A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
Your nozzle is the last and final step in your extrusion system, and maybe the most important part of your 3d printer. Plastic flows through the small orifice, thanks to the pressure generated by the extruder pinch system. This high flow can reach a pressure as high as 250 times the atmospheric pressure (25 MPa).
With plain plastic, any common metal can easily hold up against the flow. Unfortunately, once we start using plastic filaments with hard reinforcement fibers such as carbon and glass, things start to get more complicated; these reinforcement materials will scratch the inner wall of your nozzle orifice as they pass due to the flow and pressure. Both glass and carbon are known to be very hard, a lot harder than any metals, resulting in what is known as abrasion inside your nozzle.
The more you print; the worse it gets...
That’s why we designed the Tungsten Carbide Nozzle: a state of the art 3d printer nozzle that offers good durability and performance for almost any 3d printer, such as Ultimaker, Raise3d, Prusa, Makerbot, Robo, LulzBot, Flashforge and many more.
Tungsten carbide is the ceramic of choice when it comes to wearing and abrasion resistance. It is not to be confounded with tungsten alloy, which is metal. For instance, cutting tools for steel and tool steel are made from tungsten carbide. It is also used extensively in the mining industry as a button insert for crushing rocks.
The high thermal performance of the tungsten carbide keeps the nozzle tip hot, thus allowing faster printing speed without sacrificing the quality.
Tungsten carbide has exceptional wear resistance due to its high hardness. Both the nozzle hole size and height will always stay the same, no matter how long or how hard you use it.
To understand the difference between tungsten and tungsten carbide, we first need to know what is a ceramic and what is a metal.
Ceramics are among the hardest material known. They are completely different from metal, even if some of them contains metal atoms.
For example, silicon carbide, a ceramic, is used in high temperature and high hardness applications such as abrasives, brakes and bulletproof vest. On the other hand, silicon, a metal, is used mostly in electronics as a semiconductor. It is rarely used as a metal for mechanical applications, except as a minor alloying element.
Tungsten, as a metal, is mostly used for its very high density as counterweight and vibration dampening application. It’s also a refractory metal, meaning that it can handle very high temperature.
Steel has been meticulously chosen as the nozzle frame. It has all the properties required for a good nozzle body. It has excellent mechanical properties at high temperature. It means that the nozzle will stay strong, no matter the pressure generated by the extruder. This is a very critical parameter as the assembly reliability depends on the mechanical joint between the tungsten carbide insert and the nozzle frame.
Not only steel is strong, it’s also very thermally stable. It has the lowest coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) from the standard materials used as nozzles. While tungsten carbide has a lower CTE, it is critical to opt for a similar value, as it reduces the gap created by the temperature increase.
The steel thermal conductivity might seem low compared to the other common options, but it’s actually around 3 times higher than tool steel. Also, the critical zone for thermal conductivity is the nozzle tip, where the section area is very low, and the convection cooling power is high. Fortunately, the tungsten carbide tip will provide the proper thermal conductivity, leaving the steel disadvantage behind.
Comparing a reference brass nozzle from Ultimaker, the tungsten carbide nozzle is much easier to extrude. In fact, the output flow can be increased by around 80% while having the same results.
A highly flow optimized nozzle reference design can still benefit greatly from having a carbide nozzle. The example above compare both solutions, and the tungsten carbide nozzle still greatly reduce the extrusion losses.
Risks and challenges
We now have years of experience in 3d printer components design and manufacturing that gives us special expertise and know-how.
You can be very confident that we will deliver a high-quality product on time, as development is already on the right track and prototypes are already in our hands.
If there are any unforeseen issues or problems, we will handle them with the utmost transparency and care for you, our backers and we will give you frequent updates about product development.