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PEEK 3D printer 2020: best 3D printers for PEEK and PEI (ULTEM)


PEEK and PEI thermoplastics are increasingly popular for use in demanding industries, but are hard to print, requiring extremely controlled, high-temperature environments. This guide includes our expert selection of the best PEEK 3D printer options available today as well as professional insight into this niche material.

PEEK and ULTEM® (PEI): high-performance materials

 
PEEK and ULTEM® (PEI) are derived from PAEK (polyaryletherketone), a semicrystalline thermoplastic. These high-performance materials:

  • boast high mechanical strength,
  • are resistant to extreme temperatures and to most chemicals,
  • all while being lightweight.

To 3D print PEEK and ULTEM® filament, you need a high-temperature 3D printer with an enclosed, heated environment and a high-temperature extruder.

What are the best PEEK/PEI 3D printers?

 
Whereas the PEEK 3D printer market used to be a niche with very few players, today many manufacturers claim that their printers are suitable for PEEK and PEI 3D printing.

Boasting high-temperature extruders and heated chambers is often not enough, however. PEEK and PEI are tough thermoplastics to print, and many elements come into play in order for prints to be a success.

Our goal here is to select PEEK/PEI printers that stand out from the rest, and not only in terms of hardware. We’re also taking into account a range of factors such as manufacturer maturity, feedback from our network, availability and distribution, etc.

Of course, this doesn’t mean they’re the only ones out there, but in our eyes they are top-tier PEEK 3D printers. Promising emerging brands, cost-effective printers, and case-specific machines are mentioned in separate sections so as to provide a comprehensive overview nonetheless.

We work with a large number of distributors and brands worldwide– contact us for a personalized recommendation based on your project and location.

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PEEK 3D printers 2020: our selection

3D printerBuild volumeExtruderBedChamberCountryPrice*
3DGence Industry F420 380 x 380 x 420 mm500°C180°C180°CPoland/United States$50,000
3ntr Spectral 30300 x 300 x 300 mm500°C300°C250°CItaly$110,000
AON 3D AON-M2 2020454 x 454 x 640 mm470°C200°C135°CCanada$50,000
Apium P220220 x 175 x 160 mm540°C160°C180°CGermany$25,000
Dynamical Tools HT45450 x 300 x 300 mm500°C200°C200°CSpain$75,000
Essentium HSE 180-S740 x 510 x 650 mm500°C200°C110°CUnited States$75,000
miniFactory Ultra 330 x 180 x 180 mm470°C250°C250°CFinland$55,000
This table represents our selection of the best PEEK 3D printers. They are listed by alphabetical order.

*Price: These ballpark prices are indicative, and may vary over time and/or from one country to another (taxes, shipping, …). Contact us for more information.
 
Note: There are over 60 printers that are supposedly capable of 3D printing PEEK material. We focused on 3D printers that are widely distributed and available.

Not sure which high-temperature 3D printer is right for you?
Ask us.

Key characteristics and properties of PEEK

Pros of PEEK filament

PEEK is dimensionally stable. It can tolerate significant changes in temperature, moisture, and other conditions.

  • Useful operating temperature of up to 250°C-260°C
  • Low flammability and low levels of toxic emissions during combustion
  • High mechanical strength (see Engineering.com’s article for more technical details)
  • Low moisture absorption; water and steam resistant
  • Chemical resistance (with exceptions)
  • Biocompatible
  • Lightweight

PEEK drawbacks

This material also has a few limits.

  • Complex to 3D print
  • PEEK prices are relatively high
  • Mostly only comes in shades of one, beige-like color
  • Low impact strength
  • Non-resistant to UV light
Benefits of PEEK, a high-performance material, according to Victrex.

The main benefits of PEEK material. Source: Victrex

PEKK (Poly Ether Ketone Ketone): a good alternative to PEEK

PEKK and PEEK are both part of the same polymer family called PAEK (Poly Aryl Ether Ketone). They boast similar properties in terms of strength, chemical resistance, and more. However, PEKK can be easier to process in 3D printing.

It is possible for filament manufacturers to tweak its melting point, and therefore generally requires lower temperatures. PEKK can also have a slightly higher glass transition temperature (Tg) than PEEK.

Find out more about PEKK in this guest post: PEEK vs PEKK.

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

High-temperature extruder

The melting point for PEEK materials is 343°C. This means 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.

Heated print bed

To print PAEK high-performance polymers, a heated bed is mandatory, and it must be able to reach temperatures of 120°C at the very least.

This ensures correct adhesion and overall 3D print quality.

Closed, heated chamber

PEEK is highly prone to shrinkage and warping.

Ideally (and this is especially important for larger parts), the chamber temperature should be able to go up to or over 143°C, which is PEEK’s glass transition temperature (Tg).

It is extremely important to be in control of these temperatures and to keep them constant, as fluctuations can easily affect print quality.

