The Woody World Of 3D Printing
Best Wood Filaments For 3D Printing
Best Wood Filament Brands | Wood Filament Types | Reviews | Wood Filament Printer Settings And More..
Getting bored of 3D printing with thermoplastics and looking to experiment with different filaments, then why don’t you try wood filament for 3D printing. They can become the best partners for affordable 3D printers to provide you with the woody feel and finish that you have always desired for all these years.
Wood filaments are a very interesting set of flexible filaments that can push your creativity to the next level. Though they are a bit hard to control and require 3d printing knowledge once you try it a few times, you will surely enjoy printing with this material.
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Quality matters a lot and to make wood 3D printing fun and rewarding you should possess the best wood filament, but finding an authentic one can be hard. If you think that a low-quality wood filament will provide you with a learning curve, you are on the wrong learning path, as it can surely ruin your printer’s nozzle or incur further damages. But using the best wood filament for 3D printing mixed with proper print settings can help you reach the innovative heights that you dreamt of.
Here are the best wooden filaments, if you are in a hurry.
We have used, tested, and reviewed various wood filaments from various brands and zeroed the best out of them for you. Check out the filaments chosen by us that you can trust to perform well while also finding the right nozzle and pint settings.
There is a type of filament that is created by mixing the wood pieces together with a regular 3D printing filament like PLA filament so that wood can be manoeuvered to function like other flexible filaments but with a different sort of rigidity. The wood filament prints produce objects with the look, feel, grain. color fluctuations and even the smell of a wood carving that can only be seen in the hearts of trees. The properties of these filaments depend on the type of wood you choose but generally, there are three types of wood filament -: Regular Woodfill, Bamboofill, and Corkfill.
Best Wood Filament With Regular Woodfill
It is one of the basic varieties of wood filament. It is created by blending a polymer-based thermoplastic with pieces of traditional varieties of wood fiber and wood particles such as oak, maple, or, birch. It has that classic scent and properties of the dominant wood variety. It gives out the smell of burning wood when 3D printing but if you have set your print settings perfectly then it remains a stable material throughout the printing process and looks more convincingly like wood than other cheap wood filaments.
This filament from GEEETECH is one of the best affordable wood 3D printer filaments for beginners and professionals that offers a relatively lower price than the other wood PLA filaments. It is easy to use and possesses good quality sands and stains. The 3D object produced using this filament are smooth and have a detailed wood-like texture without the formation of any bubbles, moreover, doesn’t clog the nozzle while printing. It comes with a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.03mm and is compatible with almost all FDM 3D Printers. It doesn’t require a heated bed but a nozzle temperature of 180-210 degrees is recommended by the experts and the customer service is quite supportive in case of any technical issues.
Best Alternative For Regular Woodfill Filaments
Another low-budget wood filament that has a wide range of compatibility and a dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.02 mm. This filament from TECBEARS is made of environment-friendly materials which is deemed harmless while possessing high purity with low shrinkage and superb layer bonding. It is a favorite among professionals for its high strength and flexibility and is proven to produce smooth and consistent prints without any oily residue, air bubbles, kinks, or breaks, thus helping you to achieve the best printing results.
Best Wood Filament With Bamboofill
It is one of the most versatile wood filaments you can find but also is one of the trickiest filaments to 3D print with. It is a polymer blended with bamboo fibers making it much more sensitive to temperature and extruder clog than the regular wood fills. While 3D printing with this filament you need to take extra care of your 3D printer nozzle by cleaning it before and after each print to ensure you get smooth prints with the flexibility of its blended wood.
This wood filament from Amolen is as stringy as other wood filaments, which pits you in the dilemma of choosing between layer bonding and stringing. But the best thing about this filament is the classic brown sugar or maple syrup scent that it gives out after printing. Furthermore, it is compatible with small as well as large FDM printers that print like normal PLA with the gorgeous surface of wood color and texture.
With a diameter variance of not more than 30 microns, and maintaining a nozzle temperature of 190-220 degrees, ensures you get smooth and consistent feed without any clogging or jamming every time you print with it. Though it is deemed ideal for engineers, and designers but can be highly beneficial especially for beginners who have never worked with wood before.
Best Alternative For Bamboo Fill Wood Filaments
This filament from iSANMATE is made of 20% wood powder and 80% PLA+ that help you create objects with wooden texture, color, and feel while the advanced laser diameter measuring and self-adaptive control system used to produce this filament ensures that it is suitable for fast printing and printing large-sized models having flat and smooth surfaces. It boasts an accuracy of +/- 0.03 mm with superb layer bonding, strength, and toughness that are relatively greater than the conventional PLA filaments. It is recommended to maintain a nozzle temperature between 190 to 225 degrees to avoid clogging and wrapping, apart from that it tends to make printing wood filament much easier and convenient without any fuss.
Best Wood Filaments With Corkfill
It is another type of special wood filament that requires some expertise to control just like the bamboo fill but is designed to be slightly porous and much darker in color. Though it possesses the finicky properties of bamboo fill but the 3D models made with this filament are much lighter in weight and rigid in design.
