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Ceramic 3D printing 2020: guide and ceramic 3D printer selection


Ceramic 3D printing, either with advanced ceramics or basic clay materials, is gaining ground in a number of industries. This ceramic 3D printer guide gives overall insights into this market, with a comprehensive overview of prominent manufacturers in the ceramic additive manufacturing industry.

What is ceramic 3D printing?

Today, ceramic 3D printers are mostly expensive industrial additive manufacturing systems. These systems vary in the 3D printing technologies they use to 3D print ceramic material: extrusion, binder jetting, photopolymerization and powder sintering.

However, 3D printing is only part of a longer manufacturing process. Ceramic 3D printers generate green parts, meaning that they must go through heavy post-processing steps in order to reach their final form. One of these steps, for instance, is firing the ceramic part or prototype in a high-temperature kiln.

Kwambio's ceramic 3D printing process.

Source: Kwambio

Ceramic material is widely used in a number of industries. Of course, some of the first applications that come to mind are pottery or kitchenware – but ceramics are literally everywhere and in many different forms. They can be used for industrial use in automobile or aerospace, for example, and some ceramics are frequently used in healthcare for medical devices and tools.

This guide includes a comprehensive selection of ceramic additive manufacturing solutions and clay 3D printers for professionals.

The best ceramic 3D printers

3D printerTechnologyMaterial typeBuild volumeCountryPrice*Quote
3DCeram CeramakerStereolithographyAdvanced ceramics300 x 300 x 110 mmFrance$300,000Quote
Admatec ADMAFLEX 130StereolithographyAdvanced ceramics96 x 54 x 120 mmNetherlands$150,000Quote
WASP DeltaWASP 2040 ClayExtrusionClay⌀ 200 x 400 mmItaly$3,500Quote
DeltaBots 3D PotterBot 9ExtrusionClay420 x 360 x 480 mmUnited States$4,850Quote
ExOne x1 160PROJettingAdvanced ceramics800 x 500 x 400 mmGermany$150,000Quote
Kwambio Ceramo ZeroJettingAdvanced ceramics/Clay-United States$100,000Quote
Lithoz CeraFab 7500StereolithographyAdvanced ceramics76 x 43 x 170 mmAustria$240,000Quote
Lynxter S600DExtrusionAdvanced ceramics/Clay⌀ 390 × 600 mmFrance$30,000Quote
Pollen AM Pam Series MCExtrusionAdvanced ceramics⌀ 300 x 300 mmFrance$80,000Quote
Prodways ProMaker V6000StereolithographyAdvanced ceramics120 x 500 x 150 mmFrance$300,000Quote
Rapidia Metal 3D printerExtrusionAdvanced ceramics200 x 280 x 200 mmCanada$130,000Quote
StoneFlower 3.1ExtrusionAdvanced ceramics/Clay480 x 480 x 500 mmGermany$4,000Quote
Tethon 3D Bison 1000StereolithographyAdvanced ceramics110 x 60 x 130 mmUnited States$17,000Quote
VormVrij LUTUM 5ExtrusionAdvanced ceramics/Clay430 x 450 x 500 mmNetherlands$9,900Quote
XJet Carmel 700CJettingAdvanced ceramics500 x 140 x 200 mmIsrael$250,000Quote
This table represents a comprehensive overview of the ceramic 3D printer market for clay materials and advanced or technical ceramics. They have simply been listed in alphabetical order.

Advanced ceramics, also called technical ceramics or engineering ceramics, may include: Zirconia, Alumina, Silica, Hydroxyapatite, Aluminum Nitride, Silicon Nitride, Tricalcium Phosphate ...

*Price: These price ranges are indicative and may vary over time and/or from one country to another. Please contact us for quotes.

Industrial ceramic additive manufacturing systems

3DCeram Ceramaker

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 110 mm
  • Technology: Stereolithography
  • Country: France
  • Price: >$300,000
The Ceramaker by french manufacturer 3DCeram is able to 3D print different engineering ceramics, including: zirconia, alumina, hydroxyapatite/TCP, Si3N4, cordierite, zirconsilica, and silica.

These materials are in the form of proprietary, photosensitive pastes that the ceramic 3D printer photopolymerizes layer after layer.

More information: 3DCeram Ceramaker

Admatec ADMAFLEX 130

  • Build volume: 96 x 54 x 120 mm
  • Technology: Stereolithography
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Price: $150,000
This ceramic additive manufacturing system uses DLP 3D printing technology.

Compatible materials include aluminum oxide, zirconium oxide, silicon oxide, a combination of aluminum and zirconium, hydroxyapatite and silica based materials for investment casting.

More information: Admatec ADMAFLEX 130

ExOne x1 160PRO

  • Build volume: 800 x 500 x 400 mm
  • Technology: Jetting
  • Country: Germany
  • Price: $150,000
The X1 160PRO is ExOne’s largest metal and ceramic 3D printer, and uses binder jetting technology. It works with ExOne’s Scout Industry 4.0 app for remote and real-time monitoring of production runs.

Destined for industrial production, this ceramic 3D printer offers an impressive throughput of up to 10,000 cm3/hour.

