Slice Engineering FAQ: Hotend Upgrades and Installation Tips


Boron Nitride Thermal Paste: Why do I need it and what are the benefits?

Boron Nitride is a compound that helps with heat conduction. We suggest using it on any surfaces that need to conduct heat. The most common areas that could benefit from Boron Nitride Paste are between the heater cartridge and the hotend, the temperature sensor and the hotend, and the nozzle and the hotend. Boron Nitride is great for the Mosquito® Hotend, but will also work nicely with any other all metal hotend. More information on how to properly use Boron Nitride Paste can be found here.

Boron Nitride Thermal Paste: How long does it last? When does it expire?

Typically, our Boron Nitride Paste lasts between 1-2 years from first use, if properly stored. We highly recommend storing our Boron Nitride Paste in a dry space, tightly sealed in its original packaging (if possible), to avoid exposure to moisture. In regards to the shelf life of the paste, expiration largely depends on how well it is stored. It seems every customer has a slightly different experience. It is possible to rehydrate the Boron Nitride Paste with water, but we highly recommend you replace it if the Boron Nitride Paste is dried out completely. 

Do you have groove mounts available for the Mosquito®?

We’re not huge fans of the groove mount adapter system… but for those with a groove mount on their printers, we have a nice solution that mounts to the Mosquito® hotend.

I'm experiencing filament jams when printing PLA! Help!

By design, the Mosquito® hotend is created with more precision than the typical hotend. More precision leads to better prints, but also means some filament materials may require more finesse to dial in the settings just right. Check out this article on ensuring you've got the everything on your new hotend set up for success

I bought a Mosquito® hotend, now how do I get it on my printer?

We have a whole list of adapters you can print on our Adapters page, and are constantly adding more. If you choose to print an adapter, we suggest using a material with a heat deflection temperature above 90 °C (HDT>90 °C), such as ABS or Nylon to provide more rigidity at elevated printing temperatures. If your printer isn’t on that list, let us know and we’ll try to get one built. We also have a few all metal adapters for a variety of common printers.

I've got plastic residue all over my nozzle or hot block. How do I clean it off?

That sounds like a personal problem... Just kidding, we'll still help. We recommend cleaning the Vanadium™ Nozzles and Mosquito® or Copperhead™ Hot Blocks by either heating them up on your 3D printer or with a heat gun, then wiping off the plastic residue with a cotton swab. You can also bake off the residue in an oven or kiln (not one used for food consumption). 
We do not recommend using steel bristle brushes to clean Vanadium™ Nozzles, as they tend to leave behind material fragments that can generate rust on the surface of your nozzle. You can use a metal bristle brush, but then your nozzle will be ugly. And you will be sad.

Yes! It will allow you to reach higher temperatures, expanding the range of filaments you can print, and will help you reach normal operating temperatures faster. However, please check that your printer puts out enough power to support the heater before purchase!

I bought a Slice Engineering Thermistor. Now What?

The thermistor (temperature sensor) on your printer is dialed in with your printer’s control board. When installing any new thermistor, including Slice’s Thermistors, you will need to ensure the proper settings are input into your firmware, and should run a PID tune on your controller. The RT table for Slice Engineering Thermistors is available here. Duet3D natively supports Slice Engineering Thermistors. Marlin 2.0 now supports Slice Engineering Thermistors. Select Thermistor #67 in settings for the 450°C variant and #5 for the 300°C variant. We are constantly working with other firmware developers to include the Slice thermistors out of the box.

I bought the Mosquito® hotend, but I don’t know what to do with the fan…

That’s a statement, not a question, but we’ll still answer it. The Mosquito® hotend cooling fan should always be used when printing any material. The cooling fan can be positioned on either side of the heat sink, but it must face the heat break. Meaning, airflow should be directed (“pushed”) toward the heat break, NOT pulled through it. When a print has finished, make sure to let the fan cool down the hotend before turning the printer off.

Now that I have the Mosquito®, what should my retraction settings be?

For direct drive extruders paired with the Mosquito® series of hotends, we recommend setting your retraction to the same distance as the diameter of the nozzle you are printing with. Ex: when printing with a 0.4 mm nozzle, set the retraction distance to 0.4 mm in your slicer. For bowden setups the length of the bowden tube heavily influences necessary retraction lengths, and will require some tuning. We recommend halving the retraction setting used with your previous hotend (before Mosquito® installation), and tuning from there.

Does the Mosquito® require special slicer settings?

The Mosquito® hotend does not require any special slicer settings, and works with any extrusion system, including multi-filament (mixing) systems such as the Prusa MMU or Palette 2 from Mosaic Manufacturing.

What is the mass of Mosquito® and Mosquito® Magnum?

The Mosquito® Hotend weighs 37 g, while the Mosquito® Magnum is 41 g, making the pair the lightest high-performance hotends available on the market.

How do you secure the temperature sensor and the heater cartridge in the Mosquito® Hot Block?

Boron Nitride (BN) Paste is required on the temperature sensor for accurate measurement. BN paste is also desirable on the heater cartridge and nozzle threads. The retaining screws on either end of the hot block prevent the heater and thermistor from pulling out.

Is there a maximum temperature rating for the Slice Engineering® 50W heater cartridges?

Both the 12V and 24V 50W heater cartridges are rated to 500°C. Actual achievable temperatures will vary based on a number of factors, including whether the heater is operating in an enclosed or open air 3D printer.

Does the direction of airflow from the hotend cooling fan matter?

The sticker on the fan should face the Mosquito® Hotend, with the air flow directed toward the heat sink.

What type of nozzles do the Mosquito® and Copperhead® Hotends use?

The Mosquito® and Copperhead® Hotends use the same type of nozzle - Rep Rap style (see Documentation page for drawings and STEP files)


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