This is a top-notch quality wood filament from HATCHBOX that contains the standard 20% wood infill but the thing that sets it apart from others is the quality control and ease of use while keeping the tolerances nearly perfect. It boasts of dimensional accuracy of +/- 0.01 mm which helps to reduce the instances of clogs and is loved by many professionals for its odorless printing with minimal warping that can be used with many styles of printing to create strong, smooth, and glossy prints in a variety of bold colors. Being priced at around the same as a regular PLA, for a cheap Chinese filament with perfect tolerances, Hatchbox is at the top of the game.
Best Alternative For Corkfill Wood Filament
This filament from OVERTURE is one of the newest launched wood filaments that has garnered a lot of attention from the 3D printing experts owing to its ability to produce prints with shine-free color and frosted texture. It is rather easy to control like the regular filaments while providing an excellent threshold overhang angle. It is made with environment-friendly components making it harmless while delivering excellent quality prints with lower warping and without odor making it ideal for home users and small businesses as well.
Comparable to other composite filaments, wood-based filaments are typically a composite that is manufactured using a PLA base material with wood dust, cork, and other powdered timber derivatives. The filament consists of around 30% wood particles, but the exact number may vary depending on the brand. which gives the 3D-printed parts the aesthetics of real wood.
Though being its base as PLA it tends to acquire the property of wood and is also less abrasive compared to other composite filaments such as carbon-fiber filled and metal filled, since wood particles are much softer. There are some wood-like filaments on the market that only contain wood coloring, but no actual wood particles, so these typically have a very different look and feel.
History Of Wood Filament
The concept of 3D printing wood filament was born somewhere around 2012. Earlier sawdust was used with PLA and became an instant hit but experiments revealed that sawdust wasn’t an ideal solution for wood-based 3D printing. Even today, it is not fully independent rather it is PLA-based, and wood is unified in fiber forms. Now, there are various types of wood-based filaments that you can choose between coconut, birch, cedar, timber, bamboo, and others.
Advantages Of Wood Filament
You can easily achieve a smooth finish that can be surprisingly well mimicked in PLA wood filament mixes, creating stunning wood parts with ease. Furthermore, you can control for your chosen aesthetic based on how high you heat the filament, giving you control over your final part’s look.
Both during printing and when finished, the objects tend to give out the classic wood scent. Wood filaments are fantastic for a soothing birch or pine smell in your room.
Wood filaments can be printed without specialized hardened steel nozzles and do not wreck your nozzle unlike other abrasive filaments like carbon fiber- and glass-infused filaments that are tough to print and make mincemeat out of standard nozzles.
We know PLA is great, both environmentally and in performance for the price, a major setback is its brittleness. However, with a 30% wood mix, some filaments can become slightly more durable and less susceptible to breaking and snapping under pressure – though this is not always the case.
Disadvantages Of Wood Filaments
Just like PLA, wood 3D printer filaments are prone to stringing and oozing but can be minimized with the correct settings.
Wood filaments can cause clogs during printing, especially on smaller nozzles. Larger nozzles give up some precision, but with wood’s finish, this is not noticeable.
Wood is obviously flammable, so too much heat can risk lighting your model and 3D printer on fire. So, it is recommended to stay within the suggested printing temperatures and keep your filament away from fire hazards.
3D printing with wood filament is not for those who have just entered the 3D printing world as it requires much more manipulation and monitoring than entry-level thermoplastics. All these hardships come to fruition when you are rewarded with beautiful and unique objects with the woody finish you wished for, but first, you have to learn how to use them.
Use a larger extruder nozzle –
The recommended size of the nozzle is 0.3 mm or larger, which helps the dark chunks in the wood filament flow through it without clogging up. This may result in larger layers than you want, but you can sand down the product until its finish is as smooth as you want.
Always remove the filament from the hotend when not printing –
The wood filament can burn if left unattended in a printer nozzle that hasn’t cooled down yet, or stopped for some reason, and this will result in a nozzle clogged with blackened, hardened wood. If such a condition appears, run a cleaning filament through your extruder. They’re easy to find and inexpensive, a must-have if you’re working with wood.
Keep the temperature as low as possible –
A lot of 3D printing enthusiasts manipulate the finish of their wood filaments by using a higher temperature than recommended for printing. The higher the temperature, the darker the wood, as a higher printing temperature is essentially burning the wood as it goes through the extruder. There’s a very fine line between a different finish and a burnt filament, so only attempt this if you have the time, patience, and knowledge to do it safely.
Use high layer heights and faster printing speeds –
These steps can result in more wobble on the Z-axis and chunkier layers than you might want, but they’ll keep your wood filament moving through the extruder. Less time in the extruder means less of a chance for the wood to ignite, and less of a chance you’ll have to clean up that mess. But you need to make sure your printer is secured for as little frame movement as possible, and sand down any layers that don’t meet your standards.
