This combination of 3D printer and material opens up opportunities to quickly manufacture end use production parts which need to withstand extremely high temperatures. Stuff like HVAC components, parts for consumer appliances, motor enclosures, stators, molds, etc. With a heat deflection temperature (HDT) of more than 300 degrees centigrade this combination could lend itself to some really interesting high temperature manufacturing applications.
I said more than 300 degrees because that’s how much we could measure in our lab. We use the ASTM D648 standard test method to test the heat deflection temperature of plastics under flexural load. Test specimens are loaded and lowered into a silicone oil bath where the temperature is raised by 2 degrees centigrade per minute until they deflect. The problem is the HDT testing equipment maxes out at 300 degrees Centigrade because at temperatures greater than 300 degrees the oil starts boiling to a point where it becomes a safety hazard. But we needed to put a HDT value on our material technical specifications document. So we went with 300 degrees centigrade. I know saying “greater than 300 degrees Centigrade” on a specification document is a little weird. But we don’t really know what the real HDT of this material is. 🙂
I think in the coming years while there will be innovation in 3D printing processes to make them faster and more accurate, the real innovation will be done in the field of materials. The existing 3D printing processes are good enough for a wide variety of production applications. At 3D Systems we understand the importance of developing production materials for specialized applications and our team of scientists and engineers are going full steam ahead.