Feb. 9, 2015 | By Rich

When thinking about the ceramics and pottery industry, one usually imagines traditional hand-building methods such as a pottery wheel operated by expert artisans. This method has been around since 3,000 BC and is still the preferred method used today. This means that until now, this industry hasn't experienced a major technological advancement since the founding of the pottery wheel. However, advances in 3D printing technology are changing the way individuals view traditional manufacturing and creation processes.

A company called DeltaBots is looking to revolutionize the ceramic and pottery industry with the release of their 3D PotterBot Clay 3D Printer and constant flow RAM extruder. This is a 3D printer specifically designed for 3D printing ceramics and pottery. Just like regular desktop 3D printers, the 3D PotterBot enables users to take full advantage of increased complexity, customization and accuracy. The 3D PotterBot prides itself on its extremely rigid construction with few total parts in the final assembly, which is a key attribute of the printer because it ensures the printing of precise ceramic vessels.

The most innovative feature on the 3D PotterBot is the stationary RAM extruder that has the ability to print precise layers without variation on the 3D ceramic vessels. Although the machine resembles a delta-style 3D printer, the stationary extruder is something never before seen. An extensive amount of R&D was conducted to develop the extruder because it's the only method that provides increased control over the extrusion process of paste materials.

Instead of the extruder being attached to delta-style arms, the build plate is controlled by delta components underneath, which makes for an innovative approach to extrusion printing. What makes the RAM extruder/stepper motor combination so advantageous is the ability to utilize the RAM extruder like an extrusion head on a standard FFF/FDM desktop 3D printer, with the exception of extruding clay rather than molten plastic. Because the RAM extruder is designed differently than paste extruders that utilize compressed air, it has the ability to adjust the flow rate and speed of the extrusion process at any time during the print, as well as reversing the flow when a print layer is completed. When using compressed air to extrude paste materials, there's often an issue with inconsistent flow rates, something not observed on the 3D PotterBot because it provides a consistent flow rate even when materials are running low.

Another notable feature on the 3D PotterBot is the large build envelope that allows for a maximum ceramic vessel height of 17". An example of the large build volume as well as a demonstration of how precise the extrusion process is can be observed in the image below.

The 3D PotterBot is targeted toward ceramic enthusiasts, studios, schools and Art Institutes looking to expand their ability to create custom designs as well as attract new types of makers to the industry. DeltaBots is offering the 3D PotterBot with the RAM extruder for only $2,950 and according to the company they also offer two different sizes of the RAM extruder (2000ml - 4000ml 67oz - 135oz).

Listed on the website are the features and components included in the $2,950 package:

  • Delta 3D Printer specifically designed for ceramic printing (Capacity envelope is outlined below)
  • High capacity stepper motor driven RAM extruder compatible with Arduino/Ramps and other 3D printer drivers.
  • 2 x 2.75 id poly-carbonate RAM extruder tubes.
  • Selection of four different interchangeable nozzles (custom nozzle size on request)
  • Toolkit – just to make your life easier

According to the company, the extruder assembly is constructed of aircraft quality CNC machined aluminum and polycarbonate. The 3D PotterBot is extremely robust and can handle the high pressure generated when extruding full body throwing ceramic clay. This gives the user the opportunity to experiment with different clay bodies without worrying about the damage to the extruder. The extruder is driven by high precision NEMA-23 stepper motor, driven by the 3D printer software.

Check out the video below:

 

Posted in 3D Printers

 

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Hans Fouche wrote at 2/10/2015 7:14:11 AM:

Very good! Upside down Delta...very good!



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