New 3D Printing Material

Shapeways Introduces Aluminium as New 3D Printing Material


If your filament isn’t strong enough for your prints, you may be happy to hear that Shapeways introduced a new addition to their materials lineup – aluminum! Great for making “iToys”. 

Why is this exciting? Well, Shapeways aluminum has a higher strength to weight ratio than any of their other materials.

It also has high thermal conductivity and the ability to support interlocking parts as well as being corrosion resistant.

Aluminum is Shapeway’s 54th material offering and was actually introduced last year as part of their pilot program. With the help of community members, they were able to perfect the material and make it ready for all the interested designers out there.

3D Printed Aluminum: Lightweight and Sturdy


Shapeways tells in their press release: “Using a process called selective laser melting (SLM), the material is directly melted and fused from a bed of metallic powder that results in a solid alloy. Similar to the selective laser sintering (SLS) process we use to manufacture Strong and Flexible Plastic, SLM allows for strong yet light products. The difference in SLM is that the high power laser provides enough energy to fully melt the metallic powder, which is then quickly cooled to solidify the metal. The outcome is a strong, homogenous and high tolerance metal part that can result in shapes and designs that are impossible to create through traditional manufacturing methods.”

One of the major uses for 3D printed aluminium is aerospace and automotive industries thanks to its material properties, for example, its high strength to weight ratio.

How Can You Use Aluminium for Your 3D Prints?


If you’re hoping to create a product which is both light but still strong – aluminium is your material. Whether designing toys, gears or drone parts and tools, aluminium’s properties should make these prints easier to create with.

Other interesting options include bottle openers, multitools and camera rigs. Shapeways also note that aluminum is also widely used for protective casing for laptops, phones and sports equipment – so get designing!

If you fancy testing out this aluminium for yourself, then you can simply upload your design, place an order and you’ll have your own 3D printed aluminum design within a couple weeks.

What Does 3D Printed Aluminium Cost?


Of course, the material has its price. You pay

  • $10.00 handling fee
  • $7.00 per cm3
  • $0.23 per bounding box cm3
  • $0.45 per surface area cm2

It ships in 15 business days. If this interests you and you’re hoping to print in aluminum, then check out the video below to learn more or visit the aluminum material page for design guidelines.