So when I first got into 3D printing, with my Printrbot Plus LC as it was known at the time, I had a play with LayWood. It was 3mm and was really
thick and I hadn’t played with printers much. I tried to print the same as I would print the ABS (which was all I printed with then) and ended up with a shiny faced item where the back was really just the melted vehicle the wood was suspended in.
The other side was okay, but the hot end was pretty clogged for a while afterwards.
So when I saw the woodfill at the 3DPrintshow in London, I knew I needed to give it a try. Now my schedule is quite hectic, with 2 jobs and all the fun 3D printing stuff so, all in all, it did take a while to get an order into ColorFabb. And then they were moving, so the order was a bit delayed and then it arrived and I was busy but now, finally, I had a chance to play with it. So I placed an order for ColorFabb WoodFill Fine.
It comes in the normal ColorFabb cardboard box, but this time there is a small flyer, giving some printing advice and a spool of quite rough feeling filament. Now the flyer suggests printing as you would with PLA, so I loaded up a quick STL and sliced with some settings that Naomi from RoboSavvy came up with.
The filament was flowing quite easily at 200 C, so I started off the print on my Metal Printrbot Simple. The first couple of layers went okay, but when it came to curves, the speed seemed to be a bit much for it. I tried again with my rock steady, slow-but-sure settings and started again.
Now the STL I was printing was one from Leo the Maker Prince (@leothemakerprince). I met Carla at the London Hackspace Open Day a month or so back (and she really is awesome!). I was printing the Ocarina, a small flute type
instrument. Lots of curvy places, some holes, not the easiest of prints, so a fairly useful test. There are 2 versions of the STL, one cut horizontally and one cut vertically. I took the horizontally cut one and then split it, using slic3r, into 2 separate pieces and then sliced them. I have to say, the quality came out pretty awesome. Both from a filament point of view and also the model.
There will still need to be a bit of sanding done and then I’ll need to glue the two pieces together to make them airtight.
But let’s talk about the filament. The print quality was excellent. There is a smell, a bit like burning MDF while it prints. Not an unpleasant smell, but more than you normally get with PLA. When sanding it tend to end up with white marks so, ideally, try not to print something that needs sanding! I didn’t get round to trying some different temperatures to see if it adds a ‘grainy’ look to the prints.
After my early experiences with LayWood I was expecting a similar performance but time has moved on and this was as easy as printing with any other PLA/PHA plastic from ColorFabb. I would certainly recommend it if you are looking for a different look to your prints. I’m thinking maybe some ‘wooden’ jewellery or some artistic pieces.
I would like to see some of the filament suppliers offering a sample pack of their ‘exotic’ filaments for people to try. Sometimes a full spool is a bit much if people just want to try.