3D printing with natural wood is not possible, but 3D printing with wood filament started in 2012 and remained a popular filament among some 3D printing enthusiasts.
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Typically, the wood filament remains a composite that combines a PLA base material with wood dust and other powdered derivatives.
- What Is Wood Filament?
- Types Of Wood Filament Brands
- Can You 3D Print Wood?
- Wood Printing Technology
- How to Print Wood Filament?
- Top 5 Tips For 3D Printing With Wood
- Is Wood Filament Abrasive?
- Wood Filament Temperature Settings
- How to Choose Wood Filament?
In short, wood-filled filaments refers to the PLA filaments that contain elements of wood particles or real wood fibers.
If you 3D print using wood filament, the final print will look and feel like wood.
3D printing with filament keeps gaining traction, and its application can be seen in household decorations, cosplay props, and toys.
The article provides information about 3D printing with wood that will help you use wood-filled filament if it best suits your 3D printing needs.
What Is Wood Filament?
Real wood refers to pure wood in its element. Thus, wood cannot be used for 3D printing on its own. You need to mix wood with PLA before you apply it in the 3D printing process.
Wood filaments remain composites that combine the base filament like PLA and real wood fibers. Therefore, they form filaments whose final 3D object contains properties that make them look like wood.
Also, the wood-filled filaments consist of 30% wood fiber, although the exact number will vary based on filament type.
The wood filaments lack the abrasiveness of other types of composite filaments like carbon fiber or metal-filled filaments.
Interestingly, some manufacturers design wood-like filaments that don’t have any wood particles but only have wood colors. The filament manufacturers take advantage of the soft nature of the wood particle to make filament that looks like wood due to the color.
Types Of Wood Filament Brands
ColorFabb WoodFill and CorkFill
The Dutch company ColorFabb manufactures woodFill and CorkFill brands; it’s a premium filament, quite expensive in the market but boasts an attractive surface look.
Also, it remains a composite filament that combines PLA filament and wood fiber.
Additionally, the filament produces a sweet aroma and is easy to print. If you want to post-process your print with CorkFill or WoodFill, you can easily sand them up for better print quality.
- Filament composition:30% wood and 70% PLA filament
- The wood type used: Cork or Pinewood
- Filament diameter:1.75mm and 2.85mm
- Filament spool sizes: WoodFill, 600g, 1.8kg, and Corkfill 650g
- Print temperature: WoodFill hot end 195-200 degrees celsius and heated bed temperature 0-60 degrees Celsius
- CorkFill hot end temperatures are 210-230 degrees celsius and a heated bed temperature of 0-60 degrees Celsius
Filamentive Wood Filament
3D printing enthusiasts like the functionality of the Filamentive Wood Filament. They offer rave reviews, terming it as a filament that prints like butter. So, it means the filament provides a pleasant printing experience.
- Filament composition: 40% wood and 60% PLA filament
- Filament colors: Light and Dark
- Filament spool size: 750grams
- Print temperature: hot end 200-230 degrees celsius and heated bed temperature of 0-60 degrees celsius
Form Futura Easy Wood Filaments
A Dutch filament manufacturer produces this wood filament. Its range of wood filaments, called Easy Wood, comes in seven different colors.
- Filament composition: 40% wood and 60% PLA filament
- The wood type used: Pine, Olive, Cedar, Willows, Ebony. Coconut, and Birch
- Filament diameter:1.75mm, 2.85mm
- Filament spool:250 grams, 500 grams, and 2.3 Kg
- Print temperature: Hot end 210-230 degrees celsius, heated bed temperature 0-60 degrees celsius
Can You 3D Print Wood?
Wood models are made from a brown, granular powder extracted from chips of wood. Also, the model surface, which remains porous, has a sandy, grainy look.
Additionally, wood remains a perfect material for complex models as it allows for 3D printing of interlocking and moving parts.
Most of the models you put on your desk and shelf are made of wood. The likes of architectural scale models, figurines, and awards fall in this category.
3D printing with wood enables you to create a model that cannot be manufactured using traditional woodworking techniques.
Wood Printing Technology
If you want to print 3D wood designs, you need to use laser sintering technology. The technology helps you print the model layer by layer using a laser that draws lines on your3D printer powder bed.
