The Hand and the Glove... ramblings about making.

Ceramic 3D printing tests 03 - How?


Well, not exactly how, as I'm starting from the 'ground up' and there's a great deal to learn. 
But hopefully the collaboration between MIRIAD and KHIO will be the start of forming a larger community of 3D printing hackers and researchers willing to share experience and also to discuss the wider implications of 'digital making'.

The test bars fired to 950°C
KHIO is open at the weekends, so I was able to get in there first thing and unpack the first of our firings. As you can see, the results are 'interesting', the red clay 1:1:2 mixture has almost turned into a fired foam. There's obviously a lot of gas being given off, and not enough clay to bind the bar together. As there is flux (glaze material) in the Potclays powder, the 1:1:2 has held together much better. 
Both the 1:1:3 and 1:1:4 tests are similar, though I haven't tried to snap them yet. 
The next stage was to dip half of these tests in vitreous slip (recipe below) and fire them with the 1000°C test bars. I'll be able to unpack them tomorrow and see how they have fared.

Before leaving the Academy yesterday evening, we set up a new build with some more adventurous tests. And this is what they looked like this morning. Even though the pieces are completely supported by the excess material during the build, there is still a certain amount of distortion. They were printed in the Potclays 1:1:3 powder.

Trine's scan of an African vegetable looks excellent, but I didn't see the original, (or even view the stl file,) so I can't compare.

My cube tests are simply too thin, however I will fire them.

I must add that my architectural piece is designed to look warped! I have slightly re-designed this piece, altering the scale and wall thickness. I'm going to print them tomorrow and hope they are worthy of glazing.

Vitreous Slip Recipe:

These are UK ingredients, but I'm sure equivalents are obtainable in other parts of the world. I use it to make the 3D printed ceramic tests less porous and able to be glazed in the normal way. It is opaque and quite a bright white due to the high china clay content.

China Clay:  1kg
Ball Clay:     1kg
Potash Feldspar: 100gms
Zirconium Silicate (Disperzon): 100gms

It will fire to stoneware and possibly higher, though I personally haven't tried it at porcelain temperatures. It can be applied to plastic clay, though it's easier to apply to biscuit-fired ceramic. It can be stained with oxides and body stains.