One of my latest experiments has been adding small amounts of metal powder to resin to see if a metallic resin can be produced.
I first did some small samples of different clear resins (Photocentric and Makerjuice G+). I did a ratio of 5 grams metal to 45 grams of resin. I mixed each thoroughly and placed them in petri dishes (but only just enough resin to cover the bottom of the dish). I left them in front of a 50W UV lamp for about 10 minutes. I did the standard post cure process for each and the results were promising. I buffed each one up with some coarse steel wool and I was able to get a rough but buffed metal look.
The Makerjuice G+ has one of the highest tensile strengths out there so I decided to try a test print. Using the same 5g metal/45g resin ratio, I prepared about 180ml of the resin solution. Things appeared to be fine at first. I checked the print progress after about 6mm of supports. The supports had SOME metal in them but I noticed that the metal powder in the vat was settling to the bottom quite fast. I grabbed a small wood stirring stick and agitated the solution a bit. That was when the experiment revealed itself as a bust. The metal powder settled so densely that it was like half-cured cement in the vat. To make matters worse, the vat bottom made it difficult to get the metal powder moving (too much surface friction).
In the end, I had to toss the vat because the metal powder had basically contaminated it because the resin would not suspend the powder very well. I tried the Photocentric and made a 180ml of the metal/resin solution. It took about 3 minutes for it to become noticeable that the metal powder was not staying suspended.
I may attempt this experiment again using a finer mesh powder (the brass powder I have is 40 microns in size). I am also going to see how some of the mirror effect powders do in UV resin–hopefully they will not settle out of the resin.
Anywho, I just wanted to share what I’ve been trying. Hopefully this will deter anyone from trying this at the moment until a solution for the pigment settling is found. Unfortunately most of the resins just aren’t viscous enough to prevent the metal powder from settling to the bottom of the vat quickly.