Inside PEEK on Advanced Thermoplastics

In the ever growing additive manufacturing market, it seems like a new 3D printing process or material is announced every other day, almost making you numb to the innovation, much less excited about it. Interested in something different and new? Aaron Louis Tech is now offering a machine that includes an all-metal, high-temperature extruder and hot bed that is capable of printing advanced thermoplastics, such as fiber-reinforced PEEK and PEI (tradename Ultem). Why does this matter? Well, let us count the ways….

Data Source: Endura

Materials such as PEEK and PEI fall into the category of semi-crystalline thermoplastics, which result in properties that are incredibly useful in the real world. PEEK offers unrivaled chemical and UV resistance, high working temperature range, and high strength. This makes it a go-to for industries like aerospace, medical, oil/gas, and automotive. PEI offers these characteristics, plus it does not produce smoke when exposed to a flame, making it ideal for aerospace applications, in which you may find yourself in an enclosed area. PEEK is also one of the few plastics that offers biocompatibility, making it very attractive to the medical industry for implants.

Data Source: Endura

With such desirable material properties, PEEK and PEI were obvious choices when designers began creating functional end-use parts. As the printing process itself was advanced further, some truly astounding material strengths have been achieved. According to an article on Engineering.com from 2016, Silicon Valley’s Arevo Labs was able to produce PEEK parts “with the strength of titanium at one-third the weight.” This is a realm of strength most people had never dreamed of for a plastic. With such chemical resistance, Arevo Labs was also able to make 3D-printed fuel intake runners for engines from PEEK, providing just a glimpse of possible applications in the automotive and oil/gas industries.

You can see the incredible characteristics of PEEK and PEI, and how some innovative companies are finding more and more practical applications, but you still may be wondering how YOU can get your hands on this innovative material. Well, that’s where things start to get tricky. As of right now, there are very few 3D printers on the market that are capable of reaching the close to 400C temperature necessary for extrusion. That is one of the unique features of the high temperature, all metal, dual extruder found our 3D printers, specifically the CL1720HT and OL1720HT. If you are interested in designing and fabricating the next innovative application of advanced thermoplastics, drop by our Kickstarter page and check out other components our printers have to offer.

 

Kickstarter Article Features

We are entering our second week of our Kickstarter campaign, and have gained 23 backers already! Along the way we have also had several 3D printing websites feature an article on our campaign. We are very appreciative for them to write these articles and wanted to share them if you haven’t seen them already.

 

Article here: https://3dprinting.com/news/aaron-louis-technologies-kickstarter-develops-new-dark-chip-3d-printers/

Article here: https://3dprint.com/174136/kickstarter-campaign-closed-loop/

Article here: http://www.3ders.org/articles/20170503-aaron-louis-technology-to-launch-first-open-source-3d-printer-with-closed-loop-motor-on-kickstarter.html

If you haven’t seen our innovative closed loop 3D printer Kickstarter page check it out!

Kickstarter page

Kickerstarter Has Launched! So Why Back us?

Why invest in Aaron Louis?

A common question that comes up with any Kickstarter campaign is: Why should I give you my money? This is a perfectly legitimate concern, and probably something you should be asking yourself before backing any Kickstarter. So, in order to offer more insight into who we are, we wanted to provide some background information about ourselves.

Nick Lanham currently works as an operations research analyst supporting the federal government, which he has supported for the past eight years. This job involves cost analysis, project management, and outsourcing relations. Lanham has an MBA, and offers business insights specifically for planning a project and maintaining the schedule. David Edelen has a BS in mechanical engineering and recently respectfully declined a doctoral scholarship offer from the University of Maryland to continue developing and expanding additive manufacturing techniques. Over the past three years, the duo has collectively researched advanced printing techniques and has been building and testing their own printers. One of the biggest lessons they have learned is that the focus should be on one specific topic, rather than the whole system.

