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Is there a ceramic extruding head for a 3D printer application? Answered

I have followed the evolution of the 3D printer and I can see its potential as a real tool for home use. Ceramic krafts have been a fairly easy home size cottage kraft for centuries. Now If you had a small kiln and you were able to model Items from house wares to mechanical parts to ceramic molds (ie Cookie or decrotive bread pans or a Ceramic motor block to an Air Motor). I thought if you Cure/ dry it (ceramic paste) as it was extruded on to the model with focused lasers (ready for deburing and then a bisque firing) as in using lasers for curing/ hardening of a polymer mediums. The variety of Ceramic Mediums/ materials that could be used to fuel a boon to the unemployed as a way to make money. Maybe printing out one use molds, to form cores to Graphite products that could be washed out after and have the mold material reused. If there was away for me to follow through with the possibilities. Extruding those oven cured clays, that could stretch its usefullness. I am trying to figure out a way to get out from under the pile and recycle as much as possible and use as many American made parts and electronics as I can. Graphite fiber empreganted ceramic material, is there such a product out there that could be utilized in 3D printed parts? Is there a Market for Products made of these types of materials? So many questions, so many possibilities.


What kind of ceramics do dentist use? You know the kind they mix up for fillings and used a UV light to cure? That could be a great option for Ceramic based 3D prints. Something similar to a frost-truder could be made to dispense the material. I think the material is soft enough to extrude but firm enough that multiple layers could be applied before you would need to use a UV light to cure it. It could be a long print posses.

they are an awesome option, unfortunately they are ridiculously expensive since they have a medical use.

The more i think about this idea the more it occurs to me that this may not be affordable for quite some time. Just like the industrial 3D printers that make metal objects. It may be very difficult to come up with a working extruder that can be attached to a Mendel or Makerbot.

IMHO i think someone needs to develop an extruder for wax. Then people can use the lost wax method for casting there own metal objects.

There's no real reason why the existing polyprophylactone extruders wouldn't work for lost wax

Well first a Wax filament would need to be produced that could be fed through the extruder. But a redesign may be needed to maintain control of the wax. Wax becomes quite runny when heated. More precise heat control may be required as well.

Unfortunately i don't own a 3D printer. Otherwise it might be something i would play around with. But the wife and kids have this funny thing where they like having a roof over there head, food to eat and clothes to wear. Otherwise i'd have one. ;)

What I meant is, that a standard plastic can be burned out just like "wax", you wouldn't need anything special.

totally agreed, and since the plastic liquifies before it bursts into flames, careful oven temperature control means you could 'lost' it without damage :)

Yeah, I've been doing some more research, and we're going to try some experiments.


Sorry have been side tracked (ADHD) for a few, Months?, Lots of directions at once but still pursuing my Project. Among others and some medical distactions as a constant intrusion. Still very interested. Learned a few things about Kickstarter and I believe seven or more others most were very questionable and some were scams others had different focuses publishing excetera. Steveastrouk; you have been doing some research you mentioned a while back. would you care to share or am I being presumptous.

I had some really good points to say about safety went to post it and the whole page went white could not recover it but from picture I can see you take safety seriosly.

Wax verses plastic and about safety and Mr. stupid
Ok Wax is used because it is a uncomplicated material. I guess that is the best way to say it. Plastics release extremely toxic by productics. Thats one of the reasons firemen wear resporators in a house fire. Wax burns out cleanly any residual evapourates and leaves a surface that releases the part from the mold easily. " attention" There is one thing that is really important use the Best safety equipment Money can buy. Make sure you Know with out any doubt all there is to know of the variety of materials, process and all that can go wrong and be prepared as all us Boy Scouts should know and live by. I've Produced custom jewlery through Centerfugle machines using Gold Platinum and silver. Made Aluminum medical and surgical instrumentation in an industrial enviroment as special orders and prototypes for Dean Kaymen in 1984. From minor tooling repair to making wax parts and the investment of those pieces. The firing of a kiln to burn out molds and casting parts using a vacume assist system. It takes a lot of math, Metalurgy and some specialized sciences. You just don't learn in high school. From being able to take into account, wax shrinkage dependant on what fillers you use to stabilize the materials, To know how the mold changes from burn out to pour and how much the final part as metal changes from what materials you use and their properties. you need to know the physical properties especially if the final piece has to be with in tolerences. You should always work with another person as a safety out of the way of harm and ready to react if you get hurt or something goes wrong. Wear safety equipment! I can't say that enough. Research OSHA requirements please. Metals like Copper, Bronze, Silicon-Bronze and Aluminum give of extremely toxic gases. They will take your lungs in less than a heart beat. Please wear a respirator that is rated for the materials you are using. Don't Let your bravado seal yours or others fate. I've done stupid I was lucky . I've seen stupid and was way to close. I am now on total disability . I saw a man die because he thought balls would protect him, better then real protection. I've been sober for 31 years and Stood back as a safety at many biker parties held people together and driven a few to the hospital. I built custom bikes and saved people from their shade tree mechanic, oh his name is Mr. Stupid. Baby sitting stupid is no fun. Being stupid is no excuse so SAFETY FIRST. RIGHT?

