Clay has recently become a hot material in the world of 3D printing. Any number of companies offer 3D printers capable of handling clay in various configurations.
Add one more company to that roster. VormVrij, a Dutch firm (which explains the funny name), has announced a range of new 3D printers expressly created for use with clay.
What’s On Offer?
Clay can be a pain, particularly in the realm of 3D printing. The clay formulation has to be just right for the extrusion process to work.
Too wet, and it won’t hold its shape. Too dry and it might clog up the extruder.
The printers designed to work with clay are just as problematic, often requiring an immense amount of time and effort to set up. They’re also generally very expensive.
These were the problems that VormVrij set out to combat, and it seems as though they may have succeeded.
VromVrij is focusing on creating affordable, easily set up clay extrusion printers for clay users around the world. They’ve debuted not one “claystruder”, but a full lineup.
Prices start at 4,600 euros and go up from there, so the “affordable” factor may not come into play for everyone who wants to get their hands on one of these printers.
In total, there will be four models from which to choose. They all work in a similar way, using a dual extruder to combine two colors of clay into a single print.
Another innovation here is that the printers can start and stop in the middle of a print without damaging the final product or requiring significant effort to get started once more. The base model is called the LUTUM Original, followed by the LUTUM UNO, then the LUTUM RapdiPro and the LUTUM MAX-XL.
Note that the first two systems only offer a single extruder, but can be equipped with a second for a nominal charge. The high-end fourth model features a dual extruder, as well as two extra-large and one normal clay holding tank.
The price for the high-end model is almost 6,000 euros.
Note that despite the seemingly high price, these models are among the most affordable on the market, making it easier for professionals dealing with clay to get setup, and even allowing hobbyists to afford a 3D clay printer.
Another advantage of the LUTUM line of clay printers is their speed. A conventional FDM desktop printer can take hours to create a single print, but even the base LUTUM model can do the job in just a few minutes.
Part of this is due to the fact that clay doesn’t have to be heated and melted. It’s moistened and then added to the holding tank, and then extruded according to the preset pattern.
VormVrij hasn’t made the full lineup available for purchase just yet, but they’re coming, and the official release date should be relatively soon.