3D Printer Extruder Types – Ultimate Guide for You

Do you know 3D printers are a French invention and were first appeared in the 80s? Although they were at a front stage in the early 2000s and have influenced a lot. As years pass by, more and more companies are taking part in the manufacturing of 3D printers with even advanced technologies. Today, almost all the production processes are dependent on 3D printing techniques for efficient working.

You can now save much of your tooling costs wasted on buying tools for the production previously. 3D printers have become a necessity in many homes today; they were a bit cheap earlier, but now they’ve become much more expensive. If you are somehow linked with the 3D printing world, you must have heard about extruders and Hotend a lot.

Today in this article, we will be discussing 3D printer extruder types in detail to let you know more about them. Keep reading to get yourself aware.

About 3D Printer Extruder

Do you know what extrusion in a 3D printer is? Extrusion is the most frequent and most straightforward 3D printing technique. It’s versatile enough to be put to good use in practically any situation. The plastic wire is used as the primary printing material. The 3D printer’s printhead melts the filament as it heats it. In 3D printing, extrusion refers to a technique in which the material is released selectively through a die or orifice, according to ASTM International. Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is another name for extrusion.

Modeling, prototyping, and manufacturing all involve “additive” technologies like extrusion. S. Scott Crump created the technology in the late 1980s, and it was released to the market in 1990. It generates a thing by transferring material; a plastic or metal wire is wrapped up from a spool and provides material for constructing apart.

An extruder is the part of the 3D printer responsible for the shooting, melting, and positioning of the filament on the bed to produce the model. A 3D printer extruder comprises numerous separate tools that conduct a mixture of various jobs. An ice and a fire are present. Extruders and hotels are often referred to simply as the filament-touching piece and the melting-piece, respectively. As a rule, we’ll use the terms “extruder” and “coldend” and “hotend” interchangeably in this article.

We’ll go through the differences between the two types of coolers in the following section:

  1. The cold end’s job is to move the filament to lead to the hot end. The filament is fed into the hot end through a PTFE tube or a motor and gear set. Layer by layer, the material is heated, melted, and extruded through a die at the Hotend. The heater, which warms and melts the filament, and the nozzle, which directs the extruded filament, are the two primary components of the hot end.

What are different 3D Printer Extruder Types?

There are two major types of extruders based on the drivers; these are discussed below alongside their advantages and disadvantages.

Direct Extruders

Direct-drive extruders have the unusual feature of resting directly on the hot end. Because the material’s path is shorter, you can use flexible threads with greater precision and reliability. Direct extruder printers allow you to fine-tune the retraction force. One piece of filament travels from the gearbox via the cold end and hot end of a direct extruder. As a result, the drive unit and the gear that encounters the filament are located just above the point of danger. The extruder is heavier and slower since it is directly connected to the hot end.


  • Print flexible materials such as PLA Soft, TPU, and TPE (Fila Flex) in thicknesses of 1.75 mm and 2.85 mm.
  • No matter how much wear some threads have, you may still print easily on all kinds of materials. Graphene can be printed using the Olsson Ruby Nozzle, which has an almost indestructible ruby tip and is designed to be used in 3D printing of abrasive materials like that.
  • Because this technique necessitates shorter retreat times to produce high-quality 3D prints, paper clogs are less likely. If you’d like to learn more about cancellation, click on the following link for further information.


  • The shaft that moves the extruder and hot end has a lot of inertia. For 3D printers with numerous extruders, you must shift the weight of the complete set (extruder, motor, and hot end) to achieve fast print speeds.
  • The electric motor of the extruder has temperature issues. The extruder motor of a closed 3D printer with a hardened chamber can achieve temperatures that influence the process performance.

Bowden Extruder

The Bowden extruder is an alternative for this component. The cold end is not directly above the hot end in this design. Instead, a tube separates the two. This tube is where you feed the filament through. It is possible to employ a considerably smaller printhead because the engine is integrated into the printer’s housing.

A PTFE tube separates the cold and hot ends of a Bowden extruder, where the filament travels. A pipe separates the refrigerator from the hot end. It is substantially lighter and faster than a direct extruder since it only has one moving part: the threat. The cooling unit for the printer is permanently installed on one end of the printer.


  • Transmission shafts with low inertia are ideal for use in hot ends. Due to the Bowden 3D printer’s inertia-reducing design, the extruder and extruder motor is firmly attached to the printer’s chassis. As a result, printing is quick while also being of good quality.
  • The resistance of the filament is really high. The filament section module on most 3D printers that use this extruder technology (BCN Sigma, 3NTR-A2) is increased by a group of gears (reduction group) to allow the coils to travel larger than usual.


  • Issues are printing with flexible threads that are 1.75 mm in diameter. Because it’s a flexible filament, it’s impossible to maintain a constant filament pressure along the Bowden PTFE tube up to the HotEnd while guiding the filament. Low-speed printing of loose wires is conceivable, however, using the 2.85 mm Bowden system.

About Dual Extruders

Dual extruders are also one of the 3D printer extruder types that use two extruders instead of just one. 3D printers with dual extruders can use two separate printheads simultaneously, which opens a slew of new options. To begin, each extruder may print two different materials at once. If you want a better surface polish, you can print on carriers of another soluble material.

Having two extruders makes it possible to print objects in two colors, ideal for those who enjoy multicolored printing structures. Twin extruders, on the other hand, are just the option of having two extruders.

How Does a 3D Printer Extruder Work?

It may appear complicated at first, but the process is pretty straightforward, and each step is critical. The motor, for instance, is responsible for correctly positioning the filament material. The gears grip the plastic and use a small force to press it down at the heated end. Think of it as a glue chair if that helps you visualize the procedure. If you’re going to use a glue chair, run a cold glue stick through the heated part of the machine.

While it’s melting, you can place it exactly where you want it to finish the process. Instead of relying on your strength to push through the material, this method uses a motor. However, the principle is the same: the extruder must keep the filament stable so that you can meet it at the appropriate time. As well as having the perfect material, it would help if you also had it put correctly.

How many extruders can a 3D printer have?

FDM printers use a filament extruder to deposit plastic wire on a printing platform by extruding liquid plastic wire. To extrude plastic, a nozzle (or an extruder) is attached to the printhead, which is made up of many different elements, including a motor to drive the plastic wire. The use of two extruders is becoming more common in 3D FDM/FFF printers. You can, for example, print in two colors using two materials at the same time. Using two extruders allows the extrusion of the carrier material, which can then be removed using a solvent.


Now that you are well aware of this modern technology, you can now decide to grab a decent 3D printer under 1000. This article has focused on ‘3D printer extruder types’ to make your mind clear regarding their types with their advantages and disadvantages. You will see enormous options on amazon with high-end features and quality prints. Now, you can start up your own business by just investing in a fantastic 3D printer with modern technology and incredible features.

About David Shelton

Besides many test devices, David now has his eighth own 3D printer running and loves to print as a hobby for family, friends, and himself. He has over a decade of experience in 3D printing. He is happy to share his experience with each new article to help all of you regarding your printing queries! In his spare time, he loves to travel and watch obscure cinema. Happy printing!!

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