Introduction

The E3D All-Metal v6 Hotend is one of the most popular and most important third-party upgrades that 3D printing enthusiasts can make to their stock 3D printer. The ubiquitous nature of the J-head mount makes it compatible with most open standard RepRap printers, and the utilitarian design helps prevent hotend maladies that include heat creep, inconsistent nozzle heating, and variable heatsink cooling airflow. With all the advantages of the E3D All-Metal v6 Hotend, many users still seem to have trouble with the correct process in the assembly and installation of the hotend. This article will cover the assembly and installation process in more detail, building upon the foundation set forth in E3D’s V6 Assembly. At completion, the user will have all the knowledge essential for a successful upgrade to their 3D printer.

We also sell the E3D All-Metal Hotend fully assembled if you are not sure you want to tackle the assembly yourself!

For all your E3D needs, we have some of the lowest prices on hotends, nozzles, thermistors and more - as well as FREE SHIPPING!

Required Tools and Parts

Tools

  • Multimeter
  • Hex Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Nozzle Spanner

Parts

  • V6 Heatsink
  • V6 Heat Break
  • V6 Heater Block
  • V6 Nozzles
  • Thermistor Cartridge
  • Heater Cartridge
  • 30mm Fan
  • Plastic Screws × 4
  • M3 Grub Screw
  • Fan Duct
  • M3 Washer
  • M3x10 Socket Dome Screw
  • V6 Silicone Sock
  • Collet
  • Collet Clip

Step 1:  Assemble the Nozzle and the Heat Break

To assemble the nozzle and heat break, you will need the following parts: the Heater Block, the Nozzle, and the Heat Break.

Figure 1:  E3D Nozzle and Heater Block
Figure 1: E3D Nozzle and Heater Block
Figure 2:  Heat Break
Figure 2: Heat Break

Step 2:  Orient Your Heater Block

Before inserting the nozzle and heat break into your heater block, make sure to insert your nozzle correctly. You should be looking for the side of the heater block with three holes.

Figure 3:  Bottom of the Heater Block
Figure 3: Bottom of the Heater Block

Step 3:  Screw in the Nozzle

Screw in the nozzle all the way into the bottom of the heater block. Do not worry about tightness yet. Next, unscrew the nozzle by ¼ of a turn. This will leave enough space to tighten after screwing in the heat break.

NOTE:  ONLY USE A WRENCH AND A NOZZLE SPANNER TO TIGHTEN THE NOZZLE TO THE HEATER BLOCK ONCE THE HOTEND IS HEATED AND FULLY ASSEMBLED.

Figure 4:  Nozzle and Heater Block
Figure 4: Nozzle and Heater Block
Figure 5:  Nozzle Flush with Bottom of Heater Block
Figure 5: Nozzle Flush with Bottom of Heater Block
Figure 6:  Nozzle Unscrewed to =C2=BC Turn From Bottom of Heater Block
Figure 6: Nozzle Unscrewed to 1/4 Turn From Bottom of Heater Block

Step 4:  Screw in the Heat Break

Screw in the heat break until it touches the nozzle. Next, tighten the nozzle against the heat break with your fingers until snug. There is no need to over tighten the nozzle to be flush with the surface of the bottom of the heat break. You will conduct full tightening later once the hotend is heated.

NOTE:  MAKE SURE TO INSERT THE END OF THE HEAT BREAK WITH THE NARROW COLLAR INTO THE HEATER BLOCK.

Figure 7:  Heater Block and Heat Break
Figure 7: Heater Block and Heat Break
Figure 8:  Heat Break Fully Screw Into the Heater Block and Flush Against the Nozzle
Figure 8: Heat Break Fully Screw Into the Heater Block and Flush Against the Nozzle

Step 5:  Check the Heat Break

Double check to make sure that your nozzle is almost flush with your heater block. If there is a significant gap between the nozzle top and the heater block you should re-adjust your nozzle and heat break to eliminate that space.

Figures 9: Correct Assembly Result
Figures 9: Correct Assembly Result
Figure 10: Incorrect Assembly Result
Figure 10: Incorrect Assembly Result

Step 6:  Gather Thermistor Parts

Gather the parts that you will need to install the thermistor. These parts include the Thermistor Cartridge, the M3 Grub Screw, the 1.5mm Hex Wrench and the Heater Block.

