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Wood PLA – Printing with wood

I mostly print functional parts with 3D printer and seldom care about the looks of the finished product. It doesn’t matter if a hook for the tool shed is gray or red as long as it is structural strong.

But when printing e.g. figures it can be quite fun to experiment with the many different materials. Some of the most exotic being metal, marble and of course wood PLA.
Wood PLA consist of small pieces of wood fibers/particles and regular PLA – and it should give your 3D prints a wood like finish / texture.

I have been curious about trying wood PLA for some time and I have been wanting to test whether my thoughts about the material is right.
My initial expectatations of wood PLA is:

  • A little bit abrasive and wears down the nozzle quicker than normal PLA. Although carbon PLA and metal composite materials are much more abrasive since wood fibers are softer than metal and carbon
  • A finish that look more like a MDF or cardboard surface – not expecting it to actual look like wood
  • A color that will be darker with hotter nozzle temperatures

Experimenting with wood PLA

I looked at the different vendors of PLA with wood and I decided to go with a roll from Geeetech. I purchased a roll from Amazon and it was quickly delivered with their Prime service.

Geeetech Wood PLA. Composite PLA material with wood fibers
Geeetech Wood PLA – 1189 gram with spool

I decided to print something quite fun and perhaps not that practical – a wooden spoon. Perhaps later I will print a wooden Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy).

I must say I quite impressed with the results –

3D printed wooden spoon
Wooden Spoon – 3D printed

I used Cura to slice and my Artillery X1 v4 to print.

Cura setting for the Geeetech Wood PLA

  • Temperature > 195 Celsius
  • Bed > 60 degrees
  • Layer height = 0.16mm
  • Infill percentage = 100%
  • Infill pattern > Lines
  • Speed > 80mm/s

Thoughts about Wood PLA

I must admit I am quite impressed with the result of the Wood PLA – OK it doesn’t look exactly like real wood. But I guess it would be possible to sand down the spoon and paint it with a standard wood tint.

I have used quite a low temperature on the hotend – later I have confirmed that prints will turn darker with higher temperature.

The picture below shows a close-up of the spoon – and I think it gives an overall impression of the results you can expect from wood PLA.

Close-up 3D printed wood – 0.16mm layer height

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