If you are ready to accept the challenge of 3D printing with a temperamental material, wood filaments can definitely push your creativity to the next level. Once you try it a few times, printing with wood filaments can be very fun and rewarding.
- 1 What is Wood Filament Made Of?
- 2 Tips for Easy Wood Filament 3D Printing
- 3 Best Wood Filament Brands
- 4 Conclusion
Another great 3D printing material that you should try is the wood filament. Although you may already know that it is a bit challenging to work with, the prints that you get will be amazing.
Many people who are into 3D printing try using 3D wood filament and expect that it is as easy to print as PLA filaments. This material needs you to extend a lot of patience as well as more advanced 3D printing skills so you can use it appropriately and get terrific results.
What is Wood Filament Made Of?
Since 2012, wood filaments have been around. However, we can say that it is still an experimental material for 3D printing. Wood filaments often consist of about 70% polymer and then 30% of different kinds of wood fibers.
Some of the qualities of wood filaments can be comparable to that of PLA filaments such as its strength. There aren’t any formal specifications for the materials for 3D printing, especially for those that are new PLA composites. The end result of your print largely depends on the non-PLA component with which the wood filament is made of.
There were early attempts in creating objects that resembled wood. Saw dust was added in the filament mix. However, the end product looked more like cardboard. They were less tight in terms of built and they were more flexible compared to PLA.
Today, there is a variety of wood filaments available in the market. The objects created using these materials look authentic. They also feel and smell like wood. Bamboo wood filament is one good example. The objects created with this filament are very sturdy.
There are also wood filaments made with coconut particles. This material produces prints with a distinct finish. The prints you get using these wood filaments are salt and water resistant. Darker finishes look very appealing. However, getting the temperature right can be a challenge. That’s why many opt for staining wood filament instead.
Tips for Easy Wood Filament 3D Printing
If you want to try 3D printing with filament wood, here are some tips to help you get started. Don’t worry if you make mistakes. It’s part of the learning curve with this material.
It is important that you are patient, and learn as much as you can from your mistakes so that you can improve on your techniques as you go along.
Try Using Larger Nozzle
The first thing you will notice when you start using wood filaments is that they look as though they are a dense fiberboard. With the filament, it is normal to see dark specks. That is why you should be using a larger nozzle so that the specks won’t cause any jam in your nozzle.
The recommended nozzle size for your wood 3D printer is 0.3mm or bigger. If you don’t like larger layering, you can always sand then away after you have finished printing your design.
Remember to Remove the Filament When Not in Use
When you have a 3D wood print project and for some reason, the printing is interrupted, don’t forget to remove the wood filament from your printer head. If you don’t do this, the filament’s wood particles will burn, creating a sticky black mess in the printer head.
If you ever encounter this problem, you will have to clean your extruder using a cleaning filament. For this, you can check out the cleaning filament from eSun. It is very affordable and is conveniently available in Amazon.
Wood Filament Temperature
When using wood filaments for 3D printing for the first time, you may discover some cool things about this material. For example, you can produce prints with a dark burned finish if you increase the printing temperature. However, doing this can present some problems as well.
A lot of the wood filaments are actually sensitive to high temperatures. Even if it is just one degree higher than what is recommended, you may find yourself having a difficult time with it already. Your hot end can clog when the fine wood particles of the filament ignite at high temperatures.
Most of the wood filaments for 3D printing can be printed with the temperatures ranging from 170°C to 220°C. Try your best to find the best wood filament available so that you can get great results each time. You will notice that the layers of your print are tight. You can sand, saw, and paint your wood filament prints just like real wood carvings or sculptures.
Use Faster Print Speed and High Layer Heights
Using a faster print speed and high layer heights will keep your wood filament moving along through your hot end swiftly. This way, the wood particles of the wood filament has lesser chances of burning.
You may already know that printing with high layer heights produce prints that don’t look very good but you can always sand it away after you are done printing.
You should take note that with faster printing speed, there may be an increase of z-wobble. Do check that your printer is stable before printing with wood filament.
Using Higher Retraction
When using wood filaments, you will notice that they are more runny in comparison with PLA filaments. So, with this in mind, you can imagine that when the printer head begins to move to various positions, the retractions settings that you would usually use for PLA may not work with wood filaments. It can leak from the nozzle.
This situation can result in a stringy mess, and you don’t want that. To avoid this from happening, what you can do is to increase the retraction speed as well as the distances. You can try various measures for your wood filament settings to make sure you produce the prints that you want.
Best Wood Filament Brands
Now that we have discussed the basics about wood filaments and how you can print it to get great results, let us look at some of the best wood filament brands in the market today. You can expect very nice final products from these brands.
ColorFabb is one of the best brands when it comes to 3D printing filaments. It is a company based in the Netherlands and they produce world-class wood filaments. They offer three varieties of this material. There is the regular woodfill, bamboofill, and corkfill.
These three materials have varying properties. With the regular woodfill, it produces that familiar scent of burning wood. The prints it produces can convince you that it is authentic wood, unlike cheaper wood filaments.
Staining and sanding it can also be done. You can also try etching on the prints using a hot knife. Patterns can be burned into the prints. You can try and experiment with numerous techniques to get the style that you desire.
The bamboofill from Colorfabb is very versatile. However, it can also be tricky to work with. It is not a material that can be recommended for beginners. There are different shades that you can get out of this material by playing with the printing temperatures that you use it with.
What you have to remember though is that the bamboofill is very sensitive and can burn. You may have to spend time cleaning and unclogging your extruder before you can successfully find the right temperature for printing. But once you do, printing with bamboofill can be rewarding.
Lastly, the third variety of corkfill from Colorfabb is corkfill. It can also be a challenge to work with just like bamboofill. They do differ with the colors they produce. Corkfill has a much darker color compared to other wood filaments. It looks good although you won’t get as many variations of shades just like bamboofill.
This brand is another reliable and high-quality producer of 3D printing filaments. Their wood filament is composed of PLA along with about 25% particles from poplar wood. You should know that the poplar wood particles can be quite big. It is best if you can print using a 0.4mm nozzle so that you won’t have any problems with clogging.
The best printing temperature of MG Chemicals wood filaments is at 210°C. Again, you can experiment with different temperatures so you can get various shades in your prints. You just have to keep in mind not to burn up the wood completely because you will have trouble unclogging your extruder.
One of the best reasons to go for this brand is that it is more affordable than its competitors in Amazon.com. You can also get free shipping of your order if you purchase several spools of 3D printing filaments at the same time. You will get a great deal if you like stocking up on your filaments.
You can expect top-notch products from Hatchbox including their wood filaments. The Hatchobox wood filament has in it the standard wood infill of 20%. However, what sets is apart from the competitors is their quality control.
This 3D printing material has a notorious reputation for being very challenging to use. Hatchbox was able to address this by keeping the tolerances near perfect. For example, the standard for tolerance is at +/- 0.05mm. With this brand, it is at +/- 0.01 mm from the diameter that is expected. With this feature, the chances of getting clogs will be reduced.
As for the price, Hatchbox wood filament is at the same price as that of PLA filaments. It is easily available at Amazon.com and you get to have your order shipped for free if you purchase more than one.
|Print Temperature||195°C-220°C||185°C – 230° C||175°C – 220°C|
Wood filaments may be a challenge to use when it comes to 3D printing projects. You have to find the right temperature that will work best for the design you want for your prints. However, when you do get it right, it can be very fun and rewarding.
Have you tried using wood filaments for 3D printing? How was your experience? Do share your thoughts in the comments!
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