Trying out Experimental Filaments – EasyWood

It’s been a busy summer alright. After getting my new Wanhao Duplicator 6 and getting it working just great, I’ve been working on a few private prototyping project for clients, but now I have a moment i’m keen to try out a collection of experimental filaments which, due to the old Duplicator 4’s just damn awfulness in terms of reliability, I never really got going with. Till now!

So… This blog post will be part of a series of posts wherein i going to test a bunch of experimental filaments and equipment. Let’s get going.

EasyWood is a filament made from a combination of grinded wood particles and binding polymers commonly used in PLA filament, and comes in a variety of wood types. There are 7 different one available, but the I went for was good old Pine. Here’s the technical info on the stuff.

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Upon opening the sample pack the first thing initially noticed was how brittle this filament is! This stuff be tricky to handle and so you need to be careful not to snap it when feeding into the extruder.  With a recommended printing temperature of 200-240 C I decided to first try the initial print on the lower end and print and 220 C. immediately i noticed how this stuff  smells great when printing! (It really does smell of real wood) Okay this is not an important printing factor, but a pleasing one non the less. Putting down the first layer and the brim could see that it does extrude a little clumpy. I guess this is to be expected, with only the plastic elements of the material become molten, and the wood particle just be carried along with it. Still this clumpiness is very minor.

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As you can see this fist print (a tree,) was going well with good creations of layers and infill, but then it suddenly stopped extruding! I realised the nozzle was clogged. To fix this I had to take remove the nozzle to clean it out, and what I found was curious. It seemed that the hot end was clogged up by tree sap! (While melting the filament the sap had been gradually collecting as a hard resin in the nozzle) I cleaned the blockage out and started a new smaller print of the tree, upping the temp to 230 C.

 

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This time it printed with no blockages. Printing on 0.1mm it came out okay apart from, as you can see, the fine details on the branch tips. This lack of detail was due to the clumping, and this was evident watch them print out. Some of those stringy bit was due to a bit of oozing, and could be picked off (i think further adjusting the temp setting may help this )I think if I was printing the original larger model this may have not been such an issue.

So for a final experiment print I thought I would go for something fun, and so printed out Grute! Well who better to print out of wood than this famous tree-man? Again, like the former, print Grute printed well par some of the finer details. Also for some reason the supports and the infill just did not print out (which is strange at they did no the former prints) but i’m pretty happy how he came out at 0.2mm. I bit bumpy and with visible lines but still pretty good over all.

 

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One more thing to note. I did try doing a print on the higher setting of 240 C and found that after around 15 mins the printer would stop with the error message ”ERROR – STOPPED Temp sensor .” This did not seem to happen when i drop thew printing temp back down to 235 C, or it could have been a loose connection with the temp sensor, and fixed by wiggling it a bit on the extruder. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Please comment on the forum here or on the Facebook page!

Summery of EasyWood

Although this first experimental filament I have tried since getting the Wanhao Duplicator 6, I think that this may turn out to be one of the more challenging experimental materials to print with. Being made of the wood particles/PLA mix it would be hubris to expect it to print as cleanly and easily as a material like PLA, which after all the machine is designed to utilise. Although EasyWood presents a challenge when attempting highest of desired standards, especially with highly detailed items, it on the whole performs well. You may need to tweak the setting and find out what best work for you. I am confident that with decent experimentation and persistence great things can be printed with this material.

Please see this link plus my shop page to purchase both sample and full reels of the various types of EasyWood. I get a little commission so we all win!

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