How to add Wood Grain to 3D prints? – 3D Printing Services

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The authentic wood grain was once thought impossible to achieve with 3D printing filaments. However, with the introduction of new wood filament formulae, attaining a wood grain in 3D printing is no longer a pipe dream but a reality. This guide will teach you how to 3D print wood grain and use creative post-processing techniques to make the prints look like natural wood.

When we talk about wood grain, we’re talking about the way it feels and the natural lines, swirls, and marks that separate it from other materials. In addition to using wood filaments, a wood grain look can be achieved through creative post-processing and 3D texturing on the 3D print object at the design stage. Even with these approaches, the best results are achieved when combined with a high-quality wood filament.


Characteristics and composition of Wood Grain

Wood filaments like cedar, birch, coconut, olive, cork, ebony and even bamboo are readily available these days. Like metal and ceramic filaments, wood filaments are composite filaments made up of wood fibers impregnated with Polylactic Acid in various ratios. When it comes to PLA and wood fibers, these ratios rarely exceed 70:30. Even 30% of wood fibers, on the other hand, produce truly woody 3D prints.

Depending on the type of fibers injected, 3D printers manufactured with wood filaments have a characteristic wood fragrance.


Prepping the Printer and Printing materials

Keeping the printer and printing supplies in good working order will improve print quality and a less error-prone printing method.


If required, dehydrate the filament.

To begin with, wood is a highly hygroscopic material, so don’t be surprised if your filament gets brittle. To solve this, simply place the filament spool in a desiccator or the oven to dry off the filament. As a result, there will be fewer concerns with filament breaking at the very least.


Temperature for printing wood filaments

Because the wood filament is still primarily made of PLA, it’s only natural that both print at similar temperatures. The best print temperature range for most wood filaments is between 356°F (180°C) to 464°F (240°C) for the hot end. If you have a heated bed, make sure it is heated to at least 122°F (50°C). Apply an adhesive to the print bed if you’re having problems with adhesion. Any glue stick, painters’ tape, or another tape would suffice.


Stringing, clogging, and oozing

Wood filaments provide 3D printed things with a gritty texture. Although the coarseness of the wood fibers is a desirable quality of the first wood grain, it also makes smaller nozzles clog easily. Another way to make things simpler with wood filaments is to use a nozzle with a larger diameter to minimize clogging. To avoid oozing, change the retraction parameters to ensure the print-head does not travel outside the print outlines. Allow your slicer to control stringing if it has any settings similar to Simplify 3Ds Coasting tool.

However, because of the same coarseness, using a larger nozzle and even taller layers results in a part with fewer visible layer lines than one might expect.


Adding wood texture to a 3D print after post-processing

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of utilizing a wood filament is the offered simple and effective post-processing choices.

Wood filament-based 3D printing can be carved, engraved, polished, sanded, painted, stained, burned, and even-aged, just like real 100% hardwood objects.


Engraving and carving

You can use a carving knife or an engraving pen to add the finishing touches and conceal any misprinted areas. Simply change the thickness of the top layer to avoid revealing the in-fill.


Sanding For Smooth Finishing

Start with coarser grit sandpaper for a smooth finish and work your way down to a finer grit. Unlike actual wood, there is no need for varnish or lacquer. Before sanding the wooden 3D print, make the following preparations: Sand with the grain or lines in mind. You can start with dry sanding to further decrease the layer lines; however, be careful not to over-sand the item.


So, that’s how you can add wood grain to 3D prints. Also, you can paint, stain, and other wood finishes tasks to your list to provide finishing. Finally, ensure that any finish is sealed with a topcoat or varnish of your choice. A UV-resistant coat should be applied before the varnish if the part is exposed to the sun for an extended period. 

Macomatech provides 3D printing services in Dubai. They are UAE’s fastest-growing provider of 3D printing services. Manufacturing that is economical and accessible caters to a wide range of sectors.