Funny just the other day I was telling a woman, who likes to work in self-hardening clay, that 3D printers can use ceramics as a source material. Then I spot this new printer that extrudes what looks like potters clay.
I’m not convinced that a 3D printer that prints a bead of clay is in any way superior to traditional pottery tools and techniques. The usual argument supporting 3D printers, is the printer’s ability to produce shapes that were not physically possible with existing methods. I’d be very interested in seeing an example of an object printed with a soft bead of clay that couldn’t be also crafted with a coil of clay. The precision reproduction, of a given design, is certainly an attraction of 3D printing but for those that admire the craft of pottery such exactness might be seen as a bug not a feature.
There is a selection of four sizes of nozzles, the smallest being 3.5mm. The manufacturer Deltabots says they will make custom nozzles but I’m guessing that the consistency of a clay paste, soft enough to be extruded, is the limiting factor to the complexity of 3D printed clay objects.
Deltabots site: http://www.deltabots.com/products/potterbot