|Monthly Tech-Tip |
This was done on an affordable RepRap printer. The red plastic templates were drawn in Fusion 360 and sliced and printed using Simplify3D. A wooden block was used to press these cookie cutters into the clay. The plastic wrap made sticking a non-issue (and rounded the corners nicely). Commercial bottled glazes were applied to this low fire talc body by brushing (in three coats) after bisque - the rounded corners make brushing easier. The tiles were fired at cone 03. This is an old classic design that I discovered when researching Damascus tile. The toughest obstacle was learning how to use Fusion 360. It turns out that cookie cutters are a starter project for many 3D software packages, there are lots of videos on making them.
This is about 4 inches in diameter and 5/8 inch thick. By laying plastic wrap over the clay and then pressing the cookie cutter down onto that the nice rounded contours were created.
This is the most complex shape known that can fit together organically. It was just discovered by mathematicians in 2023. It is easy to cookie-cut these out of clay (notice the cutter I made at the top). Placing the tiles is tricky because it is only logical to seek a pattern, but that does not work. Starting with a center tile and moving outward in a spiral around it seems to be the best way. Mathematicians are seeking to prove that placement can grow infinitely without ever repeating a pattern. Making the cookie cutter in Fusion 360 was easier than expected because the shape is built from the pie-slices that result from cutting a regular hexagon into six pieces midway across the straight sides. Because of the complexity of the shape I have found that it is best to print multiple cutters (I can do eight at a time), and stamp the shapes without using stretch wrap (letting them dry overnight in the cutters). The randomness seems confirmed in that when I piece together a few dozen tiles it is very difficult to do a count (because they are not in rows). In addition, to piece together 28 tiles requires turning eleven of them over - if there was a pattern I would expect to turn over exactly half of them. One issue: To create a setting with straight sides it appears I will need a dozen shapes.
Standard 3D printing technology (not printing with clay itself) is very useful to potters and ceramic industry in making objects that assist and enable production.
Tile manufacture is the largest sector of ceramic industry. Engineers overcome the very difficult technical challenges of drying and firing defect-free, flat and durable tile. Potters can do it too.
While traditional mosaic imagery have been created from small pieces of glass or stone, computerized equipment is making it increasingly practical to create the pieces from clay or porcelain
Cookie Cutting clay with 3D printed cutters
We are finding more and more applications for this simple process of cookie-cutting shapes in ceramics. You won't believe whats possible and how easy it is to get started.