3D printing with wood? You better believe it!

You may remember back in 2011 an article showcasing a new ability to use wood as a 3d printing material. Thousands of bloggers wrote this news up as gospel and enthusiasts went gaga all over social networking platforms. Unfortunately for many in the 3D printing industry and community, they hadn’t quite cottoned onto the date; April Fools!

However, the gag did open the door uop to a challenge; developing a method of 3D printing that utilised wood.  A year and a half later and we have exactly that.

Inventor Kai Parthy has spent the last year developing what he calls LAYWOO-D3; a RepRap compatible FDM filament made from a recycled wood and polymer composite.

The material allows users to print “without warp” and makes a “rough or smooth surface possible during one print”, according to Parthy. LAYWOO-D3 even prints the effect of annual tree rings by adjusting the temperature between 180°C and 245°C

Parthy says of his filament: “you can print in temperatures from 175°C to 250°C without blocking the nozzle. The flow of molten is excellent.

“The printed wood will appear rough, similar to Medium-Density Fibreboard, but playing with the feed settings can create more craters or a smoother surface.

“After printing it looks like wood and smells like wood!”

He adds that the filament is not cheaper than standard ABS or PLA printing materials because the half-polymer binder is a non-typical bio-product.

LAYWOO-D3 is not in mass production just quite yet, but samples can be purchased for 3D printers to trial at home via eBay.

Check out this video to see the LAYWOO-D3 in action

About Pete Reynolds

Pete Reynolds works for Emco, a 3D printing machinery provider for industry and the education sector. He also contributes to 3Dprintingiscool.com

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