Handcrafted solid wooden furniture has been popular because it’s unique aesthetic. But wooden furniture has always been expensive because of the high costs of quality wood, experienced craftsman as well as the high demand from the market.
Could wood-based material lead 2014 3D printing priorities?
Usually when we think of materials that can be used in 3D printers, we think of substances like plastic, resin or metal. But now the 3D printing community is toying with wood, a more natural material with a unique aesthetic.
Voxeljet, a company that provides high-speed, large-format 3-D printers is currently developing new material sets, including additional sands, ceramics, cement and wood powder. Voxeljet’s printers use powder binding technology, which involves chemical binding agents used to bind together the material being printed. But why are they developing wood powder materials? It certainly suggests a larger market for 3D printed wood products.
In addition to its obvious application of creating natural looking objects, things made with the material reportedly won’t warp, and can be painted, ground or cut like wood. The development of wood material enables more applications in design and furniture industry and material developers see the opportunities. This year, a few startups have demonstrated their new wood-filament with different characteristics.
For example ColorFabb’s WoodFill. The WoodFill is made from 20% recycle wood that is combined with polymer binders.
Another wood-based material, the Pop Wood filament from Chinese manufacturer PopBit, is a new composite material made up of original poplar powder. The processing temperature of the Pop Wood is 170-230C, and similar to WoodFill, it will take on a different shade of brown, depending on the temperature at which it’s printed.
With every passing day, more and more developers and researchers are discovering new uses for their 3D printers. However the possibility of using wood based materials to print 3D models is an attractive option, especially because of its Eco-Friendly nature.
In a world, where we are manufacturing tons of 3D printed plastic utensils every day, wood based materials could be the next big leap for the 3D printing industry.