3D Printing Material: Brass
Here you will find all the information, tricks, know-how, and advice to help you print your 3D model in our brass material. You will learn about the:
- General Information & Printing Techniques
- Finishing Options
- Design Guidelines
- Technical Specifications
General Information & Printing Techniques
Our Brass Material
Sculpteo's brass material is composed of 80% copper, 15% zinc and 5% tin. It can be raw, mirror polished or mirror polished and plated. The final product is solid but susceptible to scratching and tarnishes quickly when exposed to air. It wears as would a brass product purchased from a mass producing jewelry store.
Processing Times and Pricing
The printing price of your design is calculated automatically the moment it is placed online. As you modify your object you will note that the price changes automatically. The pricing is based on a series of factors, including: total volume, object size, and bounding box.
Turn around time for our brass material is 7 to 9 business days. The plating option can extend the processing time by 2 days on average. That delay can vary depending on our 3D printers' load. The estimated shipping time is also calculated automatically as the object is uploaded.
Delivery time is in addition to the processing time. The shipping speed is determined by the shipping option you choose at checkout.
For our brass 3D prints, we use a lost-wax casting technique, where the original wax model is first printed using our 3D printers. From there a mold is made around the wax, before it is melted and filled with brass, creating your object. We go into further detail below:
- Model transferred to 3D printer
- Wax object is printed
- Object casted
- Cast removal and finishing
After creating your design with a program dedicated to 3D modelling and uploading it to our website, we automatically generate a set of supports for the model so it can be printed in wax. Those supports are removed after the printing process.
Our in house 3D wax printer is a ProJet 3500 CPX HD. The 3D printer uses a Multi Jet Printing process to fabricate the wax model. In short, small liquid wax layers are deposited on a printing bed in a series of layers which fabricate the final product. This particular process allows for an extremely high level of precision in your designs.
Supports that were printed to maintain the objects stability during the wax printing process are removed, and the wax model is covered with a stone-like material. Two holes are left in the stone to heat and drain the wax and refill with brass.
The cast is then removed by hand to ensure the solidarity of the object.
Uses and maintenance
Our brass models are assumed to encounter prolonged skin contact, and will cause no harm in doing so. In fact, our brass models are particularly adept for jewellery creation.
Brass oxidises in air, especially in humid conditions. We recommend keeping your brass models separately from your other jewels and to maintain them using a soft cloth slightly moistened with soapy water.
We propose 6 different finishes for your brass object's exterior surface.
- Raw: The model goes through a quick sanding process, removing any of the large impurities in the object. The remaining surface is rough but wearable as a ring or otherwise.
- Mirror Polish: The model is polished to a mirror shine in several steps through a tribofinishing machine. The mirror polishing uses a method of subtractive polishing, thus finer details may be less visible after the process. The inside of the object will also not be polished as it cannot be reached by hand.
White Rhodium Plating: The electroplating technique is used to plate your brass
model. During electroplating, the 3D printed object is
covered with a very thin layer of white rhodium, which
is considered to be a precious metal. White Rhodium is
similar to white gold, and is used to protect your brass
object from oxidation that may suffer from its exposure
Black Rhodium Plating: As during the White Rhodium Plating, also in this case is
used electroplating. During electroplating, the 3D printed
object is covered with a very thin layer of black rhodium.
As black rhodium is a precious metal, it gives your 3D
printed parts a dark grey tint. Moreover, it is recommended
to use black rhodium plating finish on your brass objects
as it protects them from oxidation.
Gold Plating: During this procedure, a thin layer of gold is applied onto the surface
of your 3D printed brass part. As explained in the previous
plating options, this option protects the brass from getting
oxidized. In addition, it gives your brass objects a shiny
and elegant gold surface, perfect for jewelry and decorative
Pink Gold Plating: When you plate your brass objects with Pink Gold Plating, a
thin layer of pink gold is applied on your brass model.
This prevents the surface of your 3D printed from oxidation
and it gives your brass items a pink-gold finish, perfectly
adept for jewelry.
|Standard layer thickness||25µm|
Our 3D printer, the Project 3500 CPX HD, allows us to print in high definition with a layer height of only 0.025 mm.
As a result, it is important that your uploaded file is the highest quality possible, such that no triangulation will occur in the final print. Yet, keep in mind that your 3D file cannot be up to 50Mb in size.
