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  • Filamet tungsten View larger

    Filamet tungsten

    The Virtual Foundry

    New product

    2 Items

    405,00 €tax excl.
    490,05 €tax incl.

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    With 95% metal, radiation shielding parts are obtained without the need to be sintered.

    Filamet™ tungsten from The Virtual Foundry (TVF) is an innovative filament composed of 95 % metal and the rest by PLA. The Virtual Foundry is an American company formed by great experts in the sector of molten metal, which have been constantly working since 2014 to improve and grow its range of filaments and accessories for 3D FDM metal printing. Its products are oriented to solve and simplify problems through innovative metallic materials for 3D FDM printers of any kind.

    Collimator made of sintered tungsten

    Image 1: Collimator made of sintered tungsten. Source: The Virtual Foundry

    Tungsten is a metal of high density, high hardness, with the highest melting point (3422 °C) of all metals and the highest boiling point (5930 °C) of all materials. This set of properties makes tungsten ideal for the manufacture of filaments of incandescent lamps, electrical resistors, welding electrodes and other elements subject to high operating temperatures. Thanks to its compact molecular structure (BCC), tungsten is ideal for the manufacture of shields, both rod-shaped and plate-shaped, against all types of radiation (gamma and neutron rays), with superior protection power to lead, without producing the typical toxicity released by this heavy metal. The military sector uses this material to a large extent since World War II due to its high density and hardness, ideal properties to manufacture armor for vehicles (land and air) and projectile points that are intended to attack tanks and airplanes. Its applications do not end here, tungsten alloys are commonly used in high-speed cutting tools, pen tips, fluorescent tubes, jewelry items and ceramic pastes.

    Tungsten Filamet™ has the highest density of all existing filaments, even higher than GMass™, allowing parts to be made up to 4 times heavier than with conventional materials (PLA or ABS). Tungsten, despite belonging to the group of heavy metals, such as lead, is completely safe and non-toxic, being able to use and store this filament normally, without the need for any special safety equipment.

    A remarkable application of tungsten Filamet™ (without sintering) is the impression of radiation shielding vessels (150 kva). These types of containers are used to transport radioactive medications without having to resort to lead (toxic) containers. Thanks to the density of tungsten, 1.6 higher than lead, this filament is ideal for creating any type of replacement part made from lead.

    As with all Filamet™ metallic filaments, when printing tungsten Filamet™, the user must take into account that a stainless steel nozzle should be used, but due to the high density of tungsten, a nozzle diameter up to 0.3 mm, diameter that allows parts to be made in great detail.

    The Virtual Foundry has been the pioneer in developing metallic filaments for 3D printing after many years of research and development. The great competitive advantage developed is that to obtain the pure metal parts it is only necessary to print the piece and sinter it in an oven. Other manufacturers that have tried to develop metallic filaments need to do one more process (prior to sintering in the furnace) which is the debinding that consists of a chemical process to separate the binder polymers from the metal. Therefore, it can be concluded that The Virtual Foundry is the pioneer and the benchmark in 3D metal FDM printing, obtaining a fairly simple process with results never seen so far in the world of metal fabrication.

    Currently, a large list of industry sectors are using The Virtual Foundry filaments: 3D printer manufacturers, biomedical innovation, jet engine development, radiation shielding (150 kva), space exploration, nuclear energy, dental, artists or fashion design. A remarkable application is the manufacture of a drill with internal hot water heating, for drilling in the Antarctic. With the Filamet™ copper it has been manufactured very easily and at a low cost, a drill with an internal structure extremely difficult to machine or mold has been manufactured very easily and at a low cost.

    Filamet™ tungsten is a filament formed by base metal and a biodegradable and ecological polymer (PLA). This material is free of exposed metal particles and volatile solvents that can be released during printing. Formed by 95 % tungsten and the rest by PLA, this material is extremely simple to print, since its printing properties are similar to those of the PLA, which allows any user of a FDM 3D printer create parts with this filament, without the need to buy expensive industrial 3D FDM metal printers. With Filamet™ tungsten properties similar to those possible with DMLS technology are achieved but with certain limitations. Due to the need to sinter the printed pieces with this filament, where the PLA is removed, the pieces have porosity, loss of volume and non-isotropy. DMLS 3D printers manage to print totally solid parts (similar to the foundry), in great detail, layer heights of 0.02 mm and without the need for post-processing, the only disadvantage compared to Filamet™ 3D FDM printing the cost of: material, manufacturing and the printers themselves.

    Precision part made of sintered tungsten Filamet™

    Image 2: Precision part made of sintered tungsten Filamet™. Source: The Virtual Foundry

    Due to its large metal content (95 %), it is necessary to place the filament inlet as aligned as possible with the extruder. Once a piece is printed, it is necessary to carry out the sintering process, in an open environment or in a vacuum or inert environment, to eliminate the polymer (PLA), taking into account that sintering values must be adjusted depending on the geometry and oven model. The product that is obtained is totally metallic, with the real properties of the metal as electrical conductivity, post-processed by sanding and polishing or even welding union; but with a certain porosity and a reduction in volume due to the loss of PLA. To know more about the whole process of printing, sintering and post-processing you should visit the "Tips for Use" section.

