the former material’s low thermal conductivity, which results in a higher energy consumption. Steel, as they explain, also undergoes tempering during the printing process, compromising its strength and hardness, which tungsten is more resistant to.
The Kickstarter campaign for the 3D printer tungsten nozzles is running until April 14th, 2016, and the German 3D printing startup is hoping to have raised their goal of €40,000 by then (so far they have reached just over a quarter of their crowdfunding goal). With the money from the Kickstarter, DDDMaterial is hoping to fund their necessary materials and production equipment to put their tungsten nozzles into production. The team at DDDMaterials has also already tested their product by providing free samples of the nozzle to a number of institutes, companies and influential makers around the globe in the months leading up to the Kickstarter campaign in order to receive feedback and support from the maker community. With the feedback received through the promotional phase, DDDMaterial was able to improve and adjust their nozzle’s design and hardware.
The current Tungsten Premium Nozzle is an M6 Thread and is compatible with 1.75mm filaments. If their crowdfunding campaign is successful, the company is also hoping to introduce a nozzle for 2.85/3mm filaments. As mentioned, the tungsten premium nozzle is ideal for materials that require high temperatures, such as PEEK, Nylon, ABS, and Polycarbonate, and for abrasive materials such as white filament, and metal, wood, stone, or carbon fiber filaments.