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of the Make Your Own Ceramic 3D Printer community


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TL:DR? Skip to the IN SHORT section at the end...

As promised - but much delayed - here’s an update about the future of the ‘Make Your Own Ceramic 3D Printer’ community. As most of you have probably read in an earlier post from +Fra Gee, Google will end it’s Google+ product (of which this community is part) in a few months. This forces us to find another home for this wonderful group. I’m picking up on my old Unfold-Fab habit of posting long form so bear with me.

Some origin history of this community: I started in 2009 with the development of the first 3D printer for ceramics (an affordable DIY one using extrusion of wet clay) based on the then emerging RepRap project. First conversations on how to approach this endeavour happened on the RepRap forum, which already had a dormant place-holder section on paste extrusion tool heads. My machine was based on the first ready-to-build kit that came out of the RepRap project, the Bits from Bytes (BfB) Rapman. They had their own forum and as manuals where incomplete when the first handful of machines shipped out, a tiny but active group formed there with the aim of helping each other out. Slowly but surely more people followed my design and started to acquire BfB Rapman machines to convert to ceramic 3D printers, the first being +Jonathan Keep. Discussion on paste extruder toolheads subsequently moved to the BfB Forum which always felt like a very hands-on place with folks interested in education, food printing, biology, ceramics, etc. The unofficial Skeinforge manual (the first de facto slicer) was also written by a bunch of us, hosted on the BfB wiki and used by everyone in the RepRap community.

In 2010, 3D Systems bought Bits from Bytes and over the next 3 years, the legs were cut from under our community’s chair. In 2013 the Rapman kit was deprecated without announcement, till then the only practical starting point for a ceramic 3d printer build and used extensively by Jonathan & us at +Unfold to install at schools & universities during workshops in an effort to spread the gospel. The BfB forum & wiki were also taken offline without any prior notice, we managed to make a backup of the content via a loophole but the vibrant community ceased to exist and contact with each other was lost. There was simply no time given to coordinate exchange of contacts or setup a new place to go.

As Jonathan was doing most of these workshops, he set himself the challenge to develop an easy to build ceramic 3D printer that didn’t require any advanced maker tools or skills, just some MDF, jigsaw and of the shelf parts (vitamins in RepRap vocabulary). This is the much beloved JK Delta that we all know and that gained a lot of popularity and following (see the recent +CERAMBOT 3D Kickstarter). In the meantime discussion happened between Jonathan & myself about hosting our own community platform as we both believe strongly in open knowledge exchange & self sufficiency. Dreamers like we are, we had grand plans and decided to open it up to more ceramic related open development (think Arduino based kiln controllers, pugmills, software, CNC-ing plaster moulds etc) and I acquired the web domain to host this forum. As the plans were big, lack of time also made it not move fast. As a stopgap measure Jonathan started this G+ group as a means for people to help each other out when building his JK Delta. Fast forward to today and what started as a tiny support group around one specific machine grew out into a large community with hundreds of active members.

While the open spirit is still at the core, discussion is not restricted to one specific design of machine anymore but blossomed into a community totalling close to a thousand posts centred around the sharing of expertise, ideas, feedback, toolhead designs and so many other topics related to DIY ceramic 3d printing and with some members even coming from very different fields like bio-printing, food printing, etc. More than one hundred active members every single month respond to posts with their insights and thumbs up’s. And let’s not forget the core group of valued members who has been driving this community in the last years and lead the pack in post count: +Tom Lauerman, who has been pushing the open spirit of this community with his posts on for example a synchronised mechanical feed and auger design (and who has aggregated more posts than Jonathan & I combined!); +Yao van den Heerik & Danny Defe who have been long time frequent posters (Dany being the first to post after Jonathan!) and who’ve since build each their own well-established ceramic 3d printer company (+Vormvrij & +3D POTTER); and +Jack Hardie who’s been pushing us all with his flawless prints.

Long story short, I care deeply about this community and the content that has been created over the years (10!!) since I started this endeavour. I want to make sure that this time around we can keep the social fabric and content of this place intact when moving somewhere else and even add new features.

Behind the scenes I’ve bounced around some ideas with Jonathan & Tom about how to proceed. At first I was a proponent of self hosting this community by installing open source forum software like Discourse or NodeBB on a co-hosting server. But we’ve eventually decided against this as it will cost us lot’s of time, and money.

But also because we found a compelling plan B. Shortly after our discussion started I was contacted by someone from a Madrid based startup called WikiFactory, who introduced their platform (in Alpha stage) and asked if they could be of any help in our quest for a new home.

