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 automobiles 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

ProductBrandCountryBuild sizeTechnologyMaterialPrice
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
C3600 ULTIMATE3DCeram France600 × 600 × 300 mmResin > SLACeramic upon requestAsk for a quote
ADMAFLEX 130Admatec Netherlands96 × 54 × 120 mmResin > DLPCeramic$ 150,000Ask for a quote
DeltaWASP 2040 ClayWASP Italy⌀ 200 x 400 mmExtrusionCeramic$ 5,000Ask for a quote
3D PotterBot 10 Pro3DPOTTER United States415 × 405 × 500 mmExtrusionCeramic$ 6,105Ask for a quote
X1 160PROExOne Germany800 × 500 × 400 mmBinder JettingMetal, Ceramic$ 150,000Ask for a quote
CeraFab 7500Lithoz Austria76 × 43 × 170 mmResin > DLPCeramic$ 250,000Ask for a quote
S600DLynxter France⌀ 390 x 600 mmExtrusionStandard (PLA, ABS…), Engineering (PC, nylon…), High-performance (PEEK, Ultem…), Ceramic, Silicone$ 30,000Ask for a quote
Pam Series MCPollen AM France⌀ 300 x 300 mmExtrusionStandard (PLA, ABS…), Engineering (PC, nylon…), Metal, Ceramic$ 140,000Ask for a quote
ProMaker V6000Prodways FranceResin > DLPCeramic upon requestAsk for a quote
Metal 3D printerRapidia Canada200 × 280 × 200 mmExtrusionMetal, Ceramic$ 185,000Ask for a quote
4.0 Multimaterial 3D printerStoneFlower Germany500 × 500 × 800 mmExtrusionCeramic$ 4,000Ask for a quote
Bison 1000Tethon 3D United StatesResin > DLPMetal, Ceramic$ 16,900Ask for a quote
LUTUM 5VormVrij Netherlands430 × 450 × 500 mmExtrusionCeramic$ 9,900Ask for a quote
Carmel 700CXJet Israel500 × 140 × 200 mmMaterial JettingCeramic$ 599,000Ask for a quote

Industrial ceramic additive manufacturing systems

http://C3600%20ULTIMATE
Selection
By 3DCeram
CountryFrance
Build size600 × 600 × 300 mm
TechnologyResin > SLA
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
upon request

The C3600 ULTIMATE 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.

http://Admatec%20ADMAFLEX%20130
Selection
By Admatec
CountryNetherlands
Build size96 × 54 × 120 mm
TechnologyResin > DLP
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 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.

Selection
By ExOne
CountryGermany
Build size800 × 500 × 400 mm
TechnologyBinder Jetting
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 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.

http://Lithoz%20CeraFab%207500%20dental%20ceramic%203D%20printer
Selection
By Lithoz
CountryAustria
Build size76 × 43 × 170 mm
TechnologyResin > DLP
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 250,000

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.

http://Prodways%20ProMaker%20V6000
Selection
CountryFrance
Build size
TechnologyResin > DLP
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
upon request

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.

Selection
By Rapidia
CountryCanada
Build size200 × 280 × 200 mm
TechnologyExtrusion
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 185,000

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.

http://XJet%20Carmel%20700
Selection
By XJet
CountryIsrael
Build size500 × 140 × 200 mm
TechnologyMaterial Jetting
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 599,000

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.

Professional desktop ceramic 3D printers

http://3DPOTTER%203D%20PotterBot%2010%20Pro
Selection
CountryUnited States
Build size415 × 405 × 500 mm
TechnologyExtrusion
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 6,105

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.

http://Pollen%20AM%20PAM%20Series%20M
Selection
CountryFrance
Build size⌀ 300 x 300 mm
TechnologyExtrusion
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 140,000

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.

http://Stoneflower%204
Selection
CountryGermany
Build size500 × 500 × 800 mm
TechnologyExtrusion
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 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.

http://Tethon%203D%20Bison%201000
Selection
CountryUnited States
Build size
TechnologyResin > DLP
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 16,900

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.

http://Delta%20WASP%202040%20Clay%203d%20printer
Selection
By WASP
CountryItaly
Build size⌀ 200 x 400 mm
TechnologyExtrusion
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 5,000

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.

Selection
CountryNetherlands
Build size430 × 450 × 500 mm
TechnologyExtrusion
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 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.

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

http://Lynxter%20S600D
Selection
By Lynxter
CountryFrance
Build size⌀ 390 x 600 mm
TechnologyExtrusion
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 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.

http://ZMorph%20VX
Selection

VX

By ZMorph
CountryPoland
Build size250 × 235 × 165 mm
TechnologyExtrusion
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 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.

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.

Kwambio

For those looking for Kwambio, the company is in a delicate financial position. Kwambio is an additive manufacturing company from 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 never officially made it to market.

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, 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.

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
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