ColorFabb has made a habit of introducing new and unusual plastic filaments for personal 3D printers, and now they’ve made a breakthrough with a metal filament: bronzeFill.
Similar to their previous innovation, woodFill, bronzeFill is actually a plastic medium (PLA/PHA) infused with actual bronze metal powder. Aside from the metallic aspect, bronzeFill acts in a manner much like PLA: similar temperatures, but a slightly higher flow rate is required. But do you get a real metal finish? ColorFabb says:
Sanding and polishing your parts will make the bronze particles shine. Start sanding with grit 120-180 and make sure all the printed lines vanish. You’ll notice that because bronzeFill is easy to sand down, careful you won’t loose too much detail. Then start working your way up by following with grit 240-320 and finishing off with grit 600 - or higher. Finally we used a clean soft cloth and some copper polish to really get all of the shine out of the bronze particles.
Today you can pre-order a 750g (USD$70) or 1500g (USD$110) spool from ColorFabb. At this point bronzeFill is really a test. If successful, it’s likely ColorFabb will investigate other metallic-infused materials, such as iron. It’s probably unlikely they’ll work on precious metals, as the cost of the filament would be prohibitive.