Exone end to end binder jetting service

There is More to i.materialise’s New Copper Material than 3D Printed Pennies

Metal Parts Produced
Commercial Space
Medical Devices

Share this Article

3dp_copper_0euro_bert_de_nielCopper has been in use for well over 10,000 years and it is one of the earliest metals that humanity used to create tools, art and jewelry. While other metals have come into favor since, copper never really stopped being used. It was inexpensive to mine, and even today it has a host of benefits and uses far beyond statues and coins. It is an excellent conductor of heat, specifically electricity, and is still used in cookware and electrical wiring today. It also has natural antibacterial properties that prevent the growth of microscopic organisms and is often used in hospitals to help prevent the spread of diseases.

3dp_copper_ring_nils_faberCopper is also the nineteenth material that Belgian 3D printing services bureau i.materialise is now offering right alongside their other metallic offerings, gold, silver, raw steel, titanium, brass, bronze and stainless steel. Just like all of their metal offerings, copper can be used to create a wide variety of objects with complex geometries that are typically difficult or impossible using traditional copper casting methods. That means users can design their own copper jewelry, statues and because the i.materialise copper is completely real copper, users can even design their own customized medical devices to take advantage of its antibiofouling and antimicrobial properties.

3dp_copper_sabretooth_tiger_skullThe copper objects 3D printed by i.materialise are made the same way that all of their precious metal objects are. Any prints made using gold, silver, bronze, brass and now copper are fabricated using a combination of 3D printing with wax, and a traditional lost wax casting process. First, a wax 3D printer is used to print out the design, then it is covered in a very fine plaster material that will retain the detail and desired surface texture. Once the plaster is dry, it is placed in an oven and baked until all of the wax has melted and burned away. The empty plaster cast is then filled with melted copper and cooled. Once the plaster is removed, the copper item will have any support structures or sprues removed and then simply polished to the desired finish.

Here is a brief video from i.materialise showing off what types of applications their 3D printed copper is suitable for:

3dp_copper_Bulbman_by_Bert_De_NielThe reddish gold color that is the natural finish of copper is quite beautiful–and it is very susceptible to tarnishing and oxidation. Copper objects will quickly acquire a greenish patina, especially when exposed to open air. The green copper patina is itself a beautiful feature to the material, and often one of the main reasons that copper is still used in artwork and statues. The oxidation is natural and impossible to stop, although it can be slowed down with the application of a clear polyurethane coating. The PU coating will also help prevent any scratches on the extremely soft metal’s polished surface. Copper objects that are PU coated and uncoated are indistinguishable from each other; only the slower rate of oxidation will differentiate them from each other.

The oxidation process over time can't be stopped, but it can be slowed down with a PU coating.

The oxidation process over time can’t be stopped, but it can be slowed down with a PU coating.

The design specifications for copper are exactly the same as the specifications for gold, silver, bronze, or brass materials, with the same restrictions. There is a required minimum wall thickness of 0.5 mm, minimum detail of 0.3 mm, and a maximum printing size of 3.46 x 2.48 x 4.92 inches (88 x 63 x 125 mm). So large-scale objects are out of the question, but anything jewelry sized, or that can be held in the palm of your hand, is possible.

If you’re not sure that your model can be 3D printed in copper check out i.materialise’s Copper Design Guide for detailed specifics and requirements. Also take a look at their Copper Materials Page for a material overview, color and finishing options and property specifications. And you can compare it to all of the printing options available by i.materialise on their Materials Page.

Have you tested out this new material?  Let us know in the i.materialise Copper forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: October 24, 2021

3D Printing News Briefs, October 23, 2021: Business & Software News



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Could 3D Printed Metal Made With Scrap Material Solve Our Aluminum Problems?

The additive manufacturing division of 6K Inc, 6K Additive, has purchased the Pennsylvania company Specialty Metallurgical Products (SMP), a specialist in producing titanium and zirconium tablets for the metal alloys...

Redefine Meat Snaps Up Former Nestlé and Unilever Executives

Israel-based 3D printed animal-free meat developer Redefine Meat has appointed former Nestlé and Unilever executives ahead of the European commercial launch of its series of five “New-Meat” products in November 2021....

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: October 17, 2021

We’ve got several multi-day conferences to tell you about in this week’s roundup, along with webinars on topics ranging from semiconductors and bioprinting to digital dentistry and more. Read on...

Featured

French Hospitals to Perform Medical 3D Printing On-Demand with Stratasys

Stratasys signed a deal with French med-tech startup Bone 3D to provide 3D printing technology to local hospitals. This cooperation is part of Bone 3D’s HospiFactory initiative, equipping healthcare institutions...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.