In the world of 3D printing, there are plenty of options in terms of printers, filaments, and designs. But there are also a few different nozzles to choose from, and if you’ve ever heard of ruby-tipped 3D printer nozzles, you may be wondering why they’re getting so much attention these days. So, is there anything truly unique and attention-worthy about these nozzles, and should you get some for yourself?
Ruby tipped nozzles are worth it when printing with heavy, abrasive materials or if you’re printing in considerable volumes. These types of tips provide higher resistance and, therefore, significantly less wear, which means they will last you longer compared to brass or stainless steel nozzles.
In this article, we’ll talk in greater detail about ruby-tipped nozzles and what they’re designed to do. We’ll also discuss how much they cost to help you decide whether getting them is the right decision based on your needs and budget.
How Ruby-Tipped 3D Printer Nozzles Are Different
The nozzle on a 3D printer sits beneath the hot end, where the filament is heated and melted. This melted material is then extruded through the nozzle onto the print bed, creating layer after layer until the design is complete.
Most filaments are made of plastic or thermoplastic that become malleable when exposed to heat.
However, some plastic filaments have a tendency to shrink or to be unstable. This is why many people who want to make sturdier models prefer tougher filaments, such as carbon fiber filaments.
The downside to these is that they are more abrasive, meaning they can wear out regular nozzles more quickly. Worn-out nozzles lead to less precise printing and the need to change nozzles more frequently.
Although changing a 3D printer nozzle is not difficult, it does take a little bit of time, and, of course, you need to stop printing in order to do so. So, if you’re printing for a small business, this loss of productivity would start to cost money.
This is where ruby-tipped nozzles come in.
As the name suggests, ruby-tipped nozzles are 3D printer nozzles tipped with ruby instead of the usual brass or steel. And no, we’re not talking about nozzle tips that are ruby-colored. Instead, we’re talking about nozzle tips that are made of genuine rubies.
What the Ruby Tip Is Designed For
Rubies are tough gemstones. They have a general hardness that is exceeded only by that of diamonds and the mineral moissanite.
This means that they are tough to wear out while being able to conduct heat well enough for filament extrusion. This also means that they can extrude different kinds of filaments, from more pliable plastics to carbon fiber, without showing any signs of wear.
To help you appreciate the ruby tip’s toughness, carbon fiber is a very strong material, able to take a force of up to 100 gigapascals without breaking. Despite its toughness, carbon fiber is very lightweight, making it an ideal material for 3D printing.
Because of carbon fiber’s toughness, most nozzles will find working with it very abrasive, ending up in greater wear and shorter life. But ruby-tipped nozzles can handle carbon fiber as easily as PLA.
And because the ruby tip is great for long and frequent printing on highly abrasive materials, you can count on it to last you a long time. Talk about bang for the buck – which is important because ruby-tipped nozzles will cost you more than steel or brass ones.
How Much Ruby-Tipped Nozzles Cost
As you can imagine, ruby-tipped nozzles are much more expensive than regular nozzles. They typically cost upwards of $90, whereas you can buy stainless steel or brass nozzles for less than $10.
One of the best-reviewed ruby-tipped nozzles is the Genuine Olsson Ruby Nozzle from Amazon.com, which can cost you around $100. This is due to the hardness of rubies. As you might guess, ruby-tipped nozzles are more difficult to make. Plus, rubies are in themselves expensive materials.
There are, however, synthetic ruby nozzles that are as cheap as steel or brass nozzles. But they don’t perform half as well as genuine ruby ones do or come with the longevity or toughness of genuine ruby nozzles.
How To Know if Ruby-Tipped Nozzles Are Right for You
There are a few things that you need to consider before making this big purchase: your purpose, budget, and productivity.
Let’s talk about these three in detail.
What Do You Need the Nozzles For?
If you are a casual hobbyist that only handles nylon, PLA, and other thermoplastic filaments, I wouldn’t recommend ruby-tipped nozzles. You can use stainless steel or brass nozzles that retail for a fraction of the cost of ruby nozzles. They will do just fine for that kind of material.
But for medium to large productions involving tough materials like carbon fiber, you will benefit more from something that you can use at high frequency, for a wide range of materials, and for a longer time.
How Much Are You Willing To Spend?
If you’re willing to spend around $100 per ruby-tipped nozzle, then you should make the purchase. Rather than having to constantly replace your nozzles (and spending more every time), you may even save more because of how long ruby-tipped nozzles can last.
Will They Make a Difference in Your Work?
Using ruby-tipped nozzles will make a difference in your work if you find you need to change nozzles frequently, either from regular wear and tear or for use with different materials. The inconvenience of not having to change nozzles should save some time and increase productivity.
Ruby-tipped nozzles are indeed worth every penny. They are designed to handle tough, abrasive materials like carbon fiber without sacrificing precision, and they will not easily wear out even under high-frequency use.
If you are looking for something that you can use for a long time and with lots of abrasive materials, you won’t regret getting these.
While the price tag may be a bit hefty at first, you will find it to be actually cheaper in the long run because they’ll be in great shape for quite a while.
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I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.