In order to for us to get some experience under our belts, we designed, manufactured, and sold an all-aluminum upgrade kit for existing 3D printers. This kit uses many of the same core components, such as extruded aluminum and aluminum sheet metal, so that we could gain experience in the manufacturing processes associated with them. It also gave us insights on possible logistical issues associated with bulk material orders. In addition, the sale of these kits allowed us to establish some routes with several third-party sellers, as well as develop the backend for our own website. We were able to sell an average of two kits per week across the United States, and even as far as Australia, providing a strong proof of concept.

Unfortunately, there has been a gray cloud over 3D printing companies launching on crowdfunding websites. Recently, in an article written by 3Dprinting.com, the company Tiko was able to raise a very successful $2.9M of their $100k goal with their month-long Kickstarter campaign, providing a valuable case study. So what went wrong?

This campaign could be the perfect example of how bigger is not always better. The failure of this launch can be attributed to several key factors. According to the article, on the Kickstarter page of the fresh company:

“didn’t discuss any risks in developing firmware, getting custom electronics to work or 3D printing at all. They didn’t see any potential assembly or integration risk. They wanted to develop their own slicing software from scratch and didn’t see any risks that could potentially derail that. They didn’t perceive any risk on not using fans and did not see any design risk at all. They just said, “you can sit back and relax—with Tiko, you’re going to get everything you hoped for and then some!”

This is a pretty ambitious list of deliverables, even for the most experienced team, considering many of the finer points are handled by a whole company itself, let alone one company, seeming to want to be innovative in every aspect of the 3D printing process. So, with such a large amount of capital raised, where did things start to go wrong? The company projected shipment of their printer in November 2015, a reasonable seven months after the campaign ended. However, the first units were not shipped until July 2016, a whole eight months past the original shipping date estimation. It’s common knowledge that 3D printers are extremely complicated machines, considering that you may pass your delivery date by a small margin. But, to surpass your estimation by the length of your estimation and then some is certainly not an attractive offering.

So why was the timeline missed so badly? Well according to the article, the company claimed that they ran into unplanned problems because “some of their prototype parts won’t translate properly into production. Not because of design flaws, moreso because of tolerances. This indicates a lack of experience and a bold assumption that the original design will not only be perfectly reproduced, but also that the original design is the superior configuration.

The company also began by stating that they would be relying on sourced manufactures, and only after blowing through their deadlines, announced that they would be opening their own factory, where they would be producing 10K units per month. This seems like yet more blind ambition and a less grounded plan.

The list of mistakes continues, including a lack of regular updates, lashing out at negative comments, and even announcing laying off the majority of their staff. Ouch! Ultimately, the story ends with the company shutting down and never completely delivering printers to all of their backers. Now that you have heard a horror story, how do we expect to be any more successful? To answer this question, we look back to the backgrounds of the founders of Aaron Louis Tech, and the product plan. Although we offer an incredibly innovative closed loop 3D printer, it still relies on open source software and third-party materials to operate. Why? Because there is no reason to redo something that isn’t broken. Our focus is on providing the platform to develop better and more advanced, functional applications of 3D printing, not to create yet another slicing program.

If you like what we have to offer, consider checking out our Kickstarter campaign:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1264281478/1827571527?token=35919ab3

New 3D Printer: Open Source & Closed Loop Motor Control

After three years of development, we are proud to offer the first 100% open source and closed loop 3D printer. The Closed Loop (CL) 1720 is a very strong, reliable system built on an extremely rigid extruded aluminum frame. Additionally, the CL1720 is based off of robust and proven open-source software that is 100% free and open to the 3D printing community. Typically, closed loop systems that are included on 3D printer or CNC machines are very expensive and do not allow for software upgrades past what the company owning the software allows. With the AaronLouis CL1720 and Open Loop (OP)1720 systems, the software running these industrial grade printers is completely free.

The standard versions of the CL1720 aand OP1720 systems were designed to push 3D printing past rapid prototyping. This goal is achieved by expanding customer filament options to anything that can be extruded within the 315 deg c. extruder nozzle and 648 deg c. hotbed temperature range. Our high temperature versions of the CL1720 and OP1720 systems are capable of extruding at temperatures above 400 deg c. This very wide temperature range allows for virtually every filament option to be available.

