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Ceramic 3D Printers

2018 Ceramic 3D Printer Guide – All About Ceramic 3D Printing

Picture of Anatol Locker
by Anatol Locker
Mar 15, 2018

3D printed ceramics are practical and decorative. Read our guide to learn more about ceramic 3D printing or even build your own ceramic 3D printer.

So you want to 3D print a cool coffee mug or animal figurine for your home? Or are you looking for some special ceramics for your lab? Then you might consider ceramic 3d printing. If you’re still a rookie when it comes to ceramic 3D printing, don’t worry – we’ll fill you in.

If you’re more of a ‘do-it-yourself’ 3D printing aficionado, here are also some DIY ceramic 3D printers to get you started on your pottery, ceramic prototypes, and more.

Ceramic 3D Printing Terms You Need To Know

Before we start, here are some terms you need to know when talking about ceramic 3D printing:

  • Green object: the clay object that still needs to be sintered (or fired up) in a kiln.
  • Kiln: the oven used for the post-processing (sintering) of the green object.
  • Sintering: the process of partially melting clay particles to obtain a hard ceramics object.
  • Binder Jetting: the 3D printing technology that works by gluing together powder particles to form the object’s slices.
  • Paste extrusion deposition: That’s the 3D printing process. It’s similar to fused filament deposition, where a plastic strand is heated up and then – layer by layer – extruded through a nozzle. In ceramic 3D printing, a paste material is extruded to form a green object.
  • Clay: a fine-grained natural rock or soil material that combines one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter.
  • Ceramic: an inorganic, nonmetallic, solid material comprising metal, nonmetal or metalloid atoms. It is usually made from clay sintered in a kiln.
  • Porcelain: is a material made by heating materials, generally including kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C (2,200 and 2,600 °F). It’s more durable and heat-resistant.

Ceramic 3D Printing Services

If you’re ready to start exploring the wide world of 3D printed ceramics, the easiest way is via an online printing service such as Shapeways or iMaterialise.

These services print a wide variety of ornamental, colorful objects for the home or office. The ceramic material used to print the objects is food-safe, recyclable, and water-tight. This makes it perfect for cups, saucers, plates, even statues, and figurines.

Take a look at the diagram below to see how the process works. If you’re ready to try it out, upload a design here and we’ll show you the best available price!

technology_ceramicss
A diagram of the binder jetting process applied by i.materialise to 3D print with ceramics (image: i.materialise)
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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing Lithoz

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: Lithoz

Austria-based Lithoz offers a user-friendly online service and ‘plug & play’ network with different glass ceramic material options. You can also use their software to create specific ceramic parts.

  • Advantages: The patented LCM-Process of Lithoz offers the possibility to produce 3d printed ceramic products in a fast, more cost-efficient way. They also offer bone-replacement material tricalcium phosphate for medical purposes.
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer Service for: Prototypes, small-scale series, and complex geometries.
  • Ceramic 3D Printer types: 3D printer CeraFab 7500 & 8500
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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing Admatec

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: Admatec
keramisch 3D-printen door technostarter Admatec

Admatec is the company to go to when it comes to technical ceramic components. By use of the in-house developed Admaflex technology, they deliver ceramic printed components upon customer specifications. Materials consist of alumina- and zirconia-oxide, fused silica, aluminum toughened zirconia and silica based materials for investment casting. Ceramic 3D printing of Hydroxyapatite is currently in development.

  • Advantages: Expertise in ceramic 3D printing for industrial uses.
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer Service for: High-tech components, medical, dental, automotive and aesthetical industries.
  • Ceramic 3D Printer types: The company has developed their own professional ceramic 3D printers.

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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing 3D Ceram

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: 3D Ceram

If you want 3D printing ceramic parts for industrial or lab use, you want an experienced partner. French company 3D Ceram can offer 15 years of expertise in the field of ceramic 3D printing. They have developed their own brand of ceramic 3D printers. These printers are also available for sale. Materials for their ceramic 3D printers 3DCeram are based on zirconia, alumina, hydroxyapatite/TCP, Si3N4, cordierite, zirconsilica, and silica materials.

