Products and Design

5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could 3D Print in Cast Metals

Cast metals: They’re elegant, they’re tough, and they can handle it when things get complicated. They are the fabulous, but reliable friend you go to when you need practical support and classic beauty.

At Shapeways we offer a whole variety of 3D printing-enabled cast metals for you to choose from. The 3D printing cast metal process is simply an expedited and super-powered version of the traditional metal casting process, allowing for more intricate, interlocking, and complicated designs. Check out the five creative possibilities below for a boost of motivation to create your own masterpiece!


1. Interlocking Puzzle Ring

Indeed, what you’re looking at is one ring, designed by Oskar Puzzles. These interlocking parts all fit, stacked and snug, as one ring, and they were printed together as one piece. Certain cast metals, such as brass, are fantastic for printing interlocking parts. Which means you can print moving parts of a machine — or puzzle rings!


2. Bottle Openers


Why have a normal, plain bottle opener when you could have a 3D printed cast metal bottle Voronoi Pocket Bottle Opener by designer Shapespeare that also lifts can tabs for you? While cast metals are not as strong as our stainless steel option, they are metal, and can open your beer bottles, no problem. Fun fact: The pattern that you see so often on 3D printed objects is called the Voronoi pattern, and while I could not explain the mathematical concept to you, 3D modeling programs such as Autodesk Fusion 360 have made it simple for you to apply it to your own designs.


3. Caged Heart Pendant

If you’d prefer something a little more romantic, check out this Caged Heart Pendant from XIX84. 3D printing-enabled cast metals are able to capture incredible detail, so you can simulate a multitude of textures. The process of casting metals limits size possibilities, so practically speaking, they are definitely more suited for printing smaller objects like jewelry.


4. Electronic Pipe

Alternatively, if you’re looking for more hands-on projects, ceci est une DIY e-pipe. Specifically, the DNA Pipe by Mortimer. You must acquire and assemble all parts before you can enjoy this magnificent pipe. Cast metals are fantastic for printing mechanical parts for any DIY project.


5. Trilobite Shell


The ability to recreate ancient extinct creatures is just one crazy advantage of 3D printing. And this metal model of a trilobite shell by Elytra designer Dr. Allan Drummond is a perfectly gorgeous example of just that. Paleontologist Glenn Brock was ecstatic about this model when Drummond unveiled it, telling Nerdist that “I’m very happy with how it turned out. When you hold [the model] in your hand, it practically squirms. You can imagine her exploring her world, questing with her antennae, seeking prey and potential mates.” We can imagine this incredible 3D printed cast metal model shimmering on our shelves.


Today we discovered an extraordinary range of items you can 3D print with cast metals. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and explore any one of these five designs, or head to your favorite 3D modeling app and create your own 3D print. Be sure to show us the results in the comments below!

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