The rise to fame of the E3D Titan extruder is credited to its super lightweight which yields great performance. According to ancient Greek Mythology, Titans, after whom this E3D gadget is named, were giant deities of insurmountable strength. This tale further claims that these super natural beings were the rulers of the legendary age. So perhaps the name of this extruder is an indication of its strength? Read on to find out.
- E3D Titan Extruder: Is it that Good?
- Whatís The Big Deal about the Motors?
- How Does the E3D Titan Perform In terms Of Printing?
- Extra Components of the Titan
E3D Titan Extruder: Is it that Good?
I bet your very first reaction when you heard about the ìsmall gearedî Titan extruder was, how powerful is it? Well, to start off, Titan is a combination of both direct drive and geared extruders. This means although itís as small as the other very simple direct-drive extruders, it still has a lever-based, spring-loaded core mechanic which makes it possible to release filament easily. To add on this, Titan extruder also has a 3 to 1 reduction gearing that makes it possible for it to drive 3mm filament.
The real excitement with this extruder however, is that it can efficiently extrude both 1.75mm filament and 3mm filament. The filament is first of all run through the idler lever. This lever has a 4mm bore, which will either directly line up 3mm filament, or will allow you to insert the same Teflon tube or PTFE used for 1.75mm bowden setups. So youíll have a spot for attaching a feeder tube, which is useful for keeping the filament from pulling up on the extruder when you fix the other end in place, and I therefore highly recommend using one.
One thing about the feeder tube is that it doesnít stay in place well. It will tend to pop out when for instance you reverse the length of particularly stiff filament like ProtoPasta Carbon-Fiber reinforced high temperature PLA through a long feeder tube. But it is very appropriate for normal filaments. And 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 Wadeís extruder and the BigBox.
Letís now shed some light on the filament drive gear. Although this one is capable of grabbing 1.75mm and 3mm filament, it needs some type of guidance to prevent the filament from slipping off to the side. In comparison to E3Dís stand-alone Hobb-Goblin this drive gear is more of a flat profile and is less coarse and aggressive than the latter. So this is why you need the little inserts (universalism), and you can get one sized for 1.75mm and the other for 3mm.
I must confess that these inserts are really elegant for filament guides. They are actually injection molded parts and are made from an extremely slippery plastic. They fit so perfectly that you are relieved from the struggle of trimming 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. So with this you will get a continuous length of Teflon which will go straight into your E3D v6 hotend. It can also go straight to your bowden adapter, if youíre using one, and from there head to the hotend. Either of the guides that you use will be held in place by the hotend, whose mount is specially made for the E3D v6, and therefore it comfortably fit in there. You will realize that in some other printers like the Mendel90 for instance, you will still struggle for mounting options, so you might have to do a lot of modifications on that printer.
The titan is therefore a great recommendation for (Prusa) i3-style printers, since it is designed for mounting with a bracket fitting between the extruder and the stepper motor. However, if youíre using 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 that has been left between the extruder body and the motor, since the extruder depends on that exact spacing for keeping in place the idler lever.
Still on the Idler, have you noticed that itís hinged on the rotating motor shaft? I think this is a really impressive design by E3D. They are actually the only manufacturers I know who are bold enough to make such a move. In my opinion, most of the other manufacturers would be afraid of the flat side of the shaft slowly grinding away the idlers eye.
Since E3D have used a special self-lubricating Delrin blend, this is not their worry. They actually even use this Delrin blend on some of the machines that they run 24/7. So can you now see how plausible it is with a nice motor shaft? Nonetheless, 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 so that you desist from having an actual cutting edge grinding against the plastic part.
Whatís The Big Deal about the Motors?
Now letís get to the most exciting detail in the TitanÖthe motors. The Titan 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 Titan has that gearing in there, youíll only require a third of the torque. Therefore this tiny 13N-cm stepper will most certainly give a similar performance. To my surprise, it actually works flawless even with the Volcano; although the faster the stepper motors go, the faster they lose torque. However, an extruder can still not beat that speed even at the point where the torque begins to have a significant drop.
So check this out, remember the Wadeís extruder I modified to use 1.75mm instead of 3mm? Can you believe itís still three times heavier than the combined weight of the Titan with its tiny pancake stepper? Plus, basically 1.75mm direct-drive extruders donít work any better. And they have the bulky 48N-cm stepper, so they pretty much weigh the same.
Let me now give you some pointers. Number one; if youíve got a moving extruder, youíre bound to apply so much less force on the motion system of that axis that is the belt and the motor. This means that both of these can now lug around the extruder quicker 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 use that for a dual or triple-extruder setup with about the same weight budget as one regular extruder and hotend. So, since the smaller motors have less inertia with their smaller rotor, you have the freedom of also using a faster acceleration for the extruder, which theoretically, should make retracts extremely quick and as a result your prints will complete much faster and less blobby.
The last option is for using Titan with full-size motors. These shouldnít cost you more than the pancakes. And although you should run one of those for 3mm, using it for a moving 1.75mm extruder is even better for the Titan.
How Does the E3D Titan Perform In terms Of Printing?
In my opinion, the printing performance of the E3D Titan is just average. But there are some little details I really like about it. The first one is the tooth profile. This 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. When I tried a fast print with NinjaFlex however, the result wasnít very impressive. But maybe this was because of my custom mount, which introduced a longer filament path.
Titan is really not in the list of fancy new dual-gear extruders. Which means you canít rely on it for printing slippery or hard plastics at fast speeds, but the tooth profile in it is reliable and it will still deliver desirable prints all the same. The most important thing to look out for when choosing an extruder are actually the comfort features, and not merely the amount of Newtonís of force that it puts on the filament. 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.
Extra Components of the Titan
Apart from the Titan components that Iíve already mentioned, this tiny E3D gadget also comes packed with a few other goodies you wouldnít 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. The adjustment range on this goes from completely loose, a 3mm setting, to perfectly tight with the springís turns completely pressed against one another.
There is also the drive gear thatís extremely exposed on the corner of the extruder. This makes cleaning out the filament residues extremely easy, thatís if you ever get to strip the filament.
I think the Titan is a very sturdy extruder. Its overall mechanical design is a huge plus, especially with the small but extremely smart details, and I loved the filament drive gear. It allows you to build an impressively light setup for a 1.75mm filament, and in many machines you can get to a point where you can get away without a full blown bowden setup.
The Titan is ideal as a precision extruder. Investing in it means investing on some weight 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 can come in handy.
So, how do I rate the Titan? Since this is an E3D product, I would expect a more revamped extruder. These days there are dual gear extruders and super over the top designs all over, so the Titan didnít really match up to my expectations. All in all, I still think itís worth investing in.