The company also offers services in material choice, draw-up specifications, R & D, development of a 3D part up to its industrialization, on-demand production or series-production.

  • Advantages: The company is using ceramic 3D printers since 2005. The service made mainly for industrial use cases.
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer Service for: Aerospace, defense, aeronautics, automotive industry, biomedical parts, jewelry, and watchmaking.
  • Ceramic 3D Printer types: 3D Ceram are offering their own brand of ceramic 3D printers, i.e. the Ceramaker 900.

DIY Ceramic 3D Printers

Ordering ceramic 3D prints through providers is great for most people because the services are usually fast and convenient. But some people want to get their hands dirty and be part of the whole process. If you’re willing to spend the money and a significant amount of time, there are some great professional 3D ceramic printers on the market that have large volume outputs, more options, and offer great results.

Check out these DIY ceramic 3D printers manufacturers if you’re looking to get started or continue your 3D printing at home.

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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing WASP’s Clay 3D Printers and Kit

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: WASP’s Clay 3D Printers and Kit
You can use WASP's new clay extruder on any 3D printer (image: WASP)

Italian 3D printer manufacturer WASP is known for its large size delta 3D printers. They made headlines by using their Big Delta systems to build houses and shelters in developing countries.

Originally, WASP only offered a LDM professional clay extruder system. It can be used with all of their printers, but also with third-party 3D printers. When properly set up, this technology offers some of the most precise paste extrusion ceramic 3D printing on the market.

If you’re interested, WASP’s Clay Extruder Kit 2.0 will set you back US$700 (around €650). It comes with a 5 kg tank with a stand, an extrusion piston, pressure reducer, a cochlea with an interchangeable pressure chamber, a high couple stepper engine and 10 kg of porcelain. 

However, WASP has recognized that some users prefer a clay 3D printer that works out of the box. You can choose between two sizes. The Delta WASP 2040 Clay offers a build volume of Ø200 ✕ 400 mm. This printer will already set you back $3000.

Its big brother, the Delta WASP 40100 Clay, boasts a build volume of Ø400mm ✕ 1000mm. The manufacturer has not published the price of this machine, instead, you need to ask for a quote. Both machines offer a maximum layer resolution of 0.5mm and print at a maximum speed of 150 mm/s putting them in the same league as the Ceramo One.

  • Advantages: Among the most notable innovations presented by the new ceramics extruder is the extrusion system itself. It eliminates air bubbles out of the mixture, has an extrusion controlling system with a retraction option and an outward pressure multiplier of up to 40 bar.
  • Ideal ceramic 3D printer for: This technology offers some of the most precise paste extrusion 3D printing on the market. The green objects are very fragile at first and need to be sintered in a kiln, but the results are quite impressive, and the costs are relatively low.
  • Ceramic 3D printer types: The Clay extruder kit is used in combination with most WASP’s 3D printers and turns them into ceramic 3D printers. If you want to retrofit another Delta 3D printer model with it, contact WASP before ordering. Both the Delta WASP 2040 Clay and the Delta WASP 40100 Clay offer hassle-free ceramic 3D printing out of the box.
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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing 3D PotterBot – Made for Ceramic 3D Printing

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: 3D PotterBot – Made for Ceramic 3D Printing

3D PotterBot is one of the first truly dedicated ceramic 3D printers, made especially for the pottery industry. It produces large volumes of undiluted ceramic materials via its large capacity constant flow RAM extruder, so you get precise and continuous flow prints.

DeltaBots, the company behind it, has specially designed the envelope for larger ceramic vessels. The maximum height of an object is 17 inches.

At the moment, you can order 8 different ceramic 3D PotterBot printers with a price range of $2,850 to $22,500. Each one’s designed to be extremely rigid in construction, yet simple with low part counts. So, you get the best possible pottery making results.

