3mm Printing?

Hi;

I’m new to printing and I have a question about the LulzBot Mini’s 3mm filament usage. Does this mean that the printer can only print something with dimensions greater than 3mm? Or can it print something smaller than that somehow?

Please advise, thanks.

3mm refers to the diameter of the incoming filament that goes into the extruder. Inside the extruder Hot End that filament melts, then is pushed out of the smaller diameter hole on the bottom of the hot end. The nozzle size of the hot end is what determines how high a resolution you can print. For example, a 0.50mm nozzle can print a line 0,50mm wide, but of varying thicknesses depending on the settings you choose. You can actually get very fine detail with a larger nozzle if you are willing to use very thin layers, it just takes a long time. The best medium quality vs. time it takes to print nozzle balance is usually the 0.35mm nozzle.

1.75mm filament is the other major diameter of filament. It’s much smaller, which has some advantages for different types of extruders. The main reason you want to pay attention to that measurement is to make sure you buy the correct material type for your printer.

With a .5mm nozzle, you should be able to go smaller than .5mm as well, if you underextrude for your speed, you will stretch the filament out, right? Or is that just crazy talk?

A 0.5mm nozzle equipped printer usually makes 0.5mm passis on the layers. You can underextrude but you will generally just effectively get a part with lower infil.

I think when you have a layer height that is less than your nozzle diameter the feed rate of the filament material is reduced to push out less material for the time the nozzle is creating that layer. The opposite is done to make a wide extrusion layer, like 125% of the filament nozzle size. More material is pushed into the nozzle to make it ooze out in a wider width path.

But that is just my take on how it is done.