Wikifactory was founded by some of the developers involved in the WikiHouse project ( as a platform to host open source hardware projects. Currently it is mostly centred on hosting open source hardware projects in a fashion more akin to GitHub or Thingiverse, with some added features on top. At the moment the site focusses on Projects (here we can host open source machine & extruder designs), Stories (these are more long form feature written by members), Collections (starred projects outside our own community). Different members can grouped into communities (currently called Organisations) and the focus at the moment is on developing forum features so each group can have their own forum.

Read more about WikiFactory here: and FAQ:

I’ve had multiple Skype meetings with Max Kampik, Co-founder and CXO at Wikifactory on what features would be needed for a community like ours. They shared their ideas for community and forum features and we’ve worked on that together in the last 2 months in a co-design process. To illustrate a bit where we are at this point. A basic forum has been implemented in a style not too dissimilar to Discourse. As a means to test the forum with real content and to test porting G+ content, Max copied all the content from our very own community over to the test forum on Wikifactory. So this already works with all our content! Next they are now implementing a system in which you can sign in to Wikifactory using your G+ credentials (social sign in), this allows you to claim all the content you originally posted here in this community and that has been ported over and to create a new Wikifactory account associated with that data. This also in order to be GDPR proof. So this shows a bit their commitment I think.

Obviously the risk here is that this is a startup, with all the associated risks and it means laying your content & future in the hands of an external party again. What feels different to me is that the whole philosophy of Wikifactory is very much aligned with the philosophy Jonathan & I adhere to and that their core focus is open source hardware communities like ours. On top of that we value the short communication lines with the developers, and they are all ears at this point wanting to understand our needs. As I'm based in Belgium, I also plan to travel to Madrid next month to discuss our needs in depth with the team at WikiFactory.

While it’s currently running on investors, the business-model of Wikifactory is going to be similar to that of Github in that the platform is free for open source projects and subscription based for companies & individuals wanting to host closed source projects. As the platform is really young (alpha stage) some of the killer features have not yet been implemented but the focus is on integrating 3d features so you can see exploded views of 3d designs, reference parts, discuss how to assemble something, maybe connect to services for manufacturing parts, etc. If people like to join the testing of the forum (it’s hosted on a test server for now) please let me know and I’ll send login/pass. It would be great to have a handful of people to test the feasibility of Wikifactory and give feedback to the developers.

All in all we like the mix of being able do host & document your open source designs (not something we had here), write long form articles, tutorials etc (also not something we had here) & have great discussion (everything we had here!). Unfortunately Google decided few weeks ago that Google+ will be shutting down 4 months earlier than originally planned (April, not August) and that they will start shutting down their API’s starting end of this month. So things start to get pretty urgent all of a sudden. So please share your feedback, wishes, doubts and thoughts in these scenario’s and we’ll take those into account. For the moment we’ve tentatively called the community +ceramic3dprinting but we’re open for suggestions on new names for this community that emphasise the larger scope of open knowledge sharing on ceramic 3d printing.

---------- IN SHORT --------

We're moving this community to WikiFactory (WF), a social design and production platform. This platform is still in Alpha and under heavy development. We're working with the team behind WF to implement a discussion platform (forum) that can replace the G+ features we had. You can find screenshots attached in the comments. We're also porting all the old content over and this content will be connected to your new account on WF

What’s coming next:
-First of all, post a simple ‘hello’ [EDIT, better to say a few more words to prevent ending in the spam filter] in response to this post so we know who is an ‘active’ member here (Google+ insights are crude) and you’ll make sure you keep informed on what’s coming up in regards to the big migration. Even better, instead of ‘hello’ post your public social details (website, twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) so everyone can find each other back in the future. And we would like to hear from you, say what you liked in this community and what features you have missed.

-We’ll keep you informed about the progress with Wikifactory and when everything is ready to launch the forum features and advice you how to create an account that claims your content posted here.

-In the meantime, feel free to continue posting here till further notice. If you plan on documenting a new open source design, you might want to hold out a little longer and do this on Wikifactory when everything is ready.

