You might soon be able to 3D print wood | Sculpteo Blog

You might soon be able to 3D print wood

Posted By Lucie Gaget on Mar 20, 2019 | 0 comments

We are now able to 3D print a lot of different materials, and researchers continue to be interested in the development of new 3D printing materials. Today, let’s talk about this new project of 3D printed wood, developed by researchers from Columbia University! They managed to 3D print digital wood. How? What are the possibilities offered by this experiment? What are the different possibilities we actually have to 3D print wood? Let’s discover it right now!


3D printing wood: Is it already possible?

A new experiment has been led

Could it be possible to 3D print wood with the same quality we now print metal, plastic or resin? Maybe soon. A new manufacturing technique has been developed to 3D print wood, or should we say, to 3D print parts looking like wooden parts!

The resin blocks developed by the researchers look just like olive wood! The huge challenge of wood 3D printing is actually to recreate the external and internal texture of wood. Engineers from Columbia University actually used voxel mapping to create objects with a rich internal structure.


3D printing wood

In order to mimic the structure of wood, they had to expose and go through a 3D scanning process of the internal structure of a wood sample; obviously not the easiest thing to do. Engineers used a special technique they called destructive tomographic imaging. This process involves slicing the wood using a 3040T desktop CNC machine, with a camera controlled by a program taking consecutive images. Each slice was 27 microns in height corresponding to the layer height of the 3D printer used in the study.

Images of the wood sample had to be scaled to match the printer’s XY resolution, and then, the RGB images were converted into a CMYK standard, to fit the requirements of the 3D printer used for the experiment. Thanks to all of that, a GrabCAD voxel file has been made using all of these information.

3D printing wood

What about 3D printing wood filament?

Scientists from Michigan developed last year a technique allowing 3D printing with wood filament made of… wood waste! Recycled wood might be the next solution to print a wood project. Indeed, using a process in four different steps, scientists succeeded in creating a filament made out of wood waste and PLA plastic.

In order to do that, the wood waste has been transformed into powder and then heated with PLA pellets. Once it is cooled down, the mix is solidified and … Here is the wood filament!


wood filament

Image via Forest Products Society

Perpetual research of new 3D printing materials

If you follow our 3D printing blog and receive our newsletter you should know it: a lot of 3D printing material research is made to increase the benefits of 3D printing. Why is it so important to create new 3D printing materials, you might ask. New design and manufacturing techniques and even finishing techniques are making the technology go further every day. Possibilities offered by 3D printing technology are endless, and developing new 3D printing materials with new properties will help this technology develop to its full capacity.

Using new printing materials, new industries, companies, and sectors could start to be interested in additive manufacturing and improve their manufacturing process significantly. All this research is so promising, and some of your projects could soon be 3D printed with wood, with some good print quality! Wood 3D printers could be a reality sooner than expected.

Do you need to create a project using wood?


Maybe you can’t wait until the manufacturing technique developed by researchers from Columbia University comes on the market or could use another digital manufacturing method for your wooden projects. At Sculpteo, we have a solution for you… Indeed, have you ever considered laser cutting? Different kinds of woods are actually available for you to build your projects.


What kind of wood do you need? Using our service, you will get the chance to digitally manufacture Plywood, MDF, or even cardboard, which is made out of wood fibers. Make your choice! Check out this top of the best projects of wood laser cutting, and get some inspiration. Make your wooden projects come to life using our laser cutting service, and make the most of the benefits of digital manufacturing.

Is rapid production or rapid prototyping important for your company? Maybe it is time for you to start thinking about laser cutting. Try out our online laser cutting service right now, you just have to upload your file and you will get an instant quote.

Do you need help with your 3D printing projects? Contact our sales team, they will give you all the 3D printing tips you need to make the most of digital manufacturing, improve your products, and design new products to significantly optimize your manufacturing process.

If you already have your 3D design ready, be sure to upload it for free on our online 3D printing service, get an instant quote and receive your 3D printed objects in a few days!

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