Additionally, the powder bed melts, bonding the powder with solidified layers as they were printed earlier. After the printer prints a layer, the roller spreads over a new layer of powder on the bed.
Furthermore, the printer contains a chamber that heats the powder below its melting point. Then, the laser beams add extra energy to melt the powder for a solid object.
After finishing your print process, you end up with a big block of warm powder that hosts the 3D model inside it.
How to Print Wood Filament?
3D wood filament printing may not be as simple as using a 3D printer to print other common filament types.
Therefore, 3D wood printing needs you to exercise patience, and you will need advanced 3D printing skills to do it.
Top 5 Tips For 3D Printing With Wood
1. Print With a Large Printer Nozzle
Many wood filament looks similar to the medium density fiberboard. Also, if you look at them closely, you may see big dark specks in the filament, though it depends on the filament brand.
As such, you need to use a 3D printer with a big nozzle that will accommodate the large specks. More importantly, ensure that the nozzle is big enough to avoid filament clogging inside it.
Consequently, you can use a 0.3mm nozzle, but you can also enjoy a range up to 0.6mm diameter to choose. Remember, the bigger the nozzle, the better!
2. Remove Filament From The Hot End When You Are Not Using Your 3D Printer
Always remove the 3D wood filament from your printer hot end when you are not using the printer. So, if you interrupt or switch off your machine, remove the filament from the hot end. Otherwise, the wood filament will burn up, causing a black sticky mess in your 3D printer extruder.
If filament burns up in the extruder, you can clean it up using a cleaning filament (check at Amazon).
3. Keep Temperatures Low
3D wood filament remains highly sensitive to higher temperatures. Consequently, if fine wood ignites in your printer nozzle, expect to get a nasty clog and maybe fumes.
Therefore, you don’t need to use a nozzle temperature that’s too high for the wood filament. Otherwise, it burns out.
4. Use A Faster Print Speed And A Higher Layer Height
Using a faster print speed coupled with a higher layer height allows the wood filament to move and pass through the nozzle more quickly.
It reduces the risk of your wood filament getting burnt and clogging in the printer nozzle. Additionally, the fast print speed offers your print a darker color.
5. Use High Retraction
Wood filaments run faster than the regular PLA. Consequently, when the printer head moves into position, retraction settings for PLA filament may not keep the wood filament from leaking out of the nozzle.
Setting your printer with a higher reaction helps you to find remedies for this situation.
Is Wood Filament Abrasive?
Wood filament consists of real wood particles. Therefore, the wood filament can be mildly abrasive. Furthermore, when wood filament stays for long, it tends to increase abrasiveness depending on the storage.
It proves a severe problem as it impacts both the printing process and the final production of low-quality prints.
Wood Filament Temperature Settings
a) Hot End
The temperature settings for Wood filament remain similar to regular PLA filament. So, you need to pre-heat your printer hot end to temperatures between 170-220 degrees celsius. The filament brand can only determine the exact temperature.
b) Produce Differing Shades Of Color
You can experiment with different temperatures, provided they all fall in the required range. Thus, it will enable you to produce prints of differing shades of color and finishes.
It happens because the extruder burns wood fiber at a higher temperature with different levels of effect, creating objects with differing shades of color.
c) Print Bed
To get high-quality 3D prints, pre-heat your print bed to temperatures between 50-70 degrees Celsius.
How to Choose Wood Filament?
The 3D wood filament remains a fast-growing filament in the market due to its popularity among 3D enthusiasts and professionals.
That means different types of wood filaments exist, and it’s upon the 3D printer users to make wise decisions to choose filament types that fit their needs.
Therefore, you can use the guide below to help you pick your ultimate 3D wood filament:
- Choose depending on the material composition
- Confirm if it’s water resistance
- Check filament elasticity
- Check filament affordability
- Confirm whether it’s eco-friendly
- Confirm that it’s free of odor
- Check for the right spool size
- Consider your printer type
The 3D wood filament’s popularity among professionals and 3D hobbyists keeps rising by the day. It provides users with the benefit of a wood-textured finish that provides an appealing product appearance.
It doesn’t need you to have an expensive wear resistance nozzle as part of the hardware and also gives out a romantic and pleasant smell during printing.
More importantly, its application remains widespread. For example, it’s used in architecture, household goods, manufacturing, and toys.
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