Bristol university students have unveiled the world’s first 3D printer to make – tableware.
The high-tech gadget from the University of West England can produce clay creations – such as beautiful teacups and intricate ornaments – at top speed.
It takes just a few days to print, glaze, fire and decorate any item programmed into the amazing machine which is tipped to revolutionise the ceramics industry.
Professor Stephen Hoskins, from the university’s centre for fine print research which is behind the creation, said: “Our work in 3D printing of porcelain for tableware is world leading, and is based on our patented material.
“3D printing of ceramics is of special relevance to artists, designers and to the tableware industry, but it is also of interest to a wider public, as it is a new technology with the potential to develop the way ceramic tableware is produced.
“The ceramic material developed at CFPR for use in 3D printing is both aesthetically pleasing and also a functional material, unlike the typical prototyping materials commonly used in 3D printers.
“The ceramic material can produce items of a high quality both in terms of design and also in terms of function – it can create elegant tableware and ornamental ceramics.
“Because of its aesthetic qualities, it appeals to designers and artists who want to create lasting products that are also beautiful.
“The process, including glazing, firing and decorating of ceramic material takes several days to complete, but will enable faster turnaround times for new product designs for the tableware industry.”
The university is set to launch spin-off company Argillasys – the Latin word for potter’s clay – in the coming months in a bid to commercialise their creation.
An online shop will sell 3D printed creations, and it will offer prototyping services for designers who want to bring their designs to life at top-speed.
The printer will be showcased on Channel 5’s The Gadget Show on Monday at 7pm.