12 professional PEEK 3D printers (also ULTEM®, PEI and high-performance materials)

What are the best PEEK 3D printers and ULTEM® 3D printers?

PEEK and ULTEM® (PEI) are exotic, high-performance materials that are stronger and more resistant than other thermoplastics, making them growingly popular in a number of engineering applications. These strong materials are derived from PAEK (polyaryletherketone), a semicrystalline thermoplastic.

To 3D print such high performance materials, users require a PEEK 3D printer or PEI 3D printer. Indeed, with great power comes great responsibility: PEEK and ULTEM® filaments require specific 3D printing characteristics, such as an enclosed, heated environment and a high-temperature extruder able to reach at least 350°C.

Also, these materials are rather expensive in comparison with other thermoplastics like PLA or ABS. 3D printing with PEEK and PEI (ULTEM®) engineering thermoplastics enable manufacturers to:

  • Reduce production costs and time
  • Product lighter-weight yet strong parts
  • Have more design flexibility

Due to the existence of certain patents, there are few 3D printers capable of 3D printing with PEEK or ULTEM® material. We have therefore made a comprehensive PEEK 3D printer selection for this niche.

PEEK 3D printers and PEI 3D printers in 2017

3D printerPrice* (in USD)Build volume (in mm)Max.
extruder temp.
Max. print
bed temp.
Max. build
chamber temp.
Country
AON 3D AON-M$17K454 x 454 x 640450°C150°C70°CCanada
Apium P155$10K - $50K145 x 135 x 148520°C160°C-Germany
I3D innovation Multi1000H$50K - $100K1030 x 1030 x 1030480°C-200°CFrance
Ion Core Zinter Aero$52.3K800 x 600 x 600375°C--United Kingdom
INTAMSYS FUNMAT HT$5K - $10K260 x 260 x 260450°C150°C80°CChina
miniFactory Innovator L$8.5K530 x 560 x 670390°C125°C55°CFinland
OO-KUMA KATANA$2.5K200 x 200 x 185480°C120°C-Turkey
Roboze One + 400$10K - $50K200 x 200 x 200400°C150°C-Italy
Rokit 3Dison AEP$10K - $50K260 x 200 x 245400°C280°C-Korea
Stratasys Fortus 900mc$250K914 x 610 x 914---United States
Tractus3D T650P RTP$9K180 x 180 x 180450°C175°C-Netherlands
VeraShape VSHAPER MED$10K - $50K450 x 450 x 450450°C150°C70°CPoland
This table represents a comprehensive view of the PEEK 3D printer and PEI (ULTEM®) 3D printer market. Since metascores are unavailable for these additive manufacturing systems, they have simply been listed by alphabetical order.

Other 3D printers with high-temperature extruders, print beds and build chambers exist. We chose to only include the ones whose manufacturers clearly state PEEK and/or PEI 3D printing compatibility.

*Price: most of the prices in this table are price ranges, as these industrial-type manufacturers generally only give this information upon quote request.

Requirements for 3D printing PEEK and PEI high-performance materials

PEEK and PEI (ULTEM®) are difficult materials to 3D print. Indeed, they are abrasive and very heat resistant. They therefore require certain features that, at the moment, very few 3D printers provide.

High temperature extruder

The melting point for PEEK materials is 343°C, implicating that the extruder needs to be able to reach that temperature or higher. The hotend extruder must also be all-metal and be resistant to abrasions from aggressive, high-performance materials.

Heated bed

PAEK high-performance polymers require being 3D printed on a heated bed able to reach temperatures of around 120°C. This ensures correct adhesion and 3D print quality.

Heated print area with closed frame

If the temperature is not constant, it can cause the material to shrink and warp– that’s why a closed, heated interior environment is required. This feature is perhaps one of the most difficult to find, because Stratasys holds a patent on the usage of a heated build chamber. This partly explains the lack of diversity in PEEK 3D printers and PEI 3D printers.

Overview of PEEK and PEI 3D printers

The AON3D AON-M is able to 3D print high-resistance materials.

AON 3D AON-M

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 450°C
    • Print bed: 150°C
    • Build chamber: 70°C
The AON-M is a PEEK 3D printer made by AON3D, a Canadian manufacturer. This high-performance material 3D printer features dual extrusion and a large build volume of 454 x 454 x 640 mm. Users can easily swap print surfaces for more continuous workflow.

  • Country: Canada
  • Price: $17K
The Apium P155 (formerly Indmatec HPP 155) is a PEEK and PEI 3D printer.

Apium P155

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 520°C
    • Print bed: 160°C
    • Build chamber: –
The Apium P155 is made by German manufacturer Apium, formerly Indmatec. This PEEK and PEI 3D printer features Wi-Fi connectivity for standalone 3D printing, and swappable nozzles to easily change between different nozzle diameters. Apium’s P155 offers a relatively small build volume of 145 x 135 x 148 mm.