In addition, the extruders that are included as part of the CL1720 and OP1720 systems are based on an all metal design along with a stainless steel drive gear that is powered by NEMA11 motors that are 13x the torque of standard NEMA11 motors. This advanced extruder design, combined with a low-profile, removable hotbed design that is based on two pieces of .25″ thick 6061 aluminum plates is extremely durable and is ready for extended use. This hotbed comes with three high-temperature, low profile heater elements that are capable of reaching temperatures at 648 deg c. Finally, the hotbed is driven by a 16MM ballscrew drive to increase accuracy and extended durability. This ballscrew configuration is powered by a high-torque (400oz/in) NEMA 23 stepper motor. This system was intentionally over-engineered to improve system reliability, durability, and allow for worry-free printing.

We are excited to offer the first open source, closed loop 3D printer that is completely turn-key. The following video provides an example of how closed loop motor control allows for continued prints, even when you push the extruder completely away from the object being printed. We do not recommend attempting this demonstration with any printer, this video is simply designed to demonstrate the accuracy and reliability of the CL1720 system.

If you are interested in the OL1720 or the CL1720, please keep an eye on our website as the Kickstarter video is nearing completion. Estimated launch planned for April 2017.

Thanks again for checking out our site!

Aaron & Louis

Stronger 3D Printed Parts. Improve Tensile Strengh

Are you interested in improving the tensile strength of your 3D printed parts?

If you are interested in some of our team’s independent research on this topic, please take a moment to read our paper, entitled Effect of 3D Printing Build Parameters on Tensile Strength posted to the AaronLouis Technology research page. This paper summarizes a 4-5 month effort focused on printing several different filaments and experimenting with different combinations of printer software configurations, extruder settings, build plate configurations, firmware settings, Slic3r settings, extruder feed gear and tubing challenges, nozzle wear characteristics, first layer adhesion results, as well as several additional printer calibration settings. Additionally, this paper also helps summarize a portion of our team’s effort focused on using a non-industrial grade 3D printer to print advanced printer filaments – one of which was fiberglass-reinforced Ultem, donated by Arevo labs to support this research project. This paper ends with summarizing a portion of our team’s results regarding the optimal raster angle, infill pattern, print speed, layer height, and much more.

Thanks again for checking out our site and we hope to have our industrial grade 3D printer kickstarter ready for release by November 2016!

We appreciate all the support thus far.

Aaron & Louis

 

 

Aluminum Arms Price Cut!

Want to turn your existing printer into a machine that can print high temp materials? Or are you tired of stock printer arms warping?

If so, go completely aluminum with our custom aluminum 3D printer arm kit! These arms are super strong, durable, are completely customizable for whatever hotbed you choose!

With aluminum arms, your options of high temp hotbeds and printing high temp materials significantly expands.

We are offering our 3D printer aluminum arms and bed assembly for only $75.00. This limited time price cut includes shipping within the U.S.

Our aluminum arm kit is delivered completely assembled, made completely from high grade aluminum, and drops right into your existing printer. Please checkout our Product page for more information.

Thanks again for all the support thus far and we hope to have our advanced materials 3D printer ready for release later this year.

Aaron & Louis

Aluminum 3D Printer Z Axis Arms

Hello Maker and 3D Printer Friends,

We recently finished up designing and building a new set of aluminum 3D Printer Z Axis arms that can be quickly installed on Replicator-type machines. During our time building and using 3D printers, we have experienced the agony generated by loss of dimensional accuracy and resolution that comes with warping or sagging Z Axis arms and/or build plates. Considering that most 3D printer setups come with Z Axis stages that are made out of plastic and/or wood, we wanted to design an all-aluminum set of 3D printer Z Axis arms and build plate support in order to significantly increase the accuracy and life span of your 3D Printer. As folks dive deeper into 3D printing, frequent use combined with printing alternative materials that may require higher heat bed and extruder temperatures will take their toll on plastic Z axis arms as well as other wood support structures. We wanted to provide a few example photos taken from one of our prototype machines when working to print a few higher temperature materials.

