To compress or not to compress?
I would like to demonstrate the strong points of our design, 3D PotterBot compared to other types of machines capable of 3D printing ceramics.
The biggest difference is that our extruder prints directly from the nozzle of the extruder. This is a huge advantage which most people have yet to realize. By direct extruding from the extruder we 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.
Almost all of the other machines use an air compressor to pressurize a pressure-pot (at up to 100 psi/6.8 Bar) full of clay which is then forced through a small hose. It is not possible to get the same thick type of clay through a hose assembly because of the pressures build up from parasitic drag inside the hose. Additionally from the fluctuating air pressure in the reservoir tank your clay flow will change many times during the print. Also hysteresis is a problem caused by the hose pulsating from the pressure changes by the varying air pressure.
The end result of this kind of mechanism with hoses is that the clay is too thin in consistency to produce large self-supporting objects, this is why they use double wall or intricate wall designs just to be able to support the print.
Our 3D PotterBot machines are able to print with a single layer of varying width up to 16 mm .625 ", heights up to 4' / 1210mm, X axis up to 26"/ 660mm, and Y axis up to 18" 457mm.
The ease of set up, loading the tubes, and cleaning of the 3D Potterbot is much easier than the air compressor with high pressure chamber, hoses, and multiple parts in the auger assembly. When our extruder is empty, it is simple to back off the screw, undo the nozzle, wash it out, and you're ready to go for the next load. You can also load multiple high volume (925, 2000, 4000, 5500mm) tubes at one time so your tube loading can be even less time consuming.
The footprint of a 3D PotterBot is quite small because of our innovative traveling Z axis design. This gives you the ability to create large objects without a huge printer sitting on your table. All that is required for our machine is a relatively flat surface capable of supporting the machine and the traveling X axis. We also have an integrated touch screen which can run the machine without being hooked to an external computer. You have full control of all the features necessary to modify the print as it is in process after loading from a standard SD card.
Our machines are currently in use in some architecture institutes and universities throughout the world. We also have many machines in high school environment printing continuously all day long at the amazement of the students.