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Ceramics Material Information

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Black Glossy Black Glossy
Black Satin Black Satin
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Design Guidelines for Ceramics

The rules to follow in order to create successful products in Ceramics. Read more on model checks
Max bounding box 340 × 240 × 170 mm and X + Y + Z ≤ 400 mm

For us to be able to make a product, each of its pieces must fit within these dimensions.

For Ceramics, the maximum bounding box is determined by the size of the printer we use to create your product.

To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure the bounding box fits within our maximum limit. If it does not, you can try scaling it down, removing unnecessary features to reduce the bounding box, or consider another material with a bigger maximum bounding box.

Min bounding box X + Y + Z ≥ 120 mm

For us to be able to make a product, each of its pieces must be bigger than these dimensions.

For Ceramics, the minimum bounding box is determined by our ability to successfully print and fire very tiny products in a kiln.

To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure the bounding box of your product is larger than our minimum. If it is not, you can try scaling it up, thickening, combining, or enlarging parts and features, or trying a material with a smaller minimum bounding box.

Min density 5% material density

Min supported wall thickness
If bounding box x+y+z is between 120mm and 200mm: 3mm
If x+y+z is greater than or equal to 200mm and less than 300mm: 4mm
If x+y+z is greater than or equal to 300mm and less than 400mm: 6mm

A supported wall is one connected to other walls on two or more sides.

For Ceramics, the minimum supported wall is determined by our ability to successfully print your product and fire it in a kiln. Before your product is fired, it exists in a fragile "green state." Walls that are too thin can collapse at this stage, or break when they are fired.

To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure supported walls are thicker than the minimum requirement. If they are not, try making them thicker, or consider a material with a thinner minimum supported wall requirement.

Max wall thickness 15.0 mm thick

After you model is printed in ceramic powder, it is fired in a kiln. Walls that are thicker than the maximum will not fire properly.

To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure walls are thinner than the maximum requirement. If they are not, try making them thinner, or splitting them into two thinner walls.

Min unsupported wall thickness Same as Min supported wall thickness

An unsupported wall is one connected to other walls on less than two sides.

For Ceramics, the minimum unsupported wall is determined by our ability to successfully print your product and fire it in a kiln. Before your product is fired, it exists in a fragile "green state." Walls that are too thin can collapse at this stage, or break when they are fired.

To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure unsupported walls are thicker than the minimum requirement. If they are not, try making them thicker, adding supports, or considering a material with a thinner minimum unsupported wall requirement.

Min supported wires Same as Min supported wall thickness

A wire is a feature whose length is greater than two times its width. A supported wire is connected to walls on both sides.

For Ceramics, the minimum supported wire is determined by our ability to successfully print your product and fire it in a kiln. Before your product is fired, it exists in a fragile "green state." Wires that are too thin can collapse at this stage, or break when they are fired.

To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure supported wires are thicker than the minimum requirement. If they are not, try making them thicker, or consider a material with a smaller minimum supported wire requirement.

Supported wires should be no longer than 20mm. Any longer, and they will droop when the product comes out of the printer.

Min unsupported wires Same as Min supported wall thickness

A wire is a feature whose length is greater than two times its width. An unsupported wire is connected to walls on less than two sides.

For Ceramics, the minimum unsupported wire is determined by our ability to successfully print your product and fire it in a kiln. Before your product is fired, it exists in a fragile "green state." Wires that are too thin can collapse at this stage, or break when they are fired.

To ensure the successful creation of your product, make sure unsupported wires are thicker than the minimum requirement. If they are not, try making them thicker, adding supports, or considering a material with a thinner minimum unsupported wall requirement.

Unsupported wires should be no longer than 10 mm. Any longer, and they will droop when the product comes out of the printer.

Min embossed detail 2.0 mm high & wide

A detail is a feature whose length is less than twice its width. Embossed details stick out from a surface.

For Ceramics, the minimum detail is determined by the printer's resolution. When detail dimensions are below the minimum, the printer may not be able to accurately replicate them. Details can also be lost when the glaze is painted on, so sharp angles and details will be smoothed out.

To ensure details come out clearly, make them larger than the indicated minimum. We may refrain from printing products with details smaller than the minimum, since the final product will not be true to your design. If your product has details smaller than the minimum, try making them larger, removing them, or considering a material with finer detail.

Min engraved detail 3.0 mm high & wide

A detail is a feature whose length is less than twice its width. Engraved or debossed details go into a surface.

