E3D Obsidian hotend - anyone any experiences / experiment results yet

Mine has just arrived by post and I’m hoping to start running tests this week to see what it can do.

Thought it would be a good idea to start a thread to learn from each others experiences.

I’ve had great results with the stock hotend. The consistency, reliability and relative simplicity to the user of the complete ecosystem are excellent. The machine is on a such a different level to my Ender 3 I started out with 2 years ago. But there’s definitely some untapped potential yet in the X1C without going extreme, stressing the system, creating a Frankenstein or stepping outside the Bambu ethos that has made the printers great.

My plan is to start experiment with filament max flow rates then move on to pushing the process settings. I dont have a big range of filament but am going to set aside a new roll of Bambu PLA Basic and a roll of eSun PLA+. Both rolls will be dried and stored the same way throughout the tests.

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There is some testing done in these videos.

Testing is fairly simple. Not a lot of depth to it.

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Mine arrives Monday I think. I’ll have it and the BTT hotend when it finally ships. I’ve run max flow etc with the stock and looking to do the E3D next weekend.

(really just commented to follow)

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I was looking at that a few days ago. At nearly six times the price of a stock hot end, it better perform some serious magic. I’m not convinced (yet) that I could even benefit from higher flow. I don’t do production and higher flow doesn’t necessarily mean faster prints. I haven’t even played with the X1C speed settings yet.

I’m here just to watch. :face_with_monocle:

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Unfortunately the limiting factor of the hot end is the stock heater more so then the nozzle itself. Without a heater upgrade, you will bump into temperature errors with the E3D, Aliexpress or any other upgraded hot end. The Panda might be the exception as it comes with a 60w conical heater that is stronger then stock, but not by much.

You’re more likely to appreciate it if you were to move to a 0.6mm or 0.8mm nozzle. Then you’d be asking yourself: “Heh, where did all the speed go?” even if you’re pushing the same volume of plastic as before.

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Got my E3D 0.4 mm CHT nozzle. Did some calibrations with orca slicer using bambu pla basic. Set hotend to 230C. On volumetric flow rate calibration was able to get to 32 mm3/s without any stringing or blobbing defects. However the filament was less shiny than at a more conservative 29 mm3/s. I do agree that the heater is probably the limiting factor here.

And of course most of the time flow rate may not be a limiting factor unless you’re printing long straight geometry. Parts with a lot of fine detail or turns and corners may not benefit as much from high flow.

Took me a while as I was busy with other stuff but initial results -

Bambu Lab PLA Basic - 38.4mm3/s - 82.9% increase - 21mm3/s baseline
eSun PLA+ - 44.18mm3/s - 352.5% increase - 16mm3/s baseline

***Testing methodology ***
Materials -

  1. New roll of Bambu Lab Basic red Filament and 2 month old roll of eSun black PLA+ (chose black to look at the shine difference).
  2. Used eSun as it had a system preset filament profile just like the BL Basic
  3. Both rolls dried together at 45c for 8 hours
  4. The automatic Flow Dynamics and Flow Rate calibrations ran for both filaments with negligible change in results from pre hot end change.

Printer

  1. Same X1C. Unmodified except for new E3D hotend and freshly changed desiccant containers in the chamber and the AMS
  2. Both printed on same cool plate, cleaned and coated with 3DLac spray - no first layer issues observed. Door and lid kept closed.
  3. Stable 19c and 34% humidity in enclosure at start of all prints.
  4. Both test filaments run from same AMS

Slicer

  1. Same Orca Slicer 2.0.0 Dev used for all tests
  2. Max Flowrate test from calibration menu used
  3. Test parameters 30-65 mm3/s at 0.5 intervals
  4. Filament parameters changed both to Max flow rate 200mm3s and turned off ‘slow printing down for better cooling’ under the cooling menu

Notes

  1. Noticed I made a procedural booboo and had them in different slots!! Don’t imagine it should make much difference.
  2. I made another booboo by not running the calibrations for a better baseline before I had changed the hot end - was too impatient. Had been running both types of filament at 25mm3/s successfully before.
  3. Had ran initial tests on 20 to 40mm3/s range and they came out perfectly, caused me to recheck my methodology and set a higher max flow range.
  4. Tests on both filaments ran twice and results were averaged. Have kept photo’s of the result prints.

