Prusa i3 MK3 Volcano Hotend Review

Last year I tried out the E3D Volcano Hotend for my Prusa i3 MK3. I bought it in the E3D online shop (🖇️ 🔐) together with additional nozzles. Watch out! If you are also using the MK3 you have to choose the 24 volt version! The final price was 33.28 Pounds (that was 39,18 €) with shipping included. And after one and a half week it arrived.

What’s the volcano hotend?

The volcano hotend is basically a normal heater block but with a different drilling. The way of the filament in which it’s heated up to temperature is nearly doubled. The goal is to increase the max volumentric speed to print faster and/or thicker. They sell it with a 1.2mm nozzle and they are not kidding! You can use it and print with it with nearly as fast as with the 0.4m stock heater. Crazy stuff.

Why upgrading?

The 0.4mm nozzle in combination with the normal heater element will probably fit your everyday purpose. The volcano hotened can help you print faster and bigger. The normal maximum volumentric speed the normal heater element can melt is 10 - 11 mm3 for PLA and 9 for PETG. With the volcano hotend it’s nearly trippled. You can push very much plastic through it without a layer binding issue. I used the 1.2mm nozzle and had only a few issues. It’s amazing seeing a 1.75mm filament go into it with an insane speed and popping out under it.
Basically you can print very large very fast.
The more plastic comes out the more rigid is your printed object.

I plan on selling a custom designed drone frame and will use a 0.8mm nozzle. With the normal heater block I would have to slow down pretty much. With the volcano hotend I’m able to print faster and thicker with the 0.8mm nozzle than with the 0.4mm nozzle.

Assembly

The Volcano Upgrade Kit is not officially supported by Prusa, but that’s not a problem. All you have to do is print a cover piece from Thingiverse (🖇️ 🔐) to support the longer heater block. The author suggests using anything stronger than PLA. But because I’m a rebel (and I didn’t have any other filament at that time) I used PLA. Print it with four shells and 100% infill. To mount it you have to disassemble the extruder like you if you wanted to change your nozzle. Set back everything together with the new cover plate and re-do the calibrations. No need to change anything in the firmware. You should only touch the firmware if you print something which is hitten the maximum height. I never did that before so I left this step out.
Note: In the package a heater element and a thermistor is included. Save it somewhere as spare parts, because you can reuse the existing heater element and thermistor.


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