Get a glimpse of this state-of-the-art 3D printer.

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When you hear about PEEK in 3D printing, you usually think of using it as a material for parts that are suitable for lower-temperature plastics. However, [ND-3D] has a different approach. They have found a way to actually print with PEEK using a special controller and a halogen lamp.

If you’re interested in the technical details, you can find them over on Hackaday.io. There are even a few YouTube videos demonstrating the process. The idea behind this innovation is to modify your own printer to be able to use this exotic material, which is commonly found in printer hot ends.

One thing that becomes apparent when considering PEEK for 3D printing is that it requires higher temperatures to print compared to other materials. Its glass transition temperature is around 143°C, while it melts at 343°C. To put that into perspective, PLA, which is a popular filament for 3D printing, melts between 150°C and 180°C and has a glass transition temperature of only 60°C.

The cost of implementing this modification is reportedly under £200, which is quite reasonable considering the benefits it offers. However, it’s worth mentioning that [ND-3D] suggests using an open frame for the printer, which is contrary to common wisdom. The reason for this is that precise control of the halogen lamp is necessary, and a custom board takes care of that.

The halogen heater wraps around a conventional hot end, which means it can provide the required high temperatures for printing with PEEK. While this might keep your printing environment cozy on a cold morning, it does raise some questions about the build details. Although it seems that you can purchase the boards needed for the modification, it would be helpful to have more information on what sets them apart and what adjustments need to be made when working with PEEK or other exotic materials.

It’s important to note that high-temperature printers are not new to the market. There are already various options available, including high-end commercial offerings. In fact, I worked for a company that filed a patent for a similar concept (US10946578B2). So, seeing [ND-3D] exploring this field is certainly intriguing.

As for controlling the intensity of the halogen lamp, there may be some creative solutions. One idea is to repurpose a standard wall dimmer switch, as some are capable of handling up to 400W. It’s also worth considering inductive loads with some resistive bias. Availability might vary depending on the area, but this could be a more accessible option for some. Additionally, mounting a servo to the knob could offer a responsive interface, similar to the trick used with old-style RC car potentiometers.

Overall, [ND-3D]’s experiments with printing with PEEK using a custom controller and a halogen lamp are definitely intriguing. While more information and details would be appreciated, it’s exciting to see how this innovation could expand the possibilities of 3D printing with exotic materials.

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