Take A PEEK At This 3D Printer

Normally, when you think of PEEK in 3D printing, you think of a part made of PEEK, suitable for lower-temperature plastics. [ND-3D] has a different idea: printing with PEEK. You can get the details over on Hackaday.io, and there are a few YouTube videos below. Using a special controller and a halogen lamp, you can modify your own printer to use this exotic material often found in printer hot ends.

Logically, if PEEK is used near the hot end of regular printers, it must need a higher temperature to print. PEEK has a glass transition temperature of about 143 °C and melts at 343 °C. Compare this to PLA, which melts between 150 °C and 180 °C and has a glass transition temperature of only 60 °C.

The cost is reportedly under £200. Contrary to common wisdom, [ND-3D] suggests using an open frame for the printer. You do need precise control of the halogen light. A custom board handles that. The halogen heater wraps around a conventional hot end. Looks like it would keep your shop pretty toasty on a cold morning.

We were looking for more build details, and we hope they are forthcoming. It appears you can buy the boards, but we’d like more information on what makes them different. It isn’t clear to us that it isn’t just control of AC power and a heater, but there isn’t much information about what you have to do differently to work in PEEK or other exotic materials.

We’ve seen other high-temperature printers, of course. Not to mention, there is no shortage of high-end commercial offerings.

28 thoughts on “Take A PEEK At This 3D Printer

    1. https://www.patentguru.com/search?q=US10946578B2

      “A 3-D printing device, in particular an FFF printing device, comprising at least one printing head unit and at least one feeding device for feeding a printing material to the at least one printing head unit in at least one operating state. According to the invention, the printing head unit is provided for melting a printing material formed at least partially of a high-performance plastic, in particular of a high-performance thermoplastic, in at least one operating state.”

      “Apium Additive Technologies GmbH” noted as a potential patent troll. Thank you for playing.

      1. Doing my best to parse patent-ese, I can see the patent in question does describe using some form of secondary radiant heater as a “surface heater” for the purpose of keeping the “workpiece” warmer to allow for a better surface quality/adhesion. This radiant heater does appear to be designed to be attached around the print head itself… and is described as being independently regulated… but it appears the patent’s “radiant heater” is an array of small directional heaters intended to heat only where the part actually sits, much like a multi-zone heated bed… but that concept seems to contradict the idea that the radiant heater is coupled to the moving print head so I’m not certain that would even work.

        Surely I’m misinterpreting this patent, but it looks like the only similarity between US10946578B2 and ND3Ds version is the understanding that a PEEK workpiece needs to be kept uniformly near its glass transition point by way of some form of secondary radiant heater above it. The manner by which they accomplish it just looks different.

        That difference probably wouldn’t stop the patent holder from suing anyway since they no doubt want control of the very *idea* of printing with PEEK… but still.

    2. Are all patents written that terribly? There is nothing in the document about halogen lamp. What i understand from the document, your former company basically patented 3D printer for PEEK with externally heated closed chamber? Or how the hack should somebody even understand what is actually patented? The patent document is so vague, that it looks like they just patented FDM printer in general?

      This hack is the exact opposite – instead of using chamber kept at high temperature, he uses halogen lamp to keep the area near the hotend hot so he doesn’t need the chamber. He even suggests that this should be used without enclosure – US10946578B2 explicitly mentions enclosure.

      1. I was wondering that myself. If I had to read “should be understood to mean” one more tiiiime… But yeah, the patent referenced just feels… vague and impractical.

      2. Parents are intentionally vague. As it’s not about infringement or not. It’s about “potential infringement”, it has little to do with technology and only serves as a hammer that companies use to hit each other as soon as they notice that they have a bigger hammer then the other company.

        Have enough “potential infringement” and you sue another company, and then settle for an undisclosed amount. “We have 200 patents that you potentially infringe, want to take that to court?” That’s the world of patents in a nutshell.

      3. Patents are largely a racket.

        4ndreas former employer has a patent. That means they now get to spend even more money trying to enforce it. With no knowledge of if there is any money to recover.

        Vague patents are normal. To cover an idea you take a shotgun approach. Multiple patients with varying specificity.
        The ones that are too specific, somebody just changes a detail, patent not applicable.
        The ones that are too vague, somebody finds prior art, patent not valid.
        So you do all of the above, so your ambulance chaser has something to work with. Hopefully one patient will be in the middle ground.

        That whole process requires many expensive shyster hours. Patient lawyers are the only winners in 99% of patent disputes. The other 0.999% winners have deep pockets. The remaining 0.001% might have heirs that collect (e.g. Delay wiper circuit).

        If you don’t have millions to enforce your patient, save your initial $US10k per (per patient, not per idea, 10k is a rule of thumb and is likely low now). It’s just wasted money. Patent lawyers are a tar baby.

