Jan 30, 2018 | By Tess

Italian additive manufacturing company WASP is quickly becoming one of the most versatile manufacturers of 3D printers out there. Not only does it offer a range of professional desktop 3D printer models, but it also boasts having one of the largest 3D printers in the world: the 12-meter-tall BigDelta.

Part of the company’s versatility comes from its range of extruder modules, which enable its delta-style machines to 3D print objects from a range of different materials, including polymer-based filaments, pellets, and even clay.

Today, we’ll be looking at the company’s Clay Kit 2.0 and LDM WASP Extruder.

WASP first began experimenting with clay-based 3D printing in 2012, first making small-scale machines and working its way up to its current range of delta 3D printers. “Our aim was to realize a huge 3D printer for houses,” said the company. “And we started with a small printer to 3D print ceramic prototypes of houses.”

The LDM WASP Extruder—the LDM stands for liquid deposit modeling—was originally designed and built from 3D printed components and was used to experiment with different types of clay printing and applications. Since then, WASP has upgraded its original clay extruder and has further developed its clay printing offering through a new specialization area it calls WASPclay.

The LDM Wasp Extruder is included in the WASP Clay kit 2.0, which is available for purchase for €650. In addition to the extruder, the kit includes a 3 liter tank (or 5 liters on request) for holding the highly viscous clay material, and 10 kg of porcelain for free. The tank is equipped with a piston which effectively pushes the clay paste through the tank and into a 12 mm diameter teflon pipe which is connected to the 1.2 mm extruder. (Users should note that the kit does not include an air compressor part.)

Though the LDM extruder could be compatible with most 3D printers, the company maintains that for the best printing results, users should install the clay-friendly extruder and tank with its reliable DeltaWASP 20 40 3D printer, a €2,370 delta-style desktop 3D printer with a build volume of  200 mm (Ø) x 400 mm (h). (Both products together, known as the Delta WASPclay, will set you back €3,020).

WASP also claims that the extruder is capable of reaching precision levels comparable to polymer extruders “thanks to the combination of a screw extruder and a pressure extruder.” In addition to providing printing accuracy and precision, this novel structure also allows users to pause and restart the extrusion flow of the clay material.

The screw extrusion system also encourages air to flow upwards and out of the clay paste, which helps to reduce air bubbles in the clay mixture. Bubbles, as ceramists will know, can not only ruin a print but also cause the object to break during firing. The company even claims it has successfully 3D printed and fired large ceramic objects.

The company adds that the combination of a pressure and screw extrusion system can process highly viscous clay pastes without sacrificing density while printing, which decreases “the time for its change of state, from liquid to solid, thus eliminating the risk of collapse” for the print.

Users will also be happy to hear that the clay tank is easy to clean and refill thanks to easily accessible caps located at both the top and bottom of the tank. WASP has also made the extruder easier to clean by upgrading the materials it is made from.

Within the 3D printing industry, clay-based manufacturing is gaining in popularity and importance. Additive manufacturing has opened up the possibilities for what can be designed and created out of ceramics and porcelains, which is proving useful in the fields of interior design, healthcare, and more.

So far, WASP has focused its efforts on 3D printing clay-based art by collaborating with a number of international artists, including Jonathan Keep, Ivo Sassi, Francesco Pacelli, and Daniel Maillet.

If you’re interested in experimenting with clay-based 3D printing, WASP’s Clay Kit 2.0 LDM Extruder System could be the answer.



Posted in 3D Printer



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