High Temperature FDM FAQ

Is High Temperature FDM easy?

No. In order to use these machines, you will need to put in time to learn not only the mechanical aspects of the machine, from cleaning and lubricating the axes, to unclogging nozzles and heat breaks, but you will also need to develop a mastery of Slicer Software, such as Simplify3D or Cura. These are Machine Tools -- like buying a CNC machine, the operator skill and knowledge base will determine the level of success achieved. We do offer training and support packages if you need to learn!

What size parts can actually be printed in high temp thermoplastics?

Although many printers have large buildplates, large parts are very difficult to print out of high temperature thermoplastics. With high temp materials, large parts will either peel up from the build plate or shatter it, if it is glass. Smaller parts are much less likely to peel or shatter.

Is a heated chamber necessary?

For high temperature materials, a chamber is required to prevent warping and to make sure the part has good layer adhesion. A chamber is also required in order to print polycarbonate or larger Nylon parts, and is useful in printing all filaments except for PLA, which should be printed at room temperature.

Can your machines 3D print carbon or glass fiber filled materials?

The printers we sell are open material, meaning they can print almost any material on the market, including any fiber filled materials.

What can’t be done in ULTEM™ and PEEK?

PEEK and ULTEM™ are best printed sequentially if batch printed, otherwise the parts can have poor layer adhesion. Maintaining a high temperature of the part is crucial to ensure good mechanical properties. 

Unless your chamber is above 180ºC, it is not recommended to print large, solid parts, over 150mm in X or Y, as the warping is generally too great to complete a print. Thin-walled parts work great, and large, flat parts can also be done, but generally will still use infill, as opposed to being solid.

What are the build volumes of the printers Vision Miner sells?

Printer sizes can be found on the respective pages, but we carry machines ranging from 200 x 190 x 240 mm on the SAAM HT to the 20-foot+ on the BAAM.

When to use brass, steel, or hardened steel nozzles?

When using fiber fills of any material, use hardened steel, as brass and steel nozzles will wear out very quickly. When using hardened steel nozzles, adding 10 degrees to the extruder temperature is recommended, as the thermal conductivity of hardened steel isn’t as good as brass or normal steel.

How much tension should be on the filament gear?

If the tensioner on the extruder motor is too tight, the extruder will under extrude because the gear is tearing through the filament instead of pushing it into the extruder. If the tensioner on the extruder motor is too loose, the extruder will under extrude because there is not enough pressure for the gear to grab the filament and push it into the extruder. Finger tight is usually good.

Can the chamber be too hot?

Printing low temp materials like PETG with a chamber isn’t necessary, but is still helpful as it prevents warping, especially with ABS. However, if the chamber is too hot, the low temp materials will begin to soften before they are pushed into the extruder. If that happens, the filament can wrap around the gear and stop printing and will be difficult to remove.

Wet filament needs to be dried?

Filament should always be stored in a dry, warm place to prevent it from absorbing moisture. A vacuum chamber or a dehydrator are great places to store filament, along with dessicant. Before printing high temp materials, you absolutely must dry them in an oven at 120-150ºC, following our guidelines on our Drying Filament Guide.

Is there regular maintenance?

As with any machine, you'll need to keep them clean and running well -- generally this is basic cleaning & lubrication, found in this video: Funmat HT Cleaning & Lubrication. For high-temp machines, you'll want to use a high-temp grease like Krytox GPL 225, available on Amazon, made by DuPont. 

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Additive Manufacturing Machines