Essentium took a big step into the world of high-temperature 3D printing today.
Essentium is surely one of the most interesting companies in the 3D printing universe these days, having developed a radical electric-powered filament, to a ridiculously fast 3D printer, and even some controversy. Now they’re adding to their newsworthiness with new high-temperature options.
High Temperature 3D Printing
Why high-temperature materials? In my experience, the materials are becoming the most important aspect of any professional 3D printer, because engineers prototyping parts desperately want to prototype in the same material they intend to make production parts. That way their testing will be far more accurate. It’s such a strong desire I’ve literally heard people say, “if it doesn’t print in [insert high temperature material], then I can’t use the machine.”
The result has been a bit of a race to offer an increasing variety of engineering materials, which are most often usable only at temperatures far higher than typical 3D printers operate. Thus I’ve seen several companies attempt to break into the high-temperature market, and most have been quite successful, both technically and financially, as there is often a premium to pay for this capability.
Now Essentium is joining that club.
The Essentium HSE 180•S
Their new device to achieve that goal is the Essentium HSE 180•S, which actually comes in two variants: LT, for low (or currently common) temperature materials, and HT for high-temperature materials.
I don’t yet know the full specifications for the HSE 180•S, but the HT variant can apparently reach a hot end temperature of a blistering 550C, one of the highest nozzle temperatures I’ve yet seen on any 3D printer.
To accompany the HSE 180•S HT, Essentium has arranged for four typical high-temperature materials: PEEK, High-temp Nylon (or “HTN”), HTN with Carbon Fiber, and a special electrostatic safe HTN-Z material. Essentium believes these materials will be quite suitable for use by industry for high-stress parts, and I agree.
Materialise and Essentium
Finally, Essentium also announced they’ve struck a deal with Materialise to more directly integrate the popular Magics Essentials 3D printing management software with the HSE family of 3D printers. This should make life a bit easier for HSE operators, as Magics Essentials provides an end-to-end print management workflow.
Essentium High Temperature Questions
I’m interested to learn if the HSE 180•S HT can 3D print at the tremendous speeds I previously saw with Essentium’s earlier demonstrations. If so, this could be a unique capability, as there are relatively few machines on the market that can work with high-temperature materials.
I’m also interested to learn the pricing of the HSE 180•S HT. Currently the relatively few high-temperature 3D printers capable of printing in PEEK, ULTEM and other engineering materials are typically priced somewhat higher than “normal” 3D printers. If Essentium can offer their new machine at a good price, they’ll be sure to attract a great deal of interest.