Wax was retained in a tank and forced under pressure into custom tooling that when opened after cooling you have a full part with Spues, what the metal flows through to fill the void left after burning the mold. Sometimes you add the sprues if you need to before you put the wax part through the investment process. Preparing the mold is the most important. You want absolutely no moisture or it turns to steam at an extremely explosive rate when you flow molten metal in to it. I used to burn them out for a number of days in a kiln to assure that. I would pour into a large mold. More than 6 ounces of metal on a vacume table I would pull the mold straight from the kiln at no less than 550 degrees for aluminum as soon as the vacume was initiated. Mike and I would Grab the Two man double tongs pulling the crucible with the molten material out of the top of the Furnace at approximately 1400 degrees any hotter and the metal would burn like fourth of July sparkelar exploding the crucible into the furnace causing a chain reaction you don't want to be anywhere near

I'm currently buying/building a pololou based 3d printer with a makerslide gantry

...where most of the entries in the 3d diy printer market are in the 1000-3000 range, this one is 600 all spent, which I'm much more okay with.

There are even options coming in on the 200 dollar mark, all hardware included, which will be really cool to see how they work out.

I really look foward to having exchangable heads that can extrude plastic, wax, icinng, etc - I really look foward to making a gear driven peristaltic drive to extrude sculpey.

With wax and most extruded plastics you would have to control tip temperature as with some epoxies. That can be accomplished with a tip modeled from a hot glue gun. I don't believe I meant to go from that direction. lets look at ceramics, you can extrude or even spray different viscosity slips and blends of fibers at room temp. Allowing drying times or laser assisted curing to finalize that stage of making.You could use a magnetic driven inline pump. The whole system could be flushed with water. Granted you would have an issue with abrasion.

I was going in the direction i was because there were less varibles and didn't require as much special equipment or special processes. Making it easier to use as a small home built subcontracting business. The process I was going for was similar to coil building a pot in ceramics. It can be air dried and fired in a kiln. Ceramics are more durable in high heat situations more rigid and when green are changeable in form and specs. The change of size between green form and kiln fired finished is minimal and can be stabilized with different co-materials/ fillers ie metalic powders even recycled powdered glasses and or fibers. shrinkage can be changed directional by shape of the filler and how it is lain. but you can easily with out to much special equipment develope your products as prototypes. You can control the coil or thick ness of coil from the feed tip at room tempiture. so on and so forth. I was trying to minimize the equipment needed a Computer a 3D printer and a Kiln The lost wax method is more expensive and requires more equipment and doesn't attain the products I was going for. Honda a bit more than a few years ago developed a ceramics based motor with oval pistons. I have seen parts in a few fields that best served a special requirement that ceramics served ie High heat and long wearing as in rocket motors and the Ion drive rocket system hell the tiles required for rentry from space. In extremely corossive enviroment or in water craft that have to repeatedly deal with extreme pressure.

Thank you, You and the others that replied to my question. All were good points. I've done lost wax on jewelry and medical instruments. Ceramics for dental work, I would have to dig deeper to find the specs out. Frollard brings up a viable reason to not use dental material, availability and cost. Some of the difficulties in working with ceramics if it is chemically activated to cure. you have a time constraint. You want to be able to clean your equipment efficiently as a design parameter. So it would be better to cure it as it was extruded using light or heat. I presume that the consistency be like a stiff frosting. The head would need to be able to do up to 3 operations Extrude, cure and cool the final product. The extruder for plastics could easily be modded for wax. there are many hardnesses of wax and that are dependent on the filler you use to stiffen the wax. making a mold from wax would be one way to produce a ceramic part. I was trying to conceive a less labor intensive process. Thank you all for your input . Sculpey is the oven cured clay I was thinking of in my prior message.