3D printed PEEK is considered to be one of the greatest challenges to fused filament fabrication (FFF). With an extreme print temperature of 500°C, it can be tricky to maintain the appropriate environment for 3D printing such a high-grade thermoplastic and standard favourite of the aerospace industry. Luckily, 3DGence is an industrial printer manufacturer with knowledge required to solve product development challenges.
By designing 3D printers to work with multiple modules, the Polish 3D printer manufacturer ensures that its machines can adapt to all the latest in the industry, across areas including transport, machinery manufacturing and automotive.
3DGence’s latest system, the INDUSTRY F340, is a professional dual extrusion 3D printer. Equipped with three interchangeable modules, the INDUSTRY F340 is capable of printing at temperatures between 190°C and 500°C. The system’s multiple modules covers the broad range of 3D printable thermoplastics from standard PLA and ABS, through PC to robust PEEK filament.
The INDUSTRY F340 is a permanent fixture at a number of company workshops including Bocar, a Polish manufacturer of custom fire engines, and Sebring, a high end motor sport exhausts manufacturer.
The INDUSTRY F340 3D printer has also been put to work in development of 3DGence’s forthcoming DOUBLE 3D printer, dramatically cutting down the expected time to market.
3D printing PEEK on the INDUSTRY F340
The INDUSTRY F340’s HTmax is the module used to 3D print at temperatures up to 500°C, and is used to print high performance thermoplastics like PEEK. Support material in the secondary extruder is a dedicated breakaway material. Both nozzles in the head have a standard diameter of 0.4 mm.
In a real test of the INDUSTRY F340’s PEEK 3D printing abilities, it has been used at 3DGence to make components for a new line of 3D printers.
Due to the high mechanical performance of the plastic, and excellent temperature resistance, 3DGence R&D made a range of functional prototype components for the next DOUBLE 3D printer. Development included manufacturing of the tooling for a thermoformed hotend cover used for internal tests of the 3D printer.
The most important factor of this development process was that production time was significantly shortened. Commenting on the development process Mateusz Sidorowicz, Marketing Manager at 3DGence, explains, “It allows us to check how the parts will fit into the product and find any imperfections much sooner and cheaper.”
The part was produced by the thermoforming process where a sheet of material is heated to 180°C. After that the sheet is stretched over the PEEK part and vacuumed.
Traditionally, the R&D team would have relied on outsourced MDF or aluminum parts which is expensive, and can take up to 6 weeks for turnaround. Sidorowicz confirmed that, in addition to saving money, the 3D printed PEEK parts allowed 3DGence to build a cover for DOUBLE 3D printer prototype in just one week.
Driving fire trucks
In active service at Bocar fire engines, the INDUSTRY F340 has further proved its industrial worth through the production of a number of critical engine components. In one example, Bocar 3D printed a vacuum manifold prototype for a fire truck engine using ABS.
3D printed by the INDUSTRY F340’s PRO printhead module, the vacuum manifold could be installed on to a vehicle to test the fit and ergonomics of the tube.
In performing this functional test, Bocar was able to save time and money on the production process, creating a design that is transferable to a cast metal part.
Inside the INDUSTRY F340
The INDUSTRY F340 3D printer has a build volume of 260 x 300 x 340 mm (10.24×11.81×13.39 in). The chamber can be heated to temperatures up to 85°C (185°F) ensuring the conformity of polymer 3D prints.
The PRO Module is INDUSTRY F340’s base print head, used in Bocar’s industrial application. Capable of print temperatures between 190°C and 265°C, it is suitable for use with common ABS and PLA filaments, PET and Nylon. The support material extruder works with HIPS and water soluble BVOH.
The HT module (short for high temperature) is a temperature upgrade on the PRO, 3D printing between 265°C – 340°C. This makes it suitable for working with strong and tough carbonate polymers such as PC, PC-ABS, PC-ESD. Support material available for this head is a dedicated breakaway support material.
In the HTmax, as demonstrated by the company’s DOUBLE use case, 3D print temperature reaches top of the range of INDUSTRY F340’s capabilities. The nozzle can reach a max temperature if of 500°C and is used to print high-performance thermoplastics like PEEK.
Working within the bracket of polymers with a higher melting point, the INDUSTRY F340 is equipped with a number of features to help assure the reliability of the process and to provide the safety for the users.
A specially developed air filter separates odours created in the plastic melting process, and maintains a chemical-free workplace.
In addition to an actively heated print chamber, the INDUSTRY F340 also has a heated filament chamber to protect moisture sensitive filaments by limiting the humidity.
To monitor the quality of a 3D print the INDUSTRY F340 comes equipped with a Smart Material Manager for “intelligent process control.” An integrated electronic process, the Smart Material Manager is composed of four parts:
- An NFC reader for recognizing loaded material type
- Material weight control system
- Fully automatic material loading system
- Flow control sensor, that monitors material deposition
The INDUSTRY F340 3D printer is available for purchase now from a number of distributors across Europe.
If you want to more know more or order a sample contact 3DGence directly
Technical specifications 3DGence INDUSTRY F340
Printer: 945×748×918 mm [37.20×29.45×36.14 in]
Shipping box: 1200×800×1100 mm [47.24×31.50×43.31 in]
Printer weight: 140 kg [308.6 lbs]
Shipping weight (incl. accessory kit): 250 kg [551.6 lbs]
Operating ambient temperature: 15–32°C [59–89.6°F]
Storage temperature: 0–32°C [32–89.6°F]
Input/output: 240V AC ~11A 50/60Hz
Power consumption (max): 2700W
Connectivity: USB, SD card
Printing technology: FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication)
Build volume: 260×300×340 mm [10.24×11.81×13.39 in]
Table temperature (max): 140-160°C [284-320°F]
Chamber temperature (max): 85°C [185°F]
Filament chamber temperature (max): 70°C [158°F]
Construction: Powder coated steel
Build plate material: Heated ceramics
Enclosure: Controlled working conditions
XY positioning precision: 6 microns
Z positioning precision: 0.4 microns
Slicing software: 3DGence Slicer
Supported file types:.stl, .obj
Host platform: Windows, Mac
3DGence officially started business in 2014. After six months of vigorous development with an R&D team at Silesian University of Technology (SUT) the company released its first 3D printer, the 3DGence ONE in 2015.
The ONE is 3DGence’s desktop FFF model and includes the company’s patented printhead, easily changed using a “PUSH” button. One of the company’s first customers at the time of the ONE’s release was the Opel automotive factory in Gliwice, the main production site of General Motors in Poland.
The first iteration of the 3DGence INDUSTRY F340 was nominated as Enterprise 3D Printer of the Year 2017 in the inaugural edition of the 3D Printing Industry Awards.
Nominate 3DGence and the INDUSTRY F340 in for the 2018 3D Printing Industry Awards now.
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Featured image shows inside the INDUSTRY F340 3D printer. Image via 3DGENCE