Professional ceramics 3D Printing is starting to take hold as stereolithography, extrusion and binder jetting processes are being optimized and adapted for working with ceramics materials. The latest announcement in this sense comes from Kwambio: the NYC-based startup developed its very own high precision 3D printer, the Ceramo OneTM, specifically for 3D printing of ceramic objects. They are going to present it at CES in Las Vegas in early January.
Unlike other currently available industrial-grade ceramics 3D printers, which primarily target advanced manufacturing applications in the aerospace and medical/dental fields, Kwambio – in line with the company’s approach – is focusing on 3D printing for production consumer end-use objects. A year ago, backed by TechStars accelerator and numerous angel investors, Kwambio launched its factory in Ukraine as the first specialized in ceramics 3D printing factory in Europe. The company has partnered with emerging and established designers all over the world to produce unique designer products on-demand. Kwambio 3D prints objects of any complexity: jewelry, homewares, pieces of decor, custom technical parts, and even bone substitute implants.
Kwambio chose to focus on ceramics by addressing the issue that most existent affordable 3D printers couldn’t print a ceramic object with high precision and speed. In general, consumer-targeted 3D printing services like Shapeways and i.Materialise manufacture ceramics through indirect casting processes: they 3D print a mold and then pour a ceramic mixture into it to create a cast. Before firing, part of the mold has to be removed and the rest is burnt away. With glazing, it takes around 10 days to make a cup, thus limiting the advantages of using an on-demand 3D printing service [find ceramics 3D printing services].
Kwambio managed to radically shorten the production time by implementing binder jetting 3D printing with ceramic powders, which allows to 3D print objects layer by layer with high precision. This is the same technology currently used for processing ceramic powders through legacy Zcorp systems (now 3D System ProJet color jet printing) – such as the process adopted by WZR and by Tethon3D – and by Johnson Matthey‘s using voxeljet’s expensive VX200 system. You can read all about ceramic 3D printing technologies in 3DPMN’s comprehensive interactive map to Ceramics 3D Printing or in the dedicated Industry Focus section.
Kwambio intends to make this technology more accessible to a wider demographic, through the Ceramo OneTM. A working prototype is already being used daily at their factory in Ukraine.