Conclusions

  1. E3D just recommend adjusting max flow for each filament up 60% and that’s it. My testing would suggest that this is conservative and is reflective also of Bambu’s own conservative settings. Noted that this would result in very reliable and consistent print results. This would be 33.6mm3/s.
  2. I would suggest that a setting of 42mm3/s for eSun and 36mm3/s for Bambu Lab Basic would be reliable with no other modifications to settings.
    1. Didn’t notice any change in gloss level of finished prints.
  3. The very high eSun % increase result looks skewed because the default max flow rate is 16mm3/s.
  4. Noted that these volumes would be rarely achievable in practice given the acceleration / deceleration / flow dynamics on shorter print head runs.
  5. The resulting prints are suggestive that the next bottleneck is the power of the printhead heater. Certainly seems that the electromechanics and control of the printer is capable of more still.
  6. Results are invalid until someone else out there replicates them, would expect that soon.

Personal viewpoint

  1. Is the head worth it - not really as it’s unlikely in day to day printing that the full potential would be achieved and the part cost is high.
  2. The longevity of the coating might significantly change that, especially if you are printing aggressive materials (I print wood PLA and 2 rolls would destroy a brass nozzle). The E3D coating does have a good reputation.
  3. Its too early to see if there’s a change in clogging, not a significant issue as if you don’t have an X1E and your chamber is enclosed than all you need to do is leave the door or lid open if your bed temps are higher and your printing PLA.
  4. It is something for a more commercial print farm or a person that likes to tinker like many of us old Ender 3 migrators.
  5. I still would have preferred to PID tune it.
  6. Would be interesting to see the results on other types of filament.
  7. The Bambu Labs eco system ethos provides good, consistent and easy achieved results. Their stock hot end is good enough and the printer achieves amazing results already. This is in part due to good but conservative slicer settings and a highly capable print chassis. Understress everything. Tinkering is outside this ethos but it’s a big world and there’s room for us all, tinkerers and purists alike. The results did prove my theory that there’s plenty of potential in there to be found though unnecessary for most users.
  8. The hot end does look cool and they have done a great job in the plug and play aspect.

This is only my observations and it needs tested against others results.

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PS. Ludicrous speed mode mode be less nerve wracking with the E3D hotend - might experiment there next.

Let’s recap: you upgraded to the e3D hotend and then you ran the orcla slicer maximum flowrate optimization for two different filaments, both of which showed a substantial increase in maximum flow rate was possible. All well and good.

However, did you increase your speed limits in your process profile? If not, then I’d wager you haven’t tapped much, if any, of the higher flowrate potential (other than what you experienced running the orca slicer max flow test). Try doing that and then see how much faster you can print and still maintain high quality. Then report back (preferably with pictures) to show and tell how that went.

When you ran the orca slicer tests, those speed limits were bumped higher, maybe without you being aware of it, or else it never could have achieved those higher flow rates. Afterward, though, those temporary bumps to the speed limits completely disappeared once you started a new project. Based on your written description, I think that may be why you were underwhelmed, especially if you were expecting to see higher performance as a result of your upgrade.

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Hi,

I’d not fiddled with other settings to test E3D’s directions to just increase flow by 60%, a very easy setup for a new hotend / nozzle and they are marketing it as virtually pug and play.

I should have said that the print profile I used was my most common one - the system preset “0.16mm optimal @ BBL X1C”. It has always given me great results for general printing.

As per suggestion, I did a test by increasing the acceleration to 20000 from 10000, walll speeds set to 500 instead of 200 outer 300 inner. The filament used was the same roll of eSun PLA+ as the tests before. It hasn’t been redried but has been in my AMS housing with a lot of desiccant.

