Open Innovation in Practice New Ceramic Printing-Process Combines Individual Design and Serial Production
Digital fabrication techniques are a key driver in the radical (and controversial) decentralization of product design. An ongoing research project of the dpz (Digitales Produktionszentrum, Center for Digital Production) at the Academy of Fine Arts Saar, ‘3D Ceramic Printing’ explores the extent to which plastic printing techniques can be used in ceramic design processes. Involving a multi-university team, the interdisciplinary project aims to develop a new ceramic printer.
First project outcomes were presented February 2013 at the academy’s annual art show. The collaborative project implemented a complete generative workflow, from data input to the output of toolpaths for in-house production. An innovative tool for design and production, the printer offers new possibilities in the design and shaping of ceramic objects - objects with caverns, undercuts, or ornamental structures cannot be generated through known analog approaches.
Supported by open hard- and software, the project integrates established methods (coil) and digital fabrication to develop further existing 3D ceramic printing techniques. The new approach maintains the individuality of objects in a machinic production process, allowing the generation of type variations, small series, as well as customization as user modified objects or through user interfaces such as Reactable.Because of the particular surface characteristics generated through this process, objects have different aesthetic and haptic qualities; the project will continue to explore the extent to which 3D-printing techniques offer future design options for the processing of ceramic.
The project exemplifies the open research approach of the dpz. Beyond the use of open hard- and software, open innovation includes an ‘open studio’ approach, where studios are open to students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, creating new freedoms throughout the conceptualization and design process. The team includes product design students from the Academy of Fine Arts Saar as well as Media Informatics students from Saarland University. The dpz project is supported by xm:lab, the academy’s new institute for experimental education. It coordinates a wide spectrum of projects at the intersections of art, design and technology.