Home Practice & Makers Fibtip develops ceramic-coated nozzles for 3D-printing

Fibtip develops ceramic-coated nozzles for 3D-printing

Fibtip, a sub-organization of TRD Surfaces, has introduced two new nozzles for 3D printing. These are coated with ceramic and are said to set new standards for 3D printing with their extreme thermal conductivity, anti-stick properties and lifetime durability.

Using ceramic diffusion coating, the company promises unmatched and durable performance, even with the most abrasive filaments. The ceramic diffusion coating was originally developed for marine engines and has now been further optimized for FDM 3D printing.

Nozzle wear

As with any other technology, there are wear parts in 3D printing that, when they break down, either bring the machine to the end of its life or simply need to be replaced. In the case of the 3D printer, one of these parts is the nozzle itself, as some filaments have small particles in them that actually accelerate this process. Now, there are long-lasting nozzles with rubies or made of tungsten, but these are very expensive, especially if you need to equip more than one 3D printer.

This is where the team at Fibtip came in and developed the “Nozzle for Every Print,” as described on the manufacturer’s website. There, you’ll also find the features, such as an extremely hard but smooth surface that does not wear easily, a thermal conductivity of up to 600 °C, or even a lower susceptibility to clogging.

Developed at the Technical University of Denmark

At the Technical University of Denmark, a lot of printing is done with carbon fiber-reinforced filaments for high-strength prototypes. As a result, the team had to constantly change nozzles because of the abrasive properties of this filament.

Now the founders of Fibtip have developed a process for hardening steel with an unusual ceramic diffusion coating, originally from TRD Surfaces ApS. This technology has also been used successfully in diesel engines and industrial water nozzles.

Fibtip’s Production Manager, Alexander Hejgaard Andersen, explained: “We then came up with the bright idea to apply our surface to 3D printing nozzles, which only proved to us that our surface has so much more to offer. In earlier applications we only took advantage of the surface’s extreme durability. We thought: ‘fine this should work well when printing in abrasive filament’, however we had some doubts about the bulk of material being tool steel. Due to tool steel not having a thermal conductivity that can rival brass or tungsten carbide. However, when we tested our nozzle and compared it to brass or tungsten nozzles we did not see a decline in thermal conductivity, but instead an increase. We later found out that this was because our surface, which is made from chromium carbide, have a thermal conductivity twice the amount of brass and even better that tungsten carbide. Even though the layer is so thin, it will still contribute very much to the thermal transfer of the nozzle.”

Two versions

Two versions of the nozzle are available: the Fibtip MK8 and the Fibtip V6. The Fibtip MK8 is suitable for popular printers from Ultimaker and Creality, where the V6 is suitable for printers from Prusa and all E3D hot ends.

A more detailed compatibility list of the two nozzles can be found here.

Andersen said: “With our nozzle you get:

Extreme durability with every filament (we even have a lifetime guarantee on every nozzle)
Anti-stick surface reducing nozzle built up, cleaning effort and clogging risk
And extraordinary thermal conductivity giving an excellent heat transfer between nozzle and filament.

I know some of this sounds too good to be true, but I promise you it is not.”

Currently, the company offers two 0.4mm variants of the technology: an MK8 version for Creality, Anet, BQ, MakerBot, Ultimaker and others, and a V6 version for Prusa, LulzBot and other E3D-compatible devices. Both are available now and cost €65 (US$69) each.

For more information about Fibtip, please visit fibtip.com.

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