4D Printed Wood Could Enable Shape-shifting Furniture

Formnext Germany

Share this Article

We have seen shape memory properties in metals and plastics, but this may be a first for wood. Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have created a 3D printing technique that can fabricate wooden structures in one orientation that then dry into another!

3D Printing Wood Ink

Doran Kam, a Ph.D. student at the university, led the group who developed this new methodology as they took sawdust, old wooden scrapings, and other wooden waste and turned that pulp into a printable ink. This ink was then deposited from a syringe extruder mounted to a Hyrel3D 30 M 3D printer. Inspired by previous research, the scientists determined that, by controlling the speed of the print and the direction in which they printed, they could control how the wood deformed as it dried.

“90° oriented bilayers. (a) printed object “as printed”, wet length = 60 mm, wet width = 15 mm. (b) Curvature as a function of printing speed measured at two different locations: center and side, blue and orange markers, respectively. (c) Dried 3D warped objects at different velocities, scale bar indicates 10 mm, demonstrating an increased effect at higher velocities.” Image courtesy of polymers.

3D Printing Furniture

So far, the scientists have been able to print a variety of shapes, including domes, cones, bowls, and saddles. Sizes of the prints vary, but the current limit is about one meter in size. In the future, the group hopes to build a printer that will have triple the build volume and can be used to print functional furniture.

In parallel to that effort, Kam’s group is also exploring methods to create more complex shapes and methods to 3D print reversible shape-changing objects, as well. Both are exciting avenues for research, and if it allows us to compost our own wood waste and turn it into something new, we are excited to see what comes of it.

While 3D printing wood isn’t novel, being able to have wooden prints exhibit shape changing capabilities is. This could offer a more environmentally stable solution for 3D printing and may offer a way to reduce our dependence on oil and gas as our world shifts to renewable energy inputs and materials.

More research will have to be done before this product is economically viable, but it could be here sooner than we think; especially if the group’s past progress is any indicator. They have been hard at work since they first published their method on their wood 3D printer back in 2019, and now offer a way to 3D print shape changing woods. If this momentum continues, they could potentially reach their goal of creating 3D printed wooden furniture in the near-term. Who knows, it may become the next “mattress-in-a-box” trend. We only hope their furniture is as comfy as the beds we sleep in, too.

Share this Article

Recent News

AML3D Makes C-Suite Changes & Ramps Up its Metal 3D Printing Sales in Support of US Navy

The Evolution and Global Influence of NTT DATA XAM Technologies in Japan


3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns

You May Also Like

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Buys SPEE3D Metal 3D Printers

SPEE3D, the Australian original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of cold spray additive manufacturing (CSAM) platforms, has been awarded a contract by the Japanese Ministry of Defense to purchase both WarpSPEE3D and...

Toyota Taps SOLIZE to 3D Print Functional Parts for Lexus

Recently, Japanese reseller and 3D printing service SOLIZE has achieved notable success. In 2021, the company began manufacturing 3D printed components for Nissan’s NISMO brand, utilizing HP printers. Now, SOLIZE...

3DPOD Episode 168: Reselling 3D Printers in Japan, Korea and the USA with Douglas Krone, Brule and Dynamism

Douglas Krone co-founded Dynamism, a reseller specializing in a range of 3D printers, from desktop to industrial models, for the U.S. market. This successful enterprise has become a leader in...

Japan’s Largest Fishing Company to Fast-Track Lab-Grown Fish via Seafood 3D Printing Firm Investment

Maruha Nichiro (TYO: 1333), Japan’s largest fishing company, has announced a strategic investment and collaborative partnership with Singapore-based Umami Bioworks (formerly known as Umami Meats) to develop and commercialize cell-cultivated...