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How Long Does a Brass Nozzle Last With PLA?

Discover the lifespan of a brass nozzle when printing with PLA. Learn factors affecting durability and tips for optimal usage.

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With 3D printers, anyone can turn complex designs into physical objects with just a few clicks. However, while 3D printers are incredibly effective, they do require some maintenance.

A brass nozzle that prints PLA lasts for 3 to 6 months. While the lifespan of a 3D printer nozzle largely depends on how often you use it, most high-quality nozzles can last up to 8 months maximum. If you’re using a cheaply manufactured nozzle, its lifespan will be much shorter.

Regular maintenance on your 3D printer will ensure that it continues to operate optimally and stays reliable for years to come. Read on to learn more about brass nozzles using PLA, including what they do, why you need to replace them, and how to replace them.

How Often Should You Replace Brass Nozzles?

3D printers have brass nozzles that place melted material onto the build area. You should replace brass nozzles about once every six months, assuming that you use your printer regularly and you don’t notice any issues with your prints before. If you are printing PLA every day, you might need to replace your brass nozzles more frequently.

Brass nozzles are the most important part of a 3D printer. They act as the “needle” guiding melted PLA into a very specific spot as it is pushed out of the 3D printer. It’s essential to have good-quality brass nozzles that can withstand high temperatures and pressures in order for 3D printing to be successful. They come in various sizes and shapes, depending on what type of material you are using with your 3D printer. 

Without a brass nozzle, a 3D printer simply cannot operate effectively. If you own make 3D prints, you need to understand how a brass nozzle works and when to replace it in order to ensure successful prints. 

How often you need to replace the brass nozzles on your 3D printer depends on a few things:

  • The size and complexity of your 3D prints
  • The amount of printing you are doing
  • The type of material you use
  • The quality of your brass nozzles

Several companies make very cheap 3D printing parts in order to lower the initial cost, helping many consumers get into 3D printing. While these cheap parts are great in terms of accessibility, they are often low-quality and need to be replaced much sooner.

A high-quality nozzle might be more expensive, but it can save you money in the long term because you’ll need to replace it less frequently.

Additionally, the type of material you use to make 3D prints can affect the lifespan of your brass nozzle. If you’re printing with carbon fiber, for example, the lifespan of your nozzle will be shorter than if you are printing with PLA. Be sure to take your material type into account when considering a replacement.

Why Do You Need To Replace Brass Nozzles?

Every day, your brass nozzle is exposed to wear and tear. And as you use your 3D printer more often, the tiny hole at the top of your brass nozzle gets slightly larger. This change in size could be due to the following:

  • Scraping the surface of the build area
  • The material wearing away at the nozzle’s edge
  • Dust and dirt buildup

If the hole at the top of your brass nozzle gets significantly bigger than it’s supposed to, your 3D printer won’t be nearly as precise in placing your printing materials on the build surface. As a result, the quality of your prints will decline. Therefore, if you start to see a noticeable decline in print quality, get your brass nozzle replaced.

Additionally, brass nozzles can get dirty from dust, dirt, hair, and other sediment getting into the top. This buildup can cause a clog in the nozzle. While you can take steps to unclog the nozzle, once it has clogged once, it is more likely to do so again. This problem might become so severe that you are forced to replace the nozzle.

How To Replace a Brass Nozzle

Replacing a brass nozzle doesn’t need to be a daunting task. In fact, it is straightforward and requires minimal technical expertise. All you need are some basic tools and the right replacement parts.

1. Gather the Right Tools

To replace a 3D printer’s nozzle, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Wrench
  • 7-millimeter socket
  • Socket wrench

I recommend that you have a non-flammable surface to place the old nozzle, such as a plate, bowl, or glass. Attach the socket to the socket wrench before you begin.

2. Heat Up The Hot End

The hot end of the brass nozzle must be warm enough for the replacement. The video below demonstrates how to preheat your nozzle:

As shown above, do not try to remove the nozzle until your printer is up to temperature. Also, be sure to remove any filament from your printer.

3. Unscrew the Nozzle

Once your 3D printer is up to temperature, use the wrench to slightly unscrew the heater block before unscrewing the brass nozzle. Then, use the socket wrench to unscrew the brass nozzle itself.

There are many small wires on the heater block, so be careful not to damage any of these when unscrewing the heat block. 

4. Replace the Nozzle

Once you have unscrewed the nozzle, take it out of the socket wrench. Be careful when doing so, as your nozzle will be hot!

Place your new nozzle into the socket wrench and screw in the new nozzle while holding the heater block in place, ensuring it is tight and secure. You now have a brand-new brass nozzle!

Final Thoughts

Your 3D printer won’t function as expected without a good nozzle. A faulty nozzle will cause your prints to become low quality, and you could damage the printer itself. You should generally try and replace your brass nozzle every 3 to 6 months, but the actual frequency depends on the nozzle’s quality and how you use your 3D printer.

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About Ben

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.