Figure 11:  Thermistor Cartridge and the Assembled Heater Block with Grub Screw and Hex Wrench
Figure 11: Thermistor Cartridge and the Assembled Heater Block with Grub Screw and Hex Wrench

Step 7:  Slide the Thermistor Cartridge Into the Heater Block

Slide the thermistor cartridge into the heater block. Feel free to slide the cartridge in either end/direction so that the wires extend from one side or the other of your heater block. Think about how you'll be organizing your wiring harness to decide which way makes sense for your printer.

Figures 12:  The Correct Insertion Point and Position for the Thermistor Cartridge
Figure 12: Correct Insertion Point and Position for the Thermistor Cartridge
Figure 13: Correct Insertion Point and Position for the Thermistor Cartridge
Figure 13: Correct Insertion Point and Position for the Thermistor Cartridge

Step 8:  Screw in the Grub Screw

Screw in the M3 grub screw until it just touches the thermistor. Tighten the M3 grub screw with a hex wrench only ⅛ of a turn. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN SCREW. The thermistor cartridge is soft and you may deform the cartridge if you over tighten.

Figure 13:  Using a Hex Wrench to Tighten Grub Screw to Lock in Thermistor
Figure 14: Using a Hex Wrench to Tighten Grub Screw to Lock in Thermistor

Step 9:  Test the Heater Cartridge

Before installing the heater cartridge, double check to see that the correct voltage cartridge was purchased and received. Cartridges are laser etched with their voltage but it is worth double checking. THIS PROCESS ENSURES THAT THERE IS NO FIRE HAZARD. For a 12v30w heater cartridge, the multimeter should read 4.8Ω. For a 24v30w heater cartridge, the multimeter should read 19.2Ω. The cartridge resistance may deviate slightly from these numbers, but the process will verify the type of cartridge.

Figure 14:  Testing of the Heater Cartridge with a Multimeter
Figure 15: Testing of the Heater Cartridge with a Multimeter

Step 10:  Gather the Heater Cartridge Parts

The parts for the installation of the heater cartridge include the Heater Block Sub-Assembly, the Heater Cartridge, the 2.5mm Hex Wrench and an M3x10 Screw and M3 Washer.

Figure 15: Heater Cartridge Parts and Tool Necessary for Assembly
Figure 16: Heater Cartridge Parts and Tool Necessary for Assembly

Step 11:  Slide the Heater Cartridge into the Heater Block Sub-Assembly

Slide the heater cartridge into the Heater Block Sub-Assembly. Typically the wiring on the heater cartridge should come out the same side as your thermistor wires. It is acceptable if the cartridge protrudes a bit from both sides of the heater block.

Figure 16: The Heater Block Sub-Assembly with the Inserted Heater Cartridge
Figure 17: The Heater Block Sub-Assembly with the Inserted Heater Cartridge

Step 12:   Screw in the M3 x 10 Screw to Secure the Heater Cartridge to the Heater Block Sub-Assembly

Tighten the M3 x 10 socket dome screw and associated M3 washer with a 2mm hex wrench until the clamp deforms slightly (as shown in Figure 19).

NOTE:  THE KEY HERE IS “SLIGHTLY”. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN.

Figure 17: Use of the Hex Wrench to Tighten the Heater Cartridge to the Heater Block Sub-Assembly
Figure 18: Use of the Hex Wrench to Tighten the Heater Cartridge to the Heater Block Sub-Assembly
Figure 18: Use of the Hex Wrench to Tighten the Heater Cartridge to the Heater Block Sub-Assembly
Figure 19: Use of the Hex Wrench to Tighten the Heater Cartridge to the Heater Block Sub-Assembly

Step 13:  The Tug Test

Before continuing, gently tug on the thermistor and heater cartridge wires. These cartridges should not be able to slip during printing.

Figure 19:  Tug Lightly to Ensure That the Heater Cartridge and the Thermistor Cartridge Are Snug to the Heater Block Sub-Assembly
Figure 20: Tug Lightly to Ensure That the Heater Cartridge and the Thermistor Cartridge Are Snug to the Heater Block Sub-Assembly

Step 14:  Gather Parts for Assembling the Heatsink

Gather the following parts to include the Heater Block Sub-Assembly, the Heatsink and the Sachet of Thermal Paste.

Figure 20:  Heater Block Sub-Assembly and Heatsink
Figure 21: Heater Block Sub-Assembly and Heatsink

Step 15:  Apply the Thermal Compound

Apply light amounts of thermal compound to the threading of the heat break. Next, screw in the heatsink until hand-tight. Do not use thermal paste elsewhere on the hotend.

