Chicago-based Inventables, selling veneer sheets, veneered plywood and other materials, now offers Laywoo-D3, a 3D printer filament that is a mixture of 40% wood with a polymer binder. The 3D printers using it function similarly to inkjet printers, spraying on layers of polymer create three-dimensinoal objects.

"This material can be printed on most 3D printers that use ABS or PLA filament," says the Inventables site description. The filament behaves similarly to PLA and can be printed at temperatures from 175C to 250C, according to Inventables. "The material color is affected by the temperature, so tree ring effects can be simulated by adjusting the temperature during printing."

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The Laywoo wood composite material smells and behaves just like wood, according to Inventables. Finished "prints" produced by the 3D printer can be cut, sanded and painted like standard wood products. One user relates his experience with it:

"I needed a way to mount a coin to a plaque, but the customer did not want to permanently attach the coin to the plaque," says Tate Watkins, Blackstone, VA. "The solution was to make a mounting to fit the coin that could be added to the plaque. This [Laywoo D3] composite material worked very well for this application."

Sold in coils without a spool, Laywood D3 is considered an experimental material, so users will have to experiment with speeds and temperatures. Not all 3D printer manufacturers will support using experimental materials, notes Inventables.

It describes itself as  a “Designers Hardware Store” that sells materials in small shapes and sizes for desktop fabrication. "We believe this will streamline the process of local manufacturing." Its  selection ranges from over 100 colors of acrylic sheets to 3D printers, including MDF, veneered plywood in mahogany, baltic birch, oak and other species, and veneer sheets among its 30,000 products.

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