For Ceramics, the minimum detail is determined by the printer's resolution. When detail dimensions are below the minimum, the printer may not be able to accurately replicate them. Details can also be lost when the glaze is painted on, so sharp angles and details will be smoothed out.

To ensure details come out clearly, make them larger than the indicated minimum. We may refrain from printing products with details smaller than the minimum, since the final product will not be true to your design. If your product has details smaller than the minimum, try making them larger, removing them, or considering a material with finer detail.

Min escape holes 10 - 15 mm

Escape holes allow unbuilt material inside hollow products to be removed.

When Ceramics products contain hollow cavities, they are often still filled with powder even after they are removed from the build tray. If escape holes are not large enough, or the geometry of the product makes it difficult to remove excess powder, we cannot successfully clean it before glazing.

When products contain hollow cavities, they are often filled with powder even after they are removed from the build tray. If escape holes are not large enough, or the geometry of the product makes it difficult to shake or blast the powder out, we cannot successfully clean it. To ensure a successful, cleanable product, make sure to include sufficiently large escape holes for each hollow cavity in your product. Multiple escape holes are recommended for large hollow parts. A single escape hole at the end of a cavity will not allow material in the corners near the escape hole to fully escape; so, multiple escape holes at both ends of the cavity are recommended. If your escape holes are insufficient, try enlarging them, adding more, or filling in the hollow space.

A single escape hole at the end of a cavity will not allow material in the corners near the escape hole to fully escape. So we recommend multiple escape holes at both ends of the cavity.

Clearance 4.0 mm clearance

Clearance is the space between any two parts, walls or wires.

Ceramics products are printed by depositing a binder material onto a bed of ceramic powder, layer by layer. Before the product is fired, excess powder must be removed. If features are too close together, it can be difficult to clean out excess powder, which impairs the glazing process.

To ensure a successful product, make the clearance between features greater than the indicated minimum. If your clearance is too small, try making the gap bigger, or consider fusing the parts or features if their independence is unnecessary. You can also try a material with a smaller minimum clearance.

Interlocking and enclosed parts? No.

Ceramics products are printed by depositing a binder material onto a bed of ceramic powder, layer by layer. When the product is transferred to the kiln for glazing, it is in a delicate "green state" which does not support interlocking parts.

Multiple parts per model file? Yes, up to 2.
Accuracy ± 3% deviation + 1 mm of glaze.
Grooves and engraved details may have more glaze.

More On Designing for Ceramics

Material Traits

Ceramics is one of the trickier materials to design for because you need to design a model that is printable, glaze-able, and can withstand the high heat of the kiln and the structural changes the oven causes to your model. For example, the model will deform at different rates in the kiln, so sharp edges are likely to crack. Softer, curved edges are preferred and will glaze without risking cracks in the material surface. Because we need to set the glazed product on a shelf when firing in the kiln, the base of your model with remain unglazed. Due to the nature of glazing some geometries may cause uneven distribution of the glaze on pieces. The glaze will add thickness to features on pieces.

Glazing adds thickness

Glazing will reduce definition of design details, such as grooves will fill with glaze. Up to 1mm of glaze can be added in certain areas. Take a look at this render and the actual product. See how the glaze found its way into the grooves between the beads?

Design tips
Sandcastle Rule: If this structure was made of wet sand, would it break?

There's a part in the production process for ceramics 3D printing during which the model is fragile and brittle. It's basically like wet sand. When you design, ask yourself this question: if I made this out of wet sand or brittle clay, could I lift the design without it breaking? If the answer is "no," then your design might break in production.

Your model should have a strong and obvious base

During glazing and firing, pieces are set onto supports, and the face resting on these supports remains unglazed. Design your pieces with an obvious base so we know which face to set your model on, and keep in mind that it will have an unglazed finish.

Material Info

Look and feel

Ceramics is the first 3D printed food safe material available on Shapeways. The material is produced with fine ceramic powder, which is bound together with a binder, fired, and glaze with a lead-free, non-toxic finish. In addition to being food safe, the material is both recyclable and heat resistant. This material is perfect for cups, saucers, plates, and even statues and figurines.

Handling and care
This material
  • is foodsafe
  • is watertight
  • is recyclable
  • not dishwasher safe

Ceramics are heatproof to 500ºC / 932ºF degrees. Higher temperatures may significantly change material properties.

Technical documents

What Others Are Creating With Ceramics

Cups
Home Accessories
Disclaimer:
Please note that the 3D printed products are intended for decorative purposes. They are not suited to be used as toys or to be given to underage children. The products should not come into contact with electricity and be kept away from heat. Our materials, except for 3D printed glazed ceramic, are not food safe.
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