  • Advantages: The 3D PotterBot offers unprecedented control over the flow of the ceramic or paste. By eliminating the hose delivery system, it gets rid of lag and hysteresis caused by hoses. This means you get extremely precise, constant extrusion layer throughout the entire print. The extruder does not use air, outside power sources or an air compressor to propel the paste.
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer for: Paste ceramic 3D printing due to its design. The extrusion mechanism is located above the printing platform. This construction enables printing directly from the end of the RAM Extruder tip.
  • Ceramic 3D Printer types: The smallest available ceramic 3D printer from Deltabots is the Micro-8, for ceramic 3D prints not bigger than 10 x 10 x 12 inches. The biggest machine is the XLS-2, with a whooping build volume of 72 inches diameter and 72 inches in height.

See full specs for the four Ceramic 3D printers here.

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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing The Lutum 3D Clay Printer For Dual Color Objects

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: The Lutum 3D Clay Printer For Dual Color Objects
The only affordable ceramic 3D printer for dual colored ceramic prints comes from the Netherlands (image: Vorm Vrij)

The Vorm Vrij’s LUTUM 3D Clay Printer is perfect if intend to use two different types of clay in a single print. It’s the only (semi-) affordable ceramic 3D printer out there at the moment.

“Vorm Vrij” means “Free Form” in Dutch and that’s exactly what you get: versatility. These printers give you many more options and are known to be hassle-free.

The printers include a pressure clay system, LED control system, printer assembly tools, sculpting tools, dedicated software, clay preparation tools, air systems and tools, different extruders and much more.

  • Advantages: The printers can 3D print any shape. The Dutch start-up is seeking to expand this possibility via dual ceramics extrusion system, dubbed the “dual clay struder”.
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer for: Printing different types of clay and many shapes in a single print.
  • Ceramic 3D Printer types: Lutum v4: 43 x 45 x 50 cm build volume. Lutum MXL System: 43 x 45 x 80 cm, Lutum v4 Dual: 43 x 45 x 50 cm two-color build volume. The ceramic 3D printers vary by extruder system and the size of the clay tank.
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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing The Original Clay 3D Printer

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: The Original Clay 3D Printer
Tethon3D is one of the leading experts in advanced ceramic 3D printing (image: Tethon3D)

It used to be that if you wanted to print using clay, you had to use ZCorp’s (now 3D Systems) binder jetting technology. These systems offer industrial-grade quality at an industrial-grade price. But times have changed. These days, the older Zprinter 310 and 510 Series ceramic 3D printers are getting more inexpensive, ranging from $5000 (used) to $15.000 (new). If you don’t mind spending the extra money, you can also just adapt 3D Systems’ new x60 series of binder jetting systems.

  • Advantages: Create highly intricate clay geometries through the binder jetting process (which does not require supports).
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer for: Clay printing
  • Ceramic 3D Printer types: Zprinter 310 and 510 Series ceramic 3D printers
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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing Stoneflower3D

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: Stoneflower3D

The newest addition to ceramic 3D printing comes from Munich, Germany. Stoneflower3D successfully funded a ceramic 3D printer kit on Kickstarter.

Stoneflower3D allows you to print ceramics, porcelain, plaster, experiment with pulp, wax, or even food, make custom jewelry from metal clay, and even automatically deposit paints on canvas or soldering paste on PCBs.

The StoneFlower 2.0 Multimaterial 3D Printer is a ceramic 3D printer that produces parts with sizes up to 50 x 50 x 50 cm. These dimensions can be modified to suit the needs of the customers.

According to the manufacturer, you can deposit layers as thin as 0.3 mm. The ceramic 3D printing kit consists of a universal print head for viscous liquids and pastes. It is compatible with most FDM 3D printers and turns them into a ceramic 3D printer.

  • Advantages: StoneFlower does not manufacture proprietary materials. Instead, its ceramic 3D printers are designed for processing clay and porcelain you buy locally.
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer for: The StoneFlower is not only an ideal choice for those who want to limit the costs of operating a ceramic 3D printer. In addition, these machines afford unparalled accuracy.
  • Ceramic 3D Printer types: The ceramic 3D printer runs out of the box. However, if you want to save money, take a closer look at the upgrade kit. Last but not least, the micro printing set is your weapon of choice, when you are printing small amounts of materials like precious metal clay, or soldering paste.
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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing Multi-Material Printers

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: Multi-Material Printers

You can also buy all-in-one 3D printers can to 3D print with a variety of 3D printing materials. Usually, you just exchange the toolhead and off you go. In the range of all-in-one 3D printers, there are some that also can extrude clay or even do food 3D printing. But be aware: These models are not dedicated ceramics 3D printers, but all-in-one machines.

