Ceramics offers some very beneficial properties that were discovered early in the history of mankind. Working with this valuable material has also already arrived in 3D printing, and so the market for ceramic 3D printing is developing very well overall. The big question: Which printers are really recommendable? We have taken a closer look at this question and listed the best clay 3D printers for ceramic printing for you below. In addition, we'll give you a few helpful tips for finding the right device.
The most important in a nutshell
- With a ceramic 3D printer you can print ceramics with different methods
- The ceramic materials enable the printing of high-resolution geometries
- The demand for 3D printers for ceramic printing has increased massively in recent years
- Nevertheless, the market is still in its infancy and is expected to grow further in the coming years
- We'll show you how to discover the best clay 3D printers for ceramic printing and what to consider.
The best ceramic 3D printers 2023
The search for a suitable ceramic 3D printer can potentially be a very time-consuming affair. But we'll help you take a shortcut. Below we have listed the best ceramic 3D printers on the market today.
|Place||Name||Manufacturer||Installation space||Resolution (micrometer)||Special features||Approx. price||To the shop*|
|1||Delta WASP 2040 Clay||WASP||200 x 400 mm (diameter x height)||/||Materials such as porcelain, stoneware and refractory materials printable, wooden print bed, easy handling.||3.900 €|
|2||Moore 2||Tronxy||255 x 255 x 260 mm||3 – 30||Touch screen for easy operation, restart after power failure, suitable for ceramics & clay and other materials.||822 €||Click|
|3||Delta WASP 40100 Clay||WASP||400 x 1000 mm (diameter x height)||/||Up to 150 mm/s printing speed, compatible with many slicing softwares, compatible with many materials, WiFi module for remote control.||9.032 €|
|4||Bogs 1||Tronxy||180 x 180 x 180||3-30||Suitable for clay, ceramics, red porcelain and other materials, clear LCD screen, light weight, printing via USB possible.||500 €||Click|
|5||Zero||Eazao||150 x 150 x 240 mm||40 – 100||Piston system instead of air compressor, inexpensive printer, SD connection, printing via USB possible, microwave oven for firing the ceramics available||899 €|
The best 3D printer for ceramic 3D printing: Delta WASP 2040 Clay
The test winner and currently the best 3D printer for ceramic 3D printing in our eyes is the Delta WASP 2040 Clay. The printer offers a diameter of 200mm and a height of 400mm. This device is also well suited for printing larger objects. You can print materials such as porcelain, earthenware, ceramics and numerous other refractory materials. The printer's print bed is made of wood, and thanks to a color LCD display you can easily navigate through the print menu. Furthermore, the enormous speed is very convincing. With the 2040 Clay, you print at up to 150 mm/s.
- Name: Delta WASP 2040 Clay
- Manufacturer: WASP
- Installation space (L x W x H in mm): 200 x 400 (diameter x height)
- Maximum print resolution (microns): /
- Special features: Materials such as porcelain, stoneware and refractory materials printable, wooden print bed, easy handling.
- Advantages: LDM extruder, wide range of suitable materials, LCD display, robust and solid construction, good printing speed (up to 150 mm/s).
- Disadvantages: high weight (50 kg)
The best cheapest ceramic 3D printer: Tronxy Moore 2
The Delta WASP 2040 Clay can only be described as an inexpensive solution to a limited extent. The Tronxy Moore 2 is much cheaper, with a slightly slower printing speed but a much lower price. Thanks to the full-color display, you can operate the printer with tremendous ease, plus it comes with some exciting features like automatic resumption after a power outage. There is no lack of flexibility here either. The Tronxy Moore 2 is suitable for ceramics, clay and other refractory materials. Another advantage is that the printing process is pleasantly quiet for a ceramic 3D printer.
- Name: Moore 2
- Manufacturer: Tronxy
- Installation space (L x W x H in mm): 255 x 255 x 260
- Maximum print resolution (microns): 30
- Special features: Full color touch screen, restart after power failure, suitable for ceramic & clay and other materials.
- Advantages: comparatively quiet printing process, compatible with many materials, easy operation
- Disadvantages: Print speed manageable at 10-40 mm/s
Criteria for choosing a ceramic 3D printer
In order to find the best ceramic 3D printer for you, you should of course not buy the first one that comes along. The market is growing impressively fast and more and more companies are offering their printers. We therefore advise you to inform yourself carefully and compare various criteria before making a purchase. Which ones exactly and what you should pay attention to in detail, we will show you in the following.
Price is, of course, the deciding factor for many print fans. As a rule, everyone sets a certain budget, for which the best performance is then sought. That's exactly how you can and should proceed. So set your budget in advance and see where you can cut back. For example, if you print infrequently and primarily for hobby use, print speed is probably less important than for an industrial application. Here you could use some savings potential and invest more in parts that are really relevant for you.
Especially when printing ceramics, you should make sure that your printer is sufficiently stable. If this is not guaranteed, the print will not be solid and precise. Your printer should therefore have a stable and solid structure. Preferably made of very valuable and stable materials.
Uniform paste extrusion
When 3D printing with ceramics, the importance of uniform extrusion of the pastes is often underestimated. This is actually obvious. If the paste is applied unevenly, unsightly areas and spots will appear on the object. This can result in the entire print no longer looking nice and being worthless on balance. Even during operation, we recommend that you constantly check the extruders and make sure that they are not clogged or otherwise damaged.
