Originally Posted by WoodworkingTalk
The question is, does 3D wood printing have any place in woodworking?
While woodworking is definitely used to create, some also use woodworking as a way to explore what is possible with wood. For these woodworkers, a 3D wood printer could be just another tool for creating with wood. A number of woodworking projects make use of things other than wood, so it’s really not that much of a stretch to include wood that’s “assembled” instead of carved or cut under the umbrella of woodworking. Which way you see it is up to you, and your viewpoint will determine whether or not 3D wood printing could ever have a place in your woodworking toolbox.
Your question "Is There a Place for 3D Wood Printing in Woodworking?" for me is 'Yes, but I haven't needed it yet'. Because sooner or later I will realize that to make something I'll need a part or a tool or template that is best 3D printed.
I design a lot (as do my 3 full time designers) and I make as many of the prototypes as I can, often in wood but also in aluminum, the copper metals like brass and bronze, plastics, leather, glass, whatever. The best woodworking power tool I own is a milling machine, and I cut aluminum all the time with a (sliding) table saw. Waterjet cutting bronze parts to inlay into wood may not be woodworking, but the making sure is fun.
A related tool I think is underused is the laser. I can draw up a tool or jig or part while flying to a far-away site meeting, email it to Ponoko when I arrive there, and 10 days later the cut parts show up at home. This can speed up a project. An example would be my 90 degree jigs which I use all the time, I could have made them myself but I had other things to build. I'll attach an image.
Another laser cutting example is a very complex jewelry box I have in mind, a sort of complicated exoskeleton through which you'll be able to see the back, sides, and workings of the structure and drawers, etc. After I draw it I'll send the file off and have it burned out of foamcore or bamboo or something so I can see it in full size, see the mistakes and the conflicts, see where it just doesn't look right. Once I get it corrected I'll be able to use the laser cut pieces for templates, router bit guides, whatever is needed.
I think it is a mistake to close yourself off from any technology that might give you satisfaction.
Also, an image of a dining table. It's steel, resin, bronze, and walnut. Is it woodworking or metalworking? Does it matter?