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Arts And Ceramics

3D Printing Clay: Printing Ceramic Art from A 3D Printer

Picture of Anatol Locker
by Anatol Locker
Jan 27, 2016

The collaboration between 3d printing company WASP and Italian artist Francesco Pacelli explores the potential of 3D printing clay.
3D printing clay or other fluid materials is a big topic of research in the 3D printing world. Polymers and plastics are relatively easy to 3D print. That’s because they set at room temperature after heating. So you don’t have too many problems due to collapses or overhangs. But when you’re layering instead through LDM (Liquid Deposition Modeling), there are limitations due to geometries, collapses, drying, shrinkage.

So the material extruded assumes a key role.

3D Printed Ceramics: Getting the Mixture Right

clay 3dprint francesco pacelli wasproject_Metal mangrove, ceramics, 1

Focusing on this stimulating research direction, during last months a collaboration between Wasproject and artist Francesco Pacelli started in order to deepen the knowledge of potential extrudable ceramics materials, setting the correct mixtures and printing parameters to obtain functional 3D printed ceramic pieces.

During last months, Wasp designed a smart LDM extruder based on a compressed air tank which feeds an endless screw in order to selectively deposit clay through a stepper motor.

The mechanics of Deltawasp machines is great for clay deposition because you don’t have a moving bed. So the print remains still while the extruder is moving layer by layer, avoiding dangerous shakes that could compromise the stability of the final printed part.

According to the makers, the extruder worked well, but there was still a big work to do related to materials and shapes achievable through LDM process.

Starting A Lab for 3D Printing Ceramics

Francesco Pacelli

After graduation in Design & Engineering in 2013, Francesco Pacelli (left) was an academic researcher for two years at +LAB, the 3D printing lab led by Marinella Levi at the Chemical and Material Engineering department of Politecnico di Milano. There, where he became familiar with LDM process and with the potential extrudable materials.

Francesco’s work is mainly focused on arts, but the potential applications of these machines and LDM process are endless, from design to engineering, from fashion to biomedicals.

So Wasp and Francesco are opening a new laboratory, a special place exclusively dedicated to LDM technology for ceramics 3D printing. In next weeks they will share updates about the experiments.

We’ll keep you updated.

License: The text of "3D Printing Clay: Printing Ceramic Art from A 3D Printer" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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