Shapeways' New Brass

Leading online 3D print service provider Shapeways has announced two new 3D printing materials: ‘Polished Brass’ and ‘Raw Brass.’ Both are aimed at end product quality, further emphasising that advanced 3D printing technologies are now far from solely for rapid prototyping, and increasingly associated with additive manufacturing – both previous generic names for the technology, but now used to denote applications.

Brass Raw ShapewaysTo quote the Shapeways site description:

‘Gold Plated Brass and Polished Brass both go through extensive hand polishing to give them a smooth, shiny finish. Polished Brass has a bright yellow colouring and, with 22k plating, Gold Plated models will resemble authentic gold objects. They are both perfect for jewellery and precious objects.

Raw Brass has a rustic matte look, with rough surfaces and some tarnishing (colour spots). It is great for antique-looking objects, functional parts, jewellery prototypes, and metal models that you’d like to polish and finish yourself.’

Brass models are fabricated using a complex five-step process:

  • First, the model is printed in wax using a specialized high-resolution 3D printer. It is then put in a container where liquid plaster is poured in around it.
  • Once the plaster sets, the wax is melted out in a furnace, and the remaining plaster becomes the mould.
  • Molten brass is poured into this mould and set to harden. The plaster is broken away, revealing your new product.
  • Raw Brass is briefly tumbled. Polished and Gold Plated Brass are carefully cleaned and hand polished.
  • Gold Plated Brass goes through a final electroplating process for an outside coat of 22k gold. Please be aware that polishing and plating can wear down or fill in very fine details and edges.

Polished Brass and Raw Brass have the same dimensional design specifications as Gold Plated Brass:

  • Max bounding box: 100x100x100mm
  • Minimum wall/wire: 0.8mm
  • Minimum Emboss: 0.4mm Minimum
  • Engrave: 0.35mm

Polished Brass: Morph Bangle by Nervous System

Raw Brass: Bicycle Chain-ring Cuff-links by Gothamsmith

Further information can be found on the Shapeways website here.