Wood-like filaments are one of the less obvious materials for 3D printing. Many manufacturers undertook the production of filaments with the addition of wood, but the additive technology could not replace the standard methods of producing wooden elements. The American company FORUST has the ambition to replace standard wood processing methods with 3D printing.
The company has extensive experience in computer-aided design and material testing. The goal of their 3D wood printing technology is to promote an ecological approach to the production of wood components and to prevent massive tree cuts.
At FORUST, the CEO is taken by Andrew Jeffery, former president of the ceramic 3D printing industry, Boston Ceramics and Figulo. Thanks to the previously conducted, extensive research on materials, it was possible to obtain complex geometries.
The method of creating elements developed by them uses the technology of selective bonding of sawdust by spraying the binder. This technology makes it possible to obtain a smooth finish of products without visible layers (the domain of FDM technology). The process can be used in the production of elements from an extremely wide range of materials, ranging from ceramics to rubber or sand.
The 3D printing technology allows you to successfully recreate the pattern of rings characteristic of wood. The constructed structure (photo below) consists of individual blocks, created on a 3D printer, connected together in a kind of housing. The inspiration for creating such an installation was the microscopic structure of natural wood and its texture on a macro scale. The material from which the 3D prints are made consists of agricultural waste, recycled and wood fiber. This reduces the need to fell new trees and allows you to give a second life to waste materials.
A block of wood, made in additive technology, can be used as a building material after appropriate adaptation to larger-scale production. The product can be used as an individual unit in bricklaying or for the construction of e.g. partition walls.
Knots, i.e. patterns characteristic of the wood surface, have also been reproduced through the use of 3D printing. Moreover, the cracks characteristic of wood, occurring naturally due to trauma or pathogens, also found their place in additive manufacturing products. Creating models in layers allows you to control the grain density in a 3D print and adjust the appearance to the customer’s preferences.