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Topic: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

One of the neatest finds at the Milwaukee Maker Faire was Virtual Foundry and their copper filament.

This stuff has incredibly high metal content - the highest of any 3d printing filament on the market today. It can be either printed and then polished, or it can be fired to evaporate the PLA content and fuse the metal.

The samples were not free, but did include a mini buffing kit and a chunk of polishing rouge to polish a print. the stuff they had on display was amazing looking.

http://soliforum.com/i/?CPEKE1O.jpg

http://soliforum.com/i/?ZhpEM5d.jpg

so, finally getting around to testing this stuff out since I am home sick.

started with my usual calibration cube, but just barely tall enough to measure..

shown with a standard ABS cube (blue) for comparison...

http://soliforum.com/i/?bbuNNRs.jpg

the ABS cube on the scale...

http://soliforum.com/i/?BJm8TJ1.jpg

and the half height copper filament cube...

http://soliforum.com/i/?thxSBsC.jpg

more than double the weight!

It prints quite nicely at the recommended settings
Hotend: 205C
Bed: 50-55C

The biggest thing they suggest is dropping print speeds to about half of what you would normally use to print PLA.
I set my normal print speed to 30mm/sec and it is printing very well so far

It took me a while to decide what to print with this stuff, but I finally decided to print out a chess piece - the King.
Because of the limited quantity, I scaled it down to 3/4 size, just to make sure I had enough to complete the print

More later after the print finishes, and I try out the polishing...

SD4 #1 - Lawsy carriages, E3D v6, Rumba controller board, mirror bed plate, X motor fan & upgraded PSU & Mica bed heater
SD4 #2 - basically the same as SD4 #1 now... wink
Folgertech 2020 Kossel kit with reprinted plastics and top mounted bearing spool feed
Folgertech FT-5 - in progress... (sold the 2020 Prusa)

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Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

Very interested in your results. I'm a huge fan of exotics/composites and I've been following this brand for a few weeks, they have some makes on Thingiverse that look amazing also. https://www.thingiverse.com/thevirtualfoundry/makes

FT acrylic i3 - Titan - e3dv6 - OctoPi
FuseBox 1.4 CoreXY (x2) - e3dv6cano/e3dv6 - Graphic Smart Display
Solidoodle 2 - e3dv6 - Hobb Goblin - Mk6 - lawsy carriages - Direct Drive Y Axis

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Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

Yup, they had all of those pieces at the maker faire - you can see the stay puft marshmallow man in the pic above. wink

will have some more pics to post shortly - got to get them off the phone.

SD4 #1 - Lawsy carriages, E3D v6, Rumba controller board, mirror bed plate, X motor fan & upgraded PSU & Mica bed heater
SD4 #2 - basically the same as SD4 #1 now... wink
Folgertech 2020 Kossel kit with reprinted plastics and top mounted bearing spool feed
Folgertech FT-5 - in progress... (sold the 2020 Prusa)

4 (edited by heartless 2016-09-29 20:36:55)

Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

ok, so print settings may need a little tweaking, but not too bad for a first go round... only problem was I had a hard time getting it off the print bed and broke it just above the small flare (you can see a small gap in the pics)

just after printing finished...

http://soliforum.com/i/?A7sk4Xs.jpg

and next to an ABS one I had printed some time back...

http://soliforum.com/i/?TY9YnkB.jpg

the ABS version on the scale...

http://soliforum.com/i/?RzUf7Zq.jpg

and the copper one on the scale...

http://soliforum.com/i/?VhEA67Z.jpg

will be attempting to polish this evening... will post pics of the results later

SD4 #1 - Lawsy carriages, E3D v6, Rumba controller board, mirror bed plate, X motor fan & upgraded PSU & Mica bed heater
SD4 #2 - basically the same as SD4 #1 now... wink
Folgertech 2020 Kossel kit with reprinted plastics and top mounted bearing spool feed
Folgertech FT-5 - in progress... (sold the 2020 Prusa)

5

Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

I can't wait to see your results from finishing. I only have so much of the sample, so I have no idea what to print!!!
I haven't even taken mine out of the package...do you find it to be more brittle than other PLAs? That was my biggest gripe the ProtoPasta....but Filamet is a whole other tier for quality.

As a side note, I talked to Brad and Jeremiah from The Virtual Foundry several times and both assured me that a standard brass nozzle is all they used for 70% of all prints they did with a stock Printrbot Simple. After about 20 prints, they had some clogging (not uncommon with PLA), but have had zero issues since switching to a .5 nozzle.

