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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 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.
This was made for our "Going Opposite" Facebook group page (notice one fish is swimming the other way). Only three tile shapes are needed. The fish cutters were 3D printed to both cut and stamp at the same time. Multiple sizes of the triangle and trapezoid were made to accommodate irregularities and keep joints tighter. The clay is M340 and the glazes are Amaco Celadons and Potter's Choice (for brushing). I found the best way to paint them was to glue them down to a plaster slab with a few drops of glaze (it was easy to scrape off when the three coats had dried).
This cookie cutter can both cut and stamp the piece (notice the 3D render in the centre, the logo is 2mm lower than that cutter around the outside). We make them by rolling a slab to 3.2mm (1/8in) thick, applying stretch wrap over it and then pressing the cutter/stamper into it (using a wood block). Then just peel away the plastic and the outer waste clay and a perfect crest is left. This method enables using clay of almost any stiffness. We find that softer clay works best, just peel it up from the board, apply slip to the back, position it on the side of the leather hard ware and press it down (from the centre outwards). On the lower right is a crested mug that has just been glazed. Upper right is a crest that has been glazed and fired. About the cookie cutter: We create them with 0.8mm wall thickness (twice the width of the 0.4mm extruder on the 3D printer). We export the vector image (made in Illustrator) into Fusion 360 and then add elements to stabilize and hold the profile in place. This cutter is 8mm tall and the stamp lines are 5mm tall. The crest is 52mm (2 in) wide. This whole process may sound a little intimidating to you - but we are working on a step-by-step video.
Using the "create pattern" function of my CAD software, Fusion 360, I created a grid of duplicate cookie cutters. That enables 3D-printing up to 25 at a time. Now I can leave the clay in the cutter overnight, the next next day they just drop out (it is impossible to remove them while the clay is soft). Creating the rounded top edges is easily done with a little stretch wrap as shown, then it is just a matter of pushing the cutter the rest of the way and setting it aside to dry. This method creates a high-quality edge finish. The embossed design was first stamped using a letterpress plate.
The tiles are made from 45F, an iron stained feldspathic sand layer in a nearby quarry (it also contains kaolinite). I add 4% Veegum to give it enough plasticity for rolling, stamping and cookie cutting. This material has already experienced the weathering and transport process that our sand-making planet knows how to do. The next step is millions of years of being buried deep enough to get compaction and some heat, then enough dissolution to form precipitates capable of cementing the quartz grains together. I am cheating by using more heat, enough to soften the feldspar to enable it to bond the quartz grain contact-points and fill pore space between them. The trick is to fire low enough that it does not become a metamorpic but high enough for good bonding. 2000F is doing that, giving this tan color and sandstone surface. Almost 4% shrinkage is also occurring during the firing, synthesizing the compaction process of the natural material.
Original File: IMG_5914.jpeg
You may already know that I am very excited about the potential of 3D printing for creating aids to making pottery. I glue four of these together to create a cookie cutter for producing my slab-built mugs. For different sizes of mugs I need cutters with different geometries. This is quarter-cutter and it has been drawn "parametrically" using Fusion 360. That means that certain aspects of its geometry (two lengths and one angle) can be changed by simply changing the parameters (in the Parameters dialog). The drawing then adjusts automatically. It is magic! Other aspects are fixed (e.g. the right-angle, the pucker-preventing hole cutouts, the height, thickness). Parametric design is revolutionary, it fits my try-it-adjust-it-try-it-again way of working. And, I can label these printed quarters according to the parameters, in this case 45-25-108.
These four sections were glued together to make a larger one. Now it is possible to quickly precision-cut the shape for making my pie-crust mugs. Later I re-printed these templates on a better 3D printer so the inner vertex holes cut out much better.
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.
3D Printing a Clay Cookie Cutter-Stamper
Create a clay cookie cutter by exporting a vector image from Illustrator into Fusion 360, adding width to lines and extruding them to form the cutter, stamp and base
Hire Us for a 3D Printing Project
There are lots of resources here to help yourself, but if necessary we can help you individually.
|By Tony Hansen|
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