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I need to cool some liquid (250 °C) while it’s flowing through a tube which has to be able to bend and flex. My idea is to make a flexible tube with a second tube spiraling around it through which coolant will flow.

I’d like to 3D print this tube if possible so I wonder if there is some printable filament that:

  • doesn’t melt at 250 °C
  • is flexible enough that it can print some tube that can bend (bending radius of 30 cm)
  • optimally also has good heat conductivity

Is there any 3D printer filament available that has these properties?

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    $\begingroup$ Are you looking to print the first straight tube, or the second spiral tube, or an object with both? It matters because a filament with supports a 250°C operating temperature will be hard to print on most printers. If you want the spiral tube to be printed, that is easier since it is not exposed to the 250°C liquid. $\endgroup$
    – cmm
    Jun 3 '19 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ Googling "high temperature TPU" suggests that there are forms that withstand up to 300°C or higher, but I'm not aware of any printable filament, and you'd need an extreme hotend to print it. $\endgroup$ Jun 4 '19 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ simple: no, not even close, at least in the consumer/maker sphere; it's possible that the military or specialized industries have a proprietary method, but certainly not something we can order. $\endgroup$
    – dandavis
    Jun 6 '19 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a reason you can't use a PTFE tube? $\endgroup$ Jun 7 '19 at 1:59
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Ok, so to answer the primary question: What flexible filament will operate consistently at 250 °C?

Man, this is a tough one. Some filaments, like PEEK and ULTEM 1010 can operate up in the 200 °C range, but they're not flexible at all.

Silicon might be able to work, but you're still pushing boundaries.

Now, I'm lucky to be in a 3D printing company and we're testing a super-high-temp flexible material, very similar in temperatures to ULTEM. I'll definitely check back and let you know how it goes, but...

Honestly, that's so hot! Readily available thermoplastics may not be an option unless you're in aerospace with an unlimited budget which, based on the requirements, would make sense, lol!

I'd say the most readily available way to get this done would be 3D printing a mold, in which to put your silicone, and bam -- you've got the part.

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3D printing nerd showed a couple of filaments that fits this in his latest video "Printers at RAPID + TCT 2019":

Firstly a Nylon 6 high temperature filament:

Flexible 3D printed part - printed from high temperature nylon

Another part of the video shows another flexible print, created on a four axis 3D printer, using TPU filament:

Flexible 3D printed part - printed from TPU

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  • $\begingroup$ Whilst your answer may be technically correct, it is rather terse, and, as such, it has been recommended for deletion, unfortunately. If you could expand it then you may get a more positive response, add some screenshots & text explaining the process. I would recommend that in addition to reading some highly voted answers to gauge the standard expected, that you take a look at the help section relating to answering questions, in particular How to Answer, and take the tour for more information on how stack exchange works. Thx $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline
    Jun 4 '19 at 6:24
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    $\begingroup$ Are you sure these filaments are able to withstand 250 °C without deforming? $\endgroup$ Jun 4 '19 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ To support the comment of @TomvanderZanden, the last edit you made (@Greenonline) included normal TPU but printed on a 4th axis (ideal to withstand the hoop stresses and prevent printing of support material if printed upright), I don't know if this answers the question. I'm still in doubt if the first part of the answer answers the question. 250 ºC is pretty high, even Nylon would not take that IIRC that stops at about 120 ºC, higher temp thermoplastics exist, but the question is: "Are they printable and flexible?". $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Jun 6 '19 at 11:09

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