3D printing wood

A week ago I bought some wood-filled PLA, and I’ve been experimenting with it a bit to see how to make it actually look like wood.

The first thing I printed (a Pocket Operator case) just looked like it was printed with boring beige filament, even after being sanded:


So for a test, I printed a small sphere (10% infill, not that it matters) and used this gcode postprocessing script to add some temperature gradation, then I sanded it and tried a few different finish treatments:


None of the resulting finishes look particularly naturally wooden, but the mineral oil treatment at least looks pretty nice, and the wood stain approach also generates some promising results.

Out of curiosity I tried applying mineral oil to the Pocket Operator case but it was still underwhelming:


But there were enough fit problems with it and the other printed parts that I finally ordered some fine nozzles for my printer, and when the nozzles arrive I’ll reprint it using the wood preprocessing script. I might also try doing a print-in-place of the light guides using my Palette, since printing those standalone has never quite worked out either and it’d be pretty cool to have this as a multimaterial print. I’ll need to get some more transparent PLA first, though, since I don’t trust my transparent PETG to get along with the PLA during the printing process. I’ll also have to learn Blender enough to actually modify the meshes to fit together.

Update: Turns out the light guides were already modeled with print-in-place capability. Convenient!


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