Printit 8.10 printer
Multiple SD2s- Bulldog XL, E3D v5/v6/Lite6, Volcano, Hobb Goblin, Titan, .9 motor, Lawsy carriages, direct Y drive, fishing line...the list goes on
Filawinder and Filastruder #1870.....worth every penny!

6 (edited by heartless 2016-09-30 01:30:20)

Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

ok, ok - geez - ya slave drivers... LOL

Yeah, I couldnt decide what to do either, and thingiverse is being a huge pain so I dug through what I already had and settled on the chess piece. I wanted something big enough that it wouldn't be a pain to polish.

It is a bit on the delicate side - it broke when I first started printing the king, luckily it was only on the 1st 2 layers so not a lot wasted. Being an un-spooled sample, I just kind of looped it onto an empty Taulman spool i had lying around but didn't secure the end at all, so it would spin on the spool - i had to make sure there was plenty of slack fed down off the spool so it wouldn't break again. Properly spooled on a nice, easy rolling, bearing spool holder it shouldn't be a problem.

It just so happens that SD4 #2 has a hardened nozzle installed, so that is the one it got printed on, with a 0.4 and a 0.254 layer height (1st layer was 0.3175 as they recommend not smooshing it too much to the bed)

I think good clean bare glass would be sufficient for this stuff - I still had hairspray on mine and it stuck VERY well - had a hard time getting it off, even after the bed had cooled completely.

Ok, so I know everyone is waiting ever so patiently for pictures...

Well... KEEP WAITING! tongue

j/k - here ya go...

started off with just a little sanding - 100 grit to start, then 150... oh, and I did not do the whole thing yet, just to show the difference....

http://soliforum.com/i/?pPFDERz.jpg

then a bit of polishing using the supplied green rouge and mini buffing wheels on my rotary tool...

http://soliforum.com/i/?9MtYTlP.jpg     http://soliforum.com/i/?vh6uL8R.jpg

and for a little better view, laid it down at an angle....

http://soliforum.com/i/?5MmCa5x.jpg

this was only after maybe 10-15 minutes counting the sanding and polishing together - I am sure with a bit more work it will shine up even more... need to try to find my white rouge out in the garage... really bring that shine up. wink

As with any kind of "finishing" job, you get out of it what you put into it... more sanding with finer grits would probably polish up nicer than what I have at this point.

SD4 #1 - Lawsy carriages, E3D v6, Rumba controller board, mirror bed plate, X motor fan & upgraded PSU & Mica bed heater
SD4 #2 - basically the same as SD4 #1 now... wink
Folgertech 2020 Kossel kit with reprinted plastics and top mounted bearing spool feed
Folgertech FT-5 - in progress... (sold the 2020 Prusa)

7

Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

Did those guys happen to mention anything about their bronze filamet? Not available for sale on their website but you can find a few 0.5kg rolls on Amazon.

FT acrylic i3 - Titan - e3dv6 - OctoPi
FuseBox 1.4 CoreXY (x2) - e3dv6cano/e3dv6 - Graphic Smart Display
Solidoodle 2 - e3dv6 - Hobb Goblin - Mk6 - lawsy carriages - Direct Drive Y Axis

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Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

I sent them an email yesterday asking about other metals which I know they have successfully made. I notified them of this thread, so hopefully they pop in to say hello and answer some basic questions.

Printit 8.10 printer
Multiple SD2s- Bulldog XL, E3D v5/v6/Lite6, Volcano, Hobb Goblin, Titan, .9 motor, Lawsy carriages, direct Y drive, fishing line...the list goes on
Filawinder and Filastruder #1870.....worth every penny!

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Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

Not sure if you guys have heard of colorfabb but they've also got a big range of different infused materials. This is a full list of everything theyve got -

Bamboo
Wood
Copper
Bronze
Brass
Steel
Cork
Carbon Fiber

All the metal ones are able to be polished up like you've shown above and give pretty nice finishes from what I've seen on their facebook page. Heres where you can find all the "special" plastics http://colorfabb.com/specials

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Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

I'm not discrediting Colorfabb, but the average exotic PLA containing metal will only have a maximum of 50%ish metal whereas Filamet contains 88.5% metal.

Printit 8.10 printer
Multiple SD2s- Bulldog XL, E3D v5/v6/Lite6, Volcano, Hobb Goblin, Titan, .9 motor, Lawsy carriages, direct Y drive, fishing line...the list goes on
Filawinder and Filastruder #1870.....worth every penny!