  • Country: Germany
  • Price: $10K – $50K
The I3D innovation Multi1000H is a PEEK 3D printer.

I3D innovation Multi1000H

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 480°C
    • Print bed: –
    • Build chamber: 200°C
This PEEK 3D printer from the French manufacturer I3Dinnovation provides a huge build volume of 1030 x 1030 x 1030 mm. An optional triple extruder is available, enabling professionals to 3D print with different materials simultaneously. The Multi1000H also features a special filament compartment to store up to 4 filament spools of 2.2 kg each.

  • Country: France
  • Price: $50K – $100K
The Zinter Aero is a PEEK 3D printer and a PEI 3D printer.

Ion Core Zinter Aero

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 375°C
    • Print bed: –
    • Build chamber: –
The Zinter Aero by Ion Core is a professional PEEK 3D printer. For an intuitive user experience, this ULTEM® 3D printer boasts a 17-inch color touchscreen. Still with the user in mind, a HEPA extraction system aids in reducing toxic emissions and odors. The Zinter Aero features CE and ISTA certifications.

  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Price: £40K

The INTAMSYS FUNMAT HT is a professional PEEK 3D printer.

INTAMSYS FUNMAT HT

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 450°C
    • Print bed: 150°C
    • Build chamber: 90°C
The FUNMAT HT is a prosumer PEEK and PEI 3D printer from China-based INTAMSYS, and is among the most affordable 3D printers in this selection. Its filament sensor detects and warns users when their spool of filament is running out. A built-in camera allows for remote monitoring of the 3D printing process.

  • Country: China
  • Price: $5K – $10K
The miniFactory Innovator L is a PEEK and ULTEM 3D printer.

miniFactory Innovator L

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 390°C
    • Print bed: 125°C
    • Build chamber: 55°C
This Finnish PEEK and ULTEM® 3D printer provides a large build volume of 530 x 560 x 670 mm. The miniFactory Innovator L’s dual extruder is able to 3D print with two materials at a time. A very interesting feature with this PEI 3D printer is its exhaust air-filtering system that reduces toxic emissions from melting thermoplastics.

  • Country: Finland
  • Price: $8.5K
The OO-KUMA KATANA is an affordable PEEK and ULTEM 3D printer.

OO-KUMA KATANA

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 480°C
    • Print bed: 120°C
    • Build chamber: –
The OO-KUMA KATANA is a professional yet affordable PEEK 3D printer from Turkey. This 3D printer features Titanium-Zirconium-Molybdenum nozzles, to protect them from abrasions that high-resistance materials may bring. Also, its Wi-Fi connectivity and touchscreen offer a relatively easy user experience.

  • Country: Turkey
  • Price: $2.5K
The Roboze One +400 is a PEEK and PEI 3D printer.

Roboze One +400

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 400°C
    • Print bed: 150°C
    • Build chamber: –
The One +400 is a professional high-resistance material 3D printer from Roboze, an Italian manufacturer. This 3D printer works with direct contact helical racks and pinions instead of traditional belts. Its 5-inch touchscreen provides an easy and intuitive user experience. Roboze also manufactures the ARGO 500, another PEEK 3D printer.

  • Country: Italy
  • Price: $10K – $50K

The Rokit 3Dison AEP is a PEEK 3D printer from Korea.

Rokit 3Dison AEP

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 400°C
    • Print bed: 280°C
    • Build chamber: –
Rokit, a Korean manufacturer, enables users to 3D print high-performance materials with the 3Dison AEP. Thanks to its Wi-Fi connectivity, this 3D printer can be controlled with Rokit’s mobile app. The Rokit 3Dison AEP also features automatic bed leveling, and its parts are under a three-year warranty.

  • Country: Korea
  • Price: $10K – $50K
The Stratasys Fortus 900mc is an ULTEM 3D printer.

Stratasys Fortus 900mc

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: –
    • Print bed: –
    • Build chamber: –
Stratasys is one of the biggest professional FDM 3D printer manufacturers in the world. This manufacturer provides high-quality additive manufacturing systems, including the Fortus 900mc ULTEM® 3D printer. The Fortus 900mc’s webcams enable its users to monitor the 3D printing process remotely.

  • Country: US
  • Price: >$250K
The Tractus3D T650P is a professional high-resistance material 3D printer.

Tractus3D T650P

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 400°C
    • Print bed: 175°C
    • Build chamber: –
This Dutch 3D printer features a solid, delta-style frame made of aluminum and polycarbonate. It’s possible to 3D print two high-performance materials simultaneously with the T650P’s optional dual extruder. A filament sensor detects and warns users when the spool runs out of filament.

  • Country: Netherlands
  • Price: $9K
The VeraShape VSHAPER MED high-performance PEEK PEI 3D printer for medical applications.

