The latest release is part of E3D’s efforts to bring high-temperature engineering-grade PAEK filament to desktop 3D printers. These efforts have been successful with the help of Victrex, a manufacturer of high-grade polymers for 3D printing based in Lancashire.
PAEK filament has certain temperature requirements which must be maintained during the print. These demands are fulfilled by E3D’s high-temperature 3D printer components, enabling desktop FDM/FFF machines to print with PAEK filament.
High-temperature desktop 3D printer hotend
Desktop FDM/FFF printers are mostly used with PLA (optimal conditions 185°C-205°C) and ABS (230°C). These printers are not designed to operate above 260°C. Therefore, 3D printing PAEK which has an extrusion temperature between 380°C and 430°C is beyond the technical capabilities of such machines.
Another important consideration for printing with PAEK is the temperature of the heated bed. PAEK requires a 140˚C-160˚C heated bed in contrast to PLA and ABS, which ranges between 40°C-110°C.
Keeping this in mind, E3D’s has developed the high-temperature heater cartridge and the heater bed, which have made PAEK filament printing possible with desktop 3D printers.
A hotend heater cartridge is fitted inside the nozzle of the heater block. Its function is to heat the nozzle while loading up or starting a print.
E3D has designed the heater cartridge with high-gauge silicone fiber wires and ceramic insulation to make sure it withstands extremes of high temperature. A conductive thermal coating also guarantees that the heat is supplied evenly to the hotend.
These qualities make the heater cartridge capable of working with temperatures of up to 550°C.
Furthermore, a high-temperature hotbed prevents warping of PAEK filament. The 3mm thick aluminum heated bed by E3D can reach 100°C within 80 seconds and continuously run at 200°C.
Currently, the two products are priced:
– High-temperature heater cartridges: £57.60 (incl. VAT)
– High temperature heated bed: £103-180 (incl. VAT)
PAEK for desktop 3D printers
As desktop 3D printers are not capable of reaching high extrusion temperatures, they are unable to print with PAEK or other engineering-grade filaments.
But the 3D printing community has responded to such barriers. In 2016, a team of researchers, facilitated by NASA, modified the opensource Lulzbot Taz 4 to 3D print with high-temperature polymers. Along with other software and hardware modifications, LulzBot’s native hotend was replaced with E3D-v6 1.75 mm Universal. The refashioned printer was capable of printing with PEI (Polyetherimide).
E3D’s partnership with Victrex and the latest release of the high-temperature 3D printer components is another step in the direction of making PAEK affordable and accessible to the desktop 3D printing community.
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Featured image shows E3D’s latest high-temperature heating bed. Image via E3D-Online