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Even though these photos show the worst case scenario of extended, high-temperature exposure on 3D Printer arms and hot bed structures, most 3D printer setups are impacted by warping arms over time. In order to combat the effects of warping and sagging, the maker community typically resolves to 3D Printer arm stiffner setups that still rely on existing plastic arms and do not offer support for the wood and/or plastic platform that the hotbed sits on.

In contrast to the photos shown above, our recently released all-aluminum 3D Printer Z Axis Arm kit has been designed with repeated use, modularity, and ease of installation in mind. If you are interested in minimizing 3D Printer Z axis warping, please consider checking out our 3D Printer Z Axis Aluminum Arm kit. Our aluminum 3D printer arms are shipped as a complete, assembled-kit with extruded aluminum arms, Z Axis nuts, linear bearings, and is made out of 16 gauge, 5052 aluminum in order to ensure a completely stiff alternative to wood or plastic assemblies provided with most stock 3D print-beds—as 5052 aluminum is frequently used within architectural and heat-exchanger applications and is alloyed with magnesium and chromium.

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This kit is shipped as a 100% assembled unit and is ready to be integrated onto your existing 3D printer system. In addition, the unit has been designed with modularity in mind and allows for users to quickly integrate other components onto the common 5 Series, 20mm x 20mm aluminum extrusion frame. The completed unit weighs ~54.2 grams, or .116 lbs, and has overall dimensions of 293.25mm x 228.6mm x 114.3mm, or 11.5″ x 9″ x 4.5.”

If you are interested in purchasing a set of all aluminum 3D Printer Z Axis arms from AaronLouis Technologies, please stop by our website at http://aaronlouistech.com/product/3d-printer-aluminum-z-axis-arms-and-plate/

As always, thanks again for stopping by and checking out our site.

Aaron & Louis

Weekend Project: CNC Plasma Cutter Mount

Hello Maker Friends,
We are busy building a few new machines and printing products for a few new customers and wanted to take a moment to post a few more passes of one of our newest machines. This video shows a few passes of a quick plasma cutter mount that we used to turn our machine into a CNC plasma cutter. Throughout the process, we solved a few random fault issues that we were experiencing between our Gecko G540 unit and Mach3. As it turns out, the random fault issue turned out to be a simple fix by increasing the debounce setting of 1000. Just in case you run into similar issues, other folks have also stated that activating the “Sherline” mode in Mach 3 also helps dealing with a system with a good bit of noise. We have been lucky enough to avoid using the “Sherline” setting as we are not using that configuration however, by increasing the debounce value to 1000 we eliminated any random faults that were experienced with our newest machine.

Hope to have some longer videos of our newest Dreamcaster 3000 machines later this year. In the meantime, good luck on your next build and we also hope to post some of our 3D printing study later this month. As a preview, over the last 6 month – members of our team have been conducting professional studies focused on optimizing tensile strength using the various 3D printing setting available in the latest slicing engines.

Thanks for viewing and good luck on your next build.

– Aaron & Louis

Weekend Project: CNC Support Arms

Hello Maker Friends,
This video is another weekend project with some scrap .75 acetyl material we had laying around the shop. We added a few bearings to these arms and attached them to the extruded aluminum in order to help sure up our x axis movement. These took about 15 minutes to draw up (as you can tell 😉 ) with my uncle and we simply did not want to cut them out with our band saw that has been acting up over the last few weeks. After getting it setup and generating g-code, the entire cut took about 35 minutes and we selected seperate vectors rather than a pocket cut for the inside slot in order to have some notches for a rubber gasket to fit into. Just thought we would share a few more passes of our machine before we get started on the next major project. Thanks for watching and stopping by.

Aaron & Louis

CNC: Weekend Project Milling Fun

Hello Makers,
My apologies for the delayed post, it has been a very busy couple of months at my “real” job and have not had much time to actually mill. With that in mind, I thought it would be good to post a few passes of a beer six pack holder that we are making as family Christmas gifts. This video just shows a few minutes of the milling and we are more than happy to share the build plans if folks are interested. All you need is a few pieces of .25″ and .5″ material. Hope you enjoy!

Thanks,

Aaron & Louis