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Just Bling or Useful Upgrade?

E3D Lets You 3D Print With Gold V6 Hotend and Titanium Heat Breaks

Picture of Anatol Locker
by Anatol Locker
October 16, 2017

E3D celebrates the 3rd birthday of its popular V6 hotend with style – by offering a gold edition and optional titanium heat breaks.

Claiming to offer “more than just bling”, E3D Online starts shipping a “Gold Edition” of its highly respected V6 hotend. It is packed with some of the most expensive components E3D has to offer, but still has a lower price point than purchasing components individually.

Here‘s what the components do:

  1. Golden heat sink: The heat sink is now gold anodized.
  2. Heater block: Instead of an aluminum heater block you get a plated copper-alloy block. This increases heat transfer to the filament and reduces the chance of filament goo sticking to it.
  3. Nozzle: As you would have guessed, there’s no standard brass nozzle, but on hardened steel, which isn’t prone to damage by abrasive materials like carbon fiber or glow in the dark filament.
  4. Heater cartridge: E3D swapped standard heaters for high-precision, quick-release heater cartridges.
  5. Fan duct: The clear, molded plastic fan duct shows off the golden heatsink to its very best. It’s a purely optical improvement.
  6. PTFE guide: E3D upgraded the standard PTFE guide to High Tolerance Capricorn PTFE Tubing. This new Bowden tubing has a tight diameter and promises reduced friction for more accurate extrusion.

The kit version will set you back  £74.50 ($98/€83) plus tax. If you want to have it pre-assembled, add £12.50 ($ 16 / €13) plus tax to that.

More Metal Mania: First Titanium Heat Breaks

But things don‘t stop with a gold hotend. You can also buy high-grade titanium heat breaks. These are an upgrade to the stainless steel parts that come as standard with E3D V6 hotends.

These special heat breaks are made from grade-5 titanium. This material is exceptionally strong and has lower thermal conductivity than stainless steel, allowing you to keep the cold side of your HotEnd even colder. This creates a more sharply-defined melt zone on the hot side, potentially creating greater extrusion control. The increased strength of these breaks means that they are also much less likely to crack or snap, either while hot-tightening or on the occasional accidental collision with a printed part or printer bed.

Gold and Titanium: Just Bling or Really Useful?

But… does this actually makes sense? Or are we looking at a “Swarovski” moment in 3D printing? We’ve asked 3D printing specialist Thomas Sanladerer for a comment.

Thomas Sanladerer thinks that “gold is a horrible material for any heatsink. It’s unnecessarily expensive, it’s heavy and it doesn’t even conduct heat as well as aluminum. Thankfully, though, the v6 “Gold” doesn’t use an actual gold alloy, but instead comes with an aluminum heatsink with a thin anodized layer dyed in a gold tone. This is a similar process as used for aluminum phone cases that come in different colors (the “gold” iPhone isn’t machined from actual gold, either).”

Thomas Sanladerer also thinks that the changes in materials elsewhere in the hotend are much more significant. “The hardened steel nozzle adds the capability of printing carbon-filled materials and doesn’t negatively affect performance when printing PLA, while the nickel-plated copper heater block improves heat transfer from the heater cartridge into the filament.”

More information on the E3D site.

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