3D Ceramic Delta Printer
3D Ceramic Delta Printer
I'm making a medium sized delta printer that prints clay.
I'm making a medium sized delta printer that prints clay. Read more
About this project
I am building a Delta Printer that can extrude clay instead of a plastic filament. I have built a printer of this type before during grad school and wish to continue that research. There are two reasons for this build: one I think it is pretty cool and am excited to use this tool to make "precision coil" pottery. The meditative process of making coil pots in my studio has offered me insight into the potential combination. Secondly, I want to be able to bring ceramic printing to the valley in educational settings. Through offering workshops and classes I hope to build additional printers with students. The potential to build printers that can print a material other than plastic can interest many different people. With my experience building these printers I hope to work with other makers to push the limits of this process.
These are some of the designs I've made so far with the Rhino 3D modeling software. They are the rewards for the project. The mug design focuses around the extended fins that act as an insulator and substitute for a handle.
As these are currently digital models, the printing process will alter them slightly by giving them a surface texture. The printing process builds each form by laying down a coil of clay paste each layer. The outside surface will reflect this process by having small ridges from top to bottom. I know this will pair well with the twisted decanter form.
Living in the desert one sees many of nature’s algorithms. I see this planter holding some beautiful cacti in the near future. This will be the most challenging print of them all because the clay will not want to print at such an extreme angle. However, I am going to try and use limitation to devise printing supports fabricated from plaster and other clay. The goal is being able to print “bridges” across gaps. (Insert photo of Jeff Bridges planking)
I really enjoy the look of this vase. I am drawn to this form because it reminds me of looking at saguaro cacti through a mirage during the summer months here in the desert. I also think it exemplifies the potential for printing ceramics because it does effectively what other ceramic processes have great difficulty in achieving.
If you want to support my goal, but would rather keep to a hand built ceramic jar, I'm happy to offer these as well. I've been making these fermentation vessels and giving them as gifts for a while now. They each come with a double lip that allows gases to escape but nothing to get in and spoil the ferment. Or it can of course be used for cookies or a fancy way to store dog biscuits.
In Richmond, there is an entrepreneurial program called the Da Vinci Works at Virginia Commonwealth University. During one summer I was asked to join a team of students who wanted to do a proof of concept 3D printer build in one week's time. We had a small budget and open source plans from Jonathan Keep. We were able to build the printer and get some test prints finished before our deadline.
Note: The rewards will be printed on the new build not the old one pictured below. It is here for reference.
As quick and exhilarating as the project was, I felt at the time that more needed to be explored with this technology. However I was not ready to completely shift my focus to printing ceramics while in grad school. Now that I am finished, the time is right. Your support will help me start a small pottery where I can design a range of digital tableware and objects. I hope to share these designs online with you after the campaign is over. However if the campaign is successful I will make available a few Kickstarter exclusive designs as a thank you for your interest and support.
The funds themselves will be used to purchase clay, glaze, basic shipping supplies, a delta printer kit, and a specialty extruder with auger designed to extrude low density materials such as clay. The projects funding goal is focused around the printer and the basic materials needed to accomplish the project.
All the ceramic objects will be glazed with lead free food safe glazes.
Risks and challenges
The three delays I foresee happening are problems with the electrical components of the printer build, print fidelity, and an older kiln.
With potential electrical problems, I only have very basic electrical experience. I will be enlisting the help of my father, who is retired tech support, when things become very difficult. I expect his help to be invaluable.
My concern for print fidelity stems from my understanding of clay and its remarkable ability to fail consistently. The ceramic printing process is new for me so it will take some time to fine tune the printer to achieve the objects I have put forth in the rewards. Because of this there may need to be slight variations of the final product based on this unknown factor. However that being said, I have been working in clay for twelve years and while the material is innately ornery, I'm confident in my ability to overcome these technical problems.
I have a kiln that can fire to the temperatures that are required (cone 6), however it is old and with large volumes of orders I suspect that it will either break and need to be repaired or fail and need to be replaced. If the former happens it will cause a few days of repair, while the latter will be more significant. I will either need to purchase a whole new kiln which could be the cost of this whole project or more. The other option is I rent out kiln space in the valley which is not cost effective if most of the ordered objects are yet to be fired. While this would cause delays and is financially problematic there are a number of solutions available here in Phoenix.
Once again thank you very much for your time and consideration. I hope to be sending all of you these printed ceramic objects sometime very soon.
Evan PomerantzLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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