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Guide to the Best Wood Filament
I love wood filament! When you see a print made from it, you will struggle to believe it hasn’t been hand-carved from real wood.
Unlike real wood carving that takes years of practice to learn, you can 3D print the most intricate carvings in a matter of minutes, sand them smooth just like real wood, and color them with a varnish or stain just like real wood!
If you want to create things like miniatures, chess pieces, or trinket boxes that will scream quality and last a lifetime, then wood filament is what you want.
What is Wood Filament?
Wood filament is a 3D printing filament that is a mixture of wood particles and conventional plastic, usually PLA. Most of the wood filaments on the market contain approximately 60 to 70% PLA, with the remaining 30 to 40% made up of wood fibers.
Despite there being more plastic than wood in the filament, the finished prints feel and look like they are made from solid wood.
Not only do they make your prints look like you made them from solid wood, but you can also sand and varnish them just like wood giving you lots of different options for the finish.
What’s it Like Printing with Wood Filament?
When you print with a wood filament, you will even notice it smells like wood.
However, wood filaments can be temperamental, so I recommend you get a good few hours of practice printing with conventional PLA filament before you attempt to use wood. If you are a 3D printing expert and can be patient when things fail, then this filament is undoubtedly an excellent choice that will give you impressive results.
In this article, I will take you through an in-depth guide on the types of wood filaments, their pros and cons, and the benefits of using wood 3D printing filament.
Best Wood Filaments
ColorFabb Wood Filament
ColorFabb is a company located in the Netherlands that is famed for being among the best manufacturers of high-quality 3D printer filaments. Their range includes wood filaments of outstanding quality. They make three types of wood filaments; corkfill, bamboofill, and woodfill, each with its unique properties.
This wood filament is the most common type; it is made from a variety of wood types, including birch, maple, or oak. It usually has the visual properties and scent of the primary wood type used, and when it gets burnt, it produces the smell of classic burning wood. Moreover, woodfill can be stained and sanded, just like any other wood filament.
During the printing process, it produces a burnt smell even with correct temperature settings as the wood particles get hot. Woodfill is a good allrounder, and it allows you to experiment with different techniques, so you can work out how to achieve your desired finish.
This wood filament polymercontains bamboo, and this makes it prone to extruder clog and failures due to temperature changes. Because of this, you should always clean the nozzle thoroughly before and after using this wood filament. It is also one of the hardest woodfills to use. However, bamboo is a hard-wearing and weather-resistant wood, so if you put effort into making it work, you can get some prints that will have excellent longevity.
This wood filament is darker compared to regular woodfill or bamboofill and somewhat porous. Working with it is also just as tricky as bamboofill since achieving the perfect temperature settings can be a challenge. Corkfill is loved as it does not produce a lot of color variation at the varying temperatures compared to bamboofill, although its darker colors look very appealing. Prints made from Corkfill have that satisfying tactile soft feeling, which makes it useful for trinkets and gaming pieces that you will hold often.
Hatchbox Wood Filament
Hatchbox wood filaments, like all their other filaments, offer exceptional quality. They come with 20% wood content, which means they are easier to print than many other brands.
One thing that makes Hatchbox wood filament stand out from its competitors is the measures it has taken in quality control. You can clearly see this with its tolerance levels ranging between +/- 0.01 mm, whereas the standard filament tolerance is +/- 0.05 mm from the projected diameter. Hatchbox tried to ensure the tolerance is close to perfect because printing with wood filaments can be somewhat tricky.
Hatchbox filament cost only a little more than their standard PLA offerings and so is a good choice as a first woodfill or if you are on a tight budget
MG Chemicals Wood Filament
Wood filaments made by MG Chemicals also boast high quality and, therefore, reliable printing. This woodfill consists of PLA and 25% of wood materials from some of the popular wood types. Because the wood particles used in this filament tend to be quite large, you should print using a nozzle that is 0.4mm, as this helps to prevent any clogging issues.
The MG Chemicals wood filaments should ideally be printed at a temperature of 210 degrees Celsius. This does not, however, mean you cannot experiment with varying temperatures to give your 3D prints the desired look. When doing this, you need to remain very cautious to avoid burning the wood, which can easily lead to clogging the extruder and discoloration of the print.
MG Chemicals is a good budget choice of filament.
SainSmart Wood Filament
SainSmart is a huge Chinese company known for many popular 3D printers and an extensive range of filaments.
Sainsmart filaments have an excellent reputation, and their woodfill is no exception. It is available in two varieties; dark and light. The difference in formulation between these two options is not made public, but they both deliver excellent performance with just a small difference in appearance.