VeraShape VSHAPER MED

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 450°C
    • Print bed: 150°C
    • Build chamber: 70°C
The VSHAPER MED is a professional PEEK 3D printer from VeraShape, a Polish manufacturer. This PEI 3D printer features antibacterial coatings and interior sterilization, making it suitable for the medical industry and its applications. VeraShape’s VSHAPER MED offers a large build volume of 450 x 450 x 450 mm.

  • Country: Poland
  • Price: $10K – $50K

PEEK 3D printing filament properties

Pros and cons of PEEK filament

PEEK, or Polyether Ether Ketone, has its benefits as well as its limits.

Pros

PEEK is dimensionally stable. This means that it can tolerate significant changes in temperature, moisture, and other conditions:

  • High temperature tolerance: can operate in temperatures of up to 250° C, and can withstand weight for a few moments in temperatures up to 350° C.
  • Low flammability and less toxic emissions.
  • Chemical resistance: PEEK is one of the most chemically resistant thermoplastics available.
  • Strength (see Engineering.com’s article for more technical details).
  • Low moisture absorption: PEEK is water and steam resistant.
  • Great mechanical properties: it is possible to 3D print prototypes that have physical properties as close to the end part as possible.

Cons

Although PEEK presents many advantages, this material also has a few limits.

  • Expensive: PEEK prices are relatively high, going from $400 to $700 per kilo.
  • Appearance: it mostly only comes in shades of one, beige-like color. It can be black if mixed with Carbon.
  • Low impact strength (ability to withstand a load).
Benefits of PEEK, a high-performance material, according to Victrex.

The main benefits of PEEK material.
Credit: Victrex

PEEK vs. ULTEM®

PEEK and ULTEM® are quite similar, but have their differences:

  • Cost: ULTEM® is more cost-effective than PEEK.
  • Impact strength: PEI has lower impact strength than PEEK.
  • Tensile strength: PEEK has higher tensile strength than PEI.
  • Certifications: ULTEM® 3D printing-compatible filament has received aerospace certifications.
  • Temperature resistance: PEEK features higher temperature resistance than PEI.

PEI or ULTEM®?

ULTEM® is actually a brand of PEI manufactured by SABIC, a company based in Saudi Arabia. Most 3D printer manufacturers and filament resellers use SABIC’s name, ULTEM®, as it is the only brand of PEI base material available on the market. SABIC sells PEI (ULTEM®) in the form of resins or foam. Smaller resellers then transform it into granulates, filament, etc.

Comparing PEEK vs PEI.

Comparison data for PEEK, PEI (ULTEM®), PC (Polycarbonate), Nylon and ABS.
Credit: Aaron Louis Technology

Applications for PEEK and ULTEM 3D printing

PEEK and ULTEM® 3D printing is mostly useful for manufacturers requiring strong prototypes and/or end parts that can withstand extreme conditions, in a variety of industries. Some manufacturers even present PEEK 3D printing as an alternative to 3D printing metal parts.

Aerospace, automotive and military

These industries have safety standards, weight limits, and require resistance to various elements, such as vibrations and extreme temperatures. Being lightweight yet strong and resistant, PEEK and ULTEM® 3D printed end parts are increasingly popular in aerospace, automotive and military fields.

An aerospace part (air wing) 3D printed with Roboze's Carbon PEEK on the ARGO 500.

An aerospace part (air wing) 3D printed with Roboze’s Carbon PEEK on the ARGO 500.
Credit: Roboze

A custom PEEK Orbitocranial Implant.
Credit: MedCAD

Oil and gas

Thanks to PEEK’s chemical resistance and impermeability, oil and gas manufacturers can use the material to 3D print air valves and other parts.

Medical implants

PEEK and PEI feature similar properties to those of human bones. Therefore the human body doesn’t reject PEEK implants as much as other materials.

Semiconductors

With PEEK’s electrical integrity it is possible to 3D print flexible circuit boards, as well as wire and cable insulation.

Cost of PEEK and ULTEM® (PEI) 3D printing

PEEK 3D printers and ULTEM® 3D printers price

Most PEEK-ready 3D printers are available at prices ranging from $10K to $50K, and can even go up to $250K. It might seem like a hefty price tag, but these professional additive manufacturing systems feature specific technology that is difficult to integrate into a machine. However, more affordable 3D printers capable of 3D printing with PAEK materials are appearing on this niche market as it grows. For example, the OO-KUMA KATANA is available for just under $3K.

PEEK and ULTEM® filament price

PEEK filament price

Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) material is among the most expensive plastics on the market: its price can range from about $400 to $700 per kilo. However, 3Devo has made it possible to bring these prices down with one of their advanced professional extruder machines. Although it is not the easiest process, this desktop extruder can make PEEK filament from PEEK pellets or granules.

ULTEM® filament price

PEI, or ULTEM®, is a cheaper alternative to high-performance PEEK material. The cost per kilogram can vary between 150$ to around 280$. For reference, basic PLA filament is available for as low as $15 per kilo.

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