New Additive Manufacturing Company Aims To Leverage 3D Printing Technology By Transforming The Way Architects And Designers Can Use Waste Wood | New
3D printing applications have revolutionized the architecture, construction, furniture design and fashion industries. Last year, 3D printing manufacturing helped provide healthcare professionals, patients and facilities with PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. As manufacturing continues to grow and expand, a Burlington, MA-based company has found a way to turn recycled wood by-products into a promising new avenue for additive manufacturing.
Forust, a wholly-owned subsidiary of 3D printing and rapid prototyping, Massachusetts-based Desktop Metal is creating “high volume additive manufacturing of final wood parts possible.” Launched in 2021, Forust’s system “recycles wood waste from the estimated 15 billion trees felled each year1 into luxury, high-quality, end-use lumber that can be used in a variety of industries, consumer goods and furniture to household items and luxury auto interiors. ”
There may have been improvements with 3D printing applications, but the fabrication tool has come under criticism due to its use of “standard” plastics like PLA, PET and ABA. However, 3D manufacturing specialists and research teams around the world have explored sustainable and alternative printing materials such as hemp, fungi, and other biomaterials. Although wood-based filaments for printing are not a new application, Forust has developed a way to not only provide an affordable, reliable and durable 3D printing option, but also to mitigate carbon emissions. “We apply these processes, precision and binder spray quality to produce strong, lightweight wood components derived from two wood waste streams: sawdust and lignin,” explains Forust.
Concerned about the environmental impacts of 3D printing, Forust wishes to change the wood waste cycle. With their dual approach, the company aims to reduce the amount of sawdust sent to be incinerated or sent to landfill by processing the material for 3D printing. While sawdust is biodegradable, Forust points out on their site that the harmful effects of sawdust on the environment in landfills. In large quantities, the waste of burnt wood contributes to additional air pollution. “As it decomposes, sawdust releases high concentrations of lignin and fatty acids, which can contaminate water supplies, potentially poisoning wildlife and microorganisms,” Forust explains.
Forust’s wood 3D printing methods range from consumer goods to luxury interior applications. The famous industrial designer Yves Béhar has already partnered with Forust in a line of collaborative products called the The Vine collection. Béhar shared with Business Wire, “As a designer I use a lot of wood, and being able to use a product made from sawdust and lignin is an incredible resource.” The future of design and production really depends on the arrival of new technologies and allowing designers to approach materials and manufacture in a sustainable, low carbon footprint way so as to use waste instead of cutting down more trees or extract more oil from the ground.