Shaken Not Stirred

Artists Use Sound to 3D Print Beautiful Ceramics Patterns

Ceramic patterns

Sound travels in waves. Two Dutch artists use this phenomenon to create beautiful ceramic patterns. For that, they even built a heavily modified 3D printer. 

They look a bit like knitwork. These beautiful ceramic patterns result from a collaboration called “Solid Vibration” between Dutch artists: Ricky van Broekhoven, a spatial sound designer, and industrial designer Olivier van Herpt, who explores digital fabrication technologies.


Van Herpt went in a 2-year-research for his functional 3D printed ceramics.

As he wasn’t satisfied with consumer 3D printers (too small) and professional 3D printing services (too expensive), he built his own Delta 3D printer. „I ended up spending two years working on ceramic 3D printer and 3D printing process that could make large and medium scale functional 3D printed ceramics to solve this problem“, he states on his website. He even designed his own clay extruder.

How To Make Clay Patterns With Sound


The “Solid Vibration” project rooted in an accident. Olivier had noted that his printer produced Moiré patterns naturally. Rather than to eliminate the error, he turned to sound designer Ricky to amplify it.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-02-10 um 10.04.49

On order to visualise sonic patterns, they mounted a big speaker under the print bed. The vibrations emitting from the speaker make the bed shake – that results beautiful patterns, which look a lot like knitwork.

Don‘t expect the sound to be traditional pop music. The sound waves consist of low-end bass frequencies with slight pitch variations – you can hear it in the video below.


It’s a means of building solid physical representations of “soundscapes”. While they’ve just used simple soundwaves, they could create a 3D printed representation of your voice, for example. Van Herpt explains on his website: “A moment in time, a song, a sound, they can now become objects that encapsulate the moment forever.”

(source: Adafruit)