[Off Topic] Searching the limits.... the small limits...

  • Hi,

    I want to print small objects (figures) but these figures have small details... i'd like to know what is the small limit i can print.

    What are the factors, and how affect the print:

    Some i suppose

    • Nozzle diameter, i use a 0,4 mm nozzle.
    • Layer height, what is the small limit?, I suppose depends of nozzle diameter.....
    • Mechannical limits (Belts, stepper motor degrees,...)
    • Print speed
    • Material (PLA, ABS, Petg, other....) what is better for small details...
    • Some other....

    What is the small feaure you have managed to print?


  • I have been printing tiny parts for several years. Not a clear picture but there are 3 examples on a penny in my profile pic. Its been a week since you posted this so if you come back I would be more than happy to share what has worked for me

  • hi,

    i am interested....

    the pieces of your profile looks good....

    how you can reach this results?

    • Material?
    • Nozzle diameter?
    • Slicer?
    • Speeds?
    • Temps?
    • Kind of printer? (Delta/Cartesian)
    • A lot of questions.... i know


  • Hi periof, theres really no secret you just need a mechanically sound machine and the right tool for viewing . At minimum you need a usb microscope like this
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/6LEDs-Digital-Mini-USB-Microscope-Endoscope-Magnifier-Waterproof-Video-Camera/253202848652?hash=item3af410db8c:g:H2EAAOSw1LNZ3f02 or similar. 2mp will work but if you can swing it a 5mp like supereyes ($100 usd) gives much clearer picture at high magnification. Small diameter is necessary because you need to mount this about 20- 30mm away from your nozzle, pointed at it so you can see if 1st layer is good and remainder of print is going well. I view this "live" while it is printing. Also useful for calibration and not just tiny stuff. Everyone should have one on their printer. If retraction,etc is not optimum you will be able to see it.
    Other than that any material with normal print temps. I have printed PLA to PEI and everything in between. Higher nozzle and bed temps may require insulation around the camera to keep from killing it (I've killed a few). .1 (custom) .15 or .25 nozzle works. Smaller nozzle = smaller parts. You do end up having to do a little more tuning because the small nozzles generate more backpressure and the relationship between nozzle and filament area is so great the metering isnt as controllable and therefore less forgiving. Overall not hard to get working consistently though. Ive recently completed the developement of an entire extrusion system just for small parts. It works great but you can still get good results with standard equipment and a small orifice. There is a thread on the PepRap forums that uses a airbrush nozzle for small parts. You may find more info there.

    edit. I use cartesian printers but any configuration should work
    speeds- 20mm/s
    slicer- I have mostly used Slic3r

  • Moderator

    This is making me want to try out my 0.15 nozzle. Seems a little silly to build a printer with a 300mm bed and then print a postage stamp, but it's nice to have options.

  • administrators

    at MRRF e3d also announced a 0.1mm nozzle to be released

  • You'd need to keep the filament really clean - fit one of those dust filter thingies maybe. It won't take much debris to block a nozzle that small.

  • Moderator

    @deckingman said in [Off Topic] Searching the limits.... the small limits...:

    You'd need to keep the filament really clean - fit one of those dust filter thingies maybe. It won't take much debris to block a nozzle that small.

    My workshop is definitely not a clean room, so I've been using a dust filter from the get go and I'm always astonished by how much crud builds up in a month.

    I'd also think that you'd want to use premium filament with consistent diameter with such small nozzles. Not much margin for error.

  • I would also think that you'd have to print really slowly otherwise you'd get a hell of pressure build up with such small nozzles. Be interesting to know if that is indeed a fact.

  • forgot to mention I use a 500 mesh (.025mm) stainless screen down in the nozzle where the bore meets the taper before entry into the orifice. requires machining the nozzle for a pressed in sleeve to capture it. Added resistance from screen seemed to help oozing although the back pressure never seemed excessive without it because the flow is also lower. Honestly, I had few clogs without it too

Log in to reply