Additive Manufacturing Strategies

E3D Introduces New Line of High Temperature 3D Printer Components

ST Medical Devices

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E3D has been working with Victrex to develop a new PAEK 3D printing material, a specialized high temperature filament. Such a special filament requires several advanced components to print with, and E3D is working on delivering. The company is introducing a new high temperature range, including high temperature heater cartridges and heated beds.

E3D needed to solve two main issues encountered when using heater cartridges at highly elevated temperatures. The first issue was that standard heaters lack sufficient power when operating at higher temperatures, and the second issue was that conventional high powered heaters tend to burn up within just a few dozen hours when running above 400ºC. So the company developed a new type of heater. It uses a new type of resistance element wire, surrounded by tightly packed and consolidated ceramic insulation, making it capable of continuous operation at high temperatures.

The cartridge is also fitted with a special high thermal conductivity conformal coating which improves heat transfer to the hot end. This strengthens performance and improves long term reliability as the heater is able to more effectively dissipate heat, reducing localized hot spots. The cartridge also features a 90-degree bend which makes packaging easier, simplifies cable routing, and prevents internal damage through strain relief. Finally, it has a high gauge silicone glass fiber cabling with a connector.

“Naturally, printing at such high temperatures bears several risks,” E3D states. “For one, our standard aluminium blocks can soften when used with these heater cartridges, and even our hardened steel nozzles will lose some of their hardness…For this reason, we strongly recommend using these heater cartridges with our nickel plated copper range of products, and as a bonus this will offer more effective thermal conductivity and increased thermal mass.”

E3D also developed a high temperature heated bed that can reach more than 100ºC in only 80 seconds. Overall, they can reach temperatures of up to 200ºC. The company has taken every measure to make the beds safe and reliable.

“Existing silicone rubber heater mats rely on an adhesive sheet which adheres the silicone heater to the underside of the print bed,” E3D explains. “The main issue with this method being that the adhesive fails when operating above 100°C which is limiting when you consider that the overall purpose of the expansion was to enable your bed to operate at higher temperatures. To overcome this we have vulcanised our heaters directly to the anodised under-surface of super-flat aluminium plate. Here the silicone cures onto the aluminium surface, intimately joining the two. This completely eliminates the need for the performance limiting adhesive and ultimately brings the heater into a very close contact with the bed.”

The heated beds are offered in six different varieties of sizes, voltages and wattages. As with the cartridges, E3D recommends using the heated beds with its plated copper components, which stay strong and don’t soften when operating at higher temperatures. They also have a plated coating that reduces the buildup of molten material on the nozzle.

Plated copper heater blocks

High temperature printing components coupled with printers that manage the thermal stability of the build chamber well can let 3D printers print high-performance materials such as PEEK, PEI and PPA’s. These materials need to be processed at higher temperatures but can give operators higher Continuous Service Temperatures, mechanical strength and qualities surch as high wear resistance by letting them print out some of the highest performance extrudable polymers available. By making these components available E3D is aiding a lot of OEMs in giving them an easier path to high-temperature 3D printers. Many more new vendors should enter the market because of this. You can learn more and buy E3D’s high-temperature range here.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

 

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