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A 3D print filament made out of wood components only

Researchers from Rice University in the US developed a 3D print filament made up of only wood’s natural components, allowing to print ‘truly’ wooden objects.

3D printing using sawdust, wood waste, or cellulose from wood is not new, but the researchers say they are the first to only use wood’s natural components to make the filament.

The filament consists of cellulose nanofibres, cellulose nanocrystals, and lignin, an organic polymer that provides support tissue in plants. Both the cellulose and lignin can be harvested from wood waste.

After the object is printed, it is free-dried at -85 degrees Celsius for 48 hours and then heated to 180 degrees Celsius for up to 30 minutes, to harden it. The heating process concerts the lignin to a glue to bind the cellulose components.

The material shows close similarities to natural wood in texture, but also in strength and event scent. The 3D printed objects have a better compressive and bending strength than natural balsa wood.

Photos: Gustavo Raskosky / Rice University