Organoid: freeform moulding of natural fibres

By Lorrin Windahl.

The guys at Organoid Technologies have developed an interesting material process. They have worked out how to turn wood chips into freeform mouldings. And the wood chips that they source are residue from logging so they are giving new life to a waste material.

But its not just wood chips, almost any natural fibre can be used. They have a long list of materials, which include hemp, recycled paper, straw or barley just to name a few. And many of the materials offered are renewable, biodegradable and include recycled content.

The Organoid process starts by creating an inflatable or carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic mould (depending on the scale of the product) that is then covered with a vacuum film. The chosen natural fibre is then ground to the required fineness and combined with a natural binder that provides the necessary strength. It is sprayed onto the mould and then, while still moist, covered with another vacuum film to create a hermetic seal. A negative pressure is then applied, compressing the material so that it dries in the desired shape.

The IOYO seating solution showcases the possibilities for the new process.

The IOYO seating solution showcases the possibilities for the new moulding process.

The new process had three objectives: achieve complex freeform shapes, be affordable and use natural materials. They can achieve a tolerance of as little as 0.1mm and the material can be anywhere between 2-200mm thick. It is suitable for indoor or outdoor use and comes in a range of finishes. The obvious use is for furniture but I see the potential in it being used as a more sustainable and renewable packaging material.  Decorative coatings and 3D acoustic panels are also available using the same process.

The moulded material is  suited to interiors and 3D panelling.

The moulded material is well suited to furniture design.

Products such as these bowls, have been trialed using carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic moulds.

Smaller products, such as these bowls, have been trialed using carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic moulds.

The new material is also supplied as 3D acoustic panels.

The new materials are also supplied as 3D acoustic panels.

All photos are courtesy of Organoid Technologies.

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