Metallic / Ceramic 

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The production of all-metal or ceramic parts using FDM 3D printing is now possible thanks to manufacturers such as The Virtual Foundry, BASF or Nanoe. After the 3D printing process, the resulting parts must undergo a sintering process to obtain the final all-metal or ceramic part.

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Most of the filaments with metallic or ceramic particles on the market contain a minimum percentage of these materials. This means that 3D printed parts with these filaments inherit a surface finish similar to the corresponding material (metallic or ceramic), but in no case do they acquire the properties of the material in question. These filaments are intended for purely decorative applications. 

Metal and ceramic filaments for 3D printing

Over the last few years, different manufacturers have been researching and developing metal and ceramic filaments in order to obtain all-metal or ceramic parts.

These filaments are composed of a base polymer and a high percentage of metallic/ceramic particles (>80%). Parts 3D printed with this type of material must undergo a sintering (and in some cases debinding) process through which the polymeric part of the material is removed and the metallic or ceramic particles are joined together, resulting in a completely metallic or ceramic part.

All-metal or all-ceramic parts with FDM 3D printing

In contrast to 3D printed parts with decorative metal/ceramic filaments, 3D printed parts with high metal or ceramic filaments inherit the properties of the corresponding material. In the case of metal filaments, the parts have similar characteristics to those possible with DMLS technology, albeit with certain limitations. 

Due to the need to sinter 3D printed parts with metal and ceramic filaments, where the bonding polymer is removed, the parts exhibit porosity, volume loss and anisotropy. Despite this, FDM metal and ceramic 3D printing involves a significantly lower cost in relation to the material, the manufacturing process and the equipment itself.

There is now a wide range of metal and ceramic filaments with potential applications of great interest to both research and industry.