Over all thoughts
A look at tesla maple wood PLA and some pointers on using wood filaments.
I got the chance to try out Ceramic and Maple Wood Pla from Tesla. This article will be on Maple Wood, and I’ll be using my tronxy X3S with a 0.4mm nozzle and slicing with Cura to test this. If you are unsure who, Tesla is then head over to “who they are“.
The Unboxing Experience
Tesla Filament’s wood PLA came in a sealed bag with a silica gel bag as is the norm in 3D printing filaments and a beautifully colourful tesla branded box. The spool is also 800g so slightly smaller than the 1kg you may be used to. This wood PLA has a slight smell of wood. Finally, he reel is average with no knots but not beautiful straight lines.
Printing the Tesla wood PLA is straight forward it is PLA so a basic printer can cope with it. Tesla recommends printing @ 200C plus or minus 20C with a 0C to 50C bed. Printing this wood PLA yields some stringy results. This is down to the lack of vacuum in retraction caused by the wood particulates.
Usually, I would suggest heating off the strings between the parts with a lighter or blow torch, but as this is a wood PLA, this isn’t the best option. This is because the 20% wood dust in the plastic can catch fire faster than standard PLA. This leaves you with sanding for smoothing for post-processing. Other post-processing you can undertake is varnishing and staining, like natural wood.
Finished models come out quite a bit lighter and slightly weaker than regular 100% PLA. This could be down to wood being lighter than PLA, and the fact wood doesn’t melt meaning that the wood specks don’t help with layer adhesion, however wood PLA is good at hiding layer lines most layer heights.
It is strongly recommended to use a larger nozzle as smaller have a high chance of blocking due to the wood particles so buy some spares. I purchased a variety pack off amazon. I would recommend starting with a 0.5mm nozzle and maybe a 0.3mm layer to get used to the filament before getting into great detail.
Tesla Maple Wood
Tesla’s Wood PLA is a 20% maple wood dust to 80% PLA. For those who are unaware of wood PLAs, here’s the deal. The PLA gets mixed with fine wood dust to alter the way the attributes of PLA. The wood in the plastic means it works like wood in that it can be varnished, stained, sanded or even burnt! Like wood.
As you might guess and probably will do yourself; the first thing I printed was Groot. Yeah, I know creative, exactly what else would I make a tree? That seems a bit ironic to me. Have a look at these Top Ten Websites To Download 3D Printing Models.
Exciting models and parts, print and stain a model for an old school look. I couldn’t see these Tesla wood PLA being used for structural components. It’s aesthetically pleasing but not the strongest or hardest wearing.
As you will see below I varnished my Groot. I simply bought wood varnish and a brush and applied two coats, leaving to dry between. The end result was really nice. I would recommend sanding before varnishing as this has now been recommended to me and the layer lines are more visible now the model is varnished.
Tesla Maple Wood PLA Conclusion
Initially, this review was difficult for me to write, as I didn’t have any problems except I should use a bigger nozzle with Tesla wood PLA. It is a beautiful filament and good for model making, making nature-oriented parts like planters or garden décor. As you sometimes know, filament reviews can be difficult because when things go great, there aren’t any issues to talk about. At the time of this article getting published, the filament is priced at $ 29.69 on Tesla Filament Website.
This looks to be a promising upcoming 3D printer of which seems to print well, something that everyone will want! You can bring out your creativity with this and would be excellent for your cake makers!