What Makes 3D Printing Wood a Game Changer by Industry Standards?

While rhino horn and ivory are considered by conservationists as some of the most traded and trafficked natural items in the world, Madagascar’s forests have been decimated to supply the demand for rosewood furniture in China. What if a 3D-printed substitute from wood waste was available?

In the past two years, leading personalities and researchers in the 3D printing sector have pioneered the exploration of new 3D printing applicable materials. Experts in this field discovered that utilizing wood waste comes with a high potential for 3D printing.

3D printing

Since we can’t just replace wood with plastic, resin, or metal, could it be possible to 3D print wood with the same quality? Perhaps, not now but soon maybe. The process for producing 3D-printed wood parts is now in its final stages of development.

This new innovative printing technology can print wood by utilizing an additive grain that simulates or mimics any type of tree, including ash, maple, and mahogany.

This ground-breaking technology is developing two byproducts from the wood processing sector. Cellulose and lignin constitute the majority of trees. While building products out of trees helps reduce the amount of material we use, we are, in a sense, dematerializing the tree. This is this technology’s central idea.

Each layer of sawdust is spread thin and sprayed with a nontoxic binder that includes lignin, which is found in the parts of real wood that help it bind together. Instead of particle board or laminate, the grain completely goes through the material, signifying that you can sand and refinish it like how you would with authentic wood. One way to keep waste production at bay is to make a product in its finished shape and then print it out, as a chair or a bowl might be.

Experiments are Underway

Just like olive wood, the resin blocks created by the researchers appear to be carved from a real tree. One of the greatest challenges for wood 3D printing is to reproduce the pattern on the outside and the grain within.  Meanwhile, Columbia University engineers successfully created 3D models, the highlight of which are complex internal structures employing voxel mapping.

They used a 3D scanning procedure to capture the internal structure of a wood sample, which is quite of a challenge for them. In this case, they used destructive tomographic imaging. 

This method comprises utilizing a 3040T desktop CNC machine to handle the cutting of the wood into slices.  A designated camera system controlled by a computer program uses successive photos to control the camera. 

The height of the individual slice measured around 27 microns or just about the height of the 3D printer machine that was employed in the study.

3D printers

The resulting photos had to be scaled to the printer’s XY resolution. This measure would help  accommodate the 3D printer, and afterwards, the RGB photographs were made into a CMYK standard to match the experimental printer’s standards. This has thus led to the creation of a GrabCAD voxel file that contains all of this information.

Conclusion

You may wonder why it is crucial to establish new materials that are 3D printing applicable. Every day, there is a plethora of new design and manufacturing techniques being introduced to various industries, as well as finishing techniques and other advancements in manufacturing and packing technology. 

The changes taking place around the business and manufacturing sector prove that it remained dynamic despite the current economic onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic

The possibilities presented by 3D printing technology are boundless, and inventing new 3-dimensional printing materials with novel features will support the development of this technology even further.

How is 3D Printing Sydney Doing A Few Decades From Now?

Not only does the future of 3D printing Sydney seem bright to most of the experts in the industry, but from a global perspective, it looks very promising, too. What we are currently having nowadays is a renaissance in the manufacturing sphere and the industry 3D printing has a significant role to play in it. With the increasing patronage for this type of technology in the printing business, conversations relating to additive manufacturing have become even more tangible than it ever did 5 years ago. 

With an increasing number of use-case figures and the continued piling of demonstrable business benefits, it only goes to show that 3D printing or additive printing is indeed a mainstream manufacturing technology. Therefore, it is safe to say that 3D printing is not confined to theory anymore but has finally become a sweet reality for us to take good advantage of.  

future of business industry

Customized Designs and Increased Flexibility

An observant eye will not fail to see that there is a prevailing consumer trend nowadays. Across all industries, there is a desire for customization. Gone are the days when people would not mind buying mass-produced items. Consumers of today are wanting more of products that are produced uniquely for their needs, in a way catering well to their personal preferences and discriminating tastes.  

Additive manufacturing makes this a good possibility by offering low-volume production. 3D printing is helping manufacturers learn how to have more flexibility in terms of responsive design. 

As opposed to hoisting huge amounts of identical objects to the public, they can now afford the production of those items in small batches. This works to the advantage of engineers and designers because it gives them enough room to make necessary tweaks and adjustments to their product designs and make innovations where it is needed the most cost-effectively as customer feedback strikes or as inspiration trickles in. 

The Materials are the Future of 3D Printing Sydney

While relevant investments are accelerating further development and growth in the additive manufacturing sphere, in our honest opinion, there is no way we can overstate how significant the materials can be. 

Outside an equipment’s steep cost, the materials are going to be the next major encumbrance we have to deal with. Trailing behind this is the closed ecosystem which has worked to the disadvantage of the industry and has thwarted its growth. 

Nowadays, we have a handful of materials that can be utilized for 3D printing. Unfortunately, not every single one of them is advanced enough to comply with the regulatory or quality requirements of every major industry that is adapting additive printing. 

With the manifold challenges that have been hounding industries, manufacturers and materials suppliers are not in any way incentivized in finding materials that can be utilized for brand new applications. 

However, the future of 3D printing Sydney lies on the available materials it will use, particularly the engineered type and the application-specific materials. 

Different industries have different unique needs, each one requires a custom solution to their concerns. By incorporating new and engineered materials to the additive printing industry, it is hoped to spark a new generation of applications, covering as well heavily regulated industries.