One of the biggest limitations of FFF Technology is the amount of time requiered to manufacture certain geometries. The bigger the model, the longer takes to complete the print.
Time is money, so some people decide to use bigger nozzle diameters to cut down the printing times despite of sacrificing the surface quality and accuracy. So it’s obvious that time-quality in the FFF context is an indivisible tandem.
At BCN3D we wondered whether is there any way, with the existent technology, to minimize the printing times without giving away the output quality. The answer was yes, absolutely. And thanks to the Sigma and its IDEX system.
With the Sigma it is possible to combine different nozzle sizes to print the perimeters with the highest accuracy and the infill in a coarser way. Especially for massive models the save of time could be notorious. In addition, printing supports usually is a time consuming toll to pay. Using a bigger diameter nozzle for the support material is a great option to print complex geometries requiring supports in less time.
With that goal in mind we decided to design a wide range of hotends. That would empower the user to print faster than ever before, as we intended. On the other hand, having a family of hotends would enable the user to install the appropriate hotend for each situation, like the painter may use different brushes or the craftsman a set of tools.
The hotend family is composed by hotends with nozzles from 0,3mm to 1,0mm, where each of them outperforms at a specific situation: from getting the best surfaces, to print as fast as possible, and also including the ability to print with abrasive materials, like those infused with metal particles or carbon fibers.
We could subclassify the hotend family in different groups. First of all we find the “High Definition” hotend, equipped with a 0,3mm nozzle. This unit is ideal to print the tiniest models and those jobs requiring superb finish, especially with regular plastics, like PLA.
The hotends equipped with 0,4mm and 0,6mm can be considered as part of the “High Versatility” subgroup. These hotends are balanced options for most of the applications since are able to print with a wide range of materials, from PLA to more technical ones like PC or nylon. Using these hotends the user achieves a good surface quality in reasonable printing times.
The “High Flow” subgroup is composed by the hotends with 0,8 mm and 1,0 mm nozzle. This hotends have been designed to print massive objects in much less time. If the surface quality is a requirement, they can be wisely combined with hotends with smaller diameter nozzles and get amazing results.
In all the cases the internal geometry of the nozzles is basic to ensure a good performance and a reliable print, no matter the material used. To make sure the behavior is consistent in all the cases the proportions of that internal geometry remains constant in the whole range of hotends. However, the High Flow hotends require a major heat transfer in order to be able to melt the plastic filament at high extruding volumes. For that reason it’s been necessary to equip the 0,8 mm and 1,0 mm nozzles with larger heated blocks.
Last, but not least, the High Performance hotend, equipped with an 0,5 mm nozzle is a true workhorse among their siblings. This hotend, instead of mounting a brass nozzle, as usual, brings a special steel nozzle. The carefully selected material and the appropriate thermal treatment that the nozzle undergoes provide it a hardness > 50 HRC. With such a great property, this hotend is ideal to print materials with metal particles or carbon fibers without a trace of wear. Moreover, it is also capable to print any other material, so this hotend is the perfect choice for those who need to push the limits of 3D Printing.
Despite there is, literally, thousands of combinations, the user don’t have to worry about the hard task to generate printing profiles. Thanks to the Sigma ProGen it’s just a matter of seconds get the finest printing profile. Read more about it!