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3D Printing with Wood Challenge

Wood Wool Cement Rope

  • Creator
  • #3986

    Mark Anson

    Wood wool cement board is a versatile building material made from wood wool (excelsior) and cement.  The main characteristics are: fire resistance; wet and dry rot resistance; freeze-thaw resistance; termite and vermin resistance; thermal insulation and acoustic absorbance.


    What if we twisted a rope out of wood wool and cement powder, much like a twine, then used steam/water to activate the concrete as we lay out the composite rope using computer controlled placement?  Rollers could be used to pull the rope into place as well as compressing the rope into a rectangular cross section, as opposed to round.  Twisting the rope creates a tremendous amount of internal tension/compression.

    One MAJOR drawback is trying to control moisture loss, so that the concrete can cure properly over time.

    Think of this as a combination of the material simplicity of a mud and straw house brought together with the geometric complexity of a termite mound.  I offer a few images from my first kick at the can….

    The rope is light and surprisingly strong, yet very pliable before curing.



Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #3993

    Samir Shah

    This would be an excellent concept.

    To lay out wood-wool rope is not complicated and equipment can be designed to suit.  Furthermore, the worry of losing water / moisture can also be tackled by adding other hydrophilic micro-particles (there are a lot of them out there) which release the moisture slowly or in a monitored fashion as they themselves disintegrate.  This can be done by tweaking the properties of the particles or by varying their proportion in the admixture, depending on environmental conditions for different geographical locations.

    This material can be used to build pretty good load-bearing walls.


    Jordan Barlow

    Very cool concept.  I wonder if the flexibility in laying out a form could be helpful in sensitive areas, which would other wise require rigid forms.  You could use it to build curved walls that match the topography without the need to disrupt it with traditional forms and retaining walls.  I’m thinking primarily in landscaping where you would not always have to reinforce with rebar.



    I really liked your approach, I think it is good and practical concept. I am sure it will be useful in construction. It reminded me of Coir(pronunciation: /ˈkɔɪər/) is a natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes, mattresses.

    can that be used for this it is easier to get it into something like a rope, which can be laid out like u r suggesting.


    Mark Anson

    Hi Aadhithya, I think this concept could work well with hemp, sisal, or coconut at a fine filament rope scale.  However, if you want a 3″ diameter filament rope, then wood can form much thicker and longer strands.


    Mark Anson

    Can we generate a list of ideas/uses?

    Could we braid the wood/concrete rope?  Could we weave it into mats?  Could it become the worlds first rope that you can push, and not just pull?  Could we “print or weave” temporary  dams to protect against flooding?  Could we print protective domes  (half culverts) over creeks before building a road crossing (leaving the creek bed undisturbed and following its natural contour)?  Could we wrap the rope arounds pipes before they are buried as a protective armour?

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

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