Innovative 3D ceramic printing technology from UWE Bristol

Innovative 3D ceramic printing technology from UWE Bristol

Scientists from the University of West England (UWE) Bristol, UK created an advanced 3D ceramic printing technology to produce cutlery and teacups with tangled ornaments.

Before this it was impossible to print ceramic rapid prototypes as they were molded in plaster or plastic, that’s why producers couldn’t fire prototypes and test the glazes. Scientists managed to improve a 3D ceramic printing procedure enabling the production templates of new designs made of real ceramics, printed right from CAD data, fired, glazed and decorated.

Innovative 3D ceramic printing technology from UWE Bristol

The new procedure consists in glazing, firing and decorating ceramics and it takes just a few days to complete an item. Thanks to the new technology faster turnaround times have become enabled for the design of new tableware and cutlery.

Professor Stephen Hoskins Director of UWE’s Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR) and David Huson, Senior Research Fellow, were awarded funding of more than £385,000 in 2012 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) aimed at carrying out a gross inquiry into a self-glazing 3D printed ceramic, encouraged by ancient Egyptian Faience ceramic technologies. These technologies will enable ceramic producers, designers and craftsmen to print 3D objects on materials familiar to them and that are easily glazed and vitrified in one firing.

Stephen Hoskins claimed that they lead world 3D printing development of china for cutlery and cups. The material they use was patented and developed in CFPR.

Scientists have worked out an innovative ceramic procedure using special ceramic powder intended to go into a standard ZCorp printer, which usually prints in a plaster based material. This type of printing has made it possible to print and glaze porcelain at high temperatures – up to 1200 degrees C.

They call this 3D printable material “ViriClay”. Now it has a wide sphere of usage for tableware. Scientists promise that this material will help producers save time, energy and labour by 30% to make 3D printed ceramic things. Researchers claim using their material will reduce the total time, labor, and energy required to make a 3D printed ceramic objects by more than 30%. ViriClay matches other 3D printers well, and thus users can easily create various pieces of art without extra re-modeling and tooling costs.

Innovative 3D ceramic printing technology from UWE Bristol

Professor Hoskins explained that the ceramic material they use for 3D printing was created at CFPR and it is both functional and aesthetic in contrast to the common prototyping stuff used in 3D printers. They can produce various items of high quality and attractive design. Thanks to their aesthetic qualities they please and attract artists and designers willing to create long-lasting beautiful products.

A spin-off company, named ‘Argillasys’, (from the Latin word for potters clay) is going to be started by the team. The new company looking forward to commercializing 3D printing porcelain. It is to become the world’s first 3D printing porcelain company. The university will be its co-owner.

Argillasys will provide designers with bureau services where they can bring designs of high quality that will later be 3D printed in ceramics. They’re also going to provide online shop of 3D printed china.


New to 3D Printing? Check out our 3D Printing basics section, find the answer on popular question what is 3d printing and learn about many other interesting things.

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