Being in the 3D printing field I’m sure you would have seen these MK6, MK8, MK10 and E3D V6 terms thrown around without knowing the actual differences. I’ve made this post for that exact reason, to set out and explain, compare and answer what makes each nozzle different.
Depending on what 3D printer you have, there will be a certain extruder that is compatible for you.
The MK6, MK8, MK10 & E3D V6 are a series of hotends, extruders and nozzle combinations which come together to make a system which allow filament to pass through the 3D printer down to the nozzle, known as an extrusion system. There is compatibility between the MK6, MK8 & V6 range.
The name ‘MK’ came about by the common practice of distinguishing versions in a series of products (shortened from Mark). It’s similar to how militaries give number designations to their arsenal (Mk 6 assault boat) or even the British Railway production series (Mark 1, 2, 3 British Rail coaches).
It began with the Makerbot brand starting their own series of hotends using MK as their foundation.
It started from MK1 and to my knowledge has gone all the way up to MK11 so far but it isn’t very common in the mainstream 3D printing market. The mains ones you would have come across are the MK8, MK10 & E3D V6 range.
I’m going to get into the details of what makes each nozzle different, while also comparing compatibility and other bits of information so read on to find out.
- Make sure if you are getting an extruder, it is compatible with your 3D printer
- The differences between the nozzle types are quite small, but can make a difference
- If you use the wrong nozzle on a hotend, it might just not work or could actually lead to some damage.
Pro Tip: A great 3D printer that users love is the Creality Ender 3 V2 (Amazon) is a great choice that is loved by many users. It’s probably the most popular 3D printer and uses the M6 thread & MK8 set. You can also get it cheaper from BangGood, but usually with a slightly longer delivery!
These terms MK6 and so refers to the version in a long series of different parts. It refers to the extruder, hotend and nozzle and these usually come as a kit so they can all be put together, but can be bought individually.
The MK6 catered more towards 3mm filament since it was before the 1.75mm was as popular as it is today. It also was mainly made for printing ABS rather than PLA.
Check out my article explaning the Differences Between 1.75mm vs 3mm Filament, and giving some useful information behind the two sizes.
The MK6 range, to my knowledge was the first commercially available hotend sold as a whole kit rather than individually. It has a stainless steel heater block whereas the MK6+ upgrade kit has an aluminum block which a different design, making it smaller and lighter.
The MK6 nozzle has an M6 threading size meaning the diameter of the thread measures up at 6mm.
When you want to upgrade a certain part you just have to make sure it follows the same type of threading (screwing in part) and is compatible with your current parts. Once you purchase a 3D printer you’ll know which range is compatible.
Extruders from MK6 and below really don’t have much of a bearing in today’s 3D printing world because they just didn’t keep up to performance and quality standards and had a tendency to wear out and slip/grind up filament.
We don’t really compare MK6 to other ranges since it wasn’t up to high standards and was still a working progress at the time. Now we have extruder systems which beat the MK6 and below series with ease.
The MK7 was the first extruder which made the move to dedicated 1.75mm filament extrusion. The MK6+ had parts which could be adapted to fit a 1.75mm filament but it didn’t work quite as well as they thought. The MK7 incorporated the all-metal thermal barrier and allowed users to print PLA or ABS.
However, the MK7 feeder used a pre-load with a plunger and fixed distance washers which was a huge drawback as the plungers wore out and damaged the filament. Unfortunately, they didn’t have V groove bearings either.
3D Printer Compatibility
MK6 – Makerbot, Creality CR10, Ender 3 Pro, Tevo Tornado, Anet A8, Prusa I3 and so on.
The MakerBot Replicator was responsible for the all new dual extruder hotend setup called the MK8. It had a cooling bar which was thicker than the MK7 range but it shared the same all-metal thermal barrier.
The MK8 had small differences in the nozzle geometry from within and externally which supposedly had a positive impact on printing performance.
An MK8 nozzle as you can see from the video above has sharper, more angled sides coming off the tip of the nozzle, meaning it’s not as flat as other nozzles. It has a very pointy look to it from the sides all the way through to the tip.
The MK8 nozzle also uses the M6 threading size. This means an MK8 nozzle can be used with an MK6 extruder and vice versa.
You can check the size of the threads of your nozzles by using some simple calipers which is a necessary part of the 3D printing tool kit.
If you don’t have calipers I would recommend the Rexbeti Digital Calipers. It’s a stainless steel, water-resistant measuring tool that allows you to measure precisely with smooth operation. It’s highly reliable and should last you years to come. The large LCD screen, easy reset button and large battery are only some of the key features.
One of the best MK8 nozzle sets I could find on Amazon is the Disacayson 0.4mm Nozzle with Free Storage Box (30 pcs). It has the highest ratings out there for MK8 nozzles, it’s very easy to install and they have a 1 month unconditional refund policy, so satisfaction guaranteed!
One of the differences between an MK8 hotend and a V6 hot end is the length. The overall length of the V6 is shorter than the MK8 but it has a longer thread.
If you are changing from a MK8 to a V6 nozzle you might have to move your Z-End-stop switch up a little bit so you can still level out your bed.
The E3D V6 nozzles in hardened steel are usually easier to find rather than hardened steel MK8 nozzles.
The threading hole of an MK8 nozzle has a smaller hole compared to an MK10 nozzle.
3D Printer Compatibility
MK8 – Same as MK6 because it has the same M6 threading.
MK10 was a complete change of the hotend, using the MK9 as a base model (uses MK9 feeder parts). With this range of hotends you have smooth OD thermal barriers along with a 4mm OD 2mm ID PTFE liner. One of the main differences is the MK10 uses M7 threads rather than the M6 threads which all the previous models use.