An overview of our 2020 PEEK 3D printer selection

3DGence INDUSTRY F420 high-resistance material printer

3DGence Industry F420

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 500°C
    • Print bed: 180°C
    • Chamber: 180°C
  • Build volume: 380 x 380 x 420 mm
  • Price: $50,000

Quote

3DGence’s Industry F420 is an enlarged, upgraded version of the Industry F340, a 3D printer for PEEK that we’ve featured before.

It boasts even higher temperatures, as well as a new filament chamber that can hold up to four spools and keep them heated at 50°C.

More information: 3DGence Industry F420

3ntr Spectral 30 best PEEK 3D printer industrial

3ntr Spectral 30

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 500°C
    • Print bed: 300°C
    • Chamber: 250°C
  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 300 mm
  • Price: $110,000

Quote

Italian manufacturer 3ntr has been producing high-temperature 3D printers for several years, but the Spectral 30 is their first printer to be officially dedicated to PEEK and PEI.

With its quadruple 500°C extruders, 300°C build plate, 250°C build chamber, and 110°C filament bay, the Spectral 30 is hard to match.

More information: 3ntr Spectral 30

AON3D AON-M2 2020 best PEEK 3D printer Canada

AON 3D AON-M2 2020

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 470°C
    • Print bed: 200°C
    • Chamber: 135°C
  • Build volume: 454 x 454 x 640 mm
  • Price: $50,000

Quote

Two years after launching the AON-M2, AON 3D launched the 2020 version, their third-generation PEEK 3D printer. This iteration received various hardware updates, making the machine more reliable than ever.

It’s still equipped with a liquid-cooled, independent dual extruder which can speed up production times.

More information: AON 3D AON-M2 2020

Apium P220 best high-temperature 3D printer (Apium formerly Indmatec)

Apium P220

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 540°C
    • Print bed: 160°C
    • Chamber: 180°C
  • Build volume: 220 x 175 x 160 mm
  • Price: $25,000

Quote

This German 3D printer provides a smaller build volume than others on our list, but its adaptive heating system is an uncommon characteristic that is essential for compliance with very tight tolerances.

Repeatability is definitely one of the Apium P220’s main advantages, and makes it one of the best PEEK 3D printers on the market.

More information: Apium P220

Dynamical Tools HT45 PEEK PEI 3D printing

Dynamical Tools HT45

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 500°C
    • Print bed: 200°C
    • Chamber: 200°C
  • Build volume: 450 x 300 x 300 mm
  • Price: $75,000

Quote

Dynamical Tools, also known as Dynamical 3D, is a 3D printer manufacturer from Spain. Their HT45 is dedicated to 3D printing PEEK and metal filaments.

It boasts liquid cooling, a large touchscreen, and an on-board camera for remote monitoring.

More information: Dynamical Tools HT45

Essentium HSE 180-S

Essentium HSE 180-S

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 500°C
    • Print bed: 200°C
    • Chamber: 110°C
  • Build volume: 740 x 510 x 650 mm
  • Price: $75,000

Quote

HSE stands for High Speed Extrusion, and this printer’s speed is at an impressive 500 mm/s. The HSE 180-S is also able to heat its extruder up to 500°C in only three seconds.

In addition, this PEEK 3D printer provides a huge build volume.

More information: Essentium HSE 180-S

miniFactory Ultra high-temp 3D printer for PEEK and PEI

miniFactory Ultra

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 470°C
    • Print bed: 250°C
    • Chamber: 250°C
  • Build volume: 330 x 180 x 180 mm
  • Price: $55,000

Quote

Paired with miniFactory’s AARNI process monitoring system, the Ultra is able to deliver certifiable 3D printed parts.

It’s equipped with an annealing system as well, making it possible to enhance part quality and dimensional stability.

More information: miniFactory Ultra

Runner-ups

There are a few other brands that produce good quality PEEK and PEI printers, which almost made it to the main list. However, we didn’t include them for different reasons (e.g. product not yet released, limited distribution network, and/or technical specs or features not up to par with the rest of the list, etc.).
3DXTech Gearbox HT2

3DXTech Gearbox HT2

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 475°C
    • Print bed: 200°C
    • Chamber: 120°C
  • Build volume: 457 x 457 x 813 mm
  • Price: $70,000

Quote

This manufacturer is originally a well-known filament manufacturer.

They launched their own printer, the Gearbox HT2, as a solution capable of printing all of their proprietary filaments, including PEEK, PEKK, and ULTEM.

More information: 3DXTech Gearbox HT2

Cincinnati SAAM HT

Cincinnati SAAM HT

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 500°C
    • Print bed: 250°C
    • Chamber: 110°C
  • Build volume: 200 x 190 x 240 mm
  • Price: $25,000

Quote

One of this PEEK 3D printer’s most interesting features is its Automated Ejection System for continuous 3D printing.

