Yes, you are probably surprised by the fact that we can 3D print using wood among many other materials that are currently 3D printable. Rather it is not pure wood but wood chips that are blended with PLA. Most wood filament in the market has composition of 70% PLA and 30% wood chips. Despite this seemingly low proportion of wood materials, the printed results look like wood and feel like wood. There are even variety of woody colour available: from light wood to dark wood colour.
There are many brands offering wood filament. I chose to try out Sunlu brand which I have been using for my PLA printing. When you first open the packaging, the filament feels different from PLA. It is softer, a little bit more flexible and smells different from normal PLA. It smells a bit like wood but with a hint of plastic.
Trying out wood filament
The wood filament has a little higher melting point as compared PLA. Its melting point is about 200-230 deg C. It does not really printed bed but I decided to have same settings as PLA by setting the print bed temperature at 55 deg C. I decided to print a name keychain for myself.
However what happens is that the key chain sticks too well onto the print bed that I have great difficulty trying to pluck it out. I tried various ways to pluck it out by using finger force, using ice, screw driver but to no avail. Then I used dental floss. The dental floss snaps a few times but at least I manage to take out the key chain from the print bed.
Settings for successful print
After much trial and error, the settings that make the print out successful (but still rather hard to take out the print out):
- Extruder: 200 deg C
- Initial temp: 60 deg C
- Print temp: 55 deg C
After a couple of tries, the successful result is really not bad. The key chain looks like it is made from wood and I am actually still amazed by this possibility.