Why Would You Need Tungsten 3D Printer Filament?

By on March 19th, 2015 in materials

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We’ve noticed MakerGeeks sells spools of tungsten infused filament. Is this something you could use?

We think maybe. While there are several other metal-infused filaments available, such as bronze, copper, steel and more, what’s so special about tungsten? 

The GMASS product sold by MakerGeeks could be used for radiation shielding in medical or other experiments. According to MakerGeeks: 

The non-toxic fillers in GMASS make it an excellent choice for radiation shielding without the environmental impact of lead. 

However, in reality, the “tungsten” filament is composed of a mix of “proprietary compounds of bismuth and tungsten”. 

Both bismuth and tungsten have relatively high atomic masses, making them more appropriate for radiation shielding. However, the filament is not exclusively made from them. Instead, it’s actually a mix of the powdered metals and a standard 3D printing polymer. Thus your tungsten prints may require many extra layers to ensure a sufficient amount of mass to provide enough radiation shielding for your application. In any case, we suspect your prints will be quite heavy by volume compared to typical plastic prints. 

We suspect most makers don’t typically make devices requiring radiation shielding. But if you do, this might be a material to consider. Even better, MakerGeeks has marked down the price for a kilo of tungsten filament from the spectacular price of USD$196 to only USD$80. 

But remember, a kilo of pure tungsten is only around 50ml of volume due to its high atomic mass, so you may need more kilos than you thought. 

Via MakerGeeks

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!