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PEEK Replaces PLA, Sets Standard with Desktop Filament Extruder

Published on 2017-02-23. Author : SpecialChem

PEEK Test Result 1.75mm 3devo Filament
PEEK Test Result 1.75mm 3devo Filament
3devo has tested the prototype which is referred to as the Next 1.0 Advanced Level desktop filament extruder for 3D printers.

Taking forward the same commitment to quality and innovation, 3devo focused on its next experiment – working with a semi-crystalline thermoplastic, PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone) having mechanical and chemical properties ideal for sustaining high temperatures.

Setting the Standard with PEEK

Working with PEEK has presented interesting challenges, chief among which involved extruding it in the correct temperature range, while factoring in internal pressure, and without affecting the material’s crystallinity.

PEEK Finds its Main Uses in the Aerospace, Automotive and Medical

Aerospace Industry: Being strong, lightweight, and durable in a wide range of temperatures, PEEK is evolving into a popular choice of material in the aerospace industry. Its low price point does not hurt either.

Automotive Industry: Besides the primary advantages of its high strength (safety), low weight, and durability in a wide range of temperatures, PEEK is also energy efficient and has the intrinsic ability to reduce vibrations. This makes it a perfect fit for the fast developing automotive industry.

Medical Industry: 3D printing has already established itself as an invaluable asset to the medical and dental industries, bringing a whole new level of freedom and accuracy to the process of printing unique parts and components. PEEK (or PEKK for dental industry) extends the scope of 3D printing, having similar properties as the human bone, and thus being one of the few materials that the body does not resist.

Recent PEEK Tests with Next 1.0 Advanced Level Desktop Filament Extruder

Switching from PLA to PEEK presented unique challenge: building up the temperature inside the Advanced Level extruder to PEEK’s high melting point of 343 degrees.

Phase 1
Phase 1

Phase 2
Phase 2

It occurs in phases, using 2 cleaning compounds as transition materials. Firstly, temperature was slowly raised from 170 to 300 degrees with the first transition material. Once temperatures had crossed 300 degrees, engineers switched to the second transition material, and worked on reaching 390 degrees. This was the final stage in trial, where engineers could proceed to extrude PEEK.

Because of PEEK’s steady flow and relatively quick cooling properties, extruding it to the desired thickness (2.85mm or 1.75mm) was easier than expected. Winding it on a spool was a different ballgame, though. Due to the strength of the material engineers had to tape the first part of the filament on the spool, so as to wind it correctly and prevent it from popping out of the spool.

Transition Materials and PEEK

The transition material played a key role throughout PEEK extrusion process. 3devo’s team first mixed the PEEK with the transition material, and then gradually lowered the temperature range while increasing the amount of transition material in the mix.

About 3devo

3devo’s team of young professional engineers make it possible to develop tools which enhance cost savings and reduces waste by offering recycle solutions. By producing the extruder, it offers its clients limitless possibilities for creating and enhancing their own plastics – or filament for 3D printing.

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Source: 3devo
1 Comments on "PEEK Replaces PLA, Sets Standard with Desktop Filament Extruder"
Dr. DAVID S Feb 23, 2017

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