Investigation into integration of digital manufacturing with ceramics
Within the territory of crafts, it has long been thought that individuals’ proficiency and adeptness, which take long to attain or are presumably innate abilities, determine the quality, delicacy and value of the products, and the common perception has often acted as a barrier to accessibility and penetration. It is more apparent in the pottery and ceramics where special equipment and facilities, such as wheels and kilns, in addition to skilfulness and dexterity are considered essential for creation. Advances in digital technology represented by 3D printing, however, are changing the way objects are designed, produced and distributed, instigating attempts to view traditional crafting processes and practices from a different perspective. Among various branches of crafts, this research specifically explores introduction of digital technology to pottery and challenges the limitations that the conventional methods have, by eliminating the hardware restrictions and lowering the barriers. The outcome offers not only transcendent possibilities of creation to craftspeople and artists but also unprecedented accessibility and apprehensible process to the public. Technically, Liquid Deposition Modelling (LDM) building upon material optimisation and tool redesign was employed in conjunction with digital design process. In addition, functional additives were trialled to incorporate multilevel translucency and electrical conductivity into the new types of ceramic objects.