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The Zodiac Nozzle by RevTec3D

The last couple of months were interesting for me when it comes to nozzles for your 3D printer’s hotend. I’m printing quite a few very abrasive filaments from time to time, and a regular brass nozzle is not a tool to be used when it comes to these products. When using carbon or glass filled materials you need something stronger. Luckily some manufacturers make specialized nozzles for the job. The E3D v6 hotend with the standard v6 brass nozzle is one of the most commonly used hotends on the market, and already there are solutions on the market like regular E3D hardened steel nozzles and the new coated Nozzle-X. Other manufacturers came up with great inventions too like 3DVerkstan with the Olsson Ruby nozzle and P3D with their coated aircraft aluminum- and hardened steel nozzle.

Zodiac – High Performance 3D Printing Nozzle

Today we will talk about a new player in the field. I found out about this nozzle on Instagram. I was browsing through my timeline and found this beautiful picture of a v6 style nozzle. The Zodiac high-performance extruder nozzle for 3D printing. It looks great but after some research, I found out it performs great as well. Zodiac is a brand of RevTec 3d, an Austrian based 3D printing service and they were so nice to send me one of the Zodiac v6 nozzles for testing purposes. The nozzle comes in a beautiful, jewelry type of box and ones you’ve opened the box you will find the nozzle, a small sample and it’s number. Every Zodiac nozzle is inspected and numbered before it leaves the factory. My nozzle is number 0201.

The Zodiac has a hardened tooling steel body with a micro-polish finish on the internal bore and is finished with a base- and top-layer coating for adhesive strength, high abrasion and wear resistance. I installed my Zodiac nozzle on my Original Prusa i3 MK3S with MMU2S (Multi-Material Upgrade) by Josef Prusa. The MK3S already is equipped with an E3D v6 hot-end so I only had to change the nozzle and calibrate the first layer again. I did do an additional upgrade to the MK3S and installed a hot-end heater by Maxiwatt but more on that in another blog post.

First I tried some regular materials. I used some PLA, PETG, and ASA to see the performance of the nozzle with these filaments and all prints looked amazing. The only thing I always change with any steel nozzle is the print temperature. I tend to set it around 10 °Celsius higher. Regular brass nozzles are better in heat transfer than steel nozzles. The results were impressive so time to use some more abrasive materials.

I started with PA-CF Pro from FiberThree. A carbon filled filament with major PA 6 content, with very high tensile strength, low warping effect and chemical resistent to many chemicals. This material is printed in high temperatures, around 275 °Celsius and the Zodiac nozzle handles these well. The nozzle can handle temperatures up to 300 °Celsius without problems which is great for most materials on the market. I choose to print all the new extruder parts for my Original Prusa i3 MK3S and the quality of these parts is amazing. They are super strong and look great. And the Zodiac still looked like new after printing 100 grams of this wearable material. I could find NO damage on the outside of the nozzle tip. I do have to push much more material through the nozzle to see how much it does to the outside, and more importantly, the Zodiac® bi-Layer coated inside of the nozzle. So I suggest I use the Zodiac for a couple of months before I report back with more information about the wear and overall performance of this nozzle. I do have some highly abrasive and mostly carbon- and glass-filled materials waiting to get printed so after a couple of hundred hours I will place the nozzle under a microscope to see the potential damage on its inside. I do already recommend this nozzle. The service these guys provide is great. And I am more than sure you will have many hours of pleasure with this upgrade.

Press HERE for Zodiac v6 Technical Data Sheet in my Knowledge Base.

Zodiac Nozzle on YouTube.

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RevTec 3D (In German)

The Zodiac Nozzle is available at 3D Jake

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Visiting Prusa Research in Prague

This trip was on my bucket list for a while already. Visiting Prusa Research in Prague, the factory where all the awesome Prusa printers and the spools of Prusament come from. I’m a huge admirer of what Josef Prusa and his team did and does for the international 3d printing community and obviously, for the city of Prague. Many people don’t know this but Josef actually started with 3d printing because he wanted to build his own designed add-ons to his Dj set and because he needed a 3d printer for the job he also builds his first Mendel. In 2010 he made his own heated bed and finished the design of the Prusa Mendel, a simpler design of the normal Mendel 3d Printer. In 2011 he had designed and built the second iteration of the machine called Prusa Mendel I2 and in February 2012 the time had come to start his own small business and Prusa Research was founded and the rest is history! From Hanka, the first Prusa Research’s employee to now a large 3d printer and filament manufacturer with over 450 employees. That’s pretty impressive in my book.