-If you want to test drive Wikifactory, feel free to do so now BUT PLEASE USE THE SAME EMAIL ACCOUNT AS THE ONE YOU USED FOR G+ so you can later easily associated your migrated G+ posts to your WF account. Be advised that the FORUM IS NOT YET THERE and in general the concept of a community still needs to be implemented. Currently they work as Organizations. You can find a test version for ceramic 3d printing here (SO AGAIN, NO FORUM THERE YET):

Thanks everyone for your contributions to this great community over the years! Hope to hear from you in the comments below and hope as many as possible will make the jump to WikiFactory!


ps. Why not Facebook or Reddit?
First of all, I think the past has shown that we better not rely too much on these large platforms to server our interests. Facebook for example changes features al the time and what do we know how they will evolve in the future and what happens to group features etc? Those are social platforms and not dedicated to the type of activity we have here. Second is philosophical, many people have very good reasons not to be on these platforms or terminate their accounts there. While I did not do so myself I did remove Facebook’s like buttons from our website and only use Facebook for the strictly necessary. I have no interest in engaging more than what I do now on FB. In regard to Reddit which has been suggested a few times. This is very personal but I don’t like the role Reddit plays in harbouring some very toxic online communities.
About discoverability, the ease of logging in on Facebook etc. 90% of active members to this community only use G+ for accessing this community, they don’t use any social features like posting to personal timelines or other groups.

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First of all, I am thankful for this forum, it helped me alot in the build process. I am a student who studies Industrial Design Engineering and am currently building my own ceramic printer for a company. Everything is going well, the pictures show I already printed with it, but the stepper motor was not powerful enough to push the clay through the tube.

I find it very difficult to calculate how many force is reacting at the system. I can't find any NEMA 23 (I think this one must be powerful enough) with a hollow shaft. Do you guys have any tips/recommendations for me?

FYI: I was working with a NEMA 17 (5 kg/cm) with a 6 mm hollow shaft. But this stepper motor was not powerful enough. [EDIT: I was only able to push 0.1 mm in about 2-3 seconds]. I also tried to make a normal NEMA 23 to a NEMA 23 with hollow shaft, this project has unfortunately failed.

The pictures: One picture is showing a scale with the clay tank. I came to the conclusion it needs ~30 kg (300 N) to push the clay through the tube. The tube is currently 6 mm, but can be expanded to 8/10 mm (this will reduce force also).
3 Photos - View album

im most of the way through making my first clay printer (currently own 5 fdm printers, mainly ender3 pros).
so the frame is built which measures 700mm high and 300 between uprights.
how do i work out what length tie rods i need and my build sizes?
im also interested in using a plunger type extruder, what are the benefits/drawbacks of that kind of setup.
thanks in advance for any help.

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I amended my auger for a more beefy pitch which seemed to make it a lot smoother in printing giving the clay a more even flow rate from the nozzle. i also added a reduction gearbox to the stepper giving the auger more torque. found them on ebay : )
3 Photos - View album

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. . . it's been awhile since a whole new slicer came along . . .
All3DP GmbH
All3DP GmbH

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Interesting article:

Extrusion basics: Screw design essentials you learned a long time ago, but maybe forgot

Do you know why channel depths, and not just their ratio, are critical? Read on

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I'm exploring pellet extenders, and thought the research in "augers" and compression ratios and motor gear reduction may be useful to others here.


Hi all, we've worked on a timing for our migration to WikiFactory, please find below so you can get an idea of what is coming up.

Monday 4th of March we will lock down most of this community here at G+ and migrate all posts over to WikiFactory. The following steps will happen that day:
-This Google+ community will switch to 'Moderate' and no new posts will be accepted (only posts in the newly created WikiFactory Support section will be accepted).
-We will stop accepting new members
-Backup of the community will be migrated to WikiFactory. This is also the official launch day of the forum features at WikiFactory.
-We will created a pinnend post / alt description with pointers to WikiFactory, a short manual on WikiFactory, and other important info.
-Any content posted after this date will NOT be migrated. This is content in support section and possibly new comments on old posts.

Tuesday 5th of March we will welcome everyone who has not yet created an account at WikiFactory to do so from March 5th.
-A short manual will be posted here to help you get started at WikiFactory.
-Creating your account after March 4th ensures that you will immediately be able to claim all your old posts using a secure Google login.

from March 5 on
-WikiFactory Support section here on Google+ stays open till april 2nd if needed.
-If you want to have a personal backup of all your Google+ data, especially whatever is not being part of this community, please do so using Google Take Out.

Monday 1st of April
-We'll make a final backup, just for completeness

Tuesday 2nd of April
-Official last day of Google+, after this day you will start to see your G+ accounts & data being deleted by Google.

That's it for now. We'll keep you posted!

I joined this community a few months ago after learning about its existence through word of mouth. I been a lurker and just wanted to say that I really appreciate the information that the members share here about their own personal builds. I been slowly working on getting my own clay 3D printer up and going to use on my own work artwork. It is a shame G+ is shutting down and just hope the new place the community migrates to is as good or better. Thank you all.

Hello everyone,
What do you think of this kind of room to facilitate the implementation of a ceramic kit?
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