Written by Georgia Willans
Case Study: Prusa Nozzles for XL & MK4
E3D has maintained a proud partnership with Prusa Research since the launch of the Prusa i3 MK2 in 2016. The success of this printer swiftly propelled Prusa to become the biggest 3D printer manufacturer to adopt the E3D V6 HotEnd as standard. Since then, we’ve continued to supply them market-leading extrusion systems for their MK3 range and most recently their ground-breaking MK4 and XL printers. After collaborating closely for the past 7 years, we've nurtured a strong relationship with Prusa and their customer base and were delighted when they approached us to co-develop the new Prusa nozzle.
The latest generation of Prusa printers
MK4: The successor to the multi award-winning MK3, this high-speed machine is built around Prusa’s new 32-bit connected architecture, has improved safety features, built-in support for remote printing and webcams, and is complete with their next-generation extruder - Nextruder.
XL: We’re no strangers to ToolChanging technology and it’s fair to say that the Prusa XL does not disappoint, even if does have 1 more toolhead than ours ever did 😉. The XL is a seriously impressive large volume (36cm x 36cm x 36cm) core XY machine with tool-changing capabilities for up to 5 independent toolheads, powered by Nextruders.
Prusa XL with 5 Nextruders
Nextruder: “An always perfect first layer”
Nextruder is neat little package with many cool features such as a proprietary load cell, dedicated CPU, 10:1 planetary gearbox, Heatbreak thermistor, and a custom quick-change nozzle.
A story of collaboration
At E3D, we take immense pride in providing world-class solutions for every project we undertake. This Nozzle was destined for Prusa's upcoming generation of printers, demanding nothing less than perfection. The project originally kicked off in 2018, with the main aim being to mechanically join the Nozzle with a tube that would act as the heatbreak. The joint would prevent users from having to hot tighten nozzles into the blocks when installing them into the machines, a significant quality of life improvement over the V6 setup in the MK3. With the new assembly being made up of a nozzle and a tube it quickly gained a working title of the 'nube', original we know 😉.
As the project progressed, our engineers continued to collaborate closely with Prusa's R&D team to fine-tune the Nozzle's design, ensuring it aligned with their exact requirements. In the early days we experimented with different ways to attach the parts together; building prototypes, testing them, reviewing our findings and refining the design.
An early prototype with the tube brazed into the nozzles
September 2019 - Automated laser welding prototype
Eventually we arrived at the ‘snube’ design that you see today. Yes, you got it, when the copper sleeve was added to the assembly to improve thermal transfer into the heatsink the nube evolved into a snube…
Final version of Prusa MK4 & XL Nozzles. (Image courtesy of Prusa)
You'll notice some visual similarities between the Prusa nozzle and our V6, Volcano and Revo ranges. The final design is built upon our 10 years+ of experience in manufacturing market-leading nozzles.
Quality is key
As we did for Revo, we designed and built bespoke machinery to assemble these nozzles. Our custom machines are equipped with in-process monitoring to perform quality control on each part as it's being manufactured, guaranteeing that you receive a great component every time.
Automated Optical Measuring of the Prusa Nozzles
V6 to Nextruder Adaptor
For those of you with an arsenal of V6 nozzles, we've got you covered! When combined with this Prusa Nozzle V6 Adaptor, you can install any V6 nozzle variant on a Prusa MK4 or XL.
Please remember that you will need to hot-tighten the V6 nozzle and adaptor to prevent any leaks. For more information, please visit the official prusa guide.
Final version of Prusa MK4 & XL V6 Nozzle Adaptor. (Image courtesy of Prusa)