3D printing technology continues to take leaps forward. The latest development is a new filament that uses wood as its primary ingredient. Called “Laywood,” the new extrusion material allows you to print objects that both look and smell like wood when finished, which opens up another avenue of creativity when using a RepRap or other similar 3D printer.
Made in Germany, Laywood as a filament is made from 40% recycled wood that is combined with polymer binders allowing it to be melted and extruded like all of the other commercially available 3D filaments on the market today. In addition to smelling and feeling like wood, the new filament also has the ability to change its color shade depending on the temperature of your extrusion head. By varying how hot the head becomes, you can create interesting gradient effects from dark to light to give your final product that natural glow.
Besides the obvious application of creating natural looking objects, Laywood has some other benefits to those of you who work with 3D printers. Namely, it doesn’t warp at all during or after the process, doesn’t experience shrinkage, and doesn’t require a heated bed while printing an object.
Right now the cost of the filament is a bit steep, which is to be expected. You can get your hands on roughly 17.5 ounces of the wooden extrusion material for about $20, which makes the idea of printing a rocking chair entirely out of this new material an expensive undertaking. The price is expected to come down however as Laywood becomes more popular.