Use Higher Retraction –
These filaments are much runnier than normal PLA when flowing through the heated larger nozzle which leads to material drag if you don’t adjust how fast the material comes out of the extruder, so make sure you adjust to the recommended retraction setting rather than leaving it as it was from working with the previous material. Retraction speed and distance will both make a huge difference when 3D printing with wood filament.
Beginner’s Guide To 3D Printer Settings For Wood Filament
Nozzle Temperature –
The majority of wood materials can be printed at temperatures ranging between 180 and 220°C. It is interesting to try out the wood filament produced by a known brand, as it usually generates good printing results. Wood filament moulds and dries very quickly, and does not create any nuisance while bridging.
Layer Height –
Bed Temperature – A bed temperature of 60°C is recommended but some high-quality wood filaments stick well to the building plate, making it suitable for 3D printers without a heated bed. 3D printing in wood material is supposed to be relatively easy as it hardly ever warps.
Layer Height –
The layers are tight and hardly visible even at 0.2mm layer height. With a higher layer, forming of tree rings and the printed object can be observed. but they can be sanded, sawed, and painted just like real wood without any fuss
The wood filament is known to produce a lot of strings which can be regarded as its clear disadvantage. It may take a while to tune the slicer settings for this filament.
Cura Settings –
Being a flexible filament and having PLA as base material the wood filaments are rather easy to carry your 3D printing works with, but you might require to change some of the Cura settings that you used for printing the previous material.
Wood Filament Troubleshooting Guide : Clogged Nozzles
Blocked nozzles are frustrating but the issue never put us off 3D printing in the wood filament. Over time we found some techniques to minimize the risk. Here are a few tips and tricks:
- Nozzle Cleaning – One of the best ways to clean the nozzle is to use the trusty PLA filament in between printing wood filament. Use a short piece of this plastic filament after every 2-3 prints in the wood filament. We would not recommend “cold pulling” as the wood filament is brittle and there is a big chance that it will get stuck in a PTFE tube.
- Nozzle Change – It is a good practice to change the nozzle regularly. Every 3 months if the 3D printer is in heavy use, and especially when experimenting with various materials.
- Layer Height – 0.2mm and higher. The 1st layer is 150% (0.3) to make sure that the filament flow is consistent and bed leveling doesn’t cause unnecessary problems.
- Nozzle Size – 3D printing with a large nozzle significantly reduces the risk of blockage. Check the settings for 3D printing with a 0.8mm nozzle.
- Avoid Excessive Retraction – Excessive retraction will cause a lot of stringing and will waste some filament in the process. As a result, the missing layers may appear and ruin the print in the process. 3D print a specific part of the object and tune the slicer settings so there is no stringing or pause the machine for the filament change, unload and load the filament to reset the printer to the original flow.
Before getting any technical gadget It is always good to inquire which feature it must possess for getting the best results out of it. To make sure your hard-earned money doesn’t go in vain, we have mentioned a few of the most important features that will surely make your 3D printing wood filament journey full of fun. Carefully check upon them to avoid turning the exciting 3D expedition into a headache.
Size of The Nozzle-
With wood filament, it’s better to use nozzles of larger size, as it saves you from the risk of hardening the wood filament. Furthermore, using a large-sized nozzle will give you less detailing model, but provide faster prints with better material flow.
Quality Of The Filament-
Always choose a high-quality and filament that has a low shrinkage rate, which can be easily moulded to get smooth and detailed models, as a low-quality filament can damage your printer.
Compatibility with Your 3D Printer-
Make sure the filament you buy is compatible with the 3D printer you possess. It should work easily with the printer and not cause any clogs and bubbling. Certain filaments work with specific printers. A wrong filament can harm your printer as well. So, you need to be wary of that.
Print Models –
A little research will also help you to find the printed 3D models using specific filament. When you are buying a filament on any website, just scroll down a bit and look at the printed 3D models uploaded by previous customers. You don’t want to end by buying spools of filament altogether and regretting it later. The pictures they share will give you an idea that the filament actually works.
Storing wood filaments –
It is always recommended to store filaments in a cool, dry place protected from the air and atmosphere. This is because nearly all filaments are hygroscopic and will absorb moisture from the air, ruining the print quality. If your filament has been left out a while, you can still remove most of the moisture by drying your filament such as through a filament dryer.
Wood 3D printing applications –
You can use wood filaments to print fun household decorations and appliances. More intricate wood pieces are made as 3D printed jewelry pieces, as well as a variety of 3D printed toy wooden projects, sculptures, art projects, and more. You can also use wood-filled filaments to create fun decorations for your kids like model train sets or make jewelry boxes and cases for your partner.
Wood filaments were super difficult to 3D print earlier being a tricky filament to get right, but it’s well worth it to master as you’ll be rewarded with finished projects that look like you spent years learning how to carve wood. Furthermore, when you finish 3D printing with it, you can easily observe that the 3D wood filament is actually very forgiving since you can sand it and paint it with different kinds of varnish of your choice. The time has come for you to move forward in your 3D printing projects by experimenting with these wood blended filaments to give your projects the desired woody feel and smell.