  • Advantages: These all-in-one solutions usually offer ceramic tool heads and extruder. Most of them aren’t as sophisticated as WASP’s Clay Extruder, but they’ll do the job.
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer for: People who want regular FFF 3D printing and experiment in ceramic 3D printing.
  • Printers & Add-Ons: Z-Morph, Wasp Evo, RepRap Claystruder

Other Ceramic 3D Printers

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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing Formlabs Form 2

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: Formlabs Form 2

The Formlabs Form 2 is an excellent SLA 3D printer for prototyping. This machine can be a valuable addition to an engineer’s office, a dental lab or a jewelry designer — it really does turn your ideas into reality. It even can be used to manufacture (very) small batches.

With the release of it Ceramic Resin, users can now leverage the power of SLA to produce ceramic parts with at a fraction of the cost of industrial equipment.

However, there are few “buts”. For one, the manufacturer markets this resin as “experimental”. Meaning, you may produce scrap until you get this process to work for your designs. In addition, the build volume of 125 × 125 × 165 mm is rather small when compared to its FDM competitors.

Don’t miss:

  • Advantages: Compared to the costs of industrial SLA 3D printers, the Form 2 is a steal.
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer for: At this stage of development, the ceramic resin is more suitable for designers and enthusiasts and not as a machine for production.
  • Ceramic 3D Printer types: Formlabs’ proprietary ceramic resin is engineered for the Form 2 SLA 3D printer.
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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing Kwambio

Image of Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing: Kwambio

Ceramo One is a high-precision 3D printer for ceramic objects developed by Kwambio, an NYC-based startup. The idea to the new printer emerged through the dissatisfaction with ceramic 3D printers available on the market.

Kwambio’s engineers radically shortened the production time by creating a new way of binder jetting ceramic powders, which allows to 3D print objects layer by layer without compromising precision.

According to the company, the turnover for objects 3D printed with this binder-jetting process is five days or less. This is due to the fact that it requires no firing or glazing. However, prints do require a coat of paint. In fact, spray paint protects objects, making them more durable. The price per square centimeter is 8 cents instead of the usual 12 to 15 cents.

  • Advantages: With its quick turnover, the machine is a perfect time-saver.
  • Ideal Ceramic 3D Printer for: Its speed and competitive material cost make the Ceramo One an attractive machine for production.
  • Ceramic 3D Printer types: The Ceramo One features a build volume of 350 x 350 x 380 cm. It can print at up to 160 mm per second at a height of 20 micrometers.

Ceramic 3D Printing Filament: Tethon

If you‘re looking for material for clay printers, you can either go for your own secret sauce or buy some professional 3D printing ceramics material. A good place to order from online is Tethon3D from Omaha, Nebraska. Currently, they offer two materials.

  • Porcelite Ceramic 3D printer resin” for SLA and DLP 3D printers.
  • Tethonite Ceramic Powder”. You will need the liquid binder as well.
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Ceramic 3D Printer Guide 2018 - All About Ceramic 3D Printing Clay 3D Printers and Ceramic 3D Printer Extruders to Watch

1. Ceramic 3D Printer: Olivier van Herpt’s Clay Printer

When it comes to 3D printing with ceramic filament, Olivier van Herpt is probably the most interesting and gifted artist. He is known not only for his beautiful 3D printed clay objects but also to experiment with interesting new techniques, like applying sonic waves to the extruder to get new forms of patterns.

He uses a custom-made clay 3D printer and a special extruder system. There’s also talk about making this printer publically available – nothing has surfaced in 2018. We’ll keep you updated as soon as we have more information.

Did we miss something? Please feel free to add to the comments anytime. 

License: The text of "2018 Ceramic 3D Printer Guide – All About Ceramic 3D Printing" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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