Archive 2014: TomyTones model in ceramic

3D design for specific materials

The latest TomyTones project, “to create a 3D printable model in ceramics”, found it’s roots in the previous little initiative, creating a selfie for Pictoplasma, Berlin 2014. Lot’s of surprised faces when people see this little ceramic TomyTones!
It sure is confusing, the imperfect characteristics of the ceramic material doesn’t make you think that the whole production process is rather digital.
Designing a model that is printable in ceramic comes with unique challenges and constraints regarding size, wall thickness, overhang, rounding, details,… Ceramic is one of the most exciting materials for 3D printing. With 3D printed ceramic, you can create designs that are food safe, withstand high temperatures, and have a high-quality glossy finish. But it is also one of the most difficult materials to design for.

The design is first 3D printed by applying an adhesive layer-by-layer to the ceramic material inside the printer tray. Once it’s finished printing and the shape is formed, the object then goes through stages of firing and glazing just like with traditional ceramics. These processes can cause distortion in your design. For example, the firing stage can shrink your design up to 3%. And the glazing can add an extra 1mm thickness to all glazed parts of your design. Wood was the material of choice for the packaging to emphasise the authentic look and feel of the ceramic. So here we are with one prototype… i’m not sure how many i’m planning to produce (i was thinking 5…), maybe a Kickstarter project or a in webstore… for now you can find the model back in my i.Materialise gallery.

3D modelling done with Maxon Cinema4D.

Notice the label, letterpress printed (created with a negative image on polymer) @an_orak.