The Virtual Foundry, makers of Filamet which we have previous raved about, are uncovering new and amazing uses for the filament every day. Not that you need reminding, but Filamet is a metallic filament containing plastic that allows virtually any FDM or FFF 3D printer to produce metal models. No other filament on the market exceeds 80% metal infusion, but Filamet hits 90%, making it a category killer in the infused filament marketplace.
Why is this groundbreaking?
- The Filamet essentially turns any low cost printer into a metal printer.
- As a result of the high percentage you can either process prints with heat to remove the 10% plastic, or you can go straight from the printer to buffing to create a print that’s nearly indiscernible from pure metal.
The heavyweight industrial Filamet has also proven strong enough to block certain types of radiation. That means that companies and individuals can now print tailored shields to protect against potentially harmful rays.
“Radiation shielding has become a very active niche for us,” said Bradley Woods, President of The Virtual Foundry. “Our industrial version of Filament contains in excess of 92% metal by mass. This is high enough to completely block many types of radiation. This allows our customers to 3D print radiation shielding without needing to machine tools and molds.”
You can currently order copper and bronze variants of this filament from the website. They contain 88.5% metal powder in the consumer versions, together with binding agents that are removed during the printing process to leave a product containing 99.9% metal after post processing. It can then be polished to look just like a metal product from a much more expensive printer. The next material that will become available is brass, and in the not too distant future we’ll be seeing nickel. Ceramic and glass variations of Filamet will then be launched, which will work in the same way: turning low cost printers into a world of opportunity for makers everywhere.
About The Virtual Foundry
The Wisconsin-based company went on a mission to give makers access to metallic models long before 3D printing was even an option, and has previously worked with cold casting and electro-forming options. It launched Filamet on Kickstarter last year, raised 135% of its target and the fuss simply hasn’t died down.
“Essentially The Virtual Foundry is the quest to create high quality metal sculpture, jewelry and anything you can print, without requiring a complete, high-end, metals studio.”
Featured image: Playable Ocarina, 90% metal, made with Filamet Copper. Image: The Virtual Foundry