Bowden vs Direct Drive Extruder

Bowden vs direct drive extruder

Are you using 3D printers? If yes, then you will face confusion with the terms “Bowden extruder” and “direct drive extruder”. These extruder variants make sure that the filament is fed into the print head but the way becomes different when it comes to pushing the filament into the hotend.

Both extruders have advantages and disadvantages.

Now, here in this write-up, we are discussing both the extruders and their pros & cons.

Bowden Extruder

The Bowden extruder is attached to the 3D printer’s frame and pushes the filament via a long PTFE tube and into the hotend. The PTFE tube is also known as the Bowden tube.

Bowden Extruder has some advantages, as well as disadvantages.


Reduced weight on the printhead

The printhead can work without extra weight resulting in providing several advantages:

● Increased printing speed
● Clean movements
● Stunning prints because of less vibration on the printhead


1. Powerful motor required

A Bowden extruder requires a more powerful motor having more torque. It controls the filament as you need to pull it via the PTFE tube.

2. Slower response time

If the friction increases in the Bowden hose, it will result in decreased reaction time. The Bowden extruder requires quicker and longer retraction to avert tension.

3. Suitable filaments are less

Flexible filaments can wear out more in the Bowden hose and are processed poorly as compared to the direct drive extruder. This is because of the longer conveying path.

Direct Drive Extruder

The installation of a direct drive extruder is done with the hotend and pushes the filament into the nozzle directly. Thus, all the components required for processing filament are located in the same place on the print head.

This extruder too has several advantages and disadvantages.


1. Quicker Retraction

The retraction of filament can be done quickly because of the proximity of the nozzle and extruder. In fact, retraction settings are not needed in several cases.

2. Numerous Compatible Filaments

This extruder supports a wide range of filaments. In fact, it prints even with flexible and abrasive materials.

3. Improved Extrusion

The extruder is located on the print head directly allowing the motor to push the filament via the nozzle.

4. Supports smaller and weaker motors

Less torque is needed from the motor for pushing the filament due to the less distance between the nozzle and the extruder.


1. Cumbersome maintenance

Maintenance like cleaning the nozzle becomes difficult after the hotend and feed are built together directly.

2. Increased Weight on the Printhead

The printhead will have more weight as the extruder is seated on the hotend. However, the increased weight will result in certain disadvantages. It includes:

● Increased wear on toothed bearings and belts
● Additional power requirement
● Reduced printing speed


We believe now you’re clear about both the extruders. However, if you have any doubt, feel free to reach us. We are one of the leading providers of 3D printing services in Chennai with years of experience.

Being one of the top 3D printing services providers, we believe in providing top-quality services. Along with Chennai, we offer the service of 3D printing in Bangalore as well.

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