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Volume 75 (2024), issue 1

Environmental Assessment/Evaluation of 3D Printing and 3D Printing with Wood-PLA Composites - Case Study

Research subject and fields:

In recent years, additive manufacturing has become a regular process in various industries, and consequently there is an increasing need to evaluate the environmental aspects of this technology and its associated materials. In this paper, comparative cradle-to-grave life cycle assessments between a conventional product and a 3D-printed alternative made of polylactic acid (PLA) and PLA-wood material were investigated based on the standard ISO 14044:2006. The environmental impact of each product was quantified for 18 categories. The goal of life cycle assessment (LCA) was to determine whether the use of 3D printed PLA/PLA-wood products can be a sustainable alternative to traditional metal products. The paper presents a case study in which a comparative LCA was conducted. The results show that a metal part manufactured using conventional subtractive processes (milling, drilling, welding, etc.) has a higher environmental impact compared to 3D-printed alternatives made from renewable materials. However, there are many sub-issues that need to be adequately addressed.


Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology

DRVNA INDUSTRIJA Scientific Journal of Wood Technology

ISSN 0012-6772 (Print) / ISSN 1847-1153 (Online)

Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology University of Zagreb, Svetošimunska 25, 10000 Zagreb, Hrvatska - Croatia
Tel: +3851 2352 430, E-mail:
Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Ružica Beljo-Lučić, Ph.D. E-mail:
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