11

Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

the shrink wrap on the sample I got said 89.5% metal - but the outer bag said 88.5% - not sure which is correct, but either way, that is a LOT of metal content to still be easily printed on any 3d printer.

and Colorfab's filaments can not be fired to produce 99%+ pure metal pieces... Filamet can be.

SD4 #1 - Lawsy carriages, E3D v6, Rumba controller board, mirror bed plate, X motor fan & upgraded PSU & Mica bed heater
SD4 #2 - basically the same as SD4 #1 now... wink
Folgertech 2020 Kossel kit with reprinted plastics and top mounted bearing spool feed
Folgertech FT-5 - in progress... (sold the 2020 Prusa)

12

Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

Yeah you're not wrong about that, I think the Colorfabb filaments are about 40% metal. Just thought I'd share because they've got such a big range.. Even though some of it is still experimental

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Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

In my experience the CF bronze is not particularly easy to get a good shine . the brass may be better. At $120 a roll not that easy to experiment with.

And the CF products have been mentioned and reviewed on this forum .
Many of us have dealt with Printedsolid out of Newark DE.



Heartless do they publish the shrinkage for the fired product ? also what do they charge for firing. Or do they publish firing instructions ? seem like one would need to coat the piece with investment , fire to burn off the plastic and melt the metal .

Soliddoodle 4 stock w glass bed
Folger Tech Prusa 2020 upgraded to  ED3v6 and titan extruder
Marlin/Repetier Host/ Slic3r and Cura

14 (edited by heartless 2016-10-01 12:11:34)

Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

they do provide instructions for firing (i don't think they will do it for you), and the powder used to make the substrate to suspend the printed object during firing is included with purchase. This isn't exactly cheap either, at $85 for 0.75kg,

Shrinkage is not mentioned, but I am sure they could give you an estimated % if you asked.

More info can be found on their website: http://www.thevirtualfoundry.com/

they even have a small forum there to ask questions.

Oh, and it seems to be a recommendation to use high infill percentages for best results (especially if you will be firing the piece) - I used 10% on the chess piece and broke it - twice... hmm  it does glue back together using the gel type CA glue just fine however.

SD4 #1 - Lawsy carriages, E3D v6, Rumba controller board, mirror bed plate, X motor fan & upgraded PSU & Mica bed heater
SD4 #2 - basically the same as SD4 #1 now... wink
Folgertech 2020 Kossel kit with reprinted plastics and top mounted bearing spool feed
Folgertech FT-5 - in progress... (sold the 2020 Prusa)

15

Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

So, answer me this: If you burn out the polymer particles and just leave the metal particles, what holds the metal together?

Robox printer, HICTOP (Prusa i3 variant) Model 3DP17 printer, ELEK 2.5W laser engraver, AutoDesk 123D Design, Windows 10

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Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

Finally caved in and bought the last roll Amazon had of their BronzePLA FilaMet. Scoured the tiny forum they have for some info.

From their lead of product support and development who does most of the answering, shrinkage is reported at 1% or less.

From the inventor: "This is Brad Woods, I invented Filamet. The percentage we list is by mass, not volume. The loss of volume is compensated for by a phase our polymer goes through during heating. If you make a print, fire it and cut it in half you can see what's up. Quite simply our polymers "foam up" at a stage after it becomes liquid. This foam and escaping gasses force metal against the walls of the investment creating thick outside walls, and fill the cavity with a geometric form that resembles Styrofoam. Unlike styrofoam the cell walls are very thick, adding strength to the structure."

FT acrylic i3 - Titan - e3dv6 - OctoPi
FuseBox 1.4 CoreXY (x2) - e3dv6cano/e3dv6 - Graphic Smart Display
Solidoodle 2 - e3dv6 - Hobb Goblin - Mk6 - lawsy carriages - Direct Drive Y Axis

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Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

" against the walls of the investment" sounds like using an investment-grade mold.

Robox printer, HICTOP (Prusa i3 variant) Model 3DP17 printer, ELEK 2.5W laser engraver, AutoDesk 123D Design, Windows 10

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Re: Virtual Foundry Metal filament

From what I see this is a form of investment casting  sort of . In real investment / lost wax casting you coat pour invesment around a pattern  that is burned out then you pour metal in the hot mold .

This method the pattern is more or less the metal and i epect yhe casting is pourous or hollow or likely some of each.


Tin

Soliddoodle 4 stock w glass bed
Folger Tech Prusa 2020 upgraded to  ED3v6 and titan extruder
Marlin/Repetier Host/ Slic3r and Cura