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3D Printing with Wood Challenge

Layer assembly furniture :-

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  • #3955

    I suggest using CAD Software like Autodesk 123 to make layers of the furniture to be made and finally assembling it to make the furniture. It is also a kind of additive manufacturing. Here the layers can be 3d printed in sections and later glued or assembled to make the final furniture, the advantage of doing this is we can make furniture of large sizes as the parts are divided, it is easier to print. The project already allows us to upload the 3D model and the software divides the model into appropriate sections of cardboard which when assembled in a specific order makes the 3d model. I think something similar to this can be made with wood also.

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  • #3974

    Mark Anson

    Hi Sujith, I too think this is a viable way to approach CAD/CAM manufacturing with wood.  It is important to mention that because these objects can be glued up as sections, it is possible to leave large voids concealed within, or build a lattice matrix inside that provides structure while lowering the overall weight.

    I encountered a few challenges when building a LOM wooden pumpkin, see my post “casting LOM”.

    1. How to cut the veneers? Routers are great but react to grain direction.  Lasers are accurate but leave a burnt edge.  Both leave a stepping pattern.

    2. How to register each layer of the object?  Does one include guides, such as dowels, or does one form a boundary condition that locates each layer?

    3. What adhesive is appropriate? It may be possible to use a heat activated glue between each veneer because the heat only needs to penetrate a small distance.


    Samir Shah

    Sujith, what  you have suggested is interesting, but I have a few non-flattering comments.  Please excuse me for them in advance.

    We made furniture like this in Chennai, in 1995.  It cannot be called furniture, if it will not sell or be used as furniture.  The reason I say this is because we had no Autocad at that time, and had done it manually, drawing out layer-by-layer before cutting using a manual saw etc. etc.  The weight of the end product (using 10mm LDF) was so much that it made no sense to call it furniture – it could only be called sculpture.  Plus, it was very uncomfortable because the layers where the curves flatten, are terribly bumpy and no fun to sit on.

    What Mark says is probably more sensible if you can hollow out unused, unseen areas in pre-cutting before gluing and pressing.

    The one thing that should be a governing factor is that your suggestion is not “additive manufacturing” because you are “subtracting” from pre-made panel sheets so the negative portions of the panels are a huge waste. Any solution going forward in technology should address and solve existing problems, and not add to them, thereby requiring more solutions and additional cost.



    I think it is additive manufacturing what @sujith suggests is to 3d Print the individual sections using wood rather than cutting out in the concept above. I also think it will solve the problem of laser cutting and leaving burnt edges @mark. It might also enable to make large shapes as 3d printing is done in sections.


    Reply @ Samir :-


    It might not have been possible in 1995 but in 2016 it is definitely possible with accuracy. People are even printing organs these days.

    There is reason I stress upon CAD/CAM manufacturing with wood as most of the work of splitting the structures and assembly is done using computer software and it can even simulate and show us the assembly processes it cannot be manually drawn and assembled as here there is no room for error small errors will get magnified with each step. Also I have suggested to 3D print each sections using wood and assemble it rather than cutting it out from wood and wasting wood. I can also incorporate Mark’s suggestion into it of creating hollow portion to reduce weight significantly, also it will take up less 3D printed wood for the process.


    Samir Shah

    Hi Sujith,

    Thanks.  The point of course, that I was making, was not about accuracy as much as the layering system already tried by us in 1995 – implying 21 years ago we had discovered the problems related to immense weight, making it impractical to use that method to make furniture.  That was FYI.

    You have suggested using a method not by cutting out panel board, but by 3d Printing.  I would love to hear how you can 3D Print wood.  If you missed my earlier forum posts, I will repeat:

    1.  There is no known method of spitting out wood from a nozzle to “print” as the original 3D Printing is known to do.

    2.  Wood powder or wood flour, used with a resin to bond it is technically a cement, and not wood.  To clarify, it has lost all the properties of wood – so you cannot differentiate it from a polymer cement or others.  Therefore, the PLA methods of melting a cement filament and re-hardening it in layers is also not an option to 3D Print wood.

    3.  Sintering is not possible if you consider the temperatures generated – which is already self-defeated.

    To comeback to your concept, I was basing my comments on many years of research in 3DP and 3DM and 27 years of woodworking.  The only way those images can be replicated is by layering panels upon each other.  Remember, even MDF (which we tried in 1995) is not wood and has none of its properties via grain (visual appeal nor directional-strength).

    If you could provide a solution to 3D Printing real, solid wood, and retain its properties, it may be a world-wide revolution and will be a permanent end to woodworking as we know it.

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