So I broke down and purchased my own 3D printer, when I discovered some amazing new materials that are 80% powdered metal. They are Bronzefill and Copperfill, created by a company called ColorFabb in the Netherlands. This is like creating cold-cast bronze, but directly printing it instead of casting it in a mold.
My first print using Copperfill turned out great. The material cools a little slower than regular PLA, so it doesn’t warp at all. I did increase the temperature on my extruder to 215C instead of the default 208C. I’m using the Printrbot Simple Metal, which I am very pleased with (that’s an affiliate link, so if you are in the market…). Below are the steps I used to finish my print:
- Print your part. I’m using my design, YodaBuddha
- Clean up the print using needle files, sandpaper, and even a soldering iron! This last tip is a great way to weld different parts together! Use steel wool to buff the surface and expose the metal particles.
- Apply traditional cold patina (I’m using Mahogany from Sculpt Nouveau) with a brush or spray bottle. You may want to warm up the print with a hair dryer before applying. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then reapply until you get the darkness you want.
- When the print is dark enough, use the steel wool to gently buff the raised areas to bring out the metallic luster.
- Seal the print with clear wax. I used floor wax!
That was all there was to it. I hope this inspires you to do some 3D printed bronze yourself!