Sep 30, 2016 | By Alec

Ceramic 3D printing is one of the coolest things out there, and who doesn’t dream of 3D printing bottles, clean statues and solid engineering components? Unfortunately, clays are 3D printed under very specific circumstances and are usually not compatible with desktop plastics 3D printing setups at all. Russian filament manufacturers Filamentarno has therefore decided to develop the next best thing: a plastic that mimics the properties of ceramics, including the fantastic surface finishing options and extreme toughness.

Filamentarno is a Russian-based 3D printing filament manufacturer who offers a wide range of plastics made from European materials. With this latest release, they are clearly taking up a unique position in the 3D printer filament industry. In fact, they are releasing two of these faux-ceramic filaments, CERAMO and CERAMO-TEX. Certainly the first of their kind in Russia, and rarely seen beyond it. Both however, are completely made from plastics and 3D printable on a wide range of desktop 3D printers. During testing, the company heavily relied on the MZ3D-360 and MZ3D-PRO400 3D printers of Alexey Doroshin.


Of the two materials, CERAMO is the core product. When 3D printed, it results in a heavy, cool object with a surface that resembles that of ceramic – especially when 3D printed with a 90 to 100 percent infill. It even creates that characteristic earthenware sound when you hit the surface with another object, and the plastic can be treated like ceramic during post-processing. That means sanding, polishing and abrasive treatment to create a very smooth and presentable surface.

The material doesn’t behave like most plastics during 3D printing, and is extruded at the relatively high temperature of 240 to 260 degrees Celsius – on a printbed heated 100 to 110 degrees (though small objects can be 3D printed on unheated adhesive surfaces too). The filament wires themselves are rather delicate and should be compatible with most heated printbed desktop 3D printers.

These qualities make it suitable for a variety of applications. The Russian developers themselves especially point to decorative projects and end-product manufacturing. But CERAMO is also very durable and solid, as well as heat-resistant to 102 degrees Celsius – good enough for numerous functional applications. As it can withstand a lot of treatment, even prototyping molds can be easily 3D printed in this ceramic-like plastic.


CERAMO-TEX, the material’s big brother, takes things even further. Unlike CERAMO, this filament has the unique feature that it results in a very homogenous, stable exterior texture. In fact, 3D prints made of this material need little to no post-print processing – which is absolutely unprecedented. “It has never been so easy to create a natural texture with ceramic-like properties,” the Russian developers say.

What’s more, CERAMO-TEX hardly suffers from shrinkage, making it ideal for large-sized home decoration prints. Due to these excellent surface properties, acrylic paint also adheres to the surface very well. Thanks to the filament’s remarkable cellular structure, CERAMO-TEX is also a very good isolating material.

Interestingly enough, the final 3D prints exhibit a very low density and high toughness levels even at a complete infill. A printing infill of 100 percent results in objects weighing 0.75 to 0.8 grams per square centimeter, making the parts structurally strong and very buoyant as well – perfect for the 3D printing of model aircraft and ships. The 20x20x20mm cube visible above was 3D printed in 0.25 layers with 100 percent infill, and weighs just 6 grams.

These unusual properties are enabled by the material’s remarkable and programmable foaming reaction. At temperatures of around 235 degrees Celsius, CERAMO-TEX is slightly lighter than water. But once the temperatures are raised to 250 degrees, the plastics start foaming directly in the extruder. Once temperatures reach 260 degrees and the 3D printing speed is set to 20mm per second, stable constructions can still be formed, influenced by the extrusion head, the layer height and extruder diameter. A wide variety of textures and surface properties can also be created by experimenting with printing speeds and layer heights, anywhere from silky satin to sandstone surfaces.

CERAMO-TEX is thus a very potent material that requires a bit of 3D printing experience to experiment with all these different settings. By increasing the temperature and decreasing the 3D printing speed, perfect ceramic-like structures (free from pores and gaps) can be created. “In fact, you can even create solid and lightweight foam structures. By manipulating 3D printing speeds and pressure, objects with solid walls and a lightweight center, or vice-versa, can even be realized,” Filamentarno developers say.

Just like CERAMO, CERAMO-TEX can be exposed to extensive post-print processing, including polishing, sanding and cutting. But the filament itself is quite brittle. Standard results are achieved at temperatures from 240 to 260 degrees Celsius, with printbeds heated to 100 to 110 degrees.

If you’re interested in these remarkable materials, both filaments are set to hit the shelves over the next two weeks – though a limited range is already available. Both CERAMO and CERAMO-TEX are expected to be priced at around 2200 rubles (or approximately $35 USD) for 700/750 gram spools.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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kb wrote at 10/1/2016 12:02:21 AM:

"0.75 to 0.8 grams per square centimeter" My eyes are bleeding!

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