Why I Switched to Capricorn XS PTFE Tubing

In 2018-style, this is not a sponsored post. I’m simply very impressed by this product and I want to share why.

Earlier this year I began experimenting with PETG on my Monoprice Maker Select Plus (MMSP). The MMSP is a direct-drive printer with a 34mm PTFE tube that guides the filament through the heat break and into the nozzle. The PETG I was using required a temperature of 245C to flow properly. However, the PTFE that came with the MMSP was not up to the task and it began to deteriorate in short order.

If you’ve not had a PTFE melt down the easiest way to tell there’s a problem is that the filament starts to act as though there’s a clog. You can clean the nozzle all day long, but the problem is that the PTFE is becoming gummy. The other problem is that PTFE is teflon, and vaporized teflon is not something humans should be breathing (as happens when PTFE tubing overheats to the point of losing its integrity).

I am deeply resistant to the refrain of “just get an all-metal hot end!!”. For every person whose printing hobby is saved by an all-metal, just as many find that they regret spending the money and that they wasted their time. I am also cheap. While searching for alternatives to the white PTFE that came with the MMSP I quickly found reference to Capricorn.

Capricorn’s XS PTFE tubing is reportedly able to retain its integrity up to 260C, which is (for all intents a purposes) well above the temperature I intend to print at. It’s also $12 per meter. The MMSP requires 34mm of tubing. That 34mm of tubing put me back in business and my PETG printed flawlessly. That alone is enough to prompt me to evangelize the product.

I also run a Creality CR-10S, which is an indirect/Bowden tube design. With this machine I’ve been using a 1.0mm nozzle to print terrain pieces. The increased size lets me print the same weight of filament in a fraction of the time. For example, a 25-piece run took 49 hours using a standard 0.4mm nozzle. The second time I was able to do it in 17 hours with the 1.0mm nozzle. I have taken advantage of being able to put more filament through the hardware.

Today my prints almost indicated that there was a clog (!!) in the nozzle. They had terrible line width, the perimeter overlap was almost nonexistent, I had all manner of blobs/zits (and this was with retraction, coasting AND extra restart distances set in Simplify3D). My infill was garbage. Rectilinear and Fast Honeycomb looked like someone carelessly laid some filament into the cavity of the print. But how is a 1.0mm nozzle going to get a non-fatal performance-reducing clog? (It does happen with 0.4mm nozzles.)

I noticed a slight grinding sound, like something was catching somewhere. I isolated the sound to the stock PTFE tube. As I still had the better part of a meter of Capricorn XS I cut a section to length and installed. I’ve only heated PLA with this printer and I haven’t exceeded 225C for any print, so I figure the PTFE was simply wearing out from friction. I’ve been running this printer at least 20 hours a week since the end of November 2017 and have emptied not less than 10 rolls of PLA. Probably any replacement PTFE would have done the job. Be that as it may, the Capricorn PTFE made an immediate difference. My initial layer line widths are nice and wide, the infill Wiggle pattern is crisp, and overall there appear to be no underextrusion issues.

I’m hopeful this PTFE has added wear resistance on account of it being a more slippery product; so much so it’s tangible. Simply holding the Capricorn feels more slippery than any of the white tubing I have, even after I’ve wiped the Capricorn to remove any potential oil residue. I will update when I feel I need to replace the tubing again.

Why I Switched to Capricorn XS PTFE Tubing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s