Editor WoodBusinessPortal.com team - research, November 2, 2018
Scientists at the Michigan Technology University, Houghton have successfully made 3D printable wood filament from furniture wood-waste. The success was published in a research paper co-authored by the open-source champion Joshua Pearce. The paper explored the possibility of upcycling furniture waste into wood filament to reduce the environmental impacts of wood waste. The wood filament was made using only open-source software and hardware.
Manufacturing wood filament from waste
According to the paper, the furniture industry in Michigan alone produces more than 150 tons of wood-waste a day. In a four-step process, the scientists demonstrated the possibility of making 3D printing wood filament with a combination of wood-waste and PLA plastic. The mixture of these two materials is better known as wood-plastic-composite (WPC). In the first step, wood waste was acquired from varying furniture manufacturing companies in Michigan. The waste included solid slabs and sawdust of MDF, LDF, and melamine.
These solid slabs and sawdust were reduced to micro-scale level for the preparation of WPC filament. The waste material was hammer milled, ground in a wood chipper and sifted using a vibratory de-airing device, which used an 80-micron mesh sifter. By the end of this process, the wood waste was in a powder state with a granular constituency of grain flour. The material was now referred to as "wood-waste powder."