MATERIALS TECH NEWS

Markforged Introduces Solution for 3D Printing Pure Copper

Markforged Copper
Markforged Copper
Above: Markforged Copper sample parts/Image Credit: Markforged

Markforged, the leading provider of metal and carbon fibre 3D printers, announced the release of pure Copper – the Markforged Copper, for its Metal X system, making it the only reliable, affordable, and safe way to 3D print the widely used material. 

The new material allows for 3D printing pure copper parts on demand. This new launch will drive new manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies for customers – leading to reduced lead times and part costs, as well as eliminating the need for costly inventory.

According to Greg Mark, Markforged CEO and Founder, “Copper powers our world. It’s everywhere. It builds our cars, enables phones, and keeps electrical equipment running. Copper has traditionally been an expensive and challenging material to machine and incompatible for 3D printing in a pure form with other techniques. Now, we’ve made it easier and cheaper to produce. Markforged 3D printed Copper will be a game-changer for the automotive and electronics industries, and it will open the door to innovation across many more.”

The new material is available for the Metal X system, Markforged’s patented platform that safely and rapidly 3D prints metal. Copper is the latest metal to join the line-up of materials, which also includes aerospace superalloys like Inconel 625, 17-4 PH Stainless Steel, H13 Tool Steel, D2 Tool Steel, and A2 Tool Steel.

Markforged Copper

Markforged Copper
Above: Users see great results in printing tooling in copper/Image Credit: Markforged

Markforged Copper is greater than 99.8% pure copper with excellent thermal and electrical conductivity and high ductility. Markforged Copper can be used where thermal or electrical conductivity is required — and traditional manufacturing processes are too expensive or fall short. Alternatively, customers who work with aluminium over copper because of its processing challenges can now take advantage of easily 3D printing a copper part and benefit from the material’s higher thermal and electrical conductivity. 

Markforged Copper
Above: Electrical conductivity of Markforged Copper and other common metals/Image Credit: Markforged

There are several reasons why Markforged Copper will make a lasting impact.

1. One platform

metal 3d printing
Above: The Metal X 3D Printer from Markforged/Image Credit: Markforged

Printing with Markforged Copper involves the same simple process Markforged customers are used to with our existing metal materials on the Metal X System. No hardware changes are needed to start printing copper. Markforged customers order a spool, choose ‘Copper’ in the material drop-down menu in our cloud-based slicing software Eiger, and begin printing right away.

2. Easy to print

Markforged Copper
Above: Markforged 3D Printing Process/Image Credit: Markforged

The Metal X leverages a Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) processing method that makes printing copper simple for the first time. The process starts with metal powder, captured in a plastic binder (which makes it safe to handle filament on a spool), and then forms it into the part shape one layer at a time. After printing, users wash the part to debind the wax and then load the part in a furnace which thermally removes the remaining binder and then sinters the powder into the final fully metal part.

3. Expanded applications

Markforged Copper offers Metal X customers the ability to print parts that require thermal and electrical conductivity. This breaks open a new set of applications for manufacturers across industries.

Applications of Markforged Copper

From heat sinks and bus bars to custom welding shanks, Markforged customers are now able to reinvent the way they manufacture copper components. Customers are even experimenting with printing parts with complex internal cooling channels. Eliminate brazed or welded assemblies to reduce cost, increase consistency, and get rid of weak points. Here are some of the other ways you can use Markforged Copper:

Low-volume Production Parts: Print in copper for low-volume production parts when the cost of tooling would be too high and the geometries are complex. Examples include bus bars and heat sinks.  

Tooling: Users have already started seeing great results in printing tooling in copper. A great example would be spot welding arms, which require high electrical conductivity. 

Functional Prototypes: Users can test out ideas in Markforged Copper before investing in production tooling.


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