We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
The Orbi-Tech Laywoo-d3 is an interesting 3D filament that allows you to print models that look and feel like they are made from real wood. The LayWoo-d3 is an experimental filament that is made from recycled wood combined with a special polymer to make the wood printable (40% recycled wood and 60% binding polymer). This allows the 3D printed part to get the look and feel of actual wood, even though it is printed on a 3D printer, and you can even get different coloring by varying the temperature at which the material is being printed. As with different temperature the wood particles in the filament get “burned” more and can become darker with higher extruding temperature, however you should be careful not to get the printing head jammed. Also the material is pretty expensive compared to standard types of filament such as PLA or ABS, but when properly printed the result can be totally worth it. We have ordered a short sample of the Orbi-Tech LayWoo-d3 3D printer filament to try it out and below you can find our initial impressions and tests from the material.
Orbi-Tech’s LayWoo-d3 3D printer filament is designed to be printed on printers that are capable of working with normal PLA filaments – there is no need for a heated build platform, so this means wide compatibility. The recommended extrusion temperature by the manufacturer for the filament is ~175° C (bright) and ~250° C (dark), and by increasing the temperature you should be getting a darker looking wood in the resulting print. You can even play with temperature of the various layers to create interesting effects similar to actual wood like annual rings for example, tough that will require some extra effort on the software side when preparing your 3D models to be printed. There is a useful web-based tool to help you create this wood layers effect for your existing models, you need to upload your gcode model and it will modify it based on the parameters you want and give you the new file to use with your 3D printer.
The LayWoo-d3 3D printer filament should be handled more careful when you load it and unload it to the printing head as it is easier to break than standard PLA for example. When you have a 3D print using this material however you will notice that it seems to be quite flexible, especially if it is not slid inside – for more wood like behavior you should print with more infill and you can even have the objects printed with solid inside or make them more durable. While we were experimenting with the filament on our Makerbot Replicator 2 printer we have managed to get the LayWoo-d3 filament stay for longer time in the extruder and that has caused it to jam, so we had to clean it up and what came out was black totally burned wood. So we can recommend to be careful when printing with this filament and to purge it with regular PLA for example when you are done printing in order to avoid the possibility of the filament burning up inside and jamming the printer.
We have tried printing the same 3D object – a simple small house like the one for the Monopoly game, using different temperatures as per the manufacturer’s recommendations and we’ve had mixed results, so we even checked what other people recommend for when using the LayWoo-d3. In the end we can say that different printers and users seem to have varying experience using this filament, so it is bets to try and see what works best for you. We used the Standard 0.2 mm layer height and 60 mm/s speed while extruding on the Replicator 2 for the tests and with higher temperatures such as 230 or 250 degrees Celsius we’ve got darker looking prints, but the layers did not print very well and consistently, going for 200 degrees and lower down to 160 the results were much better, even though we were only getting lighter shades for the wood. Interestingly enough the lower temperature has made the printed 3D objects to look more seamless and the layers that were used for their printing to be harder to see, with higher temperatures the layers were more pronounced and easier to sot. Again, you should test and see how the filament works best for you – at what temperature and what extrusion speed etc.
There are two main types of 3D printer filament that are widely spread and used by Fused deposition modeling (FDM) based 3D printers such as the MakerBot Replicator series for example – these are ABS and PLA, though there are various other alternatives also available. Both ABS and PLA are thermoplastic materials that start to melt when they are heated up, so that they can be used to form another object and solidify when they cool down.
ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a common thermoplastic often used in 3D printing, but it also has many more applications. 3D printing using ABS has some additional requirements from the printer such as a heated bed, so not all devices are capable of supporting ABS printing. The objects printed from ABS are generally harder and more durable, can be used with higher temperature before starting to soften (about 100 degrees Celsius or more), but are also harder to print and generally provide less detail to the printed parts. If printing with ABS you must be careful and have good ventilation as the fumes produced when ABS is melted for printing are not totally safe.
PLA (Polylactide) is a biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch for example. PLA is probably the most widely used material for 3D printing as it is easy to handle and offers very good detail level. The only drawback that it has is the relatively low temperature that the material starts to soften – above about 65 degrees Celsius. It does not require the printer to have a heated bed like ABS for example, so it is more 3D printer friendly, especially to the lower cost models.
In general both ABS and PLA have their advantages and disadvantages compared to each other, so you should choose the material based on what you are planning to be using the 3D printed parts for. If you need to print in ABS you should be careful when choosing a 3D printer supporting ABS prints as not all do and it such cases it is better to go for a model that has support for both ABS and PLA. If you are new to 3D printing and are getting your first 3D printer to play with it at home, then it is better to go for a model supporting PLA as you probably will not need ABS printing capabilities. Both ABS and PLA filaments come in the form of thin round lines with specific diameter (1.75mm or 3mm are the most common) that are wrapped around a spool. The 3D printer filament is being sold in spools with the material calculated and priced based on its weight and not length of the line for example, there are already many available colors for both materials that you can find available from various manufacturers.
There are of course many other materials that can be used for 3D printing, though they are mostly experimental and you should be prepared to have some issues and tinker with your 3D printer’s settings should you decide to try them out. There are multiple alternatives for a flexible rubber type of filament available for 3D printers that will allow you to print rubber like flexible models on your device. You can also find filaments that contain carbon, wood and even small stone particles that when printed will create an effect making it like if the 3D printed object is made from carbon, wood or stone or at least looking a lot like that. There are also other kinds of interesting 3D filaments available, but again most of these are experimental and using them can cause some problems on your 3D printer such as jamming of the print head etc., so be careful when you decide to try these out.