Polish high-end printer manufacturer Zortrax is poised to announce an FDM 3D printer that will, in its own words, “open a whole new chapter in the company’s history.” The machine will include fifteen sensors controlling temperature, humidity, and voltage, among others, as well as an “embedded blackout response system.”
The new machine is due to be unveiled in full at the TCT Show, taking place on September 24th, 2019 in Birmingham, UK. From the few images and taglines the company has revealed, the new machine looks like is tuned to print PEEK, an ultra-high-temperature material desirable for professional applications due to its high temperature and chemical resistance as well as mechanical strength.
Note that these few features mentioned were announced by Zortrax in their teaser material, but the speculation that builds on them is just that: Cheeky speculation.
From the handful of pictures released, it appears this machine will be capable of multi-material printing. A simple enough deduction with the picture below showing a telltale toffee-hued material that could be PEEK, along with white support material. Similar systems exist, and Zortrax has a dual extrusion system to build on in its Inventure 3D printer.
The metal build platform appears to be housed within an enclosed build chamber with reflective lining, presumably to keep the ambient temperature toasty enough to print the material without it warping.
Then there’s the array of sensors – fifteen, to be exact. These apparently regulate temperature, humidity, and voltage, among others. Combined with a failure-friendly blackout response system, this possibly points to Zortrax positioning their upcoming machine as an office-safe solution, designed to handle professional materials yet remain accessible and relatively plug and play.
Say this new machine can print PEEK, so what?
Well, it’s a highly desirable material for professionals due to its extreme temperature resistance (up to 260 °C) and mechanical strength, among other strengths explored in our detailed guide on the material. To give you an idea of how capable it is, it can even replace common materials such as metals or aluminum.
Currently, there are few options on the market for what one could consider a prosumer PEEK printer at ‘desktop’ price. Typically to print PEEK, you would be looking at a price tag upwards of $10k, with much of the market hovering higher in the tens of thousands. Recently, some machines have begun to buck this trend by offering the ability to print PEEK at a price comparable to a high-end Ultimaker — notably the Intamsys Funmat.
It will be interesting to see if this is the direction and aggressive price point Zortrax targets. The company has spent recent years diversifying its offerings to cover all facets of the 3D printing ecosystem. Starting out with large quick FDM prototyping printers, it has since grown to offer high detail resin printing with the recent addition of the Inkspire. Introducing a PEEK printer would see them expand upwards towards the territory of previously highly specialized industrial machines presumably with a customer base in tow that is comfortable with the company’s ecosystem.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. All will be revealed at TCT Show, come September 24, 2019.
Feature image source: Zortrax
License: The text of "Zortrax Teases Possible New PEEK Printer" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.