Changing the look of 3D printed wood

Wood with rings

Closer to natural

Wood with rings

Jeremie Francois, another early adopter of the LAYWOO-D3 wooden filament for 3D printers, has created some plugins for Cura and Skeinforge that alter the look of the printed objects.

The key is that the wooden filament changes colour depending on what temperature it is extruded at. So if you print an object at 200° C, it will be lighter in colour than a print made at 230° C.

What Jeremie’s plugin does, is to programmatically vary the temperature of each layer, within a set range. The end result is an object that “looks more like wood and less like cardboard”:

Wood vase

Jeremie is not entirely satisfied with the result, since the texture is only horizontal, but he thinks that it’s an interesting change. He’s also had trouble with the experimental filament drying out and becoming brittle, so there’s still a ways to go before hobbyists everywhere are printing wooden objects.

This video captures one of the vase prints with temperature changes enabled:

If you’d like to read more, have a look at Jeremie’s blog post here:

Derek Quenneville is a 3D printing evangelist who posts weekly on the Ponoko blog. Follow him on Twitter @techknight.