Jan 26, 2016 | By Kira

Italian 3D printing innovator WASP and 3D printing artist/researcher Francesco Pacelli have formed a long-term collaboration to explore and investigate the potential processes and applications for ceramic 3D printing and LDM (liquid Deposition Modeling) technology. The months-long project has seen WASP and Pacelli open a new laboratory dedicated exclusively to LDM technology for ceramics 3D printing, and has helped them deepen their knowledge about the LDM process, potential extrudable ceramics materials, and various printing parameters to obtain functional 3D printed ceramic pieces.

Traditionally, ceramic has taken a backseat in the 3D printing material market compared to polymers and plastics. This is because while polymers and plastics set at room temperature after heating, reducing issues related to collapses or overhangs, wet extruded materials such as clays are more likely to collapse, dry out, shrink, or otherwise warp during or after the 3D printing process. Yet at the same time, ceramic 3D prints offer several benefits—not only are they food safe, but the material is also recyclable, heat resistance, and ideal for creating beautiful, organic, and functional designs.

Both WASP and Pacelli have significant experience in the area of ceramic 3D printing. WASP, founded by Massimo Moretti and best known for their innovative approach to large-scale construction 3D printing, recently unveiled a new professional grade LDM extruder for ceramics 3D printing, that is compatible with most desktop FDM printers, yet allows for high precision ceramic 3D printing comparable to 3D printing with plastics.

WASP’s smart LDM extruder is based on a compressed air tank which feeds an endless screw in order to selectively deposit clay through a stepper motor. “The mechanics of delta WASP machines is perfect for clay deposition because you don’t have a moving bed, so the print remains still while the extruder is moving layer by layer, avoiding dangerous shakes that could compromise the stability of the final printed part,” said the company.

For his part, Francesco Pacelli graduated in Design & Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Milan, after which he became an academic researcher at +LAB, a 3D printing lab and 3D printing materials laboratory led by Marinella Levi. With a focus on ceramic 3D printing and art, Pacelli has executed a number of interesting, beautiful and functional 3D printing projects, including Hoop, in which he 3D printed kitchen tools using a mixture of ground coffee and clay.

Throughout the ongoing collaboration, Pacelli and the WASP team have managed to create beautiful and structurally interesting ceramic 3D prints, as you can see in the pictures below:

“Francesco’s work is mainly focused on arts, but the potential applications of these machines and LDM processes are endless, form design to engineering, from fashion to biomedicals,” said WASP.Throughout the next few weeks, WASP and Pacelli will continue to share additional updates, experiments, and results achieved in their dedicated LDM for ceramics 3D printing lab. They also have planned collaborations with artists and workers from the Italian city of Faenza, which has a deep history of creating some of the most famous earthenware pottery and ceramic art.

In addition to WASP and Pacelli’s important research into the potentials for 3D printed ceramics, several other companies have made significant advances that are helping to bring this natural, functional material to the forefront of the 3D printing industry. HRL Laboratories recently developed a technique for 3D printing ultra-strong, flawless ceramic materials that can withstand temperatures in excess of 1,400 degrees Celsius, while Tethon 3D has filed a patent for a ceramic 3D printer of their own.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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