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The viability of 3D printing wood has been debated for years, but now it seems that it is finally possible.
Wood can be 3D printed by taking a digital design and converting the 2D model into a 3D model. This process also applies to other natural materials like rubber composites, metals, fabrics, stone, and ceramics. The downside to this process is that the strength or durability of the 3D printed object will depend on its material, so it may not be suitable for all jobs.
Can You 3D Print Wood?
How To 3D Print Wood
When compared to ivory or rhino horn, rosewood is one of the most heavily traded wild products. This tree is on the edge of extinction and is considered to be an endangered species. Deforestation in Madagascar is a result of the high demand for wood in China. It is possible to print an identical material from wood waste to reduce this trafficking.
Experts in the 3D printing sector began investigating new materials two years ago, and they discovered that wood waste is a resource that can be used in these applications. According to Virginia San Fratello, a professor at San Jose State University who was also a pioneer in Forest, these were the conclusions reached. An American business called Desktop Metal is developing a technique that can be used to replicate any variety of trees, from ash to mahogany.
For this approach, we’ll be utilizing two byproducts of the wood industry. According to Ric Fulop, a tree is composed primarily of lignin and cellulose. When you manufacture anything from trees, such as furniture or paper, you dematerialize the tree that produced the item in question. Non-toxic glue is used to print small layers of sawdust onto a surface, allowing the technique to replicate the grain of natural wood, one layer at one time.
The grain runs entirely through the material, allowing it to be assembled and refinished in the same way as wood can. Product designs such as chairs and bowls are also possible using this method of production. Furthermore, printed intricate shapes can be constructed the same way as those created by a craftsman, which may take even longer to complete using the standard process. Designers can employ the method to make other high-quality products in the future, like a wood guitar or a speaker that can enhance the sound of the commodity as time goes on.
Even though roughly fifteen billion trees are cut every year in various world regions to improve climatic conditions, countries are attempting to safeguard tree cutting to maintain better climatic conditions in their areas. A large portion of these trees is disposed of away as garbage. People are compensated for selling sawdust that will be used in printing. Minor parts that are not suitable for use as timber are utilized in this technique. This is being used in the United States of America to help prevent forest fires in regions such as California, where it has proven effective.
The company also hopes to collaborate with other businesses that manufacture furniture, architectural elements, and home furnishings. This process, it is predicted, will provide a finished product at a cost-competitive with that of wood, allowing for the manufacturing of significant patterns at a lower cost. The process can also be carried out on-site, hence reducing the need for transportation.
If the product breaks or wears out, it can also be ground down and repurposed to create something completely different. It is possible for enterprises that wish to modify how furniture is designed to adapt the circular process used in the manufacturing of wood and the circular process used in the manufacture of lumber.