Radhika Dhuru July 14, 2015


We first announced the imminent arrival of this new material in early June, along with images of a few samples we printed to show what 3D-printed wood models look like. Wood might be one of the most primeval materials you can think of, and 3D Printing puts a uniquely modern spin on it. i.materialise also launched the ‘3D Printed Wood Challenge’ to encourage early starters to share their designs. The response has been great, and five talented winners have had their designs printed and sent to them.

How does it work?

Models printed in our wood material are constructed from a brown, very fine powder made from wood chips. The finished models have a brown, granular, sandy look with a slightly porous surface. We use laser sintering for 3D printing wooden objects, which offers you lots of design freedom and needs no support structures. Wood is perfect for complex models, including architectural scale models or figurines, as it allows for interlocking and moving parts. Our five winners below encapsulate the different advantages of wood as a 3D Printing material, by harnessing the design freedom of this uniquely primeval-yet-futuristic material.

The winning designs!

James Novak’s ‘Hexa-Phone Amplifier’, which won our 3D Printed Wood Challenge, shows the potential of 3D-printed wood for useful home décor items and tech gadgets. The simple design perfectly suits the clean and sandy look of 3D-printed wood. The ‘Wooden Crate’ by Ferdinand Jahnke can be used as an off-beat pen-holder for your desk, and shows how 3D-printed wood could be used for creating scale models and small-scale reproductions of typical wooden objects. Odette Coutant’s ‘Tree Napkin Ring’ combines the basic structure and surface of a tree with the simplicity of a stylish napkin ring. Kurt Plagge’s design embraces the potential for interlocking and movable parts with this 3D Printing technology in the ‘Wood Rack’, inspired by an oil rig, which can be moved and operated by hand.

If you have any inspirations for models that could show off 3D-printed wood to its maximum potential, we’re here to materialise your ideas! You can learn all about the technical specifications of wood as a 3D printing material and other practical tips over at i.materialise.