The layer thickness for our Brass is 25 µm. Shrincage may occur during the printing process. Thus, parts should be designed with the following shrinkage considerations:
- Raw parts: up to 2% shrinkage (On Average)
- Polished parts: up to 3% shrinkage (On Average)
Size Limitations Size Limitations
|Maximum size||88 x 88 x 120 mm|
The maximum size of your models are limited by the physical size of our 3D printers
- nothing can be printed larger than the printer bed.
The minimum size of your model was determined as a result of the casting. A model smaller than the parameters given is unable to complete a successful cast to be refilled with brass.
Minimum Thickness and Geometry of Your 3D Model
|Minimum wall thickness||
|Minimum wall thickness stemmed elements||1 mm|
Minimum wall thickness particular design aspects
The walls of your design must adhere to the minimum thickness in order to guarantee the structure will be supported without breaking under its own weight. If the walls of your model are less than this minimum, you should simply thicken the walls in 3D designing program or choose a material more adapted for thin designs.
A stemmed element is a design aspect which is at least twice as long as it is thick. For unsupported and stemmed elements or parts of the design with a particular design constraint, it is also important to respect a greater thickness in order to guarantee the object will not break. Please mind that if your model has a very weak geometry, it will need more supported structure to survive the whole casting and finishing process. Also, try to avoid the very sharp edges. Due to our intensive polishing process these edges will get rounded off, and the final result might be different than what you expected.
With a 0.8 wall thickness, your design will be slightly flexible. To obtain more rigidity, we advice a 2mm wall thickness. Brass is a relatively malleable and heavy material, it can be distorted if too much weight is applied on an area of your object. We recommend that you thicken the most stressed parts, or choose a more fitting material to your design.
Brass is a relatively malleable material. Most stressed and fragile area may be distorted. We recommend that you thicken them to avoid distortions.
Sculpteo offers an online solidity check tool which highlights parts of the print that may be too thin for a print. From there you are able to tweak your design in order to create an object that is an appropriate thickness. To use it, you just need to upload your 3D file , select your material and clic on “Verification” tab.
Keep in mind that our solidity check tool does not detect physical aberrations such as floating parts, unstable position, parts supporting too much weight relative to their thickness, etc. Particular care must be given to the geometry of your design and the most stressed parts must be thickened.
Etching and embossing
|Minimum size of details||
|Minimum height and width for a readable text width||
height: 1.5 mm
Width: 0.5 mm
For your plated 3D printed objects, the polished/premium cast materials the minimum wall thickness is 0.8mm. In wire it should be 1.20mm.
For your plated 3D printed objects, the minimum engraved and embossed detail level should be 0.3mm for raw and 0.35 for polished cast material. The depth to width ratio should be 1:1. If the depth of the model is larger than the width we can have problems in casting.
For brass, the main determining factor in a details minimum size is the casting process. As an object is copied into a mold then refilled with brass, some etched and embossed details become more complicated to fill. Thus in order for a detail and text to be visible and will not break we recommend following our recommended sizes at the very least. To ensure a better visibility, details' width must be at least as big as their depth.
Enclosed and interlocked volumes
|Interlocking parts ?||No|
Brass models do not have the ability to be printed with objects enclosed within another object. This is because the object is first printed in wax, which requires supports for otherwise free-floating objects.
Minimum spacing and clearance
|Minimum spacing between fixed walls||
Clearance is the space between any two parts, walls or wires. Products are printed in wax, and then a liquid plaster mold is poured around them. If the clearance between features is very small, the plaster may not fully infiltrate the tiny gap. And if it does, a plaster wall that is too thin can break when the liquid metal is poured around it. Both issues can cause defects in your product. To ensure the successful creation of your product, make the clearance between walls and wires greater than the indicated minimum. If your clearance is too small, try making the gap bigger, or consider fusing the features if their independence is unnecessary.
Assembled pieces are currently not possible with our brass printing option.
As the print is first carried out in wax, the object cannot be hollowed in the manner some of our other materials are able.
Files with multiple objects
|Files with multiple objects ?||
This is not possible to 3D print a 3D file containing several objects in brass.
Multiple objects and clusters
It is not possible to print a 3D file containing several objects, that's why we
cannot accept files that contain clusters of multiple objects. Though,
if you wish to purchase more than one identical parts, you can select
the number of parts you want to order during the checkout. The more
parts you order, the lower your price per part gets.
To get more information on your metal additive manufacturing service, you can contact our qualified sales team.
|Composition of our brass material|
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