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The Virtual Foundry Releases Filamet 3D Printing Filament That Turns FDM 3D Printers into Metal 3D Printers

by • June 29, 2016 • No Comments

3dp_filamet_virtualdiscoveredry_logoMore industries than at any time preceding are purchasing metal 3D printing devices and via them to make high-quality prototypes, test parts and end-run parts with geometries that may only be maked via a 3D printing device. The average cost of a metal 3D printing device can typically range of sat any timeal hundred thousand dollars to additional than a million dollars, pricing them well out of reach for many businesses. But despite a growing demand for bargain-priced and swift metal 3D printing advancement, it continues to elude the 3D printing industry. Unfortunately there appears to be quite little on the horizon that is assumeed to alter that any time soon.

Howat any time, material science has started to contribute the industry a few alternatives in the form of metal-infutilized PLA filament for computer desktop FDM 3D printing devices. ColorFabb has contributeed sat any timeal of these high end materials that consist of 40% to 50% metal powders mixed with PLA, enabling the final prints to be polished and shined up to a metallic finish. Unfortunately, at the end of the day these are yet manyly plastic parts, and they do not have the durablity or durability of a fully-metal part. Metal filaments have primarily discovered themselves utilized throughout the hobby market and don’t quite have any industrial applications that mayn’t be performed by stronger and easier-to-use industrial plastics and carbon fiber filaments.

3D printed brass owls.

3D printed brass owls.

Last year a Wisconsin-based startup named The Virtual Foundry launched a product on Kickstarter that promised to allow a standard computer desktop 3D printing device to turn it into fully-metal parts via the same basic FDM advancement that is utilized to print with thermoplastics. Their Kickstarter campaign was fully funded, somehow rapidly, and went on to exceed its minimum funding amount by of $5,000. The original backers of the campaign began receiving their rewards a few months ago, and the Virtual Foundry is now contributeing the filament for retail purchase of their website.

“Printer makers have struggled for years to bring 3D Metal Printers down into a workable price range. Filamet takes a various approach. Rather than delivering the high-end down, it extends the capabilities of current 3D Printers up to those of the high-end machines. We assume materials to account for a sizeable portion of near-term product advancement in the 3D Printing market. Our company contributes an immediate solution to producing real and useful metal prints on the computer desktop 3D Printer that you may already own,” said Virtual Foundry discovereder Bradley Woods.


A polished version and a version baked in a kiln.

On the surface Filamet is almany precisely like all of the other metal-infutilized PLA materials on the market. Howat any time, the metal powder content is significantly higher than other options, producing the Filamet filament considerably heavier — and the final printed parts appear much additional like real metal. Much like those other filaments, all that you require to do is donate the final printed parts a great polish and it can outcome in a highly metallic finish. Filamet, yet, is created up of 88% metal powder materials and only 12% plastic, that means that it requires a lot less post systeming to complete its metallic finish.

The finishing system.

The finishing system.

Additionally, the higher metal powder content in Filamet allows for any printed parts to be put through a finishing system that can burn off the PLA binding materials, sinter the remaining metal particles and leave a fully-metal part behind. In order to turn it into the solid metal parts, it only requires to be baked off in a kiln so the plastic can harmlessly burn away while the metal powders bond together and solidify.

The Filamet materials can be 3D printed on virtually any standard computer desktop 3D printing device, and are actually capable of being utilized in handheld 3D printing pens. Today the Virtual Foundry contributes 1.75mm .5 kg spools of Filamet in Copper PLA, Bronze PLA and Bronze ABS for $85 a spool. The company is already planning on growing into various metal powders like a silver nickel material as well as a glass filament and a ceramic filament. The Virtual Foundry is in addition working with the US Department of Energy on the possibility of via the system to 3D print via uranium powder. Discuss this latest development additional over in the Virtual Foundry & Metal 3D Printing forum at 3DPB.com.