WASP Unveils Mass Production System for Ceramics 3D Printing

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3D printing ceramics has come a long way. Pioneered by the likes of Unfold and Olivier van Herpt, the technology has gone from being capable of producing small objects to very large one. Olivier has also shown that mass production with 3D printed ceramics is possible. In 2018, he 3D printed thousands of identical vases for the Dutch Ministry of Education Culture and Science before making 216 individual mailboxes for nine apartment buildings.

Whereas Olivier makes and uses his own 3D printers for himself, printing original equipment manufacturer WASP wants to sell you its solution. For a number of years, the company has been showcasing a ceramic 3D printer line. Now, it has put a new version of its clay 3D printing solution on the market. The Delta Wasp 40100 Clay Production 3D printer, has a continuous feeding system, which mixes clay continually using an augur, and allows operators to add material throughout prints. This can be purchased with a conveyor belt to help move prints along. While the printer costs about $8,000, the continuous feeding system is $7,000, but can be used with the $3,000 WASP 2040 Clay, as well.

The PRODUCTION set up is meant for continuous production of mass customized or even identical clay objects. Initially plagued by reliability issues, the system is potentially something that could unlock new applications. Imagine having this in a local garden center or using this for a designer’s own branded cups and the like. With a continuously operating system, the cost per part could be very low. We must remember that these objects need to be dried, perhaps for a few days, and then fired. So, the floorspace needed in total would still need to be considerable. However, I like the idea that this could be a deployable solution to make cost effective 3D printed objects at a specific location.

WASP´s new slicing software is meant to be easy to use and let people set up workflows for large scale production. The tool is said to have parametric capabilities, so that one can easily customize or change designs. The company will add functionality to make a series of vases, tiles, or façade elements.

I’m personally very excited about mass customized vases and locally made, low-cost design objects, such as cups, teapots, and water vessels. In the future I’d expect to see innovative things such as evaporative cooling systems made with 3D printing. I’d love to see a ceramic water bottle that uses the properties of the material to filter the water and keep the liquid cold or hot. Ceramics can be extremely long lasting and sustainable, so I’d love to see it displace a lot of plastics. Imagine: we could develop solutions that could help keep homes cool in the summer using 3D printed ceramics. I think that there could be many very cost-effective industrial or near-industrial uses for WASP’s system in the future.

WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) is a different animal, it literally wants to sell printers to make better printers that can help 3D print us a better world. Inspired by the mason wasp (also called potter wasp) which are a number of species of wasp who use paper, fiber, or mud to make their colonies.

WASP has a wide range of 3D printers and has always been super innovative, be it in the 3D printing of geopolymers to make an eco habitat or a self-sufficient home. The firm has huge concrete printers, the smaller machines discussed so far here, and delta polymer systems, both large and small.

The Italian firm is inspirational to me. Ideas such as using 3D printing to make ‘zero-mile’ homes out of materials found close to the build site are at once innovative, while being close to my own dreams for our industry. I really do hope the firm continues to innovate and build a beacon for a more sustainable future.

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