Oct 1, 2015 | By Alec

For years now, Belgian 3D printing service providers i.materialise have been synonymous with high quality 3D printing in a large variety of materials, eighteen in total, from the typical plastics to ceramics, wood and even metals. The Belgian experts have just announced that their already impressive range of material options is to be expanded by a new metal addition; following notable predecessors like gold and silver, even copper 3D printed creations will now be possible.

This new addition to the Belgian 3D printing family is a very intriguiging one. More affordable than gold or silver, it also brings a whole lot of interesting making options to the table, as the Belgians explain. ‘Copper is used a variety of objects: typically, wires, cables, and parts of electronic items are made of copper since this material is such a great conductor. It is also often used for tubes, door knobs, handles, and coins since it does not attract bacteria. Besides, copper is known to be found in architecture, household items, art, medals, and jewelry,’ they write. Especially those conductive qualities will doubtlessly catch the eye of many makers.

Now it is important to note that copper won't actually be dripping out of the i.materialise 3D printers, but that will actually be using the age old technique of lost wax casting alongside 3D printing. In this approach, the production method doesn’t differ from that for gold, brass or silver. ‘First, a wax cast of your item is 3D printed and then covered in fine plaster. When the plaster solidifies, it is placed in an oven and heated to a point where the wax is completely melted out. The metal is then poured into the empty cast and your real 3D printed metal item is created,’ the Belgian engineers write.

Afterwards, the copper replicas of your 3D printed designs will be thoroughly treated for the best possible results. Now, copper has a reddish hue naturally, but to bring out the shine all creations are polished both magnetically and by hand. Optionally, a protective PU coating can be added to the objects to protect them from scratches and corrosion. However, as copper is very sensitive to outside influences, oxidation in the long run cannot be fully prevented. ‘Visually, there is no real difference between uncoated and PU-coated parts at first. When corrosion starts to happen, the difference will become apparent and a greenish verdigris or tarnish (patina) will become visible,’ they say.

If you’re interested in getting one of these copper creations and are familiar with i.materialise, then you’ll be happy to know that the design specifications are exactly the same as for their other metal materials. Minimum wall thickness is 0.5 mm with the minimum for details being 0.3 mm. The maximum printing size also stays the same, at 88 x 63 x 125 mm – in short, everything you need for some gorgeous jewelry creations. Head here to order copper 3D printed models.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials





Maybe you also like:


ruudje kaaskop wrote at 10/2/2015 12:32:35 AM:

wow, printing in wax, and then casted in copper!!! Only a belgian expert Engineer could come up with such an 'intriguiging' idea. Alec, how about a question, C-CAT or CLIP, lawsuit waiting to happen?

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive