Dev: metal printing

Early experiments with metal printing with a Budaschnozzle 1.1 are looking good. Repeat: early experiments (Tin 95.8%, Copper 4%, Silver 0.2%, McMaster 76805a61). If you can wait a few days before trying this out, I’ll let you know if it destroys the nozzle. Fun fact: silver solder will stick to painters tape.

The flow cuts out after about 15mm of 3mm feed, we might be able to extrude continuously with a larger thermal mass around the nozzle (metalschnozzle?). Alternately we could print in short bursts through some sort of g-code trickery.

Enjoy, and stay tuned


Oooooohhh. Turbine printing possibilities maybe someday?

Very cool, keep us posted. I heard from two other folks last week that are also doing low-cost metal printing.

Things are looking good! A few things to keep in mind:
-Ventilation is important whenever you’re working with solder, and printing uses a lot of it
-Solder has a tendency to clog, similar to PLA but a lot more quickly

The solder tends to have a hard time with smaller diameter nozzles, but flows freely through a 1mm nozzle at 235C. It doesn’t stick to painters tape well enough to print intricate shapes, but basic ones are fine. I’m going to try printing on a raft of ABS and a sheet of copper to try for a metal octopus. Then the turbine fans :slight_smile:


Here’s a couple more photos of BAM’s print.

Here’s some writeups from Rhys Jones too, which may be helpful:

maybe 1.75mm filament will be easier to keep at extrusion temperature, compared to 3mm.
not sure how small of a diameter you can get solder in, but less mass in the melt chamber may be easier to extrude.

Does it ooze?

Warning, attempting solder printing can wreak havoc on your nozzle. proceed with caution.

Those write-ups are great! Definitely worth a read.

I like the idea of a smaller diameter filament, looks like 1.57mm is a std size and may be close enough. There wasn’t much of an issue with oozing, the biggest problem is that the filament cools the nozzle tip to below the melting point while the heater block still melts the solder (I’ll post some pics later of the solder leaking out between the noz and threaded extension).

So far the biggest problem is that the solder corrodes brass and aluminum. What started as a 1mm nozzle was much closer to 2mm after feeding the entire 1lb roll of solder. I’m planning on restocking the solder and attempting to print with a steel hotend (prusa?), or finding a shop that can anodize a few nozzles for me.

more to come

if you can get a stainless steel nozzle made, that should help.

also maybe insulating the nozzle will help keep the solder from prematurely solidifying (I think that is what you were describing).

I have been thinking of trying to extrude MIM material (MIM=Metal Injection Molding). MIM material is a mixture of polymer and powder metal specifically designed for injection molding machines. Not even sure if the material can be extruded into filament, but if it can, it should be much more stable to extrude…though it needs more post processing.

Solder extruding certainly has some potential though. Thanks for sharing.

That metal injection molding sounds awesome, I’ll have to check into it

Nice…just saw your stuff picked up by adafruit and hackaday blogs.

any new updates?

Thanks! I was pretty stoked about that. Unfortunately no progress since the first posts, I’ve gotten bogged down a bit on some other projects (dual extrusion and a production class reprap :sunglasses: ).

I’ve got more solder on order and a few ideas on how to improve the prints, so hopefully I’ll have something soon!
Some things I’m planning on trying:
*Faster extrusion at higher nozzle temps (going to give an all metal noz a shot)
*Printing through a glass nozzle (I’ve got some lab grade glass eyedroppers on order that I’ll try to hack into a hotend
*Smaller diameter filament (should cut down on the heat soaking up through the filament)

anything else you guys think I should try out?


Just found this thread, and wanted to say Hi. Was curious if this is still ongoing or not.

You might be interested in trying an E3D hotend, they now sell stainless steel nozzles:

Also, these guys sell a special low friction nozzle, that is coated in nickel, which has very low solubility in tin.
might provide some protection, similar to anodizing.

Let me know if you try any of these, I am looking forward to seeing if any of them work.


I’m very interested in information on printing pure lead metal. From your (bam’s) attempts with solder, it looks like it is feasible. Any guidance/suggestions are appreciated (from anyone). Thanks!