3D printing nozzle guide

3D printing is an innovative technology that is rapidly changing the way we produce objects. By using a 3D printer you can create many complicated geometries that would be impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing techniques. Nozzles are an important component of the 3D printing process, responsible for extruding the material onto the build plate layer by layer. There are various types of 3D printer nozzles available in the market, each with different uses and capabilities to cater to the diverse needs of 3D printing.

Nozzle sizes

The most regularly used 3D printer size for a nozzle is 0.4mm. This offers a good balance for the specifications, as a nozzle’s diameter plays an important role in the 3D printing process. It determines the speed, strength, and precision of the final print. A larger nozzle diameter will result in faster printing speeds, but the precision of the print will be altered. On the other hand, a smaller nozzle diameter will offer much more precision, but the print time will naturally also increase. Actual speed capability is naturally also determined by your printer itself. While an Ender 3 can produce solid prints at an average speed of 45mm/s, a Bambu Lab X1 with the right settings can often produce the same quality prints at 250mm/s.

Most retail printers such as the Creality Ender 3 Pro and Ender 3 V2 use nozzle sizes that are both 0.4mm. However, it is possible to upgrade printers like the Ender 3 nozzle size to a larger or smaller diameter so you have different print speeds or details. Naturally, it is important to ensure that the new nozzle size is compatible with your printer’s specifications and can handle the filament material that you want to use.

If you want to print with a .6 layer height or more, it is important to use a nozzle that has a larger than standard diameter, such as a 0.6mm nozzle. However, it is important to be mindful of the fact that the maximum extrusion width of the nozzle should not exceed the layer height. When choosing a 3D printer nozzle, it is essential to consider its compatibility with the material you intend to use.

Types of Nozzles

This brings us to the different nozzle types. In general, the best 3D printer nozzle size and type depend on the specific requirements of the printing project. A brass nozzle is the most used 3D printing nozzle and is generally suitable for printing with most materials. Some people do tend to use stainless steel and hardened steel nozzles, as these are more durable and will deteriorate less quickly. Ruby nozzles are the most premium and high-end option, offering high resistance to wear and tear, and are suitable for exotic materials like carbon fiber and metallic filaments. When using these specials nozzles, they often don’t absorb heat as well as brass nozzles, and often you’ll find that it is best to increase your printing temperature by 10 or even 20 degrees Celcius.

Do keep in mind that the results of using a different size nozzle may vary depending on the printer’s specifications and the filament material used. It is always recommended to consult the printer’s user manual or manufacturer’s website for specific details on nozzle compatibility and layer height recommendations.

What is the best 3D print nozzle for PLA?

It’s not a coincidence that brass nozzles are the most common, as they are also great for printing general materials like PLA and ABS.  This is mainly because brass nozzles have exceptional thermal conductivity and stability, which is why it is recommended to use them if it is a possibility for your material.

Nozzle shapes and sizes

A final factor to consider when choosing a 3D printer nozzle is the shape of the nozzle’s tip. The shape of the tip can affect the extrusion of the filament and the overall quality of the print. The most common nozzle tip shapes are conical, cylindrical, and flat. The shape of the tip can also affect the width of the extrusion, and therefore the layer height of the print.

Conical nozzles have a pointed tip and are often used for printing small details or intricate designs that require high precision. They can produce sharp edges and precise details, but they may also be prone to clogging, especially when printing with materials that contain particles or fibers.

Cylindrical nozzles have a straight, uniform diameter and are the most commonly used nozzle shape. They offer a good balance between speed and precision and can be used for a wide range of printing applications.

Flat nozzles have a flattened tip and are often used for printing large, flat surfaces. They can extrude wider lines and are useful for printing objects that require a smooth finish.

In addition to the shape of the nozzle tip, the nozzle’s coating can also affect the print quality. Some nozzles are coated with materials such as nickel or chrome, which can increase their durability and resistance to wear and tear. Coated nozzles can also provide better thermal conductivity, which can result in more consistent extrusion and better print quality. So if you are determined to use more high end nozzles, this could definitely benefit your printing.

Maintaining your nozzle

How to clean a printer nozzle? This is one of the most common questions asked about upkeep on a printer. The best way to keep a nozzle in good health, is to simply use a fiber cloth right after every printing session. Simply rubbing over the nozzle for a few seconds while it is still warm and the plastic remains are soft will do the job. When a nozzle is more thoroughly used and also shows signs of having a partial material clog on the inside. We recommend isopropyl alcohol. This type of alcohol is able to dissolve the remaining plastic both inside and out, and does not affect any other components of your print head. If the nozzle is truly clogged, then another option would be to keep the nozzle hot and use a thin needle to remove the material. You can find more about this on our unclogging blog.


Choosing the right 3D printer nozzle size and type is crucial for achieving high-quality 3D prints. Nozzle size affects the print resolution, speed, and precision, and should be chosen based on the specific requirements of the printing project. The material compatibility of the nozzle and its coating can also affect the print quality and durability of the nozzle. Additionally, the shape of the nozzle tip and its compatibility with the printer model should also be considered when choosing a 3D printer nozzle.

By considering all of these factors, you can ensure that you select the best 3D printer nozzle for your printing needs. Whether you’re printing small, intricate designs or large, flat objects, there is a 3D printer nozzle that is right for your project. With the right nozzle, you can achieve high-quality prints that are both accurate and durable, allowing you to bring your designs to life in three dimensions.