The main reason for this is because a 4mm PTFE liner doesn’t have enough metal to make the outer tube with M6 threads. You won’t be able to use the MK10 range with any other previous hotend models since they have different sized threads.
So make sure you don’t purchase an MK10 nozzle if you have an MK8 extruder and vice versa.
MK10 is completely incompatible with all previous hotend parts. Every part is different.
For a solid MK10 nozzle set, the Umlife MK10 Brass Nozzle Set is a great choice. It comes with:
- 4x 0.4mm nozzles
- 1x 0.2mm nozzle
- 1x 0.3mm nozzle
- 1x 0.5mm nozzle
- 1x 0.6mm nozzle
- 1x 0.8mm nozzle
- 1x 1mm nozzle
- 5x cleaning needles
You can identify an MK10 nozzle by looking at the angle of the metal sides that come off the tip of the nozzle. They are at a roughly 45 degree angle and is relatively flat compared to the other nozzles out there.
So you’ll have the tip of the nozzle, then a 45 degree angle then the vertical angle leading to the thread of the nozzle.
The threading hole of an MK10 nozzle will have a bigger hole compared to the other nozzles because it’s purpose is to fit the plastic PTFE tube which feeds filament straight through to the nozzle.
The threading is called an M7 thread because it measures up at 7mm diameter
3D Printer Compatibility
MK10 – Monoprice Maker Select, Wanhao Duplicator i3 (D4, D6), Qidi Tech, Cacoon Create, FlashForge Creator (Dreamer, Finder)
The E3D V6 range is one that has it’s own ecosystem (M6 thread) of parts that all work together seamlessly. It’s very well-known for having high quality, reliable branded parts that get the job done.
The Hardened Steel nozzle that E3D sell is one that you can rely on when printing abrasive filaments that would rip through standard brass nozzles. Rather than have to constantly change your nozzle over when wanting to print with abrasive filament, you can just have this nozzle installed, slightly increase the temperature and get great results.
Top reviews, amazing performance and long-lasting durability are just some of the reasons why you would go with the E3D V6 nozzle.
Compatible with any 3D printers that use the E3D V6 ecosystem (M6 thread), including Prusa i3 and i3 MK2 3D printers. The internal geometry of V6 Nozzles is optimised to reduce back-pressure, ensuring a smooth, easy flow of filament while improving the effectiveness of retraction.
The flat surface tip of the nozzle which flattens down the layer is custom machined to each nozzle size. A small nozzle tip gives you high precision, and a wide nozzle tip assists in the smooth printing of larger layers.
3D Printer Compatibility
E3D V6 – Same as MK6 & MK8 with M6 6mm threading.
When you look at the extruders you definitely see differences between them such as some having the block fuser horizontal or vertical with a longer nozzle.
Nozzle Thread Type & Length
There are two main important things you want to take into account when looking at nozzle thread.
That’s the thread type and the thread length. If you don’t have the correct thread type you just won’t be able to the nozzle in so it would be of no use.
If the thread length is incorrect you’ll end up in a situation where, if it’s too long you have a lot of the nozzle sticking out of the heat-block so it won’t heat up efficiently.
If it’s too short you’ll have a big gap between your heat-break and the nozzle, which will result in filament not being able to extrude properly and cause blockages.
The good thing here is there is quite a large difference between the thread length so if you know what you’re looking for, you can get the right one.
A standard E3D V6 nozzle will have a 5.5mm length thread and is the M6 x 1mm pitch (the most common thread type).
A Volcano nozzle which also uses the M6 x 1mm pitch has a length of 14mm. The Supervolcano nozzle is even longer.
Your extruder design will have a clear nozzle that it is compatible with.
I would say there isn’t necessarily a thread type which is better than another performance-wise. There are specific design reasons why an extruder will use a thread type.
The main thing you should worry about is the thread length. The longer the nozzle, the longer your heat-block is likely to be. If you have a nozzle which isn’t the correct, your printing performance will be negatively affected.
So Which Extruder Should I Buy?
There are several extrusion systems that are tried, tested and work very well. Some charge a real premium, while you can still get a high-performance extrusion system for a reasonable price, it really depends what level of 3D printing you are trying to get to.
If you are happy with a simple, gets the job done, lower range type of extrusion system I would recommend the Redrex Upgraded Aluminum Extruder.
- It’s a durable MK8 Bowden extruder with direct extrusion support and fits perfectly on the CR-10 Ender 3 series, TEVO Tarantula, Anycubic Kossel i3 Mega and much more.
- The ratings on this extruder are very promising and it sports an 18 month warranty
- You can print with all sorts of material including flexible TPU filament.
- Expect long-lasting performance with the 18 months warranty.
- It’s simple, easy to use and comes at a very convenient price!
Some people want an advantage over having the lower range extrusion systems which I can understand. If you’re one of these people who want something mid-tier and are willing to spend a little extra, I’d go for the BMG Bowden Dual Drive Extruder.
- High performance extruder for your 3D printer
- It’s a TriangleLab BMG Clone which is a very high-end extruder for a fraction of the price
- Solves filament grinding issues
- The downside here is it takes a few extra steps to manually advance filament through it
For the 3D printer enthusiasts who take a lot of pride in their 3D printing quality and strive for the top range, I would recommend the E3D Hemera Extruder System. There are many reasons why this is the choice I would go for, you can get more in-depth information by reading my Hemera Extruder review.
It not only comes with one of the highest quality extruders in the 3D printing game, but also a state-of-the-art hotend system with patented cooling designs that go above and beyond normal expectations.
- Dual drive extrusion system
- Convenient mounting system with compact design
- Designed to support the user, easy to assemble and disassemble
- Heatsink design that reduces risk of warping and uneven stresses
- Can push filament with up to 10KG of force