    Users who do not have an kiln with the necessary properties to sinter the printed parts with the Filamet™ tungsten and get the final properties of this metal, can contact us and we will assess its viability through our collaborators with ability to perform the post-processing necessary to obtain the desired final result.

    Machinable Machinable
    Abrasion resistance Abrasion resistance
    Fatigue resistance Fatigue resistance
    Vibration resistance Vibration resistance
    Electrical conductivity Electrical conductivity
    UV resistance UV resistance
    Thermal conductivity Thermal conductivity
    Metallic content Metallic content
    Detectable Detectable
    Moisture resistance Moisture resistance
    Chemical resistance Chemical resistance
    Medical use Medical use
    Hide color variations (Hide color variations)

    Post-processing: Sintered in vacuum or inert environment

    For sintering in a vacuum or inert environment, a crucible (cooking vessel) and refractory powder are neededAl2O3. he piece is prepared for sintering by placing it inside the crucible and covering it with refractory dust, taking into account that there must be at least 10 mm of dust between the surfaces of the piece and the crucible. The crucible is then placed in the oven at room temperature. The temperature is increased to 205 °C in a time of 200 minutes. Then, in a 180 minute interval the temperature is raised to 400 °C. In a 180 minute stretch increase the temperature to 1300 °C and keep it for 440 minutes. Finally, let the oven cool down to room temperature. The user must take into account that sintering values must be adjusted depending on the geometry and oven model

    Filamet™ tungsten sintered graphic

    Image 1: Filamet™ tungsten sintered graphic

    With sintering in a vacuum or inert environment, the mechanical properties of the final product are directly related to the time that the printed part is maintained at the sintering temperature. If the final product is powdery and brittle, the sintering time has not been sufficient. If the print shows a surface similar to wrinkled skin, it is over sintered. Finally and as a general rule, during the sintering process the volume of the piece is reduced by 7 %.

    Sintering processSintering process

    Image 2: Sintering process. Source: The Virtual Foundry

    Post-processing: Sanding and polishing

    Cube polished copperOnce sintered the piece can be sanded and polished in the same way as a metal but following a series of indications. With water sandpaper it is possible to eliminate the printing lines and other small deformations because the loose particles during sanding adhere to the gaps due to the heat of friction. In case of using sandpaper or 3M radial disc it is recommended to start sanding with a grain of 120 (80 for 3M radial disc), being careful not to deform the most delicate areas, such as corners. Once the entire surface has been sanded, a sandpaper of the next grain should be used and so on until it increases 6 or 7 (4 times for the 3M radial disc). Before moving on to the final polishing it is recommended to use a 3000 grit sandpaper, with which a certain gloss is achieved. Finally and once the piece is cleaned with a flannel cloth, the piece can be polished. TVF recommends using a rotating tool with a polishing disc and polishing wax to make polishing faster and more efficient. Simply apply a little polishing wax on the polishing disc and polish with constant movements throughout the piece so as not to generate excess heat, which can deform the piece. In addition to sanding and polishing parts made of tungsten Filamet™, it can be carved, recast, welded and smoothed with heat application.

    General information
    Manufacturer The Virtual Foundry (USA)
    Material Tungsten (95 %) + PLA 
    Format Spool of 500 g
    Density 8 g/cm3
    Amount of metal (volume) 66 %
    Amount of metal (mass) 95 %
    Diameter of filament 1.75 or 2.85 mm
    Diameter tolerance
    Filament length ±26 m (Ø 1.75 mm - 0.5 kg)
    ±10 m (Ø 2.85 mm - 0.5 kg)
    Color Dark grey
    RAL/Pantone  -
    Print settings
    Printing temperature 205 - 215 ºC
    Temperatura de base/cama 50 ºC (optional)
    FilaWarmer temperature Do not use
    Print bed temperature -
    Chamber temperature -
    Print speed 30 mm/s
    Nozzle diameter ≥0.3 mm stainless steel
    Recommended infill 100 %
    Sintering properties
    Container Stainless steel crucible
    Refractory powder Al2O3
    Maximum temperature 1300 ºC
    Mechanical properties
    Izod impact strength 62.1 J/m
    Charpy impact strength -
    Elongation at break -
    Tensile strength 21.4 MPa
    Tensile Modulus 5820 MPa
    Flexural strength 47.3 MPa
    Flexural modulus 4620 MPa
    Surface hardness -
    Thermal properties
    Softening temperature 80 ºC
    Melting temperature -
    Specific properties
    Transparency  Opaque
    Radiation protection (without sintering) Yes (150 kva)
    Additional Information
    HS Code 8101
    Diameter coil (outer) 300 mm
    Diameter coil (inner hole) 65 mm
    Coil Width 55 mm


    * The typical values detailed in this table should be considered as a reference. Actual values may vary depending on the 3D printer model used, part design and printing conditions. We recommend confirming the results and final properties with own tests. For more information you should consult the technical data sheet of the product.

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