Introducing 3D Printed Porcelain & Saying Goodbye to Our Current Ceramics Offering

We’re really excited to share a new, exclusive material at Shapeways: 3D printed porcelain.

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3D Printed Porcelain R&D

For the past year and a half, we’ve been exploring new options for ceramics based on the feedback we’ve heard loud and clear from our community. You told us that you want ceramics that are faster, more durable, more functional, and more colorful. This material didn’t exist, but that didn’t stop us. We created an R&D taskforce who have been working hard in our secret lab to develop a new way of 3D printing beautiful, durable porcelain. This is our first major investment in end to end material R&D.

The new 3D printed porcelain is groundbreaking, with quality and detail that mirrors traditional ceramics processes and the design flexibility of 3D printing. Utilizing a castable porcelain body created by Dr. Stuart Uram of Core Cast Ceramics with the support of Albert Pfarr, we developed an innovative process for producing 3D printed porcelain products. By combining the SLS printers that produce our Strong and Flexible Plastic with an innovative porcelain casting process, we can create detailed and durable products that are fired and glazed just like conventional ceramics. Using the best of 3D printing and traditional ceramics, we’re able to create the sort of quality you could only find in high end, handmade porcelain.

Here’s what you can expect from 3D printed porcelain, only available at Shapeways:

  • Amazing Colors – From cobalt blue to matte black, 3D Printed Porcelain will be available in classic colors that call upon the porcelain tradition.
  • Durable & Functional – Porcelain is dishwasher, oven, and microwave safe. You can even make baking dishes and pizza stones!
  • Gorgeous Detail – Porcelain enables you to design with very high detail and thin, translucent glazes.
  • Big & Bold – The strength enables thick and larger products, so we’ll be able to help you scale to the whims of your imagination.

 

Community R&D and Pilot

To start, 3D printed porcelain will be available in a limited pilot with the goal of improving our process and design guidelines. When we are ready to deliver amazing results to the masses, we’ll open this up as a material available for sale to shoppers in our marketplace.

If you are an experienced designer and would like to be considered for the pilot, Sign up here. We’ll start with a small group and expand as we learn more.

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What does this mean for the current 3D printed ceramics?

You have probably noticed that ceramics has been plagued with problems for a while. For the last several months, our production partner for ceramics has been operating with significant delays. In order to ensure we set the right expectations, we’ve had to increase lead times from 13 days to 18 days to 22 days over the course of the last year.

At 22 days, our production partner was only shipping at 30% on time, which is simply unacceptable. We increased lead time to 45 days in October to set more accurate expectations, but whether you’re creating products for your business or waiting for a gift, these delays are unacceptable.

Given the uncertainty and delays, we had to make a hard decision and, as of today, will stop offering the current ceramics materials for the foreseeable future. Designers selling in ceramics are in the loop and will be key partners for us in the pilot and future R&D. We’re incredibly disappointed to have to take this step, but you deserve better.

Still reading?
Our goal is to make 3D printing affordable and accessible so that you can make amazing products. Unfortunately, current 3D printed ceramics just didn’t cut it anymore. We’re excited to bring an entirely new material to the design community and more than anything else, we cannot wait to see what you make! Here’s a teaser of porcelain in action:

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25 comments

  1. Ernest

    Will these be available in Bisque as well as glazed?

    Do you know yet how thin of a supported wire would be possible?

    This is so exciting!

    1. Bryan Harris

      Hi Ernest
      More details will be rolled out sooner than you think. I’m glad to see all the positive feedback and excitement around our newest materiel. Shapeways will continue to keep everyone posted with details on our newest material. Thanks for all the support.

      -Bryan

  2. Kathy Stevenson

    These are so awesome will these be available to order?

    1. Greg

      Hi Kathy-
      See the signup link in the article to join the pilot group and enable this material for purchase on your account. We’ll be adding users to the group on a rolling basis as we grow our capacity to make this new material. We’ll be opening the material up to everyone for buying & selling once we’ve scaled up all our new printers!
      -Greg

  3. That guy.

    SO excited to be able to have access to a higher quality, reliable ceramics to make real products people want!

  4. Peter

    I really would like to see some sneak peaks of the printing process as well! btw that sounds amazing, cannot wait to give it a try! I also would like to participate in your pilot project (I’m a designer and 3d printing enthusiast) you can check my works on my blog http://parametric-art.com or on my instagram feed (@bonooobong) how about the tech specs of this new breathtaking material? (min. wall thickness, layer height, tolerances, strength, temperature resistance etc.)

  5. M

    The news of discontinuing ceramics comes to me as a surprise and is frustrating and exciting at the same time.

