Recently, with a broadening range of available materials and alteration of feeding processes, several extrusion-based 3D printing processes for metal materials have been developed. An emerging process is applicable for the fabrication of metal parts into electronics and composites. In this paper, some critical parameters of extrusion-based 3D printing processes were optimized by a series of experiments with a melting extrusion printer. The raw materials were copper powder and a thermoplastic organic binder system and the system included paraffin wax, low density polyethylene, and stearic acid (PW–LDPE–SA). The homogeneity and rheological behaviour of the raw materials, the strength of the green samples, and the hardness of the sintered samples were investigated. Moreover, the printing and sintering parameters were optimized with an orthogonal design method. The influence factors in regard to the ultimate tensile strength of the green samples can be described as follows: infill degree > raster angle > layer thickness. As for the sintering process, the major factor on hardness is sintering temperature, followed by holding time and heating rate. The highest hardness of the sintered samples was very close to the average hardness of commercially pure copper material. Generally, the extrusion-based printing process for producing metal materials is a promising strategy because it has some advantages over traditional approaches for cost, efficiency, and simplicity.
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