Ceramic artist John Balistreri wanted to explore the world of rapid prototyping and the ways it could expand the boundaries of ceramic art so, he teamed up with Gregory Little at Bowling Green State University and BGSU’s ZCorp 3D printer. Balistreri and the team at BGSU experimented with with various clays and binders to create finished, functional ceramic objects that are compatible with ZCorp’s printing process. ZCorp technology closely resembles current inkjet technology, the difference is instead of printing on paper, it prints on increasing layers of powder material.
The teacup was created by scanning a hand-thrown teacup with a 3D scanner and reproducing the teacup with the printer. The teapot, however, was printed directly from a digital file, which opens up a number of possibilities that aren’t possible with traditional ceramic techniques. With traditional ceramics, the rendering of an object is limited by the pull of gravity. Because printed ceramics are surrounded by dry media, they are able to ignore gravity to create structures that are currently either impossible or unfeasible with today’s production technologies, such as engine parts, or superior water filters. All in all, printed ceramics look pretty cool and they might change the world.