The picture on the left was floating around on social media this week, and it illustrates the reality that there is a genuine difference in quality.
The top photo is an E3D Chinesium knock off nozzle. The bottom is a legit one made by E3D.
Notice how wobbly the hole is on the top photo. This will complicate retractions and increase the chances of a clog. Also notice the bottom photo, the genuine part, has a stepped design which aids in extrusion, helping the microstructure. The thicker side walls in the bottom picture also make for a stronger nozzle.
We can back this up with our own experience. We run 12 printers in our print farm, and so we thought that we could save a bit of money using cheaper nozzles. Now, some of the nozzles did work fine. But it was inconsistent. Other nozzles printed really poorly and tended to get clogged.
That’s really the difference. Consistency.
So you might hear stories of people who have had no problems, and that’s great – they got lucky. Others have had the opposite experience, and for the sake of consistency we recommend the genuine article.
In the end we switched our printers over to genuine E3D parts and have had a lot less problems. In the end it has actually saved us time and money overall, even though the nozzles themselves cost a bit more up front.
As is often the case, the old saying is true: “The tightarse pays twice.”