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3D Printing for Preppers: Copper 3D Printing Filament

While disaster has not yet befallen my humble family, there is no shortage of emergencies globally and the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated just how useful even desktop 3D printing can be during disaster situations.

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While disaster has not yet befallen my humble family, there is no shortage of emergencies globally and the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated just how useful even desktop 3D printing can be during disaster situations. Provided with the opportunity to review an Ultimaker S3 3D printer and several unique filaments, I thought I’d explore the 3D printing of simple goods that might be useful during emergency situations to get an idea for just how useful a desktop 3D printer might be.

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In addition to providing an overview of the subject, I’ve reviewed the Ultimaker S3 and spoken to Ultimaker about the use of desktop 3D printers in emergency and disaster scenarios. Perhaps the most exciting prospect for me when beginning this series was the creation of metal objects with a desktop system.

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To explore the possibilities of making metal with a desktop 3D printer designed for plastic filaments, I reached out to the Virtual Foundry, which manufactures filament and pellets composed of metal particles within a thermoplastic binder. Once printed, the part can be sintered in a furnace, resulting in a dense metal part. In a subsequent article, we’ll get into more detail about the Virtual Foundry and what they do.I printed the Virtual Foundry’s Copper Filamet on the Ultimaker S3 to determine how easily a novice user could produce metal parts using a desktop machine in a disaster or emergency scenario. As someone with no 3D modeling skills, my first step was to find a part that would be a suitable demonstrator for the concept, representing the primary obstacle to using a 3D printer in an emergency.

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