Friday, January 11, 2013

Ceramics 3D Printing - Original Motivation

If you go back to the origins of this blog and my interest in 3D printing, it came directly out of my daughter's career as a ceramics sculptor.  The style she had chosen involved an intensely laborious process of building up layers of clay to form a basic organic shape and then carving out intricate patterns.  It took weeks and months for each piece.  Consider just how long these pieces might have taken.  

Cheryl Meeks, Amplexus
Cheryl Meeks - Fleurette
Unfortunately, it took SO long that she ended up having to abandon this particular artistic path.

Hopefully I can add... "Until Now!" to the end of that sentence.

I may be biased; but, I have always been extremely proud of not only her work; but, how hard she worked at it.  But, even so I knew there had to be a better way to turn the images in her head into tangible form and went searching for it.  This is when I stumbled on to the potential of 3D printing.

It's been a long time.  And, I knew that various people were working on it.  But, now, through Anne-Pieter Strikwerda's blog I have learned that some people with the same dream have worked hard to make it a reality.

In the first article, 3D Printed Ceramic Artwork author Robert Dehue covers the beautiful work of Unfold, a Belgian Design Studio.  He writes...
"Unfold, a Belgian Design Studio, has been experimenting with 3D printing ceramics. And with success. For their prints they used a RepRap printer which they modified so it could extrude the ceramic filament. Unfold’s 3d printer for ceramics not only harnesses the potential of new technology and materials but also projects the past history of specific techniques into the future. The printer has a great resonance with the way traditional potters handled clay, however because of its ability to produce such fine layers, new forms are possible."
I prefer that you visit the blog for the full story, so that you can explore the breadth of their coverage.  But, I will include just one of the their images for you to whet your whistle.  :)

Copyright Unfold - Used By Permission

Here is also a link directly to Unfold's Blog. The great news for me is that the platform on which their system is based appears to be the RapMan, which I already own.  If I step up to the CubeX, this means I might be able to modify the RapMan to work with ceramic for my daughter.  And, I would be one VERY happy camper.  So, I am very grateful to 3DPrint.Com for reporting on this!  THANKS!

I will explore the 2nd article in a separate post.

So, while I have decided, in the future, to concentrate completely on fully manufactured 3D printers for light industrial use, my excitement over this article just demanded a response.  :)

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