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Prusa Launches its First High-temp 3D Printer, the Pro HT90

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Prusa Research essentially dominates the desktop 3D printing space. Their i3 design is the predominant 3D printer design worldwide, with millions of 3D printers being made each year based on Prusa’s systems. At RAPID + TCT, Prusa announced the release of its Pro HT90, a delta 3D printer with high-speed builds and a 90°C build chamber.

The machine can print PA 11 CF (Polyamide 11, Carbon Fiber filled), PA GF, PEKK, and PEI (ULTEM) parts, as well as ABS and PLA. Industrial materials and quick printing could make this model a viable alternative for your lab or print center. ULTEM has seen extensive use in aerospace, while filled PA 11 grades are widely used in manufacturing applications with desktop 3D printing. The printer can lay down one kilo of material per eight hours. A load cell sensor and startup routine ensure good first layers, and the company claims that the delta architecture can produce better surfaces than gantry-based systems. Notably, the nozzles are rapidly swappable, which is crucial in an industrial environment where you don’t want your engineer taking precious time to cumbersomely swap nozzles.

A high-temp nozzle can reach up to 500°C, enabling the printing of not only PEKK but also more challenging PAEK materials such as PEEK and PEEK CF, which require about 420°C to extrude. A high-flow nozzle can reach up to 300°C and lay down a large amount of material in one go. The build volume is 300 mm × 400 mm, and there is “High-pressure turbine cooling,” which aids laminar flow across the bed. A notable feature is the closed-loop HEPA filter, which keeps gases circulating within the machine, eliminating the need to open a window and put a hose outside. Electronics are kept out of the build chamber, and a direct-drive nozzle has been optimized for TPU and other elastomeric materials. The printer is equipped with 48V motors and a camera.

In addition to selling numerous printers, Prusa is a significant supplier of excellent filament and sells over 100,000 3D printers annually. The company, once the challenger backed by open-source true believers, has maintained unbeatable quality and QA. While Prusa printers often require TLC and tweaking, their print quality is second to none.

However, Bambu Labs came out of nowhere. This marks the first time Prusa is playing defense rather than offense. Bambu’s printers will expand the market but pose a threat to anyone in the space. If you’re not concerned about them, you don’t understand the market. Prusa’s response has been to double down on the XL, move towards the Mk4, and focus more on print farms, an area in which the company has extensive experience.

The company has also acquired its US distributor, allowing it to have more control, margin, and drive in the US market. Additionally, the company has introduced a vat polymerization printer and acquired Trilab, a delta 3D printer company. The delta architecture saw a huge boom—super fast and made even faster through carbon RC car drive shafts doubling as rods, delta printers exploded in popularity. While great for rod-like objects, deltas are difficult to control. The hype dissipated and then moved on to Core XY.

Industrial 3D printing seems like a logical market for Prusa to enter. For years, it has produced many of its own components using its print farms. Given the firm’s focus on QA and its overall great quality, the industrial market appears to be a natural fit for Prusa. However, Bambu Labs is likely to challenge everyone, including Stratasys, bound metal, and others, so this may only be a temporary reprieve.

Priced at around $8,000 and made in Europe, Prusa’s 3D printers could become the standard for prototyping in the defense industry and other sensitive industries. The printer will likely be rock solid and is a steal at that price for a company. While Prusa already has good support, it should enhance its service offerings with service level agreements and quick printer replacements for customers. First shown at Formnext last year, the system has already received positive feedback from users. Although it’s uncertain how well Prusa Research will execute on selling and marketing the system, it has every chance of appearing at a company near you.

 

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