Sunday, June 10, 2012


What comes in a box and takes weeks for two grown men to assemble?  Answer? A 3D printer and it is soooooo exciting.  It feels like Christmas has arrived in the Central Institute of Technology in Perth in the Ceramics Dept. as the hotly anticipated piece of equipment has been slowly, carefully unpacked and so methodically assembled you would think that we had a bomb disposal team in the tech room.  In fact the team is Engineering student Robert Vinkovic and the renowned artist Graham Hay - he of the Paper Clay Guru title and pretty famously (among potters) of the encyclopaedic website on the subject.  Graham is good fun, very smart and he brings in fabulous cake - obviously he is very welcome.  CIT Ceramics Dept is a pretty exciting place to be right now.  This is a topic I will revisit regularly on this blog from here on.

To be honest, there is a sense of boys with Meccano kind of glee about the place but underlying that is a serious intent to get the 3D printer up and running as soon as we can.  I know I haven't shared much about my own experience as the current Artist In Residence there - honestly, I am just having too good a time trying out and testing stuff and getting things off my to do list!  Very soon Graham will be heading off to the US to teach a series of sell-out workshops and, on his return he will be the Artist in Residence at CIT Ceramics Department in about August 2012 and using a 3D printer the topic he will be exploring.
Andrea and Robert Vinkovic

 Robert Vinkovic and Graham Hay making a brilliant team. 

This printer will have the capability of printing its own 3D spare parts.  I have read a bit about 3D printers, particularly on sites like Design Boom and the like, and I think I understand the general concept, have seen videos demonstrating the principles and it is a tad well, mind-blowing.  I mentioned all of this to Gosia, at a party last night, having just explained that I am a potter, and she said 'Oh my dentist uses that kind of technology'.  WOW.  It seems her Perth dentist can generate veneers in a matter of an hour using a 3D printer of some kind.  How great to hear of such a useful application for the technology.
Excited?  We are!  As the daughter of an electronics engineer and wife of a mechanical engineer I am really enjoying the buzz of being in on all of this.  I'd love to be able to call my Dad if he was still alive and tell him about what is going on, and he'd understand every aspect and be avid for updates.

If you are interested, the details of the brand and build of the 3D printer we have at CIT is here ...
Now please hop on over to to find out more of what is happening in the clay world in general via several other clay bloggers.


  1. Hi Elaine, Wow, how did they get the funding for that?? TAFE Ceramic departments over here are having to 'make a profit' - ha, how do you do that when half your student base are people on disability support?

  2. Wow! I'm not very tech savvy but I'm very curious about this! Looks quite complicated to put together! It looks like you have a great team putting it together. How can anyone resist popping those cool little shapes from a sheet of blue plastic? hahaha...can't wait to see what what it can do Elaine!

  3. I saw one working recently at Caloundra Gallery, interesting. There are some that use clay instead of the plastic medium. Has lots of possibilities, I'll be really interested to see how you use it.

  4. You Tube has lots of video demos which illustrate 3D clay printers at work. A new obsession!