3D Printing Pure Metal with Filament™

Working with Filamet™

Due to its high metal content, The Virtual Foundry metal Filamets will inherently break more easily than standard PLA. Following these instructions will make Filamet™ easy to use.

Bronze is the best material to start with since it is easy to print and sinter. The Getting Started Bundle comes with everything you need to print, debind, and sinter Bronze Filamet™, minus the printer and kiln.

Spool Placement

  • Place the spool so that pull and friction are reduced as much as possible. The filament should come off the spool straight into the feeder. For Direct Drive, this means you simply hang the spool right above the printer. For Bowden fed printers, this means placing the spool next to or under the feeder.
  • Use a Filawarmer to ease the path from spool to printer.
    • The metal particles in Filamet™ are surrounded by plastic. This plastic keeps the memory of its shape on the spool. As Filamet™ passes through the warmer, the memory of the Filamet™ is reset and prints with ease. This effect lasts for about 24 hours.
    • Caution! Heating the entire spool at once will cause the filament to become extremely brittle. It’s important to heat only the single strand as it goes into the printer.

Filawarmer Setup

The Filawarmer warms, strengthens, relaxes, and anneals the filament as it comes off the spool. It comes pre-programmed to the perfect temperature.

Direct Drive Extruders: Hang the Filawarmer so that the top of the warming tube is at the same level as the spool center hole. The bottom of the Filawarmer should be about 400mm from the top of the extruder.

Bowden Extruders: Hang the Filawarmer so that the bottom of the warming tube is at the same level as the spool center hole. The top of the Filawarmer should be against the bottom of the extruder feeder.

(Purchase a Filawarmer here.

The Best Nozzle

Use a 0.6mm or larger hardened steel nozzle for the following filaments:

  • Aluminum 6061 Filamet™
  • Amaco 46-D Ceramic Clay Filamet™
  • Bronze Filamet™
  • Copper Filamet™
  • Inconel® 718 Filamet™
  • Stainless Steel 17-4 Filamet™
  • Stainless Steel 316L Filamet™
  • Rapid 3DShield Tungsten Filament
  • Pure Iron Filamet™
  • Titanium 64-5 Filamet™
  • Silicon Carbide Filamet™
  • Zirconium Silicate Ceramic Filamet™
  • Pyrex® (Borosilicate) Filamet™

Use a 0.8mm or larger hardened steel nozzle for the following filaments:

  • High Carbon Iron Filamet™

Slicer Settings

Resolution: 0.12 – 0.2mm is recommended for best results.
Wall Thickness: The minimum recommended wall thickness for parts that will be sintered is 0.18mm.

Top/Bottom Thickness: The minimum top/bottom thickness for parts that will be sintered is 0.18mm.

Infill Density: The minimum recommended infill for parts that will be sintered is 30%. For best results, it is recommended to have 70 – 100% infill for parts that will be sintered. Less than 100% infill helps to allow space for gases to escape.

Hotend Temperature: Start at 210°C (410°F) and tune in the range of 190-230°C (374 – 446°F). Going under 190°C (374°F) can cause jamming. Going over 230°C (446°F) can cause debinding in the nozzle, resulting in a jam.

Build Plate Temperature: Optionally, set the print bed to 40-65°C (104 – 149°F). 65°C (149°F) is recommended for glass/G10 build plates. This setting is optional for other build plate materials.

Flow Rate: Set the flow rate to 135% to start and adjust it as you go. The Universal Calibration Rings model can be used to tune your flow rate.

Build Plate Preparation

With a glass build plate, clean the build plate with isopropyl alcohol and print directly on the clean glass. To remove the print, remove the hot build plate from the printer and rest it on a cool/cold surface. Do not freeze the entire print. A razor blade can be helpful in removing stubborn prints.

With a powder coated spring steel build plate, no preparation is required.

With a PEI, aluminum, or other build plate type not mentioned, apply a layer of blue painters tape. For easier removal of prints, heat the build plate before removing the print.

Note: Do not print Filamet™ directly onto PEI. Prints will weld to the build plate.

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