In front of the Prusa Research facility.

We (Me and my wife Erica) arrived in Prague early in the morning on Monday, August 26 and because we couldn’t check-in in the hotel until midday so we decided to go to the center of Prague for some breakfast. We took a long walk through the old center and after that, we walked to the Prusa Research building for a picture. It was great to see the headquarters in real life for the first time and after the photos were taken we walked all the way back to the hotel for some well-deserved rest.

The second day we had an appointment with Jennes de Schutter from Prusa Technical Support. I got to know Jennes after I contacted Prusa for a minor issue I had with my Original Prusa i3 MK3 and after that first talk we had on the chat we became friends and had several long conversations about 3d printing related stuff. The crazy thing was that when I told him that we were coming to Prague he shared the news with us that he was going to leave Prague after two great years at Prusa Research. He is born in Belgium and it was time for him to go back and start a new career back home so it was great to meet him in Prague in his final week there. He gave us a tour through the awesome PrusaLab, the incredible maker space with everything available from the Prusa SL1, Prusa i3 MK3, CNC machine, laser cutter, and more impressive tools.

The lab was closed for a renovation during our stay but we could have a tour around the place anyway which was really cool. After the Lab, we went up in the building to the Prusa Print farm where over 500 Original Prusa i3 MK3’s print all the parts for the new machines. The Print Farm is one of the most incredible places you can visit if you love 3d printing (and Prusa Research) as much as I do so a dream came true for me. He also showed us the top-level where Prusa Technical Support is based and all the cool stuff he printed while working there. I’ve seen some amazing prints during my stay and a couple of my favorites were the awesome weaponry Jennes printed.

The cool thing is that next to the amazing 500 printers in the print farm, there are another 400 Prusa i3’s placed throughout the building, and Prusa employees are free to use them whenever they like. Obviously a great way to test new printers and materials too. And with the in-house Prusament production lines there’s always enough material to test and use for awesome projects. They also print many cool things for events like MakerFaire which is awesome. I would be so happy to work in a place like that. It’s like Charlie’s Chocolate Factory but even better.

After we saw the Technical support department it was time for us to leave so we went back to the hotel for some food and went back to visit some beautiful sites in Prague. From Prague Castle to Charles Bridge and from the Jewish Cemetary to Vyšehrad we have seen it all. But thats another story! Also, I highly recommend to visit Prague yourself one day if you haven’t done that already. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to and I want to go back so bad.

On the third day, we had to return to Prusa Research ones again for a meeting with Josef Prusa himself. When we arrived at the HQ we went up to the 3rd floor to meet Josef in his office. We shook hands and he introduced us to his personal assistants and after that, we went for a drink on the rooftop terrace and enjoyed the views for a bit. After that, he gave us another tour through the complete factory and showed us everything. I also finally met a couple of people I got to know during the Prusa SL1 beta testing which was great. We were in contact for quite some time already but never talked face to face. I can’t show you anything more about the tour because some parts of the factory are closed off for the public but luckily the amazing Joel Telling aka. The 3D Printing nerd made an awesome video for his YouTube channel during his stay in Prague for the Prague Maker Faire. He had kinda the same tour so please take some time to check out his video if you would like to know what ive seen. Joel is much better at video’s than me and he’s more handsome too.

Prusa Factory Tour with Joel Telling aka. 3D Printing Nerd

We also went to the studio where the guys at Prusa Research shoot all their awesome content for the websites and social channels. I think you’ve seen the studio on video a couple of times before like myself but being there in person is just something else. Great time for a photo with Jo.

De3DPrintman & Josef Prusa in the studio at Prusa Research

After the tour, we had seen the Filament production lines, SL1 department, Development, PrusaLab, The Prusa i3 manufacturing facility, Technical support and everything else in the building so it was time for us to say goodbye.

We had the greatest time in Prague and the Prusa Research building and I’m sure we will go back next year to visit Prague Maker Faire and our friends over at Prusa Research. We want to thank Josef Prusa, Jennes, Ondrej, Simon, Lubomir, Vladimir and all the other great people who took some time to meet us. You guys are the best at what you do and it was an honor for us to come and have a look at your work. I became even more obsessed with the Prusa brand and have mad respect for these guys.