Freedom of Creation (FOC) recently announced a new 3-D printing technique that transforms sawdust into objects that look and feel (almost) like wood. It’s a bit less bizarre than printing human veins, or the artist who turns human ashes into objects, and since the materials to can be collected from dusty workshops, these objects have a pretty good sustainability factor. And they look snazzy too!
A special glue binds the sawdust together to create a surprisingly solid object that is every bit as strong as medium density fiberboard (MDF). After it hardens, the binder discolors the sawdust, so the Macedonia tray will never look quite like a carved-up tree trunk. But then again, it doesn’t need to.
All wood does not print equally. After two years of tweaking their technology, FOC can work wonders with teak and mahogany, but sawdust from softer woods do not spread evenly on the printer. The Dutch firm is investigating other options in order to be able to expand their range.
Brian Garrett from FOC claims that people aren’t capable of creating such detail by handcrafting wood, which we of course know is not true, but this incredible technology does put otherwise wasted materials to good use. It also eliminates the need to ship products long distances, since you can go to your local printer with a bucketful of sawdust and have a fruit basket made up there. No word on what it costs just yet, but it’s bound to be a penny or two.