Kilns are large firing ovens used for curing ceramics like clay and porcelain.

Kiln Firing

With the introduction of 3D Clay Printing in the robotics lab comes the need for kiln firing. Two large kilns are in operation at the VCA teaching workshop (Southbank).

Kilns are essentially large gas fired ovens used to bake or 'fire' ceramic objects in order to cure and harden them, making them stronger and more durable.

Various finishing processes are possible with ceramics, and these processes, along with the specific ceramic mixes.

With the development of Robotic 3D Clay Printing in the MSD robotics lab, kiln firing can be incorporated into digital fabrication workflows to best explore the potential of this new technology.

Why fire 3D printed clay objects?

While the Clay 3D printing technology allows designers to research new process driven outcomes and fabrication methods, the material being used requires the extra process of curing to achieve their optimum strength. Additionally, the firing process allows for other ideas to be explored, such as the application of glazing to achieve different colours and surface textures.

MSD Robotics Lab

Digital fabrication workflow: Ceramics

  1. Design with firing in mind; Consult with Robotics Lab technicians.

  2. 3D Print object in clay, make sure to create multiples as some may fail during firing.

  3. Research finishing techniques for clay firing, such as glazes.

  4. Contact VCA technical staff to organise kiln firing. Expect long lead times. Be organised.*

  5. Drop off articles for firing.

  6. Collect finished product.

*If firing is required as a component of coursework, Fab Lab technicians may coordinate this.

What's possible?

The possibilities of 3D Clay printing and kiln firing were explored by ABPL subject ExLab: Robotic Clay 3D Printing. Students design, fabricated and constructed modular systems of tessellating 3d printed clay components to test the tectonic and aesthetic possibilities of the process. Research in this area is ongoing within the faculty with new developments are being made every semester.

ExLab: Robotic Clay 3D Printing

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