Should you buy the E3D Titan extruder? Will it work in your 3D printer? Read our comprehensive E3D Titan Extruder review to find out.
The popularity of the E3D Titan extruder can be pegged on it being super lightweight, which means great performance.
Check the video below for an overview of the extruder by Tom’s Hardware.
I bet your very first reaction when you heard about the ‘small geared’ Titan extruder was, “how powerful is it?”
Well, the Titan e3D extruder is a combination of both direct-drive and geared extruders. While the extruder is as small as the other very simple direct-drive extruders, it still has a lever-based, spring-loaded core mechanic hat allows it to release filament easily.
Moreover, the Titan extruder has a 3 to 1 reduction gearing that allows it to drive 3mm filament.
However, the highlight of this extruder is that it can efficiently extrude both 1.75mm filament and 3mm filament.
First, the filament is run through the 4mm bore of the idler lever. In the bore, you can line up 3mm filament or the same Teflon tube or PTFE used for 1.75mm bowden setups. Therefore, you will have a spot for attaching a feeder tube to keep the filament from pulling up on the extruder when you fix the other end in place.
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One thing that we noticed about the feeder tube is that it doesn’t stay in place well. For example, the feeder tube tends to pop out when you reverse the length of particularly stiff filament, such as ProtoPasta Carbon-Fiber reinforced high-temperature PLA, through it.
However, the tube is very appropriate for normal filaments. Moreover, since it reaches very far into the extruder, it makes it easier to insert filament without worrying about it popping out, as was common with the old Wade’s extruder and the BigBox.
Let’s now look at the filament drive gear.
Although the extruder drive can handle 1.75mm and 3mm filament, it needs some guidance to prevent the filament from slipping off to the side.
Comparing it to E3D’s stand-alone Hobb-Goblin, this drive gear is more of a flat profile, and is less coarse and aggressive than the latter. This is why you need the little inserts (universalism). You can get both the 1.75mm and the 3mm inserts.
The inserts are really elegant for filament guides. These inserts are actually injection molded parts made from an extremely slippery plastic. The filters fit so perfectly that you won’t have to trim a piece of Teflon tube that will match the profile of the idler bearing and the hobbled section. Even more, these are easier to remove, clean and replace.
The 3mm insert guide will only give you a straight bore. On the other end, the 1.75mm one will take the Teflon tube as an insert. With this tube, you will get a continuous length of Teflon that will go straight into your E3D v6 hotend. The Teflon tube can also go straight to your bowden adapter (if you’re using one) and from there, head to the hotend.
The hotend will hold either of the guides that you use in place. The hotend’s mount is specially made for the E3D v6 and therefore, comfortably fit in there.
In some other printers,e.g., the Mendel90, you may still struggle for mounting options. In such a case, you might have to modify the printer a bit.
The Titan E3D extruder works well for Prusa i3-style printers. This is because it is designed for mounting with a bracket fitting between the extruder and the stepper motor. However, if you have another Prusa printer, you can use the hotend mount and then print an adapter than will fit in it. Be careful not to interfere with the space left between the extruder body and the motor, since the extruder depends on it to keep the idler lever in place.
Still on the idler lever, have you noticed that it’s hinged on the rotating motor shaft? This is impressive. But won’t the flat side of the shaft slowly grind away the idlers eye?
E3D has used a special self-lubricating Delrin blend to prevent the flat side of the shaft from slowly grinding away the idler’s eye. The company even uses the Delrin blend on some of the machines that they run 24/7.
Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to take a small amount of very fine, say 1200 grit sandpaper, and give the motor shaft edges a quick pass to prevent the cutting edge from grinding against the plastic part.
Now let’s check out the Titan’s motors.
The E3D Titan extruder uses a tiny pancake Nema 17 stepper. Ordinarily, you would need to use a bulky 48 or 40N-cm motor for a direct-drive 1.75mm extruder. However, because the extruder already has that gearing in there, you’ll only require a third of the torque. Therefore, this tiny 13N-cm stepper will most certainly give a similar performance.
The motor works flawlessly, even with the Volcano. However, the faster the stepper motors go, the faster they lose torque. Still, I haven’t come across an extruder that can beat the E3D Titan’s speed even at the point where the torque begins to drop significantly.
Remember the Wade’s extruder that I modified to use 1.75mm instead of 3mm in one of my previous tutorials? It is still three times heavier than the combined weight of the Titan with its tiny pancake stepper. Moreover, 1.75mm direct-drive extruders generally don’t work any better. And they have the bulky 48N-cm stepper, so they pretty much weigh the same.
Here are some things you should know about extruders:
If you have a moving extruder, you’re bound to apply less force on the motion system of that axis, i.e, the belt and the motor. This means that both of these can now lug around the extruder quickly without the need to increase other components like corner ringing, where the entire axis basically oscillates for a while after making a sharp move.
Alternatively, you could opt for a dual or triple-extruder setup with about the same weight budget as one regular extruder and hotend. Since the smaller motors have less inertia with their smaller rotor, you can use faster acceleration for the extruder. Theoretically, this should make retracts extremely quick, which means your prints will complete much faster and less blobby.
The last option is using the Titan with full-size motors. These don’t cost more than the pancakes. And although you should run them for 3mm, using it for a moving 1.75mm extruder is even better for the Titan.
In my opinion, the printing performance of the E3D Titan is just average. However, there are some little details I really like about it.
The first one is the tooth profile, which grips all things from; carbon fiber filament to flexibles. When these two filaments work, you know that definitely also PET, PLA and ABS will work as well.
However, when I tried a fast print with NinjaFlex, the result wasn’t very impressive. But maybe this was because of my custom mount, which introduced a longer filament path.
The E3D Titan is not really a fancy new dual-gear extruder. Therefore, you can’t rely on it for printing slippery or hard plastics at fast speeds. However, its tooth profile is reliable and delivers desirable prints all the same.
The most important thing to look out for when choosing an extruder is actually the comfort features, and not merely the amount of Newtons of force it delivers. Frankly speaking, the force factor has not really had a significant improvement for a long time now, but obviously many features have changed or added.
Apart from the Titan components that I’ve already mentioned, this tiny E3D gadget is packed with a few other goodies you wouldn’t expect it to have.
For instance, the tension adjustment nut features a scale embedded in the polycarbonate part next to it. You can use this to repeatedly set the idler tension. Also, its adjustment range goes from completely loose, a 3mm setting, to perfectly tight, with the spring’s turns completely pressed against one another.
There is also the drive gear that is exposed on the corner of the extruder. This makes cleaning out the filament residues extremely easy if you ever get to strip the filament.
The Titan is a very sturdy extruder. Its overall mechanical design is a huge plus, especially with the small but extremely smart details. I also love the filament drive gear. With the extruder, you can build an impressively light setup for a 1.75mm filament, up to the point where you can get away without a full-blown bowden setup in many machines.
The Titan is ideal as a precision extruder. Buying it means shaving some weight off your 3D printer without worrying about performance. And that’s a good reason to choose it over the normal extruder. And I bet that with the right printer setups, this will come in handy.
This is one of the best extruders for Ender 3.
So, how do I rate the Titan? Since this is an E3D product, I would expect a more revamped extruder. Today, there are dual gear extruders and super over the top designs all over. So, the Titan didn’t really match up to my expectations. All in all, I still think itís worth investing in.