You can sand both the light and dark wood filament to resemble real wood. Like every other wood filament, be ready to experience some jams and clogging while experimenting to find which printer settings best suits your printer.
AMOLEN Wood Filament
Amolen is also another excellent budget wood filament you should consider. Amolen woodfill boasts an incredible smell that is comparable to brown sugar or maple syrup.
Like every other wood filament, the AMOLEN wood filament is also quite stringy when printing at a temperature high enough to induce a good layer bond.
One drawback of this brand’s wood filament is that it is relatively bright in color. The company possibly did this to allow you to control the color of its prints when adjusting through the various temperatures. Nonetheless, this only led to this wood filament making final prints that are brighter compared to standard wood.
Despite this downside, AMOLEN wood filament is an excellent choice for beginners. Therefore, if you have never used a wood filament before, look no further as this is undoubtedly one of the best picks.
Filamentive Wood Filament
Filamentive is a company that is famed for the revolutionary recyclable 3D printing filaments that are available in a broad range. This includes wood filaments that come in two different colors. The main philosophy of this company is to be as eco-friendly as possible, and so the wood filaments are available on a cardboard spool in a cardboard box, with both of which are recyclable.
Filamentive woodfill gets good customer feedback, and if you can afford it, it’s definitely worth paying a little extra to help the planet.
SUNLU Wood Filament
SUNLU are well known for their extensive range of PLA filaments but not quite as famous as other brands for their wood filaments. With their reputation for quality budget PLA, it is still one of the brands you need to consider. SUNLU PLA woodfill contains 30% sawdust, with this percentage identical to many of the more popular and more expensive wood filaments.
With the SUNLU wood filament, you get several distinct benefits:
- Available in two spool sizes
- A 90-day Money Back Guarantee and a two-year warranty
- High dimensional accuracy
When using the SUNLU wood filament, you need to pay close attention to any inconsistencies in the print quality, as this may be due to inconsistencies in the filament diameter.
3D Hero Wood Filament
If you are looking for a wood filament that is compatible with 3D pens and 3D printers, look no further than the 3D Hero wood filament. This wood filament also boasts exceptional dimensional accuracy and quality. You get a 30-day money-back guarantee after buying this 3D printing filament, showing the brand’s confidence in the quality of its products.
The one drawback of the 3D Hero wood filament is that it only consists of 20% wood. Despite this, 20% is still enough to make a wood filament because more than 50% sawdust will make 3D printing a lot harder. Another advantage of this wood filament is that it is quite affordable.
Benefits of Using Wood Filaments
Unlike the standard thermoplastic filaments, wood filaments allow you to design a 3D printed model with superior aesthetics. This means your prints boast a finish that is almost identical to the natural grainy look of actual wood.
You can gently sand the printed layers showing on your 3D prints and blend them perfectly well to the overall grainy appeal you are looking for. Thanks to wood filaments, you get to enjoy prints that have a wooden finish despite not having a bag of chisels and hours of woodworking skills!
Wood Is Biodegradable
One of the standout differences between wood filaments and other composite elements is that a higher percentage of the material is biodegradable. This is possible since the PLA and wood filament is to a large part, biodegradable. Therefore, you can break down any 3D prints designed from wood filaments in an industrial landfill or compost.
This aspect of wood filaments is very appealing, especially with the world become increasingly conscious of the environment to try and curb global warming.
Wood Filaments Have an Appealing Smell
Many wood filaments produce a pleasant wood-like smell when printing, even though they don’t contain a lot of wood, the scent is very noticeable. You can buy wood filament that contains highly scented woods like Pine and Cedar. You should nevertheless not inhale the fumes produced during the printing process because wood filaments still contain PLA and small amounts of other chemicals that can be harmful to your health.
This unique element of wood filament is another reason why you should consider it over conventional filaments.
Easy to Use
Using wood filaments is relatively straightforward due to their extremely low chances of shrinking or warping. This allows the construction of sturdier 3D printed models because it enables you to maximize cooling while printing. Furthermore, since fine-grained wood materials use standard PLA as a matrix, many of the 3D printer settings which can work with PLA filaments can also be used for wood filaments.
In comparison to other composite materials, including carbon fiber and metal, wood filaments are considerably less abrasive.
However, you will still notice some increased wear and tear on the nozzle. If you are going to do a lot of printing with wood filaments, you should consider buying spare brass nozzles or a stainless-steel nozzle.
After reading this article, you now know why I love wood filament so much!
Hopefully, you agree that wood filaments are a great material option to add to your arsenal. They provide a unique finish to your 3d prints as well as interesting features such as a nice smell and tactile feel.
Using wood 3D printing filament is an entertaining process, as your prints have such a nice feel and weight to them, they make you feel extra proud of your prints!