This hotend gets seriously hot at up to 500°C! This does come with a few trade-offs, so is it worth it in the end?
What’s up everyone, Tom here, and have you heard of Dyze Designs? Well, i certainly hadn’t, but it turns out they make a hotend capable of printing at 500°C. Which is insane. So let’s check it out!
So along with the hotend, called the DyzeEND-X, i’ve also got the Dyze-X-truder here, which is made to pair up with the DyzeEND-X, but the hotend mount, quite a smart solution imo, also fits E3D hotends and, obviously, any other hotend that has that same mount design. So let’s just stick with the extruder first before we get into nitty gritty details of the hotend design.
And that’s not going to take us that long, because, frankly, there really isn’t much to talk about. If you just look at it, it’s literally a black box. There’s not even a tension adjustment mechanism, also there’s no way to look inside and no way to easily clean out the drive gear should that become necessary. Overall, it’s a very simple direct-drive extruder with a drive gear that looks a bit weird, doesn’t have the sharpest tooth profile overall, but works well enough to a point where the motor will stall before the filament starts to slip, so that’s definitely good enough. I did not crank up the stepper current to the full 1.68A the documentation recommends, in fact i have no idea what the current is set to exactly, but, with a heatsink on there and a fan blowing over it, it is set to the point where the driver will reliably work without shutting itself off due to thermal limits. This is a 0.9°, or 400 full steps per revolution, stepper motor, which should help with some of the artifacts you might see with a classic 1.8° stepper used in a direct-drive application due to their very low overall resolution of only 6 to 8 full steps per millimeter of extruded filament. And as far as mounting options go, there is the rather smart clamping mechanism on the bottom, but no real standard way to mount the entire assembly, and since i couldn’t use the “microbowden” approach i used with the E3D Titan, i had to make some slight modifications to my printer to mount the Dyze extruder assembly properly. In my case, i’ve printed myself a pair of adapters that fit the “RepRap” standard 50mm mounting pattern.
So to get a look at the guts, let’s take this thing apart, and i was kinda scared to do that since the 4 visible screws do have some internal functionality as well, they provide a hinge for the idler lever as well as the hooking point for the “custom made” coil spring. And we can see that the filament inside the Dyzextruder is quite well guided with very neatly fitting teflon tubes lining every bit of the filament channel, and, not surprisingly, it performed very well with flexible filaments, requiring almost no slowdown compared to regular PLA or ABS. Combined with the DyzeEND-X, a 50mm/s print speed with .2mm layers is totally possible with flexibles and quite a bit more with PLA. And even with these different filaments, the lack of a tension adjustment mechanism wasn’t an issue at all, since the default tension is set quite tightly and the coil spring keeps its tension very consistent, even with filaments that have different diameters or are more or less compressible.
So while the Dyze-X-truder is a solid performer, i would have liked seeing a more aggressive tooth profile and a much more accessible filament drive gear. And at its price point, there are just much better options available if you don’t need its all-black stealth appearance.
But let’s move on to the DyzeEND-X, and as i’ve already mentioned, this thing goes up to 500°C if you order it that way. There’s also a slightly cheaper and more civilian 300°C option available, and we’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each one in a second, but let’s take a look at the rest of the hotend. So the overall construction is fairly standard, there’s the groovemount-style mount up top, as a part of the heatsink, which is machined from a regular extruded aluminum profile instead of being turned or milled from a solid blank. Good thinking there, and it means the heatsink can use somewhat finer and tighter fins than what would otherwise be possible, which allows the hotend to get away with a tiny 25mm fan compared to the typical 30mm ones, and as such the DyzeEND-X is a good bit smaller than, well, pretty much every other all-metal hotend. And yes, obviously, as a 500°C-rated hotend, it does use an all-metal construction with the obligatory stainless steel heat break, but it also uses stainless steel nozzles. And these aren’t your grandma’s nozzles -- wait, that didn’t sound right -- these are massive chunks of stainless steel that use a spring washer to seal against the heat break inside the heater block.
In theory, this should allow for an easy nozzle swap even when the hotend is cold, reducing the risk of burning yourself in the process, but in my case, that didn’t really work out. I had already noticed that colors take quite a while to flush out after a filament change with the DyzeEND-X, and as it turns out, that’s because there’s a fair bit of plastic stuck around that spring washer, basically fusing the heat break and nozzle together. And inevitably, i did bend the heat break when trying to do a cold nozzle swap, so i guess -- don’t do that? The huge stainless nozzles are “hard”, but not hardened stainless steel, so, with abrasive filaments, they will last longer than brass nozzles, but not quite as long as non-stainless, hardend nozzles. And if you’re wondering whether it’s going to be an issue that these are made from stainless steel, basically the metal with the lowest thermal conductivity, rest assured, it doesn’t matter. I thought it would be an issue, but i did a quick simulation -- it’s really not a problem. At most, you’re going to see a 2° lower temperature at the filament surface than in the aluminum block, and, honestly, that’s not even worth mentioning.
