3D Printed Ceramics | Introducing 3D Potter Printers

Throwing a pot on a potter’s wheel in art class in middle school was somewhat of a right of passage for many of us. While our lopsided lumpy bowl or wonky coffee mug with our names scratched into the bottom were never honestly going to end up more than a coin collection dish on the counter, the joy of turning a lump of clay into something useful (and every once in a while, beautiful), was almost indescribable.

Now, 3D printing technology is bringing this experience to a whole new level with 3D printers that can create complex shapes and designs to produce stunning ceramics!

Introducing the 3D Potter Ceramic 3D Printers

The 3D PotterBot creating a ceramic vase

3D Potter has introduced a line of 3D printers with high-quality components that allow for direct extrusion of real clay. This allows you to 3D print amazing designs with clay that would not be possible using traditional ceramic methods.

Other brands use a compressed air system printing slip (watered down clay or alcohol diluted clay). The advantage of direct extrusion is printing full-body clay or other paste-like materials.

3D Potter ceramic 3D printers use high-quality anodized aluminum rails. These rails are robust and have a smooth surface, allowing for easy movement of parts while being able to withstand classroom or industrial environments.

The 3D Potter 3D Printer creating a ceramic bowl from clay

“Our lineup of 3D Clay printers has some of the most unique features in the world compared to other 3D printers. We use a cardinal axis system, rather than a delta printer configuration, allowing precise control with minimal effort.

Most clay printers use a pressurized system with compressed air to extrude watered down or diluted clear. Our 3D Potterbot series uses high-quality closed-loop stepper motors to allow direct extrusion of real clay.” – 3D Potter

The 3D Potter 9th Generation

The 3D potter 9th Generation 3D printer creating a small vase

At 3D Universe, we are excited to be able to offer the 3D PotterBot Micro 9, and the 3D PotterBot 9 Pro.

The 3D PotterBot Micro 9 is an entry-level 3D ceramic printer and due to its affordable price and small build volume, it’s the perfect entry-level 3D ceramic printer for the classroom environment, teaching institutions, ceramic venues, and individual artists interested in exploring new technology. It maintains all of the great features of the upper-level models, including the direct nozzle extrusion and our unique traveling X and Y bed.

Just as the name implies, the 3D PotterBot 9 PRO is the preferred 3D printer used by professionals, especially those who like to print multiple vessels simultaneously. The PRO 9 utilizes a larger hybrid closed loop stepper motor on the clay extruder and on the Z-axis, which makes for better strength and accuracy.

A view of the 3D Potter 3D printer in action, creating a ceramic bowl

3D Potter continues to improve its 3D printer designs. The 9th generation brings a new wireless feature with a full web interface controlled over WiFi. You can now control and upload files to the printer from multiple devices simultaneously. The interface allows you full control over every setting of the machine. Interface preview.

The 9th gen has a new uniform nozzle design for improved performance, across all of the 3D Potter printers. This allows you to interchange nozzles between all of the printers, from the Micro to the Scara V3. 

The 3D PrinterBot Scara V4

The 3D PotterBot Scara V4 is their largest model for 3D ceramic and paste printing. It is capable of printing multiple large objects non-stop. It can even be combined with a continuous flow hopper to print structures and walls.

3D Potter users have been looking, and waiting, for a 3D Ceramic Printer capable of producing clay loads between 85-250 lbs worth of continuous extrusion, and the 3D PotterBot Scara V4 can deliver!

The 3D Potter in action

The Scara V4 is PotterBot’s largest model for 3D ceramic and paste printing, and is capable of printing multiple large objects non-stop, and can even be combined with a continuous flow hopper to print structures and walls.

Nozzles and Clay Thicknesses

A studio filled with finished 3D printed ceramic pots and vases

Unlike other systems, 3D Potter offers a large selection of nozzles from 1 mm all the way up to 16 mm. The biggest difference is that their extruders print directly from the nozzle of the extruder. This is a huge advantage that most people have yet to realize. By direct extruding from the extruder, you are able to use a much thicker clay body. With thick clay, you are able to print large objects at a faster rate and much higher in size.

An intricate ceramic vase designed and 3D printed with the 3D Potter ceramic 3D Printers

By using thick clay and bigger size nozzles you can print faster (130 mm/s) and taller (48″) There is no need for drying or heating of the clay in order to get the support during printing. Even large vessels are capable of self support. With larger nozzles the layer height can also increase which additionally decreases your printer time.

Small 3D printed ceramic flower pots created with the 3D Potter 3D printers

3D Potter extruders are capable of rapid reversing which gives you the ability to stop and start during interrupted prints. This allows you to print more complicated shapes besides cylindrical vessels.

The clay can be left in the system for up to a month as long as the pressure is unloaded prior to storage.

A large 3D printed ceramic vase
Photo Credit: 3D Potter | Jack Hardie

You can prepare your clay for 3D printing in a de-airing pug mill, that’s why there are virtually no air bubbles in the printed vessels. Even if the tubes are loaded by hand with commercially available bag clay, there is very little chance of air bubbles in the final print. That’s how it is possible to achieve a superior consistency of the layer height.

These amazing machines are currently in use in hundreds of architecture institutes and universities throughout the world. 3D Potter has many machines in high school environments, printing continuously all day long at the amazement of the students!

Ceramics Through the Ages

Ancient clay and ceramic pottery
Photo Credit: pgmuseum.org/

Creating ceramics is one of the most ancient forms of art for the human race; with the oldest known artifact dating back to 28,000 BC. A statuette of a woman named the Venus of Dolní Věstonice was discovered in the Czech Republic. In this location, hundreds of clay figurines representing Ice Age animals were also uncovered near the remains of a horseshoe-shaped kiln. The first discoveries of ceramic pottery were made in Eastern Asia, dating back to 18,000-17,000 BCE, found in the Xianrendong cave in China.

Jomon Pot - ceramics dating back to 18000 BC
Jomon Pot | Image Credit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution

Throughout history, humans have been using their hands to make ceramics from natural clay and earth. Over time, we discovered the art of making a variety of tools, pots, urns, tea mugs, vases, and those favorite baking dishes to show off when you take your Grandma’s famous homemade mac and cheese dish to the annual neighborhood potluck.

colorful 3D printed ceramic pots produced on the 3D PotterBot

Now, we have reached a time in history where we can take this ancient art form to a whole new level with 3D printing and produce not only functional pieces of pottery and art, but full-sized buildings that are fit to live in.

We are excited to offer the 3D Potter machines at 3D Universe and bring ceramics to the 21st century in a whole new way!

Learn More about 3D Potter

A young man engaging with a wall of 3D printed ceramics

Interested in learning more about these ceramic 3D Printers? Feel free to visit the 3D Potter collection page or reach out to us at support@3duniverse.org for more information!

If you are currently using a 3D Potter, please let us know what you are making with it! We would love to share your work and feature you on our blog in our customer spotlight series!

To submit your stories, please email them to jen@3duniverse.org!