YouTube tech vlogger Barnacules decided to find the best method for polishing the real bronze “Bitcoins” that he made from 3D printing material colorFabb bronzeFill. Obviously the bronze Bitcoins that he printed have no monetary value, however that may still make them a more stable investment than actual Bitcoins.
The sheer amount of new 3D printing materials available on the market is staggering, and developers are continuing to push themselves and material technology to create even more. One of the companies that is creating some of the more impressive materials is Dutch filament manufacturer colorFabb. Aside from their rainbow of color materials they have transparents, opaques, glow in the dark, wood and bamboo materials. But some of their most impressive filaments are those made with real bronze and copper.
ColorFabb’s new bronzeFill is made from 80% actual bronze powder with 20% PLA, so provided it can reach a printing temp of 220c the metallic filament can be used on virtually any basic FDM/FFF 3D printer. It extrudes the same as any plastic material, but once it solidifies it looks, feels and is even similar in weight to a real bronze object. And because the plastic is only a binding agent and most of the 3D printed object is real metal, it can be polished up and made extremely shiny.
Barnacules’ first polishing attempt was using a vibratory bowl that is generally used to polish brass bullet casings. He tried a few methods using the bowl, and started with pure crushed walnut shells. After lackluster results he continued to add smoothing media to his bowl of walnut shells, including ceramic shards and some liquid car polish. Unfortunately even after 14 hours of polishing in the vibratory bowl the Bitcoins didn’t really look all that different from when they went into it. I certainly hope Barnacules has another use for that bowl or he wasted a lot of money for dull Bitcoins.
Thankfully after almost melting his coins with his Dremel tool and finally trying varying combinations of sandpaper and steel wool he was able to give the coins the desired gleam. I have to say, the material looks impressively close to metal. While it is probably not going to hold any of the practicality of real metal, it still can create some very detailed and smooth metallic objects. You can watch the entire video here: