BASF Ultrafuse® Metal Filament

Print Real Metal Parts With Your Everyday 3D Printer Using BASF Ultrafuse® Metal Filament



Get more from your desktop 3D printer with BASF Ultrafuse®, the innovative stainless steel filament designed for metal 3D printing.

BASF Ultrafuse® is engineered for seamless use on standard Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printers, offering a blend of design freedom and cost-efficiency. This metal 3D printer filament allows for the production of metal parts easier, faster, and more affordably than traditional methods. Through a catalytic debinding and sintering process, parts printed with Ultrafuse® achieve their final properties, including superior hardness and strength, a technology pioneered by BASF and now the industry standard for metal filament printing.

Benefits At-A-Glance

  • Easy and affordable metal 3D printing
  • Fast material exchange and easy handling
  • For all open-source FFF printers
  • Produces parts of stainless-steel 316L metal
  • Uniform particle distribution enhances mechanical properties
  • High flexibility of filament enables successful printing in any FFF printers
  • Compatible with both Bowden and direct drive extruders

Example Applications

  • Tooling
  • Jigs and fixtures
  • Functional prototypes
  • Small series production


Everything You Need To Know For Successful Prints With BASF Ultrafuse®

How Printing with BASF Ultrafuse® Works

Metal 3D Printing, or metal additive manufacturing, typically follows a multi-step process to create fully dense metal parts.

Printing a Green Part: The process begins with printing a "green" part using BASF Ultrafuse®. The printer deposits layers of the filament according to the digital model. The binder holds the metal powder particles together, but the part is still fragile in this state. BASF metal filament allows parts to be manipulated in their green state for greater customization before sintering.

Debinding: The green part undergoes catalytic debinding to remove most of the binder material, often through exposing green parts to gaseous nitric acid (HNO3) in a nitrogen atmosphere, resulting in a more solid "brown" part.

Sintering: The brown part is then placed in a high-temperature furnace for sintering. The remaining binder burns off, and the metal particles fuse together, creating a dense, solid metal part. After sintering, parts printed with BASF Ultrafuse® stainless steel filament match the mechanical properties and machinability of conventional 316L or 17-4PH stainless steel.

The resulting metal part can then be further processed with traditional manufacturing techniques such as machining, polishing, or coating.

Why Use BASF Ultrafuse?

Choosing BASF Ultrafuse® as your metal 3D printer filament opens the door to functional metal part production at a fraction of the cost. Unlike traditional metal additive manufacturing systems, such as Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) machines which start at around $600,000, Ultrafuse® is designed to be compatible with commercially available Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printers.

BASF's metal filament allows users to produce lightweight parts with intricate designs not possible with traditional methods. It also offers cost-effective small-scale production capabilities for strong and precise stainless steel parts.

What's It Made Of?

Ultrafuse® metal 3D printing filament consists of 90% stainless steel powder, blended with Polyacetal and Polyolefin polymers to ensure compatibility with a wide range of FFF printers, including both Bowden and direct drive extruders. This combination maintains structural integrity during printing and provides easy, quality metal part production on standard FFF machines, setting a new standard in affordable metal 3D printing.

Sample Print Gallery

3D Printer Requirements

BASF Ultrafuse® metal filament was created to run on a wide range of commercial FFF machines. Here are the requirements for a printer to run these filaments.

  • Heated Bed
    • Bed Temperature between 100-120C
  • Extruder Temperature
    • 240C minimum
  • Bowden or Direct Drive Machine
    • This material is both flexible and stiff. As a result, it can run on Bowden or Direct Drive machines.
  • Enclosure
    • An enclosure is highly recommended. This will help with layer adhesion. Layer separation is not fixable with this material due to the sintering process. If parts have separated layers, they will not sinter correctly.
  • Hardened Nozzle
    • While you can print with a non-hardened nozzle. It is not recommended. Small metal particles in the material will cause faster wear of non-hardened nozzles.

Printing Instructions

For detailed printing instructions, please refer to this User Guidelines document.

Keep in mind that parts will shrink anisotropically during the debinding and sintering process, so you'll want to scale your parts up in your slicing software as follows:

  • X and Y: Scale by +119.82%
  • Z: Scale by +126.10%

Important update: Ultimaker Cura v5.0 introduces improved support for BASF Ultrafuse, making it easier than ever to print metal parts with your Ultimaker 3D printer. Check out our Ultimaker Cura 5.0 Overview video for details.

Processing Instructions

For detailed instructions for the debinding and sintering process, refer to this Process Guidelines document.

Refer to the BASF Ultrafuse Processing Ticket page for details about the process for outsourcing the debinding and sintering of your parts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can BASF Ultrafuse® Metal Filament Be Used on Any FFF Printer?

Yes, BASF Ultrafuse® metal filament is compatible with all open-source FFF printers, offering high flexibility and easy handling. It is engineered to work with a wide range of commercial FFF machines, provided they have a heated bed, can reach the required extruder temperature, and ideally have an enclosure to ensure optimal layer adhesion. This versatility makes it accessible for users to start printing metal parts on their existing 3D printers without the need for specialized equipment.

What Are Some Applications of BASF Ultrafuse® Metal Filament?

BASF Ultrafuse® metal filament is suited for a variety of applications, including tooling, jigs and fixtures, functional prototypes, and small series production. Its ability to produce parts from stainless-steel 316L metal expands its usability across different industries, offering an innovative solution for creating metal parts that require superior hardness, strength, and specific mechanical properties.

What Equipment Is Needed to Sinter Parts Printed with BASF Ultrafuse® Filament?

To sinter parts printed with BASF Ultrafuse® filament, you'll need access to a sintering furnace capable of reaching the specific temperatures required for the catalytic debinding and sintering process. This equipment is crucial for transforming the printed green part into a fully dense metal component. Since sintering equipment is specialized and can be costly, many users opt for services that offer debinding and sintering, making the technology more accessible for small-scale operations and individuals without the need for significant investment in additional equipment.

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