Maybe you’re looking for a different type of aesthetic in your prints — something a little bulkier and shinier. Well, for that you can use metal. Like wood 3D printer filament, metal filament isn’t really metal. It’s actually a mix of metal powder and either PLA or ABS. But that doesn’t stop the results from having the look and feel of metal.
Even the weight is metal-like, as blends tend to be several times denser than pure PLA or ABS.
Bronze, brass, copper, aluminum, and stainless steel are just a few of the varieties of metal 3D printer filament which are commercially available. And if there’s a specific look you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to polish, weather, or tarnish your metal items after printing.
You may need to replace your nozzle a little sooner as a result of printing with metal, as the grains are somewhat abrasive, resulting in increased nozzle wear.
The most common 3D printer filament blends tend to be around 50% metal powder and 50% PLA or ABS, but blends also exist that are up to 85% metal.
When Should I Use Metal 3D Printer Filament?
Metal can be used to print for aesthetics and for function. Figurines, models, toys, and tokens can all look great printed in metal. And as long as they don’t have to deal with too much stress, feel free to use metal 3D printer filament to create parts with purpose, like tools, grates, or finishing components.