What's a Nozzle's Optimal Lifetime?

Hello all,

I’d like to hear your experiences, what are your nozzle’s lifetimes and what do you print?

Does clogs effect nozzle’s lifetimes too much? Or if I clean it well, can they last as long as the normal ones.

Blockages do not directly lead to increased wear.

If a blockage occurs, no filament comes out of the nozzle. This primarily affects the printed object. If the blockage is not complete, it is conceivable that this simply results in poor layer adhesion and therefore an uneven layer where the nozzle drags over it. The nozzle can therefore scratch. The softer the materials are in relation to the nozzle, the less damage they cause. The same happens, however, if the printing plate curves. Or the printing temperature is too low, as a result of which the layer adhesion is no longer perfect and the filament rises upwards. Over-extrusion can cause similar effects because more material is then applied than necessary, resulting in material build-up over which the nozzle can drag (chatter). Or if you have an unfavourable filling pattern that causes parts of it to lie slightly higher than others and the nozzle scrapes over them.

I would say that a clean mechanical adjustment of the printer, the filament and the other printing parameters not only leads to clean prints, but also to fewer problems during printing and thus to less wear on the print nozzle.

Otherwise, brass nozzles should last up to approx. 6 months. Hardened steel nozzles last longer (up to 12 months) and ruby-tipped nozzles several years. Depending on the circumstances, nozzles may or may not last longer (so that you have to replace them after a short time).

If you see that your print objects are becoming unclean, extrusion is no longer uniform, filament is constantly collecting at the nozzle during printing and if you cannot find any other explanation for this, then consider the nozzle. If you have interchangeable nozzles, you can try changing the nozzle and see if this was the cause. However, symptoms may also indicate a part of the extruder that is no longer working properly, such as gear wheels or the pressure of the gear wheels on the filament to be transported (in the case of uneven layer adhesion, uneven print lines).

Best regards!

It’s a worthwhile question. Tom Sanlanerer did a youtube on this recently, where he literally dragged nozzles over sandpaper to simulate wear and then stacked photos of the nozzle wear into a time lapse. Thank God for people like Tom. The world needs more people like him. IRRC, the obsidian ones were deemed practically indestructible for anything but such an artificially abusive test. As long as the coating was in tact, there was no meaningful damage. Once the coating was breached, it quickly failed like all the others. Brass was a disaster. I don’t remember now whether or not he checked hardened steel.

I’m assuming the reason you asked about clogs is an indirect way of asking whether jamming the needles up there to clean it may wreck it in the process? Probably yes for brass, but I’m guessing no effect at all on the obsidian ones.

If we all had optical comparators , it would be an easy question to answer. But I don’t know anyone who has one of those at home. I suppose you could rig a camera jig of some type to take a calibrated photo of your nozzles opening. I say that jokingly, and yet I bet more than one person somewhere out there is probably already doing it and like, “Why not? Doesn’t everyone do this?” :rofl:

I’ve got the original nozzle still running 1400hrs so far, its come a buster a few times and just heated up with the gas torch and basically burn all the filament out. Its kinda industrial and a tad hazardous. I give it a bit of a buff with a stainless wire brush and inspect, to date it looks like new still (as far as my magnifying glass goes).

I run various materials, including batches of CF’s, glows, and other coarse stuff. I replaced the PTFE so far and that was only as a refresh, it had some more hours left at 1000. Junction points and other hardware are showing wear but nothing critical enough to warrant a replacement.

I think it’ll get replaced as a precaution next service for no particular reason other than I have two spares :slight_smile:

PS. Word of warning if you’re unblocking a nozzle with a gas torch. Point the blunt end away from anything nice as the last one shot the hot blockage of filament and it splattered over my toolbox like a paintball. Rather spectacular at the time though ha!


Same here. Original nozzle (hard steel) printing PLA, ABS, PETG, ASA and PLA-CF over 1200 hours.


I’ve had some serious layer adhesion, wall problems (especially around the corners but after a short while, everywhere even a full flat wall was at very worst quality).

After tons of research, trials, test prints, I was exhausted and changed the hotend. Suddenly everything was perfect.

It was like after maybe around 200 hours each and now I’m using my last spare (3rd one) nozzle and wall problems started again.

I’m really exhausted about that but I mean it. Opened couple of threads here, no solution. Watched maybe over hundred videos, no solution. I don’t even say about wasted filaments because in my opinion they were not wasted. I was getting experience with them. It’s not a problem but not being able to find a solution after really long time, it doesn’t feel that nice.

The biggest problem is Bambu is not selling to my country directly, only over resellers and they are out of stock all the time.

So I will not be able to print in a short while until they come back to stock again.

It’s really sad because I’m really into that hobby, having tons of fun being happy and all…

I wanted to paste this photo of mine as an example. I’ve had a thread about that which a lot of ppl tried to help but no solution.

Do your prints always look like this? These patterns have to do probably with uneven extrusion.

I used the same 0.4 nozzle on a crappy flashforge printer for over 3 years and it ate about 120kg of filament…
The only thing that indicated the nozzle is crapping out was my extrusion rate slowly rising because I had to compensate for the increasing nozzle diameter.
Only for very detailed prints the resolution was sometimes a bit on the low side…
BUT: Every few months I cleaned the entire hotened after taking it out, calibrated it again and then use some 1000 grit sandpaper on a glass plate to re-flatten the nozzle a tiny bit.
You might be surprised to see how rounded the flat bit of a nozzle can get over time from going over the print all the time…

With a proper printer and using filled filaments, especially glow in the dark or CF the wear and tear can be excessive, PLA, especially when printed hot is less of a problem.

If you are after accuracy you will notice that a vase mode print will eventually start to struggle producing the set wall thickness.
Once you struggle to keep a proper 0.42mm width you know it is time to replace the nozzle :wink:


I’m at 1006 hours on the original 0.4 nozzle. I keep a brass brush nearby and clean it once a month or two and have had one major clog and one or two minor ones. The major one was TPU and required letting the nozzle heat up smoking hot while it was hanging from the wire loom then forcing it clear with the included bit of wire from the nozzle side and an allen wrench from the inlet side.

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One of the users here, I’m forgetting his username handle, switched to CHT nozzles. He makes an interesting point: the CHT nozzles are so cheap (especially clones available on aliexpress or amazon) that if he ever has even a glimmer of doubt about about the condition of a nozzle that he recently put to use, he just throws it away and screws in a brand new one. He says the nozzles are so cheap, it isn’t worth his time to mess around with it. This way he gets guaranteed performance.

He sells his prints, so for him time really is money. I get it. Just thought I’d share a different perspective.