May 11, 2017 | By David

Anyone looking to get into pottery for the first time might soon be able to do so a lot more easily with the help of a new 3D printer, which should also appeal to masters of the craft. The Clay XYZ, created by a startup of the same name, is described as the most user-friendly clay 3D printer ever, and a crowdfunding campaign just launched on Kickstarter will hopefully lead to all sorts of ceramic wonders being produced by users sometime in the near future.

Clay XYZ was founded back in 2015 by John Fray, a ceramics artist who studied ceramics for over 5 years and was eager to get as many people as possible involved in his field. He found that access was limited for many due to the difficulty of the pottery process, and thus saw 3D printing technology as a ‘’magical tool’’ that could bring ceramic designs to life in a much more straightforward way. There were already machines that could 3D print with clay on the market, but the industrial ones were prohibitively expensive, and the desktop equivalents were found to be severely lacking in terms of their final product. The Clay XYZ is intended to be a fun to use 3D printer that will also produce accurate results with high quality material properties.

Clay XYZ has already uploaded a huge range of 3D pottery designs on its website and on Thingiverse, so casual users will just have to download these, edit parameters like thickness and fill ratio in the slicing software, and send them to the Clay XYZ 3D printer for the object to be made. Cups, bowls, lampshades and miniature sculptures are all possible, and more experienced design-savvy users will be able to easily implement their own creations. Once the objects are 3D printed they can be glazed or decorated further with paint and other extras, before being fired in a kiln to finish the job.

A 3D printer that uses clay as its material has some major advantages for the casual hobbyist 3D sculptor. The material is easy to find, with the Clay XYZ accepting all sorts of basic modelling clay, which can be easily loaded into the extruder. Compared to something like PLA filament it is also very easy to reuse (if it hasn’t been baked in the kiln!), just dissolve the 3D printed object in hot water and use the clay again.

Maximum build volume for the Clay XYZ is 210 x 200 x 180mm, and its total weight is around 18 kg, with an aluminium alloy frame.  Precison for the XY axis is 15 microns, with an accuracy of 5 microns for the Z axis. Layer precision for the nozzle is between 0.2 and 0.8mm, and if you already own a desktop 3D printer you can just get hold of the extruder head on its own, as it is compatible with most FDM machines.

A Super Early Bird pledge of $699 will get you the entire 3D printing system including 2 clay tubes and a toolkit. Regular early bird price is $749, and after these have gone the standard pledge for the whole set will be $799. The extrusion device alone is available for $399, or $349 if you get your pledge in nice and early. Pledging $29 or more will also get you a nice gift box, with 5 beautiful vases demonstrating what’s possible with this machine. The Kickstarter for the Clay XYZ has already made over double its initial $10,000 goal, and will keep running until July 8.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer

 

 

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