If You Can’t Handle The Heat...
Today we are launching our new High Temperature range including High Temperature Heater Cartridges and High Temperature Heated Beds. You may have seen our recent posts teasing the release of our new PAEK filament (polyaryletherketone). We’re really excited about it, and think it's going to blow everything out of the water. But, before you start unwrapping that lovely new filament please be aware that this isn’t your standard PLA and requires a number of different advanced components in order to print with.
The most obvious component to start with would be the heater cartridges themselves. Printing a high temperature thermoplastic requires, as the name suggests- high temperatures. We’re excited to announce our revolutionary high temperature heater, designed specifically for operating temperatures of 400-500°C.
High Temperature Heater Cartridges
As none of the current heater cartridges we offer were designed to operate for long periods at the temperatures required to print high temperature thermoplastics, we decided to develop an alternative. We needed to solve the two main issues encountered when using heater cartridges at highly elevated temperatures:
- Standard heaters seriously lack sufficient power when operating at higher temperatures
- And ‘conventional’ high powered heaters had a real tendency of burning up within just a few dozen hours of printing whilst running above 400°C.
In classic E3D fashion, what do we do when we can’t find a solution? We make our own.
High Temperature Heater Cartridge
The E3D solution: H.A.F. heater cartridges
The construction and materials used in these heaters is radically different to our standard heaters, here’s how:
- Internally we're using a completely new type of resistance element wire - surrounded by a particularly tightly packed and consolidated ceramic insulation and thus capable of continuous operation at the highest of temperatures
- The cartridge is fitted with a special high thermal conductivity conformal coating which improves heat transfer to the HotEnd. This not only strengthens performance, but also improves long term reliability as the heater is able to more effectively dissipate heat, thus reducing localised hot-spots
- We’ve added a 90° bend to the cartridge which not only makes packaging easier, but also simplifies cable routing, and prevents internal damage through strain relief
- And the cherry on the top, we’ve added a high gauge silicone-glass fibre cabling with a connector.
Naturally, printing at such high temperatures bears several risks. For one, our standard aluminium blocks can soften when used with these heater cartridges, and even our hardened steel nozzles will lose some of their hardness (we’re not kidding when we say these badbois get super hot).
For this reason, we strongly recommend using these heater cartridges with our nickel plated copper range of products, and as a bonus this will offer more effective thermal conductivity and increased thermal mass.
Also, in regard to the 12V version, some printers' electronics are not able to withstand the current required by the heaters. If this is your case, and/or you want to eliminate the risk of blowing your board up, please purchase a MOSFET board.
Like all filaments, PAEK requires a heated bed to keep the filament firmly glued down whilst printing and to prevent it from warping. PAEK’s higher melting point means that it naturally requires a bed which can reach higher temperatures. This leads us on to our second new product, the high temperature heated beds.
High Temperature Heated Beds
To meet the heat requirements required for high temperature printing, we reached out to a company who are experts in silicone heaters. Our collaborative efforts ultimately resulted in a 3mm thick 6000 series aluminum heated bed which can reach 100°C+ temperatures in just 80 seconds! Not only do these beds heat quickly, they also reach temperatures other beds can only dream of (operating temperatures of 200°C).
High Temperature Heated Beds
As scary as these figures may sound, we’ve taken every step possible to ensure that we’ve created a safe and reliable product. This safety-first approach derived from a desire to differentiate our beds from less reputable (and frankly, less safe) alternatives in the market.
Existing silicone rubber heater mats rely on an adhesive sheet which adheres the silicone heater to the underside of the print bed.The main issue with this method being that the adhesive fails when operating above 100°C which is limiting when you consider that the overall purpose of the expansion was to enable your bed to operate at higher temperatures.
To overcome this we have vulcanised our heaters directly to the anodised under-surface of aluminium plate. Here the silicone cures onto the aluminium surface, intimately joining the two. This completely eliminates the need for the performance limiting adhesive and ultimately brings the heater into a very close contact with the bed.
Despite our efforts to make this bed as safe as possible, we still must issue a word of warning to users!
⚠️ Please use appropriate protective equipment while operating a machine using this bed, lest you end up melting more than just filament ⚠️
This caution is also extended due to the fact that unlike most print beds, these beds run on mains voltage, which means users are responsible for ensuring that their setup meets local regulations and that the bed is sufficiently earthed/connected to ground using the threaded hole provided. As with the rest of our ecosystem, we want to offer choice and freedom with our beds, that’s why our High Temperature Heated Beds are available in a multitude of quadrilateral shapes, sizes and voltages to maximise our compatibility range. We currently offer the following 6 varieties:
We recommend pairing these High Temperature products with our Plated Copper Range
Unlike aluminium or hardened steel, plated copper components stay strong and don’t soften when operating at higher temperatures. The components also boast a slick ‘plated’ coating reducing build up of molten material on the nozzle.
Whether you’re a maker who’s tired of the basic materials and wants to experiment with printing advanced materials or you've just 'got to have it all' when it comes to upgrading your printer, our high temperature range of components can represent a powerful upgrade to any 3D printer.