A Bit About the E3D Titan
What is the E3D Titan?
The E3D Titan is an innovative extruder from 3D printer part manufacturer, E3D. The Titan extruder features a compact and light-weight design that manages to squeeze a 3:1 geared drive mechanism into basically the same footprint as a typical direct-drive extruder.
How does the E3D Titan benefit the typical 3D printer? First, as a general rule, the lighter the moving extrusion/hotend carriage, the better the printer’s performance. Having a light-weight extruder means you can use higher acceleration for the axis, achieve a higher top speed since the lighter-weight extruder has less inertia to deal with, and reduce the wear on motion components and motors. Using a light extruder also means it is possible to get the same linear motion performance from cheaper rails and bearings, reducing the cost of the printer. While a Bowden setup is typically used for 3D printers as the ultimate solution for making the lightest possible carriage, Bowden drives are more complicated than direct-drive systems and bring with them a few limitations and engineering challenges.
The second benefit provided by the E3D Titan comes from its excellent design. First, even though the Titan is a very compact extruder, it still features a geared drive mechanism. The 3:1 gear ratio means the stepper motor on the extruder can generate more torque to drive the filament without additional stress on the motor. This improves the reliability of the extruder by reducing the chance of skipped steps for filament slipping.
The filament path itself is also designed for great performance with flexible filaments. When it comes to printing with flexible materials, it is critical to have a fully-constrained filament path. Flexible filaments are notorious for slipping out of any gap in the extrusion system, causing prints to fail.
The E3D Titan is designed to guide the filament from the gear all the way into the hotend. In the image below, you can see that the black plastic filament guide between the knurled gear and the hotend allows no room for flexible filaments to escape. This guide constrains the filament so closely that one issue I ran into while assembling the Titan is making sure the filament guide did not actually touch the knurled gear. This design should prevent even highly flexible filaments from buckling during extrusion.