3D-Printed Ceramic Pots Take Shape as Alternative to Potter’s Wheel
Dutch artist Olivier van Herpt creates his own extruder that uses clay to create functional pieces with unique details
Dutch artist Olivier van Herpt has been working with 3D printing technology for the last few years. In 2012 he came out with the 3D printed shoe, customized footwear that was made specifically for the size, shape, and nuances of the wearer’s foot. A year later, he worked with Joris van Tubergen to develop a 3D printer that uses beeswax as material. Van Herpt also started his research into 3D printing ceramics in 2013. Around the same time he started working on creating a large-scale 3D printer that can produce complex ceramic items that are not only functional, but also include the artist’s unique touch.
Van Herpt designed and created a five-foot-tall 3D printer that is made from water-cut steel and is capable of producing ceramic objects up to 80 cm tall and 42 cm in diameter. The machine also allows the artist to add his own style and detail to the pieces. The metal contraption serves as a modernized alternative to the potter’s wheel.
The artist wrote on his project page that most desktop 3D printers were not capable of producing medium and large scale, functional items like ceramic bowls, plates, and decorative pieces. The desktop 3D printers were also not able to produce objects that had the appropriate heat resistance and were safe for everyday use. For two years, Van Herpt worked on designing and creating a process and 3D printer that would allow him to create medium and large scale ceramic products that were also functional.
Van Herpt designed his own extruder and experimented with various types of clay. He also worked on his process to address issues like the objects collapsing. He redesigned the extruder so that he was able to use hard clay.
With his large 3D printer, the artist is able to experiment with textures and surfaces, as well as shapes and sizes. He can create large objects with detailed features. He can change the settings on the machine to create different details on his ceramic pieces.
Van Herpt’s machine and process are another example of how 3D technology can be used in one’s craft and still allow the artist to stay true to his artistic style and aesthetics.