Figures 21: Thermal Compound Should Be Applied Before Attaching the Heatsink
Figures 22: Thermal Compound Should Be Applied Before Attaching the Heatsink
Figure 22: Attached heat break and heatsink
Figure 23: Attached heat break and heatsink

Step 16:  Install the PTFE Tubing

Gather the Collett, Collett Clip and PTFE Tubing (at least 700mm long) and prepare to attach to the Hotend Sub-Assembly.

Figure 23:  Parts Include the Hot End Sub-Assembly, PTFE Tube, Collett and Collet Clip
Figure 24: Parts Include the Hotend Sub-Assembly, PTFE Tube, Collett and Collett Clip

Step 17:  Insert the Collett Into the Top of the Heatsink

Insert the small black Collett into the top of the heatsink. The end of the Collett with the four small legs should push into the brass ring in the top of the heatsink. Use gentle finger pressure when inserting the Collett. Slip the Collett clip underneath the Collett, thereby securing the Collett into the heatsink.

Figure 24: Inserting the Collett Into the Heatsink
Figure 25: Inserting the Collett Into the Heatsink
Figure 25: Retaining the Collett with the Collett Clip
Figure 26: Retaining the Collett with the Collett Clip

Step 18:  Prepare the PTFE Tubing

To ensure that the end of the PTFE tubing will fit squarely and flat inside your hotend, cut off an end section of the PTFE with a very sharp knife (a craft knife with razor sharp blade is recommended).

Figure 26:  Squaring the PTFE Tubing
Figure 27: Squaring the PTFE Tubing

Step 19:  Insert the PTFE Tubing and Lock Into Place

Insert the PTFE tubing into the heatsink until it stops. The Collett clip should apply tension to the tubing and lock it into the hotend. Make sure that the tubing is held securely down into the heatsink without the ability to wiggle or move. To release the PTFE tubing, remove the Collett clip and push down on the Collett while pulling the tubing.

Figure 27:  Inserting the PTFE Tubing Into the Collett on the Heatsink
Figure 28: Inserting the PTFE Tubing Into the Collett on the Heatsink

Step 20:  Installing Fan and Duct Parts

Gather the Hotend Sub-Assembly, 30mm Fan, the Fan Duct and the 4 Plast-Fast Pozidriv-Head Self-Tapping Screws.

Figure 29: The Fan Duct, Self-Tapping Screws and the 30mm Fan
Figure 29: The Fan Duct, Self-Tapping Screws and the 30mm Fan

Step 21:  Screw the Plast-Fast Screws Halfway Into the Fan

Ensure that the screw heads are on the non-sticker side on the fan. Screw the Plast-Fast screws partially/halfway into the fan. Ensure that the screws did not protrude out of the rear of the fan.

Figure 30: Screws Inserted Halfway Into the Fan
Figure 30: Screws Inserted Halfway Into the Fan

Step 22:  Screw the Fan Into the Fan Duct

Try to understand how and where you want the fan wiring to be placed in relation to the fan duct and before placement on the hotend. The fan and fan duct may be mounted on the side of the heatsink facing either direction. Screw the fan on to the fan duct. This may require some torque so a good fitting screwdriver is essential. Do not be concerned about getting the screws 100% tightened. The screws just need to secure the fan.

Figure 31: Fan With Fan Duct Attached
Figure 31: Fan With Fan Duct Attached

Step 23:  Clip the Fan and Fan Duct on to the Heatsink

Clip the fan duct on to the heatsink. Make sure that the duct covers the fin on the heatsink that is closest to the heater block. The overhang on the fan duct may face up or down depending on the setup.

Figure 32: Fully Assembled Hotend With Fan Duct Overhang Facing Down
Figure 32: Fully Assembled Hotend With Fan Duct Overhang Facing Down

Step 24:  Connect Extension Wires to the Hotend

Connect the extension wires to the thermistor and fan. The other end of the extension wires will connect directly to the printer's electronics board. If replacing an older hotend, note where the previous hotend wires were connected to the board and mirror that for the new E3D All-Metal v6 Hotend. If building a new printer, consult the documentation for the new printer’s electronics board to determine where to plug in the connectors. Use the included cable tie to link the connections/wiring together for strain relief. Remember to take time to properly organize the wiring so that it does not get snagged on any corner of the printer.