Results

  1. Max flow achieved 43.5mm3/s. An insignificant amount less than the 44.18mm3/s achieved at the profile standard speeds.
  2. Time difference was significantly faster -
    Unaltered system profile - 34minutes 51 seconds
    Altered profile - 29minutes 54 seconds - 13% quicker!!
  3. Print quality was marginally not as good, though this is subjective.
  4. There was no difference in the gloss level even at all in either prints.

Additional notes

  1. I’m not underwhelmed by the print head, just don’t see it as good value for most users. It would be of benefit to someone needing a higher output or a tinkerer.
  2. I do not use larger nozzles and it would be interesting to see results with a 0.6 nozzle.
  3. Similarily, it would be interesting to see results with other more problematic materials.
  4. I would be interested too see how good it is with heat creep.
  5. Another good note is that even at 65mm3/s it was still laying down and bridging layers without a total spaghetti mess.
  6. There definitely is room to fine tune filament and slicing settings beyond what I’d tried at a basic level. Would take someone better than me. The head would need a higher wattage heater to really take. it to its limit.
  7. E3D’s suggestion of just dealing up max flow by 60% in the filament profile still holds true and would work for most people.
  8. I also use aggressive filaments and the claimed wear and tear resistance should be of benefit to me, time will tell and without proper experimentation the results again my thoughts would be subjective rather than proven. It is a great hotend and looks well built out of excellent materials.
  9. Would be interesting to see if Bambu or E3D publish any specific tuned profiles, It is surprising that they haven’t.
  10. Photo’s to follow - my camera ran out of battery before this post and I’m squeezing the time in between other stuff.
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I’m not that deep into it. I’m also not a speed freak.

A nice print is my goal, and that being said, I’ve managed 30mms with PLA. Not brands but just PLA. (Sunlu, Bambu, Polymaker, some cheap no name I bought in a color I needed)

I don’t mess with what isn’t broken, or chase a fictional perfect print. If you do, then cool, no offense meant. I just wanted to give it a try and it has sped things up a little.

PETG I’m using 21mms but have noticed stringing, light but it’s there when it wasn’t before with basic profile.

Take all of this with a grain of salt. I’m not in the weeds with mt profiles or setting. I found what works for me and my printer so I stop there.

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Have yo tried using a 0.2mm nozzle? You might like the results even more.

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I have, with the Bambu of course, and yeah they are nice.
I have an 02 Revo, waiting on them to ship the hotend.

In a way, I wonder whether it’s a similar problem. Most print profiles, to the extent they exist and are shared, are geared toward 0.4mm nozzle. Once you deviate from that, or change to a different filament, it seems to get harder.

As for me, I try to optimize total print time, which includes the amount of time I have to spend faffing around with it. I think this is where the BBL printers really shine brightly, like a beacon in the darkness.

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I’ve noticed that the cheaper brands do alright if you reduce speed. I think that’s why the new category of “high speed” or “turbo” or “hyper” or “high flow” or “fast” are emerging as a separate category in the filament world. Some of it may be deceptive advertising by the fly-by-night filament makers, but I think there probably is something filament makers can do to help get same quality at higher speed, and that would be a win for everybody. I’m still exploring whether or not it really is a thing.

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The no-name cheap stuff I have isn’t really worth using. I think it was given to me. Dried it and never have been pleased enough to use it more. Was litterally the closest thing when I ran the max flow test. Loaded it without thinking.
I’m on the fense about high speed, or high flow filament. I tried AnkerMakes, and Elegoos. They were ok for just regular printing. Now that I have this model maybe I should see if they do better.

I managed to get 45mm^3/s on 0.4 e3d hotend with 250C nozzle temp, about 38-40 w 230C. After the heater can’t keep up w a temp difference of more than 5C it errors out so 250C was the highest I went (nozzle at 245C at the end of flow test, anything higher than 250C at 45mm^3/s gave me temp errors). All these tests were done on bambu pla tough and pla basic, will try esun pla+ soon when I get some free time

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Sound like a pretty good flow rate. It shows that there’s plenty more in there if you like a fiddle. Bambu have erred on the side of caution in there profiles and that’s a good thing as the vast majority of prints won’t have much need for speed / big flow rates.

Fixing what isn’t broken usually isn’t wise, I’m just a tinkerer :rofl: