To avoid a failed 3D print in extrusion 3D printing, temperatures must be maintained to a narrow range. But what happens when the print involves two different materials, such as plastic and wood?
Some 3D printers do print with a wood type of material, and it’s necessary to alter several print parameters with extrusion additive manufacturing technology.
3D Platform offers Natural Light Wood filaments in a range of settings that can be customized to achieve different appearances. The wood filament is a mixture of wood particles and PLA plastic. For best results in printing, the extruder temperature should be between 180-240 degrees Celsius.
Experiments on temperature were conducted on a solid box example. The box was sliced using Simplify3D with the extruder temperature at 200 degrees Celsius. The 3D printer settings were set for PLA material. The extrusion nozzle is a 0.6 mm nozzle. Layer height is 0.3 mm, and print speed is 6000 mm/min. Throughout the experiments, the only variables to change are the temperature of the extruder and the feed rate.
The second box was printed using the same G-code as the first box. The extruder temperature was set to 230 degrees Celsius and the feed rate turned down to 70%. The outcome was that the box is a darker shade throughout the entire box, not just at the corners. At 230 degrees Celsius, the limits of normal PLA filament are pushed and prints typically begin to fail.
The final box, printed with the same G-code as the first two, was made with the extruder temperature at 280 degrees Celsius and the feed rate turned down to 50%. The tone of the box is considerably darker than the first two boxes. The finish quality of the final box is rough, but the look and the feel of the box is closer to that of a block of wood right off the saw.
By adjusting the extruder temperature and the feed rate, different appearances can be achieved with the Natural Light Wood filament. This appearance change is due to the wood particles in the filament being charred by the higher temperature and longer time spent in the heat block.
Based on these experiments, is it possible to take advantage of tone changes with the filament to achieve different effects? The last experiment conducted on the wood filament uses five different processes on one print. Each process had a different temperature to achieve a different tone throughout each process.
After running into a few slicing errors, and learning how to the trick the printer to get around thermal run away errors when jumping from 200 to 280 degrees Celsius, the print in the pictures below came out. This print proves with a little bit of patience, time, and willingness to experiment the Natural Light Wood filament can be manipulated to achieve a more realistic wood print that looks like it was taken from the forest.