By now, just about anyone who’s paying attention to technology has heard of 3-D printing and how additive manufacturing is poised to disrupt the way we design, build and buy stuff. While 3-D printed objects of plastic, metal, ceramics and even concrete can be practical and useful – many of our most cherished pieces are made of wood.
How the heck do you 3-D print wood?
Well, 4AXYZ (pronounced 4AXES), a British Columbia, Canada startup is in the process of gearing up for 3-D printing solid wood objects using what they call a Stratified Additive Manufacturing (SAM) process. And not a moment too soon. The traditional woodworking craftsman and solid wood furniture have been fading from the spotlight for a couple of decades – overshadowed by plywood, MDF and particle board cabinets and furniture – mass produced with CNC machinery which uses a subtractive process. The cost of truly creative and unique wooden furniture has gone beyond the budget of the average family.
Wood has a warmth and beauty that we humans respond to in ways we may not even be aware of – especially within our interior environments where we spend more time than ever before. 4AXYZ is taking the lead in developing a sustainable, next-generation woodworking technology that can incorporate different wood species, and even other materials into custom-designed, on-demand products that can be delivered within 15 days of ordering. CAD designs created anywhere in the world can be sent to the 3-D “printer” located closest to the customer – enabling the use of local materials and labour and saving on shipping costs.
4AXYZ is currently seeking $1 Million funding through Indiegogo to build a large-scale production machine.
Image: Epoch Times