Options for 3D printing enthusiasts have expanded significantly just in the past few years. No longer relegated just to fabricating smaller objects in plastic, users from a wide range of industries as well as hobbies can experiment with nearly any material, it would seem today. And while previously the idea of 3D printing with more viscous materials such as concrete or clay seemed impossible, it has become almost mainstream. Construction companies, engineers, artists and designers are all using a range of alternative materials with stunning results.
Now, Munich-based StoneFlower has created a print head that allows for easy 3D printing not only with clay, but users can also experiment with porcelain, plaster or even pulp, wax, food, and more—to include the option of printing with paint directly onto a canvas or soldering paste onto PCBs. To be featured on Kickstarter at the beginning of January, StoneFlower’s Ceramic 3D Printing KIT should appeal to a versatile audience, and especially the open-source community.
“This is a print head plus pump, which can be installed in the desktop FDM 3D printer to print objects from usual clay and porcelain. We also believe, that people will be able to use this KIT to experiment with different new materials, which brings enormous added value and large potential to this product,” Anatoly Berezkin, founder of StoneFlower, told 3DPrint.com.
StoneFlower engineers spent months refining the print head and accompanying tools for the highest performance in mechanics, hydrodynamics, and electronics.
“They found, that the feeding of the clay and other liquids with a compressed air, being the most popular solution, has low reproducibility and requires a lot of fine-tuning. To facilitate printing, they implemented a syringe pump, which turned out to be exceptionally accurate, safe and more silent than the air compressor,” explained a recent press release from StoneFlower regarding their technology.
The clay extruder prototype is available at StoneFlower for DIY users who should enjoy the KIT, which is provided with as few customized parts as possible—meant to simplify maintenance of the 3D printer and allow for ease in replacing parts and upgrading. A print head and syringe are included in the KIT, and the StoneFlower team states that they should work with most FDM printers. It can produce layers as thin as .3 mm, and the pump’s capacity will hold 500ml to 900g of clay.
Following are other specifications:
- Printing speed: 20 – 100 mm/s
- Recommended speed: 30 – 60 mm/s (3mm nozzle)
- Available nozzle diameters: 1 – 4 mm
- Layer thickness: 0.3 – 1.5 mm (3mm nozzle)
- Nozzle thread: 1/4″
- Weight of the printhead: 400g
- Power: 150W
Founded in 2017 by both Anatoly Berezkin and Stanislav Mironov, ‘Project StoneFlower’ is meant to cater to users interested in 3D printing with ‘highly viscous pseudoplastic liquids’ such as clays, glazes, pastes, paints, and curable resins. StoneFlower will continue to keep posting free designs as development continues.
Shipping for the Ceramic 3D Printing KIT is expected to begin in March 2018. Find out more here, and keep an eye out for their soon-to-launch Kickstarter campaign. They also offer a ceramic FDM 3D printer you can read about here.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[Images: StoneFlower]