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3D Printing Clay


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#1 Strelnikov

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 09:13 PM

Just curious, I've heard a lot lately about 3D printing plastic and metals.  Has anyone heard anything about 3D printing clay?  Seems like if it can be done for plastics and metals that it could be done for clay as well.



#2 Benzine

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 10:15 PM

"Printing" with clay is already done, in some regards. My wife works in a dental office, where they make their own crowns, based on scans from the patient's own teeth.
The scans are put into a computer, which guides a mill that cuts the material. The material is then heated in a small kiln with an enamel coating.
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#3 BeckyH

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 04:37 AM

There are places that 3D print ceramics. Shapeways is one company that will do so. I'm not sure if ceramic printers are available for home use yet, but it won't be long.
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#4 Diane Puckett

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 09:26 AM

Several years ago I heard that was being done at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. I am sure you could find more info online.
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#5 Matt Oz

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 10:17 AM



#6 justanassembler

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 12:54 PM

Several years ago I heard that was being done at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. I am sure you could find more info online.

John Balistreri was doing the printing @ BGSU with the help of a then grad student--I was there while this was in its infancy...  That has now morphed into a small research organization that I believe John runs, and is administered primarily by one of John's former students, Greg Pugh.  The oranization's website is here: http://www.ceramic3d...e/Homepage.html  

They are not the only folks doing actual 3d printing (an additive process, rather than milling from a CAD file, which is subtractive.), nor are they the first--do some googling and you'll encounter plenty of results.


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#7 Strelnikov

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:39 PM

"Printing" with clay is already done, in some regards. My wife works in a dental office, where they make their own crowns, based on scans from the patient's own teeth.
The scans are put into a computer, which guides a mill that cuts the material. The material is then heated in a small kiln with an enamel coating.

 

My dentist just got something like this (if not the same thing).  I didn't at the time make an association with ceramics.  But yes it is a computerized system to make crowns.  His system came from I believe Germany and is a subtractive system so it's more like a CNC machine for dentists.



#8 Strelnikov

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:55 PM

Thanks for the great replies folks.  My wife keeps challenging me to make molds for some things she wants to make, some of which would be very difficult to do with conventional molds but very easy to do with a 3D ceramics printer.

 

Doesn't look like we'll be getting one anytime soon but I figured somebody somewhere had to be thinking similarly regarding the technology.

 

Evan



#9 PeterH

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 09:32 PM

Streinokov,

My wife keeps challenging me to make molds for some things she wants to make,

some of which would be very difficult to do with conventional molds but very easy

to do with a 3D ceramics printer.

 

Don't forget that you can still use 3D plastic printers to produce tooling for pottery

production (e.g. masters for moulds, stamps, ...). Even multi-piece block molds for

casting complex multi-part molds.

 

I'm very excited about the opportunities opened up by 3D ceramic printers (e.g. non-

standard shapes, vessels made with a leaf-vein style mesh, organic/fractal features, ...),

and their utility in producing one-offs and prototypes. However I expect that there will be

many more ceramic items made as a result of printed plastic tooling than are made as a

result of ceramic printing. [Not a very risky prediction as the former will often be many-per-3D-print

and the latter necessarily one-per-3D-print. I also suspect that ceramic printing will always

be dearer than plastic printing, if only because of the larger market for the latter driving

down costs.]

 

Regards, Peter

 

Do you feel able to share any of the shapes your wife would like made?

 

... and look out for building-scale 3D concrete printers.



#10 Pres

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 10:16 PM

The first part of the equation here is imaging software that is compatible with the 3D Printer. There are many different programs out there for 3D design, all of these have a large and steep learning curve even though the interfaces have improved immensely since the mid 70's when they became more friendly.  Some of the most well known include Rhino, LightWave, Cinema4D, Autocad, Inventor, Maya, 3DS Max, Mudbox, Creo, Modo, ZBrush, Mathematica, and SolidWorks. These get to be pretty costly, at several thousand a pop. On the other end is an excellent modeling and animation program. Open Source, called Blender that is quite extensive and will save in almost any format. There are several tutorial programs on line for these programs some are free and others are pay as you learn. Of course you could draw up sketches and have someone else do the CAD program, but then you add another step/cost to the project.

