In their quest to continually refine the 3D printing experience, E3D has created silicone socks for your hotends to keep your nozzle clean.
You know what’s missing from your 3D printer? That’s right, it’s a cute little silicone sock.
Designed as a special accessory for the E3D V6 — a popular third-party hotend for desktop 3D printing — the blue cover promises cleaner nozzles and sharper prints.
The first advantage of the sock is that it completely eliminates the nasty smear of burnt plastic that can collect on an unprotected hotend. Aesthetically, the cover will keep the V6 as shiny and as pristine as the day it was first installed.
According to the announcement post on the E3D blog:
“The socks are made from a silicone rubber, the same sort of stuff that flexible rubber-like bakeware is made from. Except we don’t have to conform to food standards, so we could test a wide range of engineering grade silicone resins, optimising for temperature resistance and not adhering to molten plastic.”
A second, more functional advantage is that they keep heat inside the hotend. This means you can have a powerful fan pointing right at the tip of the nozzle, providing effective print cooling without causing a drop in nozzle temperatures.
The new socks can be bought in packs of three, or one is issued as standard with every new E3D V6 kit sold to customers. Clearly it’s a popular idea: in the first 24 hours E3D have been inundated with 1000s of orders.
Enhancing Prints with Silicone Socks
For things like overhangs and torture testing, say E3D, “you can get really crazy good overhangs and bridges with materials that really like fan cooling like PLA.”
It also means you can use simpler and less restrictive duct designs (which have been shown to provide better results), or crank up maximum fan speeds without the need to worry about temperature fluctuations.
The silicone socks also stop heat radiating from the heater block onto the area being printed. “This and a lot of air really make a big difference for tall thin prints that usually suffer from getting melty due to not cooling in time for the next layer.”
Each sock is made using a non-stick silicone resin, and can be used at a constant temperature of 300C without degradation. Going hotter than 300C is not recommended; this results in slow ageing, and eventual weakness and splitting.
The socks are rated to last for at least 100+ hours of use. They are designed to fit most optimally for nozzle sizes of 0.40mm diameter, but they can also cover the full range of nozzle sizes from 0.25mm up to 0.80mm, where the silicone stretches to conform to each.
The team at E3D have also promised to release a version of the silicone socks for their Volcano hotend in the next few weeks.
What do you think? Will you be upgrading your V6 hotend with a snazzy blue sock? Sound off in the comments.
License: The text of "E3D Launches Silicone Socks for Cleaner Prints" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.