3D Printer for PEEK Printing

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Group Design Project
This poster provides an overview of the design and manufacture of a 3D printer capable of printing PEEK components
Group Members
Peter Cooney, Ion Costisanu, Ng Oliver, Umang Navnit Rajdev, Wei Lin Tan

Supervisors
Dr. Shoufeng Yang

This project aimed to design and manufacture a 3D printer capable of printing parts using PEEK filament. PEEK is a high temperature thermoplastic with excellent mechanical properties, chemical resistance and thermal degradation. These properties make PEEK desirable in various high temperature engineering applications.

Typical PEEK manufacturing methods include; injection/compression moulding, extrusion and machining. These processes are expensive for low volumes and are limited to simple shapes. Additive manufacturing could potentially overcome these limitations. The biggest challenge with printing PEEK is to melt the material and to control the manufacturing temperature environment.

A temperature controlled environment up to 200C, an extruder capable of melting PEEK, insulation for low temperature components such as electronic boards, conductors and motors and 3D motion of the build plate.
Heated chamber was designed to operate at temperatures up to 200C. It allows monitoring and controlling the cooling rates of the printed PEEK part. The design of the chamber was generated accounting for the manufacturing capability provided.
The heating systems consists of PID controlled 500W and 1000W ceramic heating elements attached inside the heat chamber. The chamber reaches the required temperature of 200°C in approximately one hour.

The build plate was moved using two screw-lead linear bearing mechanisms, one attached to the top of the other. This provided vertical movement inside the print chamber, and horizontal movement between the front and back of the print chamber. The horizontal movement of the nozzle was facilitated using a belt-driven platform from a K8200 printer kit.

The extruder was split into two parts, a hot and a cold end. The cold end was attached to the x-axis mechanism and it was installed outside the heat chamber. It feeds the material into the hot end placed inside the heat chamber. The hot end is capable of reaching temperatures up to 430C.

In conclusion, all the engineering requirements have been met and parts have been printed for testing. The 3D printer provides a significant improvement to the current internal PEEK printing technology and it gives room for improving on any current PEEK printers both in industry and research.

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