More information: ExOne x1 160PRO

Kwambio Ceramo Zero

  • Build volume: –
  • Technology: Jetting
  • Country: United States
  • Price: $100,000
Kwambio is an additive manufacturing company from the Ukraine with headquarters in New York. Their online ceramic 3D printing service enables users to choose from glossy, matte, opaque or unglazed finishes.

The Kwambio Ceramo Zero ceramic 3D printer is one of the printers they use, though it isn’t commercially available yet.

More information: Kwambio Ceramo Zero

Lithoz CeraFab 7500 professional ceramic resin 3D printer

Lithoz CeraFab 7500

  • Build volume: 76 x 43 x 170 mm
  • Technology: Stereolithography
  • Country: Austria
  • Price: $240,000
The Lithoz CeraFab 7500 is an industrial-grade 3D printer featuring Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing (LCM) technology. This technology uses photosensitive resin to 3D print ceramic parts.

According to Lithoz, this ceramic additive manufacturing system is plug-and-play.

More information: Lithoz CeraFab 7500

Prodways ProMaker V6000

  • Build volume: 120 x 500 x 150 mm
  • Technology: Stereolithography
  • Country: France
  • Price: >$300,000
The ProMaker V6000 3D printer uses MOVINGLight technology, a kind of stereolithography technology that is similar to DLP (Digital Light Processing). It is capable of achieving an excellent resolution of up to 32 microns, and resulting parts are around 99% dense in ceramics.

This Prodways ceramic printer is suitable for a range of applications, particularly bio-medical applications.

More information: Prodways ProMaker V6000

Rapidia Metal 3D printer

  • Build volume: 200 x 280 x 200 mm
  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Country: Canada
  • Price: $130,000
Canada-based Rapidia offers an interesting and unique way to 3D print ceramics (and metal). They use a water-based ceramic paste, which eliminates the need for chemical debinding.

The water evaporates during the 3D printing process, so the part only needs to go through the furnace in order to completely solidify and attain its final form.

More information: Rapidia Metal 3D printer

XJet Carmel 700C

  • Build volume: 500 x 140 x 200 mm
  • Technology: Jetting
  • Country: Israel
  • Price: >$300,000
This industrial 3D printer from Israel breaks ceramic and metal material down into nanoparticles, in a patented process called NanoParticle Jetting. These particles are then mixed to XJet’s proprietary liquid, which is then jetted layer by layer through thousands of nozzles.

XJet’s technology produces parts of with an outstanding level of detail and accuracy.

More information: XJet Carmel 700C

Professional desktop ceramic 3D printers

DeltaBots 3D PotterBot 9

  • Build volume: 330 x 330 x 394 mm
  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Country: United States
  • Price: $14,850
This ceramic 3D printer uses a stationary paste extruder, meaning that clay comes directly out of the nozzle without the need for air compressors or hoses.

The syringe-like extruder is able to contain a maximum of 2000 mL of material.

More information: DeltaBots 3D PotterBot 9

Pollen AM Pam Series MC

Pollen AM Pam Series MC

  • Build volume: ⌀ 300 x 300 mm
  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Country: France
  • Price: $80,000
Pollen AM is a French manufacturer that has been producing pellet 3D printers since 2013. Their Pam Series MC is a delta-style 3D printer (cylindrical build volume) that can print both ceramics and metals, and even thermoplastics.

It extrudes injection-molding pellets instead of ceramic 3D printing filament, which is a more affordable material format than powder or filament, for example.

More information: Pollen PAM Series MC

StoneFlower 3.1

  • Build volume: 480 x 480 x 500 mm
  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Country: Germany
  • Price: $4,000
German-based StoneFlower manufactures print heads dedicated for suspensions and pastes, clay printing add-ons for desktop 3D printers, and the user-friendly Multimaterial 3D printer. The StoneFlower 3D printer comes with a touchscreen, WiFi/Ethernet, precise mechanical feed system, and optional dual extruder.

Custom build sizes are available upon request as well as closed casings.

More information: StoneFlower 3.1

Tethon 3D Bison 1000

  • Build volume: 110 x 60 x 130 mm
  • Technology: Stereolithography
  • Country: United States
  • Price: $17,000
The Bison 1000 is a desktop ceramic resin 3D printer from the US. Tethon 3D, the manufacturer, has been developing professional resins for a few years already and this is their first commercialized 3D printer.

Proprietary resins include materials such as porcelain, earthenware, alumina, and others.

More information: Tethon 3D Bison 1000

WASP Delta WASP 2040 Clay

  • Build volume: ⌀ 200 x 400 mm
  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Country: Italy
  • Price: $3,500
WASP is an Italian manufacturer specializing in delta 3D printers and clay 3D printing materials (and even concrete 3D printing). Their Delta WASP 2040 Clay is a compact and affordable solution for professionals.

A clay printing kit is also available for users that already own a 3D printer.

More information: WASP Delta WASP 2040 Clay

VormVrij LUTUM 5

  • Build volume: 430 x 450 x 500 mm
  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Price: $9,900
The VormVrij LUTUM 5 is one of the many clay 3D printers manufactured by Dutch brand VormVrij. This model is equipped with a large intuitive touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, and high-quality components.

