Once again we’re proud to announce a new member in our growing family of 3D printing materials. After offering 3D printing in gold, silver, ceramics, and even wood, we can now let you create and order 3D prints in our 19th material as of today: copper!

Introducing 3D Printed Copper

Today, for the first time ever, you have the chance to get your design 3D printed in copper with i.materialise! Copper is an affordable metal with a very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Watch the video above to see it with your own eyes!

Copper is used a variety of objects: typically, wires, cables, and parts of electronic items are made of copper since this material is such a great conductor. It is also often used for tubes, door knobs, handles, and coins since it does not attract bacteria. Besides, copper is known to be found in architecture, household items, art, medals, and jewelry.

a ring printed on a copper 3d printer
a 3d printed coin in copper
3d printing in copper is now possible

Colors and Finishes for Copper

Copper has a reddish color by nature. Your model is polished magnetically and by hand. You have the option of coating your copper model against scratches with a clear PU coat. This coat will also slow down corrosion but it won’t prevent oxidation in the long run as the material is very sensitive. Visually, there is no real difference between uncoated and PU-coated parts at first. When corrosion starts to happen, the difference will become apparent and a greenish verdigris or tarnish (patina) will become visible.

piguin by bert de niel 3D printed in copper

Designing for Copper

Have you already designed something for our gold, silver, bronze, or brass materials? Then there’s another bit of good news: the design specifications for copper are exactly the same. Minimum wall thickness (0.5 mm), minimum details (0.3 mm), and maximum printing size (88 x 63 x 125 mm) won’t change. Click here to find out more about the design specification for printing in copper.

a high quality copper 3d print

3d printing in copper

copper 3d print

The Technology behind a Copper 3D Print

This is due to the fact that the technology for printing in gold, silver, bronze, brass, and copper is the same: a mix of lost wax casting and 3D printing. First, a wax cast of your item is 3D printed and then covered in fine plaster. When the plaster solidifies, it is placed in an oven and heated to a point where the wax is completely melted out. The metal is then poured into the empty cast and your real 3D printed metal item is created. In the final step the item is finished manually. Click here if you want to find out more about the technological aspects of printing with copper.

A flow chat of the Lost Wax Casting process for 3D printed designs.

Lost wax casting & 3D printing is used for a variety of metals, including silver, gold, brass, bronze … and copper!

Do you feel like creating a 3D print in copper now? Make sure you check out our material page about copper first to learn more about it. Upload your model here to order your 3D printed copper item today, or visit this page to compare it with the 18 other 3D printing materials we offer.

  • Buy Big Tires

    Now that is cool! I would love to own some 3D printed gold and silver bullion…and that zero Euro copper coin looks sweet as well.

    What do you guys think of 3D printed tires for cars, trucks and heavy equipment? Is it remotely possible in the near term or is something like that still 15 to 20 years away?

    Here’s our recent post exploring the idea:
    http://buybigtires.com/commentary/3d-printed-tires-the-future-of-the-tire-industry/

  • Fabian

    Hi there and thanks for your question.

    I think this is absolutely possible in the near future and by no means 15 or 20 years away. We noticed that there is a lot of potential and there are already a lot of uses of rubber and rubber-like materials in the 3D printing industry.

  • Buy Big Tires

    Hi Fabian, thanks for your reply.

    Do you think it would be difficult for current 3D printers to work with multiple materials. In the case of radial tires the printers would need to print the rubber then at some point would need to switch over to print the steel belts under the tread and then switch back to rubber material to encase the steel belts. I wonder if it could be set up so that the printer could automatically switch between the materials?

  • Fabian

    Hi again 🙂

    Currently this is still tricky. By far the most 3D printers currently in use, can only print in one material.

    Some printers are already able to use and mix different colors, or even use different materials of the same material family (i.e. different types of plastics).

    So far a printer cannot print rubber and steel at the same time at an economic price. However, 3D printing companies are currently putting a big focus on new multi-material 3D printers. So I guess it will only be a question of time… 🙂

  • Buy Big Tires

    Hi Fabian, thanks again for your knowledge. We’ll definitely stay tuned and hope to see some awesome multi-material 3D printers hit the market sooner rather than later.

  • Fouad Racy

    Utterly brilliant!

  • Heba Eldweek

    Please I want to Know How can I get this machine?,How much is it?
    and what about the thickness.. Is there a machine which print copper with minimum details 0.01 mm??

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