Our latest crop of 3D printing materials is mostly a collection of tough, strong, often heat-resistant filaments made for professional engineers and industrial products. One of the new materials is the result of an R&D project at a Russian university, but the rest are all commercially available for purchase, either as separate materials or to be used with a specific company's 3D printing products or services.
This bunch gathers together new PEEK (polyetheretherketone) composites, two different PET-G filaments, a couple of nylon and nylon-based materials, and PLA or PLA-like materials. In the latter category, we've got copper and bronze filaments, which Virtual Foundry says processes similar to PLA. These Filamet filaments make nearly pure metal parts via the company's own hybrid process, adaptable to several commercial 3D printers. And for some reason, five of the commercially available seven materials we show you here are either black or come in black, which is always in style and just in time for Halloween.
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Impossible Objects has added PEEK (polyetheretherketone), one of the highest performance thermoplastics available, to its Composite-Based Additive Manufacturing (CBAM) 3D-printing service. Shown here, a femoral stem implant prototype part that's been 3D printed of carbon fiber-PEEK composite. The company makes tough, strong composites for demanding end-use applications like aerospace, single-use medical devices, and oil & gas. Its hybrid processing and fabrication technique produces fiber-reinforced composite parts from a wide variety of fibers, fabrics, and polymers. Both engineered and natural fibers can be combined with standard thermoplastics, and now PEEK. Engineers can order parts made from carbon fiber, Kevlar, and fiberglass composites. CBAM PEEK parts perform more than 30% better than standard CBAM parts, with 205 MPa (29,700 psi) tensile strength and 250C (482F) heat resistance. The polymers can also be recycled using Impossible Objects' CBAM process.
Ann R. Thryft is senior technical editor, materials & assembly, for Design News. She's been writing about manufacturing- and electronics-related technologies for 29 years, covering manufacturing materials & processes, alternative energy, and robotics. In the past, she's also written about machine vision and all kinds of communications.