Printing PEEK filament

Discussion in 'General' started by jet, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    (I couldn't find a thread on this, but if there is one I missed, please let me know and I'll off this one.)

    On my "CNC" Cupcake and my MendelMax 1.5 I printed a lot of ABS because, well, because. I sent final prints off to Shapeways for the customer and called it done.

    Now that my BigBox v1.1 is approaching I have a new client who wants PEEK containers for their chemistry business. (The containers need to hold samples mixed with hexane and do other nasty p-chem and o-chem things then get desiccated with hot air.) I was going to turn the container on a lathe using PEEK rod but that wastes about all of the PEEK. The containers are 7cm diameter, 3cm tall, with a 2mm wall and floor, and printing these should be easy in ABS.

    What's the big concerns with PEEK? Is there a good faq/forum I should be reading for PEEK printing folk?
     
  2. elmoret

    elmoret Administrator

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    Not many folks have printed PEEK. I think @Sanjay has done it, but he's the only person I know of so far.
     
  3. Henry feldman

    Henry feldman Well-Known Member

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    Failed prints are insanely expensive for one thing... The FDA certified PEEK spools I was looking at were around $175/500g...
     
  4. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    I don't need FDA approval, it just has to pass the lab's tests (specified by a different Three Letter Agency). Right now they use OTS disposable cooking components(!) but those components don't survive cleaning and I suspect they are hazmat because they can't be cleaned.

    For the prototypes I'm turning acrylic rod on the lathe. It's cheap and fast and gets them something they can use to test fit in their lab gear, acrylic will kerplode or melt under the real tests. For the product they want several hundred containers and have informed me that their sole competitor will also want several hundred, so getting the material cost down is my main goal. If this works on a BB V1.1 I will beg/borrow/buy/steal more printers to meet quota, I'm allowed to publish my PEEK printing parameters, as that's my IP.

    Looking at PEEK's qualities I'm finding this is a pretty damn interesting plastic to try and print. I'm not sure what else I can do with it, but if it can be autoclaved that's an interesting point for body jewelry. A piercing shop can autoclave it for a client, a tattoo shop could autoclave their rigs, etc.
     
  5. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    FDA compliant (which I don't need) rods at 3" diameter are $475/ft before shipping. One foot (25.4cm) will get me 8 cups on the lathe if I'm careful and most of that PEEK will go to the floor. Maybe recycling is an option?
     
  6. jawaswag

    jawaswag Member

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    I understand on printing high-temp plastics, you'd need an enclosed chamber to print in. Also, proper PEEK filament seems hard to come by (I won't trust most Chinese manufacturer claiming to sell PEEK filament.
     
  7. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    I already plan on building an enclosure for health/safety reasons. I want to keep ABS/PEEK fumes out of the air and I also don't want dust/grime from my shop tools fouling up the printer. I'm also moving my printer to my garage/studio where the temps drop to 45-50F in the winter, so heat control will be an issue.
     
  8. Henry feldman

    Henry feldman Well-Known Member

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    The filastruder I don't think can go that hot to turn the shavings into filament. I am assuming they need PEEK over something like the standard borosilicate glass lab ware that we use (which does take insanely caustic things) for some specific reason (because the BS-glass stuff is cheap!).
     
  9. Henry feldman

    Henry feldman Well-Known Member

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    I'd add, maybe @elmoret can comment on how to reuse the shavings, being that this is his area of expertise?
     
  10. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    <-- not a chemist, but the client is. Glass is not an option due to static electricity constraints.
     
  11. jet

    jet Well-Known Member

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    He hooked me up with a customer who is making PEEK filament. I hadn't considered turning lathe chips in to filament, but I'd have to get my lathe super-clean before hand to keep from contaminating the chips.
     
  12. elmoret

    elmoret Administrator

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    Filastruder can go that hot with an optional power supply. The heater and PID temperature controller are rated to 18 volts, but I provide a 12 volt power supply. The purpose behind this design choice is to limit beginners to ~230C even if they bypass the controller. At 230C, common plastics (ABS, PLA) are still thermally stable, in the sense they do not produce dangerous thermal decomposition products.
    By providing 18 volts to the heater and temperature controller, heater output is doubled. As a result 400C is possible, and the heater is rated to 400C. The provided thermocouple can handle 400C as well if the PTFE insulation is cut back and a higher temperature insulation is used in the hot area. If this is too much hassle, I’d recommend picking up a glass-fiber insulated thermocouple, like this one:
    http://www.filastruder.com/products/e3d-type-k-thermocouple-welded-tip
    which can do 900C on the stock insulation.

    If you upgrade the power supply, any 18 volt supply capable of 5 amps or more will be fine. Note that the original power supply should still be used to power the motors and fans as they are rated for 12v.

    One of my customers is producing PEEK currently. He says he's seeing 1.73mm-1.76mm variance last I heard. Here's a photo from his early days:

    [​IMG]
     
    #12 elmoret, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
  13. Henry feldman

    Henry feldman Well-Known Member

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    Whoa. That's amazing thermal performance! Man my lab safety guys would have a cow to have an object producing 900C! But that's pretty impressive nonetheless...
     
  14. Alex9779

    Alex9779 Moderator
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    Safety guy: "Hey Henry what are you doing there?"
    @Henry feldman: "Oh I am just trying my new cold fusion reactor I got from Kickstarter to power my filastruder up to 1 billon ° C to melt the diamonds of my wife's last christmas present to produce graphene filament to print the cable for the orbital lift I designed yesterday night..."
     
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  15. elmoret

    elmoret Administrator

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    Just to clarify - the thermocouple linked is rated to 900C, but the Filastruder doesn't have enough heater power to get close to that even with the upgraded power supply.
     
  16. Henry feldman

    Henry feldman Well-Known Member

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    I'm a physician researcher, and my filastruder is being used to develop a new filament to be used in medical modeling. Everything in a hospital is checked, regulated, etc by the safety/compliance guys. They are really strict. I have a summer high-school student working in my informatics (computer science) office, and they are making him take the lab safety course because it's research (we were joking - "do not stick your mouse or keyboard into your eye!")
     

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