Since introducing PEEK 3D printing to our product range of materials earlier this year we have had many queries. This is typical of what is expected from any new ground-breaking process and technology. It has also been a steep learning curve to understand the limits of the machinery, the materials and the process. The range for 3D printing geometries are quite narrow and as we learn more and the machine capability increases this will allow us to 3D print more and more complex geometries.
PEEK and PEEK filled variants stand at the very top of the engineering polymers tree in terms of advanced material properties (Please see previous insight for more on the properties and applications) . Material Technical Data Sheets for PEEK are available on request.
At the bottom of this insight we have added some FAQ’s for some of the more common queries we have received. We are happy to answer any other’s you may have. Given the early stages of this new 3D printing process and the narrower range of building parts the best way to proceed with an enquiry is to provide us a STEP file with your requirements. This will enable us to fully interrogate the design and the ways we can set up the build to enable it to be built with PEEK. It may be that the design as provided will not build with any direction, or advanced set-up. Or we propose some design changes back to you to allow the part to be built e.g thicken walls or adjust angles to remove the need for supports. We can make those changes or you can revise the design yourself and send it back to us.
Here below is an example of a PEEK tooling block that is typical of the more basic geometries that we can provide. In similar applications previously we would have used ULTEM 1085 which is a material we offer and is used extensively in Aerospace.
PEEK offers further enhanced strength (86 MPa) and stiffness (3.5 GPa) properties, with Carbon filled PEEK having a very high Heat Deflection Temperature of 280 degrees C. A PEEK tooling block, like this example would be useful for more extended production runs press moulding composite pre-preg, with a PEEK CF version suitable for very high temp moulding of composite parts where only laminated carbon fibre or aluminium tooling would typically be used.
PEEK 3D PRINTING FAQ’s
Are these products available now? – Yes
What is their lead time? – Typically 10-14 working days – to be confirmed at time of order, dependent on geometry and complexity of build.
Can you give me an idea of cost?– We will quote you if you send through drawings/specifications of what you are looking for. Preferred 3D files are .STP format, but we also accept .STL
Can I get samples? – Yes, if you send through drawings/specifications of what you are looking for and how many we will arrange to get you a sample (there may be a charge for samples we will advise on this when we understand more clearly your requirements)
What is the print resolution for 3D printing these materials?– 50-200 Microns
What is the accuracy/tolerance for 3D printing these materials?– 50 Microns
What is the build envelope for 3D printing these materials?– 500mm x 500mm x 500mm
Are these materials porous, would they hold water?- Yes, we use a 100% infill of the part and a post-processing annealing of the part which helps to close the residual porosity.
Do you have any CTI values for these materials? This is important to us for high voltage design– The Comparative Tracking Index for PEEK is 150 V.
What are the material properties out of plane of the build direction? The parts produced with this technology are anisotropic, the difference between xy and xz is small (some MPa if we talk about tensile strength). In the growth direction z there is a greater loss of mechanical properties due to the layered nature of the part. However, it is not a problem as it is possible to orient the part according to the mechanical stress conditions. In the xy and xz growth directions we can achieve almost the same values as an injection moulded PEEK.
For any other queries or enquiries relating to PEEK or any other advanced material 3d printing please contact us.