        All ‘inventor support’ companies that advertise are pure scams. They take your money, run a cheesy keyword patient search, file your description as the application and then run like Frenchmen. Akin to an ego publisher that will print your book, if you just buy 10,000 hardback copies.

          1. Patents are why any brand of table saws has the feature. Otherwise nobody would bother to develop a feature that would be copied instantly: no return of investment – no can do.

      4. The patents scope is primarily determined by its claims. This patent has only one independent claim and several dependent claims. If a product doesn’t have all of the claimed elements of an independent claim, it does not infringe that claim nor any of the claim’s dependant claims. In this case there is one element most printers don’t have, which is: “a drying unit configured for drying the printing material before the printing material is fed to the printing head unit”

        The large number of elements in the independent claim make this patent quite weak, and easy to work around. This is likely because the examiner found prior art for other combinations of fewer elements.

        1. How do you get such information from the patent document? Is there some trick how to read it? This is completely new to me (i never needed nor wanted to deal with these things, but now i am quiet curious how this works). Also, does it than mean, that the patent is really not about the heater mounted on the print head and if somebody decides to manufacture and sell printers with heater mounted to print head this patent can’t be used to stop him / get money from him?

  1. I wonder about repurposing a standard wall dimmer switch for controlling the intensity of the halogen lamp. Some seem to cope with 400W. [ and as a side note, even inductive loads, with some resistive bias. ]
    No doubt they are more readily available in some areas.
    Perhaps even mounting a servo to the knob might be responsive enough and relatively easy to interface with, a bit like the old style rc car potentiometer trick.

    1. I was thinking a wifi or zigbee outlet or light dimmer switch (around $50). With the wireless light dimmer you can manually control intensity, and also with a script to apply different heat at different parts of the print or taking a temperature input into account.

    2. Roll your own dimmer, it isn’t rocket science. Those “phase-fired controllers” built around a TRIAC were part of the standard repertoire of all electronics magazines in the 1960s and 1970s.

  2. There doesn’t seem to be much documentation (schematics) of this “SSR”. Is it not actually an SSR? (Like I could see maybe using a DC bus and IGBT’s to fake an ac output at arbitrary phase and power (much like a VFD or solid state 3 phase power converter). But if converting to DC anyhow, a halogen lamp can be driven with DC, so why even convert back? So is this just a high power (but likely noisy) DC converter with PWM output? Is it maybe voltage (and therefore current) adjusting?

    Maybe others can glean more from the component footprints…I didn’t spend a lot of time, I was just looking for information on the hyped SSR on the main page.

    1. > a halogen lamp can be driven with DC, so why even convert back?

      Because the halogen cycle doesn’t work with DC. It would pick up the evaporated tungsten from one end of the filament and re-deposit it at the other, causing the bulb to fail quicker.

    2. Ok, then use quartz, or some other radiant source…but you’ll attach to this statement too rather than explain what the device is doing beyonf that of a standard SSR. Even his graph seems to show zero crossing power breaking, but with no explanation, perhaps he is saying thats what a “normal” ssr is doing? Either way, I care far less about DC vs AC than I do what the device is doing.

  3. Patents have been written trribly ever since lawyers started writing them for mega-coporations rather than engineers writing them about their own inventions. If you can get over the differences in general language back in Victorian times you’ll find some old patents are much clearer.

    1. Yeah. It’s a great example of the meta-game ruining the original game. It got too optimized for a specific strategy and became useless. Same reason basketball is so boring now.

  4. I just slapped an AC powered PTC heater on some sheetmetal attached to the opening on the top of my enclosure, wired in a PID auto tune controller, fuse and now I don’t look at nylon the same way anymore.(I smile) when I have more time and money I’ll be testing the limits above 70°C that I’m currently maxed out at now. Sorry not Peek related but heated chamber related, just so I don’t enfringe on any open patents, lol.

  5. Interesting notion, however, at my print service (https://sgd3d.co.uk/materials/peek-3d-printing-service/) we’ve had incredible success printing parts in an amorphous state and then post-processing the parts to regain that crystalline structure. With this we’ve been able to produce large parts within +/- 0.2mm accuracy (measured on UKAS certified equipment). 99% of the time semi-crystalline parts are suitable for the end-use application.

    It is possible to print with Crystalline structures, however, the failure rate can be a lot higher and there’s a chance of parts failing the tolerance requirements for specific industries (Aerospace, Oil & Gas, etc).

  6. So I just see one cylinder. I would like to see printed piece with many different constructs and gaps, like the lattice cube, to see what kind of stringing is present. I’m guessing the flying toaster lamp would melt the stringing but it would also cause sagging, yes?

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.