    I did few designs for ceramics (never made them public though) and this was the material that brought me to Shapeways initially. I am fascinated with this material category and would like to continue to do designs for it, hence I feel a bit cut off at the moment.

    On the other hand the ceramic material was arguably not perfect and had all the issues that are mentioned in your post.

    To see the increase in quality that the photos of porcelain suggest is very exciting. I just hope I can get my hands on this material very soon 🙂

    I already signed up at the link above and would like to further ask about the possibilities to join the Pilot for ceramics and how long you think it will take until this material is available for everyone…

    Cheers,

    M

  6. Dr Who John Smith

    this was a surprise but at least there are mor colors in porceline

  7. Justin

    I am very excited about this development.

  8. Michael

    Can’t wait! Would love to read the materials page for this, any idea when you will have design guidelines?

  9. skyliner

    I’m very interesting in the Porcelain Tableware.
    I think that, almost world Tableware products ratio, according to follows.

    60% – Cheap, Standard simple design, Suitable for Mass production.
    30% – Mid price, Good many variation design for Wonderful life, Suitable for 3D printing.
    10% – Expensive, High Quality, Very rich life, Suitable for a few Special Maker.

    In the near future, We need so many Tableware design, for 3D printing.
    Please set “Open Beta step order” about 1 month, for all Challenging users.
    So, We can try very Aggressive design, for new Porcelain goods.

  10. William Seligman

    Do you have any idea of the pricing model for 3D-printed porcelain yet? Roughly speaking, will be it less expensive than ceramic was, more expensive, or roughly the same?

  11. JAN

    Hello ! Ceramatic could not be used in a kiln. I wonder, if the porcelain can ?? 900 degrees C. ?

    Thank you. Jan

    1. Raphael Post author

      Hey Jan,

      Porcelain can survive temperatures that high, but isn’t designed for high temperature use. Are you talking about using the material at that temperature, or glazing and refiring?

      Best,
      Raphael

  12. skyliner

    Can we select Glazing thickness option,for new material?

    EX)
    1.0mm: Fat, strong, dull, cost +20% UP.
    0.8mm: Mid, normal, standard, basic cost.
    0.5mm: Slim, weak, sharp, cost +40% UP.(+5 business days)

    It will be greatly increase the variation of Porcelain goods.

    1. Raphael Post author

      Each glaze is applied at an optimum thickness for that specific glaze. As we continue to develop the glaze families we’ll couple together characteristics such as translucency, detail, and mottling with appropriate glaze thickness and breaking behavior to produce a range of glazes which suit various needs and aesthetics. Application thickness needs to be appropriately paired with these other characteristics, and simply applying the same glaze at different thicknesses is unlikely to give the full range of options you’ve mentioned.

      When you think about thicker and thinner glazing, what do you imagine as the difference? fine details? durability? translucency? depth of color? breaking on edges?

    2. skyliner

      Hi.
      I think about two directionality of this.

      One direction is tableware of the porcelain to use routinely.
      Strength and the durability are necessary for this.
      Of course the biggest problems are always cost.
      Many companies challenge reduction in cost, every day.
      The first 3D printing company may get a lot of users,
      if cost falls to this line.

      The second direction is low end expensive tableware for admiration.
      This is the tableware which many wives of middle class people,
      display in a cupboard or walls.
      The design, which it is very artistic, and is very fine minute
      is necessary for this direction.
      This type tablewares are sometime weak, for daily use.
      And,the big problem is how adding a fullcolor pattern on material.
      I like golden lines on a basic color,for tableware.
      This design rises value of the tableware, drastically.

      I want to have a shop of Shapeways in the future,on this direction.

  13. mingofmongo

    This is just what I need for a mug I’ve been working on.

  14. mattfinish

    Hello Shapeways- I received parts from you that were printed in porcelain. I had placed a ceramics order when you were in the process of ending that offering. I like them much better than the old ceramic. Nice job. I would very much like to specify no glaze as a finish option. Do you think that you will offer that?

  15. skyliner

    Hi.
    Can we order porcelain material, now?
    Then, I will start 3D design for porcelain, soon.

  16. Jonathan Monaghan

    Hello,

    Shapeways is integral to my business, and I was relying on the ceramics to produce work for clients. I am very happy to try the porcelain, how can I help? I am eager to make stuff with it.

    http://www.jonmonaghan.com

  17. Rob

    Can you provide a quick comparison vs the current ceramics material?

  18. Jonathan Monaghan

    I’d like to participate in the beta of this. I think I can provide valuable feedback and I am willing to pay for large-sized tests. Thank you.

  19. Masada012

    Where can I sign up to be notified when this becomes available? I would love to show my current students a sample of a 3D printed part in porcelain.

  20. Joop

    Is there a Design Guideline document available? I can’t wait starting to design with this material!

Comments are closed.