Even before you buy, it's best to think about what materials you want to use for printing. As a rule, the ceramic 3D printers are compatible with different materials. So you can use not only the ceramic mud for printing your objects. Clay, red porcelain and other refractory materials can also be used. However, this does not apply to every printer. So deal in advance with what materials you want to be able to use your device with.
We have already mentioned the print speed once. In this area, the market shows very clear differences in some cases. Some devices print at up to 40 mm/s, while other printers easily manage three times that. However, factors such as high print speed are naturally also a price driver. If you don't really need fast printing, you can save money in this area by foregoing a bit of high speed.
Spare parts available
In no way should you underestimate how important access to spare parts is for your printer. Depending on the intensity and use, the wear of the individual parts is considerable. You should therefore make sure from the start that you choose a printer for which you can easily get spare parts. Especially with manufacturers from the Far East, this is not always the case. In addition, a problem in these cases is often that the companies do not offer sufficient support for German customers. In the event of queries or uncertainties, you must then be able to rely on a strong community around the printer.
How does ceramic 3D printing work?
At least in broad terms, ceramic 3D printing can be compared to classical 3D printing. A clear difference is especially noticeable after printing. In ceramic printing, the respective object is reworked once again with the help of a kiln. We have listed the individual steps in printing a ceramic object for you below.
1. connecting the printer
Once you've found the right ceramic 3D printer, you'll need to connect it. Pay attention to the weight of the device, because this can sometimes be enormous. Depending on the type of delivery, the best case scenario is that you can simply connect your printer to the power and set it up. If you have chosen a kit or if the printer is only pre-assembled, some manual work is still required.
2. specify the model to be printed
After the setup, you can look around a bit in the printer's software. Once you've done that, you can specify the model you want to print. Exactly how this is done varies between printers. A USB port, for example, is helpful in many cases. Alternatively, many ceramic printers also offer a slot for an SD card.
3. heating the material
The actual printing first starts with the heating of the material. By the way, a significant advantage of the ceramic material is heat resistance. This can be heated up to 1,600°C in some cases. Of course, it won't get quite that hot in your printer.
4. shapes of the material
The real “magic” of printing makes itself felt after the material is heated. Depending on the printing process, the construction or printing of your object is done in a different way. If, for example, you use a ceramic printer with LCM (Litography-based Ceramic Manufacturing) process, the objects are built up layer by layer in a multi-stage process. A UV light is then used to cure the material. Other methods include SLA, DLP, setting, or LDM.
5. finishing in the oven
One of the most important steps in ceramic 3D printing is post-processing. For this you need to resort to an oven.
Post-processing in clay printing: oven necessary
In ceramic printing, post-processing in the kiln is an obligatory part. As a rule, this requires a special furnace, which has often been a problem for private users in recent years. In the meantime, however, the manufacturers have also developed here. For example, some companies offer special microwave ovens that make it easy to do the finishing at home.
What materials can be 3D printed with these paste printers?
Ceramics is a very versatile material. Therefore, the compatibility of most ceramic 3D printers is just as diverse. So you can easily print materials such as porcelain or clay. In addition, the so-called technical ceramics are also used, especially in industry. These are, among others, aluminum oxide or tungsten carbide.
For whom is a ceramic 3D printer worthwhile?
The purchase of a ceramic 3D printer is worthwhile for numerous companies and individuals. Artists in the field of ceramics, for example, can add a little more creativity to their work and discover new possibilities with these printers. In addition, these printers are also suitable for companies in the medical or dental technology sectors, for example. Away from this market, acquisition at the enterprise level is recommended in still other cases. For example, when smaller spare parts can be created by yourself with a clay printer.
Last but not least, ceramic 3D printers are also suitable for use in schools, where work with clay and ceramic materials can be refined. Hobby use is also an area of application that is being targeted more and more intensively as prices fall.
Ceramic 3D printing: advantages and disadvantages
3D ceramic printing offers both advantages and disadvantages. We have listed the most important arguments for and against these printers below.
High heat resistance
A great advantage of ceramic objects is their enormous heat resistance. Many of the materials can easily be heated to more than 1,000°C. At the same time, the objects bring good hardness and do not provide electrical conductivity.
Printing of highly complex and detailed components possible
The ceramic material makes it easy to print highly complex geometries and detailed components. These can even be manufactured much more precisely here than with many other 3D printing processes. This is precisely why ceramic printing is used in medical technology or dental technology, among other applications.
Food safe objects
The possible objects in 3D printing with ceramics are impressive and can be designed absolutely food safe. For this purpose, the object is dipped in a special glaze, which provides an impressive appearance.
Oven and post processing mandatory
One of the major disadvantages of printing ceramic 3D objects is post-processing in a special furnace. This is where the objects are fired, so this part is essential. In addition, post-processing is very time-consuming, which makes the printers not really suitable for series production, for example.
Shrink factor must be taken into account
When working with ceramic materials, you must definitely consider the shrinkage factor. The heat in the oven can cause the materials to change size again and collapse somewhat. If precise work with exact dimensions is required, this can become a challenge.
No sharp edges or protruding elements possible in ceramic components
Sharp edges or protruding elements are generally not possible with the ceramic components. The reason for this is the fragility of the material. After firing, this is enormously easy to destroy, so sharp edges could cause a break in the material.
Conclusion: Create creative masterpieces
Ceramic 3D printers are a great development in this industry and greatly expand your options. The ceramic materials are very suitable especially for very fine and precise objects. This produces a quality that often cannot be achieved with conventional printing processes. Prices have also become more customer-friendly in the meantime. Those who first want to cautiously enter this field do not have to invest a fortune.