 

Getting started early might get you to the project in two years-by then you should be able to find a printer available to print out your project.


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#11 MMB

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 10:35 AM

Ill second what Pres said. 3D progs are not only expensive but theyre not designed for just anyone to jump in and create intricate things on their first day. I do Vector art on my days away from clay, or maybe just on hot days lol. Ive worked a bit with Maya and Blender at one time. I always joked that the first time I opened Maya and saw the extensiveness and confusion of the tools I cried then shut it down. Blender is free where as Maya isnt but at one time (not sure if they still do) they offered a "test" version that would water mark anything you created so you couldnt publish anything for profit with it. If this is a serious interest then yes I do believe you should get a head start and learn how to use a 3D design program first and await the time when you will be able to print it yourself.

 

Like many people, i think that 3D printing is going to truly revolutionize so many industries its ridiculous. Although, sadly I do believe it will be the grim reaper for every trade man kind has known. I mean what material cant they print....Wood? Guess i better fire up my lathe and get to work.



#12 JBaymore

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 11:20 AM

I've had the pleasure of playing with Rhino....... truly amazing.  BUT......... costs a lot, has a STEEP learning curve, and the hardware to OUTPUT useful stuff is expensive.

 

At the pottery center where I work in Japan a lot, sitting within 50 feet or so of a couple of multi-chamber woodfired noborigama sits the small IT department building with Rhino, a CNC machine, and a full 3-d scanner.  The dichotomy that is Japan, personified. One time I watched them take a small Jomon piece and turn it into a master for a slip casting mold.

 

best,

 

.....................john


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#13 Strelnikov

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 02:53 PM

Streinokov,

My wife keeps challenging me to make molds for some things she wants to make,

some of which would be very difficult to do with conventional molds but very easy

to do with a 3D ceramics printer.

 

Don't forget that you can still use 3D plastic printers to produce tooling for pottery

production (e.g. masters for moulds, stamps, ...). Even multi-piece block molds for

casting complex multi-part molds.

 

I'm very excited about the opportunities opened up by 3D ceramic printers (e.g. non-

standard shapes, vessels made with a leaf-vein style mesh, organic/fractal features, ...),

and their utility in producing one-offs and prototypes. However I expect that there will be

many more ceramic items made as a result of printed plastic tooling than are made as a

result of ceramic printing. [Not a very risky prediction as the former will often be many-per-3D-print

and the latter necessarily one-per-3D-print. I also suspect that ceramic printing will always

be dearer than plastic printing, if only because of the larger market for the latter driving

down costs.]

 

Regards, Peter

 

Do you feel able to share any of the shapes your wife would like made?

 

... and look out for building-scale 3D concrete printers.

 

Mostly artsy craftsy stuff but the problem is that my moldmaking skills are primitive at best.  Something that would require a 3-piece mold (like her Christmas tree molds) is way out of scope for me.  So I got to thinking about 3D printing - where I could potentially do a lot more than is possible with molds.



#14 PeterH

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:22 PM

Do you feel able to share any of the shapes your wife would like made?

Mostly artsy craftsy stuff but the problem is that my moldmaking skills are primitive at best.  Something

that would require a 3-piece mold (like her Christmas tree molds) is way out of scope for me.

 

Cost aside, I think that 3D plastic printing would be ideal for making block-masters for this sort of thing

(assuming that the actual body of the tree is readily castable). As the 3-part mold would presumably be

three identical 120-degree parts (ignoring natch "polarity" for now), you would only need to print a single

120-degree block-mold. Cast the three mold sections in plaster, and you are away.

 

... acquiring the software and the skills to drive it might be another matter.

 

... and assuming that the 3D printed surface is smooth-enough.

 

Regards, Peter






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