Figure 33: Connecting and Tying Off all Three Hotend Connections
Figure 33: Connecting and Tying Off all Three Hotend Connections

Step 25:  Hot Tightening the Nozzle on the Hotend

Hot tightening is the last mechanical step to get the E3D All-Metal v6 Hotend operational. Hot tightening is essential to sealing the nozzle and heatsink together to ensure that molten plastic cannot leak out of the heater block and down the nozzle while in use. Utilizing the printer's control software (or LCD screen), set the hotend temperature to 250°C. Allow the hot end to reach 250°C and wait one minute to allow all components to equalize in temperature. Gently tighten the nozzle while holding the heater block stationary with a spanner and using a smaller 7mm spanner to tighten the nozzle. This will tighten the nozzle against the heatsink and ensure that the hotend does not leak.

NOTE:  DO NOT TORQUE THE NOZZLE. TIGHTEN THE NOZZLE WITH ABOUT AS MUCH PRESSURE AS CAN BE APPLIED WITH ONE FINGER AND UNTIL IT IS SNUG TO THE HEAT BREAK. APPLYING EXCESSIVE TORQUE TO THE NOZZLE WILL MAKE THE NOZZLE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE AND MAY EVEN DAMAGE/BREAK THE NOZZLE DURING REMOVAL.

Figure 34:  Necessary Tools for Hot Tightening the Hotend
Figure 34: Necessary Tools for Hot Tightening the Hotend

Step 26:  Gather Sock Parts

Along with the newly assembled Hotend, collect the Pro Sock and/or the Normal Sock in preparation for installation.

Figure 35: From Left to Right - the Pro Sock, the Hotend and the Normal Sock
Figure 35: From Left to Right - the Pro Sock, the Hotend and the Normal Sock

Step 27:  Attaching the Pro / Normal Sock

Allow the hotend to cool before slipping the silicone sock over the heater block on the hotend. Attempt to seat the clips on the silicone sock to the top of the heater block so that the sock will remain seated during use. It may appear at first that the sock does not fit well, but when the hotend is heated the sock will expand and conform to the shape of the heater block.

Figure 36: Side View of Hotend With Sock Attached.
Figure 36: Side View of Hotend With Sock Attached.

Step 28:  Final Adjustments

If using the pro sock make sure that the tip of the nozzle protrudes from the sock. If using the normal sock, it should appear like Figure 38 when seated.

Figure 37: Properly Seated Pro Sock
Figure 37: Properly Seated Pro Sock
Figure 38:  Properly Seated Normal Sock
Figure 38: Properly Seated Normal Sock

Step 29:  Configuring the Firmware

Configuring the firmware is different depending on the type of firmware the printer uses. Follow one of the links below for guides on how to update each of the most popular firmware. When completed, continue to Step 30 in this guide.


For more information on how to install/flash the firmware on the printer, please reference How To Successfully Flash Your 3D Printer's Firmware. In Marlin you will need to update the Configuration.h file with the correct thermistor value before flashing.

Step 30:  PID Tuning

PID Tuning is important whenever installing a new hotend. It is best accomplished once the hotend kit is completely assembled and mounted on to the printer. PID Tuning allows the printer to adjust internal parameters so that it can learn how the hotend heats. This way, the printer can anticipate how much power is needed to get the hotend up, but not over, the set temperature.

Using a computer to connect to your printer, open MatterControl and connect to the printer. Navigate to the Terminal in MatterControl and prepare for entering the PID Tuning commands. Make sure you have your hotend mounted on the printer when it heats up.


Send the command M303 to autotune. Remember that not all firmware supports PID Tuning so the tuning may need to be done manually. The manufacturer recommends running two PID Tuning sequences for the v6: once after installation, and one later at normal printing temperatures with filament in the hotend, sock attached, and with an active cooling fan turned on. This way your printer can finely tune its settings to match the real printing environment.

Step 31:  Slicer Settings

Remember to update the slicer settings. This includes setting the correct nozzle diameter (all kits ship with a 0.40mm brass nozzle) and filament retraction distance. For direct systems, the retraction setting can be anywhere from 0.5mm to 2.0mm. For Bowden systems, take into consideration the compression strain that will depend on the length of the Bowden tube. This usually adds to the length of the retraction settings.

Conclusion

The E3D All-Metal v6 Hotend is top of the line technology for those interested in printing correctly with multiple types of filament. However, to experience the best performance from this hotend, the E3D All-Metal v6 Hotend needs to be assembled and installed correctly. Also, do not forget to update the printer’s firmware with the correct thermistor value or the hotend will not operate effectively. Stop settling for substandard performance and upgrade to the E3D All-Metal v6 Hotend today!