It enables the 3D printer to clear its print bed autonomously in order to take on new prints without requiring manual intervention.

More information: Cincinnati SAAM HT

INTAMSYS FUNMAT PRO 610 HT

INTAMSYS FUNMAT PRO 610 HT

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 500°C
    • Print bed: 300°C
    • Chamber: 300°C
  • Build volume: 610 x 508 x 508 mm
  • Price: $120,000

Quote

INTAMSYS usually produces cost-effective PEEK printers, but this model is destined for industrial-level production.

The printer’s dual nozzles heat up to 500°C, while both the build chamber and plate are able to heat up to an impressive 300°C.

More information: INTAMSYS FUNMAT PRO 610 HT

Roboze One+ 400 Xtreme

Roboze One+ 400 Xtreme

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 500°C
    • Print bed: 180°C
    • Chamber: –
  • Build volume: 300 x 200 x 200 mm
  • Price: $80,000

Quote

Roboze produces high-temperature 3D printers for professionals. This PEEK 3D printer uses a beltless rack to improve precision and a compressed air cooling system.

It doesn’t feature a heated chamber, but its inner linings are “heat-reflective”. Heated chambers are available on the Roboze ARGO series ($190K and up).

More information: Roboze One+ 400 Xtreme

Tractus3D T850P

Tractus3D T850P

  • Max. temperatures:
    • Extruder: 450°C
    • Print bed: 175°C
    • Chamber: 65°C
  • Build volume: 300 ø x 380 mm
  • Price: $15,000

Quote

This Dutch 3D printer features a solid, delta-style frame made of aluminum and polycarbonate.

Its compact size enables it to sit on a desktop within an office environment.

More information: Tractus3D T850P

Alternatives for specific needs

Medical PEEK 3D printing

PEEK is a great material for medical applications (e.g. medical PEEK implants) since it is biocompatible.

The two main medical PEEK 3D printer brands are Apium and VeraShape.

Cost-effective PEEK printers

If you have a smaller budget but you’re willing to spend a lot of time on tweaking and adjusting, there are more affordable options out there from Chinese brands such as IEMAI, CreatBot, or INTAMSYS.

CreatBot, for example, has really been emerging this past year with a number of industrial-grade printer releases. They offer pretty good price-to-performance ratios and are available worldwide.

Affordable PEEK printer prices can start from around $6,000. They are able to print PEEK, but the resulting quality may not meet your standards, especially in terms of repeatability.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to get advice and quotes, and see if PEEK is really what you need for your project.

Custom PEEK 3D printers

Some brands like Tobeca, Qualup (SpiderBot), or Hyrel 3D aren’t widespread but offer interesting, tailored solutions for PEEK 3D printing.

Their custom PEI/PEEK 3D printers can be suitable for R&D applications or any case where specific sizes and components are needed.

Large, industrial PEEK 3D printing systems

Warping is often an issue when 3D printing large parts. Hence, 3D printing large parts with a thermoplastic as challenging as PEEK is double the risk.

Some manufacturers that are specialized in large scale 3D printers claim that they are also able to print PEEK (e.g. Stratasys, BigRep, CEAD, Cosine Additive, etc.).

We know the PEEK printer market like the back of our hands. Contact us now to save time and receive expert advice based on your needs and budget.

We’ll put you in touch with the right manufacturer or PEEK 3D printer distributor near you.

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.

Difference between PEI and 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. Source: 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

Being lightweight yet strong and resistant, PEEK and ULTEM® 3D printed end parts are increasingly popular in aerospace, automotive and military fields.

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 are biocompatible, and can therefore be used for implants or other medical use cases.

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 $20K to $100K, 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, some PEEK 3D printers under $10,000 do exist.

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.

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$.

PEEK 3D printer FAQ

What kind of material is ULTEM®?

ULTEM® is a kind of thermoplastic used for professional and industrial applications.

What is ULTEM® plastic?

ULTEM® plastic is Polyetherimide (PEI), a resistant engineering thermoplastic.

What is PEI 3D printing?

Professionals and industrials use PEI to produce strong prototypes or end-use parts.

What material is PEI?

PEI stands for Polyetherimide and is also known as ULTEM®, which is actually a brand manufactured by SABIC. This engineering thermoplastic is strong and resistant to extreme conditions, though less than PEEK.

What is PEEK plastic?

PEEK stands for Polyetheretherketone. It is a highly resistant material (extreme temperatures, chemicals, etc.).

More resources

About this author

Ludivine Cherdo

Ludivine is in charge of Aniwaa's content strategy and works towards providing useful, informative content, including detailed guides based on her deep knowledge of the additive manufacturing scene. She also reviews 3D printers and stays on top of the latest industry news and trends. After growing up in the US and living in Spain, Chile, and Cambodia, Ludivine is now based in France.