A New System Uses Sawdust to Print Wooden Objects

Illustration for article titled A New System Uses Sawdust to Print Wooden Objects
Photo: Desktop Metal

A new printing system called Forust is using scrap wood to 3D print wooden objects that are as structurally sound as regular carved wood. Created by Andrew Jeffery and a team of researchers at Desktop Metal, the system prints using fine sawdust that is formed into solid objects.

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“Since we began in 2019, our focus has been on the mission of using sawdust to create wood products sustainably,” said Jeffery. “This R&D effort has led to today with Desktop Metal, launching our Forust process.”

The system works similarly to an inkjet printer and squirts a binding agent onto a layer of sawdust. Like most 3D printers, the object rises out of the bed of sawdust and then, when complete, can be sanded and finished like regular wood.

Illustration for article titled A New System Uses Sawdust to Print Wooden Objects
Photo: Desktop Metal

Jeffrey sees the system as a way to save trees.

“Two years ago we started looking into how we might be able to 3D print in new material,” he said. “Wood waste was one of the materials we started with early on and realized it could be repurposed and upcycled with 3D printing technology. From there, we focused on building out the process using wood byproducts in order to create real wood-crafted results. We formed the company really to save forests.”

Desktop Metal went public last August via an SPAC, and Forust is a spin-off product that will include an online sample design system for manufacturers to try the technology.

John Biggs is a writer from Ohio who lives in Brooklyn. He likes books, watches, and his dog. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo. Signal: +16468270591 Telegram: @johnbiggs

DISCUSSION

eyebreakthings
EyeBreakThings

squirts a binding agent onto a layer of sawdust

I’m interested in how that works exactly, that is, how each layer of sawdust is put down. I imagine the final product is more like real/solid wood than the current composite PLA-Wood Fiber solutions used in traditional FDM printers.