Watching a 3D printer work always reminds us of watching a baker decorate a cake. Gooey icing squeezes out of a nozzle and makes interesting shapes and designs. While hot plastic doesn’t taste as good as icing, it does flow easily through the printer’s nozzle. Well… normal plastic, anyway. These days, advanced 3D printers are using filament with wood, metal, carbon fiber, and other additives. These can provide impressive results, but the bits of hard material in them tend to wear down metallic nozzles. If this is your problem and you are tired of replacing nozzles, you should check out the Olsson Ruby Nozzle.
Ruby, in this case, isn’t just a name. The nozzle has a small bit of ruby with a 0.4mm hole in the center — or they have a few other sizes. We suppose diamond would even be better, but ruby is so much more affordable. We haven’t tried these ourselves, but [3D Printing Nerd] has an interesting video review you can see below.
We assume the ruby — which is just aluminum oxide — is lab-created and not a natural stone. Another common option is to go with hardened steel nozzles, but Olsson claims the brass nozzles conduct heat better which gives their product an advantage. [Nerd] shows how the ruby nozzle could print PLA after printing with carbon fiber filament with no ill effects.The nozzles fit like a common E3D nozzle, so they’ll go on a lot of printers.
At around $100, these are not cheap. As [Nerd] points out, though, it could be the last nozzle you buy. The hard steel nozzles run about $25, but if you are printing with tough filament, you will buy more than one. If you buy four, you might as well get the ruby nozzle and enjoy the better performance, as well. On the other hand, if the nozzle costs 80% of what you paid for your printer and you don’t print exotic plastic, this is probably overkill. You can get a lot of cheap brass nozzles on eBay for $100.
We covered a comparison of a lot of exotic filament before if you want some ideas on what to try with a ruby nozzle. Of course, the nozzle is only part of the equation. When we talked about carbon fiber filament, we noted that it can cut into your extruder gears as well.