The use of engineering-grade materials for 3D printing, at least in general, requires higher sustained temperatures for the materials to extrude correctly. In the case of polycarbonate, extrusion temperatures of 300+ degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit) are required to make correct prints.
Erick Wolf, president and founder of Airwolf 3D, says printing polycarbonate is sort of a "holy grail" for anyone using a prosumer-grade 3D printer.
"I think printing nylon is going to explode because it is incredibly strong and has almost unlimited applications," Wolf said. "You can even dye different layers to get multi-colored products. Bridge nylon, for example, has been reformulated to meet the growing demand for the material. At 270 degrees Celsius (518 degrees Fahrenheit), we find the layer-to-layer adhesion is superb and the prints stick uniformly to our heated bed. When dealing with nylon at lower temperatures there tends to be trial and error to achieve ideal layer strength."
That's why Wolf and company developed the new Airwolf JRx hot end. Until now, temperatures sufficient to use top flight materials were available only on expensive industrial 3D printers or using all-metal hot ends which require constant cooling.
The Airwolf 3D patent-pending JRx hot section uses Teflon to provide a smooth material feed through the hot end. Teflon is sensitive to higher temperatures, so Airwolf 3D's engineers designed a proprietary thermal barrier between the Teflon and the heater.
Airwolf 3D is now shipping the Airwolf JRx hot end, designed with materials such as polycarbonate, Bridge nylon, and Nylon 645 in mind, while still retaining the ability to print in lower temp materials like PLA and ABS. The JRx hot end can be ordered as an option or retrofit to Airwolf 3D's current line of AW3D HD and AW3D XL and 5.5 3D printers.
The MSRP for the AW3D XL and 5.5-compatible JRx hot end is $195 and the price for the AW3D HD-compatible JRx hot end version is $295. Those prices include a wiring harness, polycarbonate housing and a 30mm fan for continuous PLA printing.