Want to print something in real brass, tin, or some other metal? Well, you can! Kind of… In reality you’ll be printing a mold using a wax 3D printer filament. But after a few extra steps, your design really can come to shiny, metally life.
The process is called “lost-wax” or “investment” casting, and it more-or-less works like this:
- Create a positive wax mold, i.e. a wax replica of what you want the final metal product to look like.
- Dip the mold in plaster and let it dry.
- Put the wax-plaster object in an oven. At a high enough temperature, the wax will melt away, leaving a negative space within the plaster, in which the metal product can be cast.
Wax 3D printer filament makes the first step easy, as one would normally have to carve the mold out of pure wax.
Dominating the wax 3D printer filament arena is MOLDPLAY, by Kai Parthy CC Products. When using this or similar wax-like materials, keep in mind that they are much softer than most types of 3D printer filament. Among other precautions, it may be necessary to modify your extruder and layer your print bed with an adhesive.
When Should I Use Wax (MOLDLAY) 3D Printer Filament?
If you’re casting pieces from metals, wax-like filaments like MOLDLAY could give you greater flexibility with the ability to directly 3D print intricate and complex designs that fit into a lost-wax casting workflow.