Markforged has today announced a new filament for the Metal X 3D printer — Copper.
Because of its excellent electrical conductivity, copper is the most widely used metal in electrical equipment for wiring and motors. It also has outstanding heat sink properties in terms of its thermal conductivity – around 60% higher than that of aluminium. This makes it incredibly effective at removing heat.
However, despite copper being one of the most widely used metals for electronics and consumer products, its biggest consumer is the construction industry where it is used to form pipes and tubing and heating and cooling systems.
The introduction of Copper to the Markforged Metal X ecosystem means that for the first time ever, engineers and designers can 3D print pure copper parts for end-use applications.
The Metal X uses a print process called Metal FFF which is proprietary to Markforged. It prints parts in metal powder (copper powder) surrounded by plastic. Parts are then sintered in an oven, with the plastic melting away and the metal powder transforming into solid, dense metal.
Parts and models printed in Markforged Copper offer the same strength and density as forged copper. The critical difference between 3D printing and forging, however, is with 3D printing you can manufacture complex and intricate parts you would otherwise not be able to. This is an exciting advantage.