Wood Printing at the Lab

There are many different things to consider when starting your print. Things such as print size or density and even filament. Choosing what filament to use when printing isn’t always what color you want your print to be. Sometimes it’s what type of filament to use. There are plenty of filaments to choose: from metal to carbon fiber to flexible to plastic. Each filament has a different finish and has its own tips/tricks to use when printing. Here at the lab we most commonly print with PLA, polylactic acid. PLA is a vegetable based biodegradable plastic filament that produces nice, clean prints. Check out the results of some prints printed with PLA.

Something new we are trying at the lab this year is wood printing! Volunteer, Karthik Subramaniam, was interested in wood printing and if we would be able to do it at the lab. As it turns out that answer is yes! The wood filament Karthik tried is actually a combination of PLA and wood particles. As a result, it prints almost exactly the same as PLA does. There are just a few minor changes that needed to be made. One change involves the speed of the print. Wood filament is best printed at slower speeds allowing the filament more time to cool before another layer is added on top of it. This helps prevent any mishaps as the model is being printed. Another change is the layer height of the print. Layer height is how much material is being printed at each layer. With PLA we commonly use a layer height of 2mm, but with the wood filament it is recommended to use a layer height of 3mm. When Karthik tried out these small changes the final products looked amazing.

Stop by the lab to try out wood printing yourself! Want to be featured in a blog post? If you have an interesting story that you would like to tell about making at the lab, share it with us by emailing UIMakerLab@Illinois.edu! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, Snapchat(uimakerlab) and Instagram!