First 3D Printer for Ceramic

First 3D Printer for Ceramic

Before, 3D printers only use plastics to churn out products. With continuous improvement on the technology, it already uses a wide variety of materials like steel, food, and thermoplastics. This feature opened a lot of possibilities for the 3D printing technology to be used in different industries and to create many products.

Just recently, ceramics has been added to the list of materials that the printer can utilize and create.

3D Printer for Ceramics

Students from the University of West England in Bristol, UK unveiled this machine that can create tableware.The printer can produce clay items like intricate ornaments or teacups at a faster speed compared to the traditional method.

Printing, glazing, and firing any product only take a few days. That already includes the decorations. This nifty machine is expected to revolutionize and change the ceramic industry.

The Research

Professor Stephen Hoskins is working at the center for fine print research in the university which is behind the printer. He said that their work on creating the 3D printer for porcelain is based on a patented material and is also a world-leader in technology.

The team received funding of more than £385,000 from Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2012 to back up the research on self-glazing ceramic, which is inspired by ancient Egyptian Faience technique. This will allow craftspeople to 3D print their products and glaze and vitrify them in one firing.

The Material

The ceramic powder material created for printing purposes is functional and aesthetically pleasing, which is different from most materials used for prototyping. This specific ceramic material can print products of high quality in function and design. It can produce intricate tableware and decors.

The ViriClay has wide applications and can be used for tableware and whiteware. The material will reduce the time spent on labor, energy, and process. It is also compatible to most 3D printers which allow the users to create ceramic works without any additional costs.

Possible Market

The printer will be of importance to designers, artists, and companies in the ceramic industry. Its speed also allows rapid prototyping which is greatly needed by these professionals.The quality of the printed items appeals to artists and designers because these create lasting products. This allows them to create masterpieces.

However, the general public may also be interested in such machine as this technology will eventually change how ceramics are produced.

Future Plans

The university will be launching Argillasys, a spin-off company. This is a Latin word which means potter’s clay. The company is co-owned by the university and is expected to help in commercializing the printer. It will also be the first one to 3D print porcelain.

Aside from that, the company will have an online store that will sell different 3D printed ceramic creations. This will also provide prototyping services for artists and other designers, especially for those in the ceramic and tableware industries. Other services will also be offered to the designers in order to meet their needs and demands.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DEZEEN.COM