3d Printer Filament Made Of Wood

Believe it or not, you can now squeeze wood through the nozzle of your 3D printer.

This new addition to the maker’s palette of 3D printer filaments comes from the mind of [Kai Parthy]. The new filament – going by the name Laywood – is a mix of recycled wood fibers and polymer binders that can be melted and extruded just like any other 3D printer filament.

Parts printed with Laywood have about the same properties as parts printed with PLA filament. One interesting feature of this material is the ability to add ‘tree rings,’ or a subtle gradation in color from a rich brown to a very nice beige. The color can be changed on the fly by setting the temperature of your printer’s hot end to 180° C for a light color, and 230° C for a darker color.

Judging from the ‘in action’ video of Laywood filament being pushed through a printer, the new wood-based filament works just the same as any other PLA or ABS plastic.

Outside eBay, there appears to be only one place to buy this filament. It’s not cheap at about €16/$20 USD per half kilogram, but hopefully that price will come down when it becomes more popular.

Video after the break.


24 thoughts on “3d Printer Filament Made Of Wood

  1. Interesting that we have come full circle — rayon was one of the first “synthetic” fibers (early 1900’s) that was basically just digested cellulose from wood pulp that was then spun out into fibers. You gotta like a natural polymer!

  2. While not exactly this filament, I saw wood print at the KamerMaker project last sunday. http://kamermaker.nl/

    Really nice, as it also smells like wood. And doesn’t have shrinkage.

    I also got a chance to talk to Andrew from faberdashery. I don’t know if they will do wood filament. But there are ideas for conducting filament, and I placed the idea in his head for magnetic filament.

  3. I would like to see someone reinvent LOM – a rapid prototype built up from layers of paper. I used it back in the 90s and it made tough models that looked really cool – layers of paper end up looking and feeling like wood. I quit using it in favor of SLA but the parts were smaller and more fragile and just didn’t look as cool.

  4. Neat, especially the color changing part.

    I wonder if it can be finished like wood. Can you sand it smooth? If stained, is the result pleasing? Will oil or water based polyurethane adhere well to it?

  5. The colour changing part is really interesting. I wonder whether you could get a temperature sensitive dye for PLA or ABS, to allow multicolour prints by just altering the temperature during the print? Seems a lot simpler than having multiple print heads, but I guess the temperature range would have to be pretty narrow so it didn’t affect the plastic itself too much.

    1. Well, OK, this stuff ain’t Rayon (“manufactured regenerated cellulose fiber” — basically digested wood and the “viscose solution is extruded through a spinneret”) but I was reminded of Rayon with this new “melted” wood fiber that is extruded… I took liberty to free associate. But it’s got me thinking again about chemistry again — always a good thing!

  6. 3D printers were usually used to create prototypes and moulds, therefore mechanical properties of the material were of secondary importance. It seems that only the hobbyists and hackers/makers use 3D printers for actual one-off production of working parts. That’s why for them it is important to have wide spectrum of choices regarding materials.

    What if the filament had an unbroken string of silk, Kevlar, glass fiber, metal wire or even carbon fiber embedded in it?

    What if printhead was designed in such a way that it allowed non-melting thread insertion through port separate from basic material filament port, to let you experiment combining various fibers with various thermoplastics into novel laminates?

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