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Difference Between SE & SL Tool Heads?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:36 am
by RockyMtnMark
My LulzBot Mini 2 "High-Detail Bundle" order should be here next week! So I'm a newbie, and have searched these forums for an answer without finding it...

What exactly is the hardware difference between the standard LulzBot SE 0.5 tool head and the new "small layer" SL 0.25 tool heads, other than the nozzle diameters (and firmware settings)? Why would I not want to just swap out the nozzle to a smaller diameter, other than the warranty issues and need to adjust software parameters? What justifies the $300 expense - for that matter, what justifies the $595 expense of the HS heads, other than the nozzle diameters and hardened nozzle material?

From what I've found on the forums, I understand I need to re-flash the printer firmware each time I swap out the head, to set the parameters of the nozzle size being used. With this effort required, is it really that much more work to just swap out the nozzles when I need to do a higher-resolution print? I understand the nozzles must be correctly installed to avoid issues. But isn't this needed when a nozzle wears out anyway?

Sorry if this is a uninformed newbie question. I'm not questioning just the expense - I can see where having multiple heads pre-set with specialty nozzles would be handy. I'm just trying to learn and understand exactly what I'm doing by swapping out the SL and SE heads that will both come in my "High-Detail Bundle" for my new Mini-2. If the only difference is the nozzles, and the heads themselves are exact duplicates, then I will understand better what to expect when I swap them out (like, only the software/firmware changes can be expected to control the quality of my print results).

Thanks from a new Learner!

Re: Difference Between SE & SL Tool Heads?

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:41 pm
by b-morgan
Changing nozzles is not a simple exercise. The nozzle is attached to a heater block which contains the heater, thermistor, and a heat break. The process of replacing the nozzle includes heating the nozzle to operating temperatures and taking extreme care to not damage the other delicate parts attached to the heater block. If the new nozzle isn't properly tightened (using a torque wrench), the extruder may misbehave badly. This is something you do because something is wrong, not as a normal "this part requires a different nozzle diameter".

Even though the initial expense is high, the flexibility of being able to just swap the entire toolhead is worth it, IMO. You are not dealing with 150+ celsius temperatures.

Reflashing the firmware between toolhead swaps is not complicated and doesn't take long. I have configured my slicer with multiple "printers" for each of my toolheads to make the swaps that much easier.

Re: Difference Between SE & SL Tool Heads?

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:38 am
by Keebie81
The aero style toolheads have made nozzle swapping more difficult. But its still better than paying 300 for a toolhead. Just takes some practice, remove fan shroud, heat up to 250, turn power off to prevent shorts if mistakes made, hold heat block with wrench and unscrew nozzle with other wrench, thread new nozzle on to finger tight, turn back on, heat back to 250, turn back off, give slight snug turn - doesnt need much pressure if any, put shroud back on. Just remember if you break something its not under warranty, but even if you do the parts are all easy sourced from e3d resellers

The HS toolheads have a volcano hot end, which is longer. You could likely build your own for half or less of the cost.

Re: Difference Between SE & SL Tool Heads?

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:47 am
by RockyMtnMark
Thank you for the responses! They have helped me understand how to best use my two tool heads.