Monday, November 12, 2012

lulzbot wood filament

Lulzbot just released their redesigned website. They have a new section on their wood filament. See here or read below:

A few weeks ago, we received a shipment of an “experimental” filament to try. I know what you're thinking... bubbling beakers, random explosions, probable molecular instability... but it was nothing like that! No, this filament was good, old-fashioned, solid wood.

That's right-- it's now possible to print with wood! Made of superfine sawdust and a polymer wood binder, the filament allowed us to create 3D objects in a material not unlike pressboard. The process is very similar to printing with PLA (a corn-based plastic compound) in terms of temperature and consistency. We ran a full print at 185C, but were able to get it as cool as 165C and still print successfully. (It should also be noted that printing this filament at a higher temperature creates a darker color in the material, which leads to the ability to create ersatz “tree rings” in your printed objects. That's science, folks!)

It's not quite as rock-solid as your average plastic, though. One of our testers compared the cooling material to peanut butter, and in fact we found that it takes far longer to cool than plastic would. However, once it's set, it's good to go! We even tried soaking a print in water over the course of a weekend, to see if it would break down or dissolve. It did seem to get a little softer, especially at the thinnest edges... however, the material re-set once it was dry, and the object was no different than it had been pre-soak.

This filament is not yet available for purchase, but we are working to get it into our shop. Look for it in the coming weeks!

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