I recently purchased myself a Rostock Max V3 3D printer. This printer is absolutely astonishing in terms of quality and reliability. I remember when I first built a RepRap Prusa Mendel I3. That thing just kept falling apart, and I spent about 70% of my printing time replacing parts that broke. But this Rostock is seriously an amazing printer. There are quite a few things that I want to modify on the printer (and I’m sure I will add pages to this site as I do), the first of which is to add inductive heating to the nozzle.

Currently almost all 3D printers use a simple heater cartridge (a glorified resistor) to heat the nozzle – in my opinion, this is a pretty clunky method of heating such a small element. Below is an image of an E3D V6 hotend:

There has been a lot of work done on the optimization of 3D printing nozzles, and modern hotends like the E3D V6 and the HE280 are some very good choices. However there is still an issue that I think can be optimized with induction heating. See the image below for some quick illustrations, then I’ll explain what I think the issue is.

So the idea is that the plastic coming into the hotend stays solid until it reaches the transition zone, during which it melts completed as it is pushed the rest of the way through the nozzle. However there is a bit of an issue – as a printer runs for a while, the whole hotend heats up, causing the transition zone to move higher and higher. This causes the plastic to melt sooner, meaning there is a significant amount of molten plastic in the transition zone. Most hotends have a fan that cools the solid zone effectively, and this eliminates most issues that arise. However, the longer the transition zone, the more prone to “stringing” a printer is. My solution? Induction heating.

There are numerous benefits to induction heating, assumed it is executed effectively. The transition zone and heater size can be significantly reduced, which should help with stringing. Another benefit is that the total amount of mass that gets heated up is smaller, meaning faster heating responses. Throughout this design process I hope to design a heating system that can be at least as effective as standard cartridge heaters, if not more so. That being said, let’s get started!

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