Last updated: Jul 28, 2020
Printing on the clay 3D printer has a number of very specific geometric requirements. Please read through the following design guide to ensure your geometry is suited to the printer before submitting to it.

Fluidity and Shrinkage

Oversize your objects from their intended size after drying or firing.
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Clay is a material that changes dramatically as it dries and even moreso if it is fired. Clay’s ability to flow through the extruder of the printer is also tied to how wet the clay body is. A clay body will eventually match the humidity of the environment its exposed to, and this process can be sped up by heating. A clay body that is equal parts clay/water by volume (a good ratio for smooth flow) will shrink by as much as 15% in any dimension as it dries to the humidity of the studio air. If fired, it’s likely to shrink another 5-10% in any dimension from its initial size. This shrinkage can be hard to anticipate, and is rarely even. In extreme cases it may cause parts to break during drying or firing.

Please keep in mind that while you can fire a green or dried part, the YSoA does not currently have a kiln set up for firing our clay.

Surface vs. Volume prints

Printable surfaces have geometric limitations and volumes may not fire evenly or at all.
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The clay printer can print solid volumes, or just trace the outermost surface of a shape. Printing solid volumes creates more pockets of air in a part though, making it less likely to survive the firing process, and more likely to shrink unevenly while it dries. In extreme cases, these pockets can cause parts to break while drying or explode while firing.


Printing support doesn’t work well with the clay printer. Be mindful of overhangs, and slopes.
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Clay tends to shrink and slump, so the material does not work well with breakaway support that is typically generated by extrusion based printers to accomodate overhangs. As a result, the angle of the surfaces being generated relative to the build plate (or draft) needs to stay above a certain threshold. This will change based on the geometry as a whole. The examples above show sections of the wall created by a toolpath and rates them according to how likely they are to succeed or fail during printing.