Its 316 grade Stainless Steel extruder uses moisture-free 6Bar compressed air to push clay through its nozzle.

More information: VormVrij LUTUM 5

AIO 3D printers that 3D print ceramic material with paste extruders

Lynxter S600D

Lynxter S600D

  • Build volume: ⌀ 390 × 600 mm
  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Country: Lynxter S600D
  • Price: $30,000
The S600D by French manufacturer Lynxter is an all-in-one 3D printer that is packed with features. Its main characteristic is its ability to 3D print high-performance materials such as PEEK or PEI, with a high-temperature extruder, print bed, and chamber.

Its special paste-material print head enables it to 3D print ceramic materials as well.

More information: Lynxter S600D

ZMorph VX

  • Build volume: 250 x 235 x 165 mm
  • Technology: Extrusion
  • Country: Poland
  • Price: $2,799
The ZMorph VX is a powerful all-in-one desktop 3D printer made by ZMorph, a manufacturer based in Poland.

Thanks to its interchangeable tool heads, the ZMorph VX enables users to rapidly switch between functionalities: CNC milling, laser engraving/cutting, 3D scanning, and paste extrusion for clay materials.

More information: ZMorph VX

Special mentions

Nanoe Zetamix

Nanoe produces several ceramic-infused filaments that can be printed by almost any desktop FFF 3D printer. These filaments are part of Nanoe’s Zetamix line and materials include Zirconia, black Zirconia, and Alumina, and even a metal-based filament (Stainless Steel).

After parts are printed, debinded, and sintered, they are 99% dense.

Voxeljet

Voxeljet is specialized in industrial AM systems for sand molds, though the majority of their printers are capable of printing ceramic materials.

The most compact Voxeljet system is the VX200, which already boasts very large dimensions: 1,700 x 900 x 1,500 mm. Pricing starts at around $150,000.

Ceramic 3D printing process

There are several 3D printing technologies available to 3D print ceramic material:

  • Paste extrusion: a paste extruder deposits layers of ceramic onto a build plate.
  • Powder sintering: the ceramic is in a powdered form and is sintered layer by layer.
  • Binder jetting: the 3D printer deposits layers of binding agent upon layers of powder.
  • Photopolymerization: a light source solidifies a mix of resin and ceramic powder layer after layer.

Most industrial ceramic 3D printers use either binder jetting or powder sintering technologies. Our 3D printing technologies guide explains these methods in more detail.

As mentioned earlier on, ceramic 3D printers create green parts. These green parts must go through different steps to reach their final form:

  • Firing: in some cases, this step must be repeated more than once.
  • Glazing (optional): professionals may choose to cover the object with glaze to give it a special color or finish, such as matte or glossy.

Applications for ceramic 3D printing

In general, ceramic materials provide a number of properties:

  • high strength and dimensional stability
  • low density
  • chemical stability
  • high electrical insulating capacity
  • high resistance to abrasion and corrosion

Therefore, ceramic 3D printing suits a wide variety of applications. These applications include engineering in industries such as aerospace, automotive, chemical, electrical, environmental, medical and more.

Of course, artists can also benefit from ceramic 3D printing (clay printing) for pottery and sculptures.

Here, we are highlighting two industries where ceramic 3D printing seems to be gaining prominence:

Ceramic art, pottery, and sculptures

For hundreds of years, we have been using clay to create beautiful and/or functional objects. Dutch designer Olivier van Herpt, for example, uses his ceramic 3D printer to create impressive vases. Ceramic material is also used in the luxury industry for watches and jewelry.

Biomedical

There are a number of applications with 3D printing ceramics when it comes to the medical industry. For instance, patients can benefit from custom implants made of calcium phosphates, a material that is very close to human bone composition. Furthermore, it’s possible to control the implant’s porosity.

This means 3D printed bone substitutes will have a low chance of rejection from a body’s immune system. 3DCeram illustrates this in their medical case study.

 

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Une publication partagée par Olivier van Herpt (@oliviervanherpt) le

Professional ceramic 3D printing services

Industrial ceramic additive manufacturing systems are very expensive, and it may not always make sense for a business to invest in one. Some ceramic printer manufacturers give professionals the opportunity to use their machines through ceramic 3D printing services.

Users just have to send their 3D model to the service, choose the material, and wait until they receive the final product. Ceramic 3D printer manufacturers such as 3DCeram, Admatec, DDM Systems, Kwambio, Lithoz, Prodways, and Voxeljet provide this type of service.

A few 3D printing service bureaus offer ceramic printing options, too:

  • Shapeways
  • iMaterialise
  • OsseoMatrix
  • WZR CerPrint

More 3D printing resources

About this author

Ludivine Cherdo

Ludivine is in charge of Aniwaa's content strategy and works towards providing useful, informative content, including detailed guides based on her deep knowledge of the additive manufacturing scene. She also reviews 3D printers and stays on top of the latest industry news and trends. After growing up in the US and living in Spain, Chile, and Cambodia, Ludivine is now based in France.