So what gives this hotend a 500°C rating is the combination of a 60W heater cartridge, up from the standard 40W, as well as a thermistor -- yes, a traditional thermistor, not a PT100 or thermocouple, which would both require additional circuitry -- that is rated for up to 500°C. Now, the more powerful heater is just downright awesome, it heats up super quickly to the 230°C range you’d normally use and easily get the hotend up to 400°C and more. Dyze Design provide pre-tuned PID values for the firmware’s control loop, and those keep the hotend super stable above 300°C, but introduce a slight bit of overshoot at regular temperatures, but that’s not really Dyze’s fault, it’s just a limitation of the PID control scheme. Now, there is one downside to getting the 500°C thermistor, and that’s the fact that, at room temperature, it is absolutely worthless. It’s got such a high resistance below 25°C that the firmware can’t tell if the thermistor is just cold or whether it’s not even connected. Which means that the “mintemp” safety feature in Marlin that’s supposed to shut the printer down down if it detects that the thermistor has somehow been disconnected, that won’t work here. But Dyze have a solution for this, they are offering a modified version of the Marlin firmware that implements a bit of a more sophisticated approach with a delay that only starts checking for the thermistor’s presence a certain time after the hotend has started heating. And that basically gives you the same level of safety and comfort as the simple default implementation, but of course you do need to use Dyze’s modifications and not just the stock firmware.
And i guess it was mostly my fault that i ended up with a 24V hotend, while my testbench Mendel90 is actually a 12V system, so i simply added a pair of boost converters for the heater and the fan, and the wire harness on the DyzeEND-X actually made that quite simple -- even though, now, i had to stuff the wires somewhere. It includes locking connectors for the fan, heater and thermistor right at the hotend as well as 1m long extension wires. All three connectors are identical, and while they do keep you from plugging them in backwards, which really only matters for the fan, they don’t keep you from plugging in e.g. the the heater into the fan output, which could cause some burnt transistors on your control board. The thermistor and fan wires do a color coding on the hotend’s side, but have non-marked and non-polarized 10th inch connectors on the other end. There is a bit of a faux pas for the heater’s wires, as they are stripped and tinned on the control board’s side, which makes them a fire hazard as the tin will start flowing away under the pressure the connector block puts on the wire and leave you with a loose connection that only makes contact in a few spots. Crimp lugs would have been a much more sensible choice there.
But overall, the DyzeEND-X works remarkably well and prints ABS, PLA, Ninjaflex and any other ordinary plastic very well and precisely without jamming, and while i did try PEEK at 380°C, i stopped that experiment pretty quickly. Not only was it extremely hard to get PEEK to stick to anything, but the smell really pushed it over the edge. And that’s not the PEEK, it’s the remains of all the other plastics that are still somewhere in or on the hotend. And let me tell you, a coat of PLA, ABS and Polyurethane all burning up at 380°C at the same time is really not something you want to experience. After about 5 minutes, I was starting to get a headache and had to call it a day. And that’s something you should keep in mind if you want to go for a high-temperature hotend in general, you will need to insert and remove the high-temperature filament somehow, and if you’ve been printing a comparatively low-temperature filament before, you will be burning off whatever remains of that filament inside the nozzle. So that 500°C rating is nice, but it’s not really practical if you also want to print normal materials in a normal environment. My proposition would be this: Just buy two hotends, one for normal plastics and one for the high-temp stuff like PEEK. The mount between the Dyze-X-truder and the DyzeEND-X makes it easy enough to open up and swap your hotend and, honestly, when you’re paying about 600€ including tax for a pound of filament already, one hotend more or less really isn’t going to make any difference at all.
Conclusion time! Let’s start with the Dyze-X-truder: While it is a solid performer, even for flexible filaments, it lacks easy access to the drive gear for occasional cleaning or simply for checking whether the filament is properly loaded and really doesn’t bring anything new to the table other than using a high-resolution stepper motor. I wonder, does that make it a retina stepper?
I’m much happier with the DyzeEND-X, as again, it’s a solid performer, but doesn’t have any glaring downsides. While the cold swappable nozzle and high-temperature operation are of somewhat limited use by design, its small form factor and overall consistency make it a recommendable product.
And that’s about it! Thanks for watching, liking, commenting, subscribing, following me on twitter, following me around when I take my dog for a walk. I’ve got some big news coming up, so stay tuned for more and i’ll see you then.
Thanks to Indmatec for supplying the PEEK filament!
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