3D printing of “wood-like” objects possible

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/03/19/3d-printing-of-wood-like-objects-possible.html


I’m picturing something akin to pressboard. No clue if that is accurate, though. I would need some convincing, but the ability to decrease waste would be great.


They’ve been making wood composite filament for 3D printing for years. We also already use (pre-consumer) wood scrap for OSB, particle board, MDF, and other composite wood products.

As always, the issue isn’t the recycling, it’s getting the post-consumer recyclable material to the recycler, and the economics of whether it’s worth doing.


Don’t they already have that? Every single piece of furniture you can buy at Rooms to Go, Ikea, Wayfair, or anything but the most expensive top of the line furniture is made entirely from particle board, with maybe a bit of plywood if you’re lucky.

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… interesting, but the whole “energy intensive” part of the post-extrusion processing kind of kills it. :frowning:

Still, it’s progress!

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[…] wood that would normally end up in a landfill […]

There are lots of places where this doesn’t happen anymore. Leftovers including sawdust are sold as fuel, quite often in the form of pellets.




That’s wood bits with lots of glue.

This approach apparently does without glue or any sort of added binder.

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Wood is bits of wood (well, cellulose if you want to get technical) with binder, i.e. lignin.
(“Wood - the composite material you can use to make other composite materials!”)

This process seems to use extra lignin - the complex organic polymers everybody likes!
So yeah, this is a pretty neat idea and should work.
Also, biodegradable, more or less. Or solid fuel.



Don’t we already have manufactured wood?


I would never have thought that that gif could be applied so often.




Isn’t that just masonite?


In so far as both are extracting lignin from wood and using it to hold stuff together, I suppose so.

If I understand it correctly this process essentially turns the wood into lignin and cellulose in excitingly funky shapes and sizes and combines them into “ink”.

This can then be printed in standard 3d printers to make surprisingly sturdy things out of “wood” rather just being pressed into boards.

There’s a bit of a problem in that to be really sturdy the object has to be hot-pressed which is impractical/impossible for many applications.

Caveat: I don’t know anything about any of this so I’m just summarising the article.

If you’re interested I’d recommend reading it. There’s lots of technical sounding detail.

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