Composite 3D Printing filaments are a mixture of a carrier polymer (like PLA or ABS) and an additive that alters or enhances the 3D filaments aesthetic and physical properties. Bronze, Copper and Wood are common additives.
Using a carrier polymer that can be easily printed, like PLA, means that some of the properties of the additives which could not normally be easily 3D printed can be enjoyed. These properties may be visual, like a pleasing metallic finish from a bronze composite filament. Alternatively, the additive may impart a physical property, like increased flexibility from an aluminium composite.
The ratio of carrier polymer to additive will vary between manufacturers. An important consideration when selecting a composite 3D printing filament is that the higher the percentage of additive, the more abrasive the filament will be. This can lead to damaging the nozzle of your 3D printer. For high ratio composites this can only be avoided using a hardened nozzle.
You should also consider how much post-processing you want to carry out on your composite 3D print. To get the desired finish, some composite filaments will require extensive processing with rock tumblers and polishing creams whereas other composite filaments will require little or no processing to achieve the desired finish.
Composite filaments are a rapidly growing area of 3D printing with many new, exciting composite types hitting the market. Here on Filaments.directory you can find the right composite filament from the right brand using our constantly updated list of suppliers.