"In the US alone, 84 million tons of sawdust is generated each year," says CEO and Co-founder of Forust Andrew Jeffery. In 2009, the EPA reported that wood waste makes up over 10 percent of all waste generated in North America. As some organizations are discovering, a large percentage of sawdust can be repurposed as a raw material for 3D printing.
The mission of Jeffery's company Forust is precisely to solve this dilemma of what to do with wood waste. A process created by Desktop Metal in 2021, Forust is a streamlined solution that reclaims industrial sawdust waste as a 3D printing material for mass manufacturing in the arenas of furniture, architecture, consumer goods, and even luxury car interiors. The technology is also Cradle to Cradle certified, wholly sustainable, and affordable.
To promote this proprietary technology and its applications, Forust called on the team at fuseproject to design a line of home accessories using their printing process to demonstrate the production possibilities Forust can afford designers and manufacturers. The collaboration resulted in the Vine Collection, a range of tabletop dishes with a form originating from a single extrusion point that twists into a simple, repeating pattern to render the shape.
When it comes to manufacturing and materials, the technology responsible for the Vine collection requires no additive adhesives and utilizes lignin found in wood waste as a binding agent. Forust uses small and large format single pass binder jetting printers to generate products at a variety of scales (small printers are for batch production, and large are for mass manufacturing). This process begins with laying sawdust on the build plate, then the machine's inkjet nozzles pass over the material to distribute lignin as a binding agent and color for visual effect.
While the Vine Collection opts for a grainless texture, Forust's binder jetting process also afforded the company the ability to implement a never-before-seen technology that simulates true woodgrain through a wood product. This effect can make the end product nearly indistinguishable from natural wood. In addition to serving as a convincing dupe of real wood, Forust's technology allows designers create complex organic shapes that might be more difficult or practically impossible with subtractive wood manufacturing.
Yves Behar of fuseproject says the technology and ecological benefits of the Forust process are what excited him and the team most. "As a designer, I use a lot of wood, and being able to use a product made from sawdust and lignin is an amazing resource," Behar notes. He adds that "the future of design and production hinges on new technologies coming on and allowing designers to approach materials and manufacturing in sustainable ways, in ways that are low carbon footprint, in ways that we are using waste instead of cutting down more trees or extracting more oil out of the soil. Design isn't just something that remains the same all the time. This new technology allows us to address some of the critical problems around the environment and global warming that we are facing."
The Vine collection is now available on Forust's website for anyone interested in adding one of the pieces to their home.