As our quarter winds down, we can start to breath again.     There are so many projects running  in the Solheim Additive Manufacturing lab this school term, it is difficult to keep an exact count.

We’d like to take this moment to spot light some work that was initially done over three years ago and was re-examined last quarter in the Advance Rapid Prototyping/Rapid Manufacturing Course — namely printing in Rice Flour.    The original work was done by Mark Ganter.  The current re-examination of this material (to verify previous results) was performed by Fabian Wiramihardja.  Rice Flour is a wonderful material because it is WIDELY available and reasonable in cost.

Further, if the 3D printed parts are wax dipped or wax infused, they make great  masters for “Lost  Wax” or investment casting.

Our original recipe for Rice Flour Printing (by weight):

4 Parts – Rice Flour (screened 120-150 mesh or finer)
1 Part – Maltodextrin
1 Part – Powdered Sugar (10x or 12x)

Our students went through the process of mixing up a set of variations of the powder constituents and proceeded to bench test them (by spraying liquid binder XB or XF on them and observing their behavior).

“Mixture sample of benchmarking process, presented is rice flour/sugar/maltodextrin :4/1/1. A varying amount of  binder is sprayed is  on the test samples (1, 3, 5, and 7 sprays) to explore binder absorption and powder crust formation.”

Next our team, ran a variety of saturation settings using our 10x10x100 mm test bars.

Lastly, we printed out some samples (and waxed them) to give to our friends in the 3D4M Group in the Art Department.   They ran the waxed rice flour parts as “lost wax” masters for glass casting.

{Dimensions (5.5 x 3.25 x 2.25 inches) 139 x 82  x 57 mm}

The result is shown with the runners and sprues not yet removed.   Seemed rice flour makes acceptable 3D direct print lost wax masters.


9 Comments on Rice Flour Printing

  1. Hi,
    Nice shot !
    Might you evaluate size of this piece ?
    Best regards.

  2. admin says:

    Phillippe, thanks for the question. We forgot to post the dimensions. Roughly (5.5 x 3.25 x 2.25 inches) 139 mm x 82 mm x 57 mm.

  3. Flemming Tvede Hansen says:

    Thank you for your post. It is very interesting!
    At our university (The Danish Design School) we are new in this field and so in this forum.
    We have started up with a Z 310 and the recipes from an article, which you was part of: “The Printed Pot” in Ceramics Art Daily. I am part of the team at the ceramics department, which also deals with other materials such as concrete. But rice flour printing is quite interesting. We have to try that.
    We have done some experiments with ceramics, which went quite well with the recipes from the The printed pot, – but have also have problems. One is with the X axis making errors. Some has told me it is caused by the bearings. The type of bearings we use – the old ones or new ones. We have the new ones. Have you or others had similar problems and experience with a Z 310?
    Again thank you for the interesting post and also this great community.
    Kind regards Flemming

  4. Nicole says:

    Do you have any tips on efficiently cleaning out your machines when you switch from one powder to another? We want to start testing different materials on a Z machine, but are worried that it will be a major undertaking to clean between trials.
    Any nuggets of wisdom would be very much appreciated.

  5. ganter says:

    Nicole, It takes about 1-1.5 hours between material change overs. First, get a hepa rated vacuum cleaner (or use your depowdering oreck). Vacuum to remove powder. Never use spray cleaning liquids into the pistons as
    excess liquid can wick into the felt gasket and glue it to the piston walls. Also, don’t forget to clean in the bottom of the machine. After, your first cleaning and washing of the overflow bin, you can then just cover it with a
    plastic bag (it makes change overs faster). The last thing, you can install smaller test chambers/pistons inside the existing chamber/piston say something on the order of 2x3x4″. Good luck and keep us posted.

  6. Erik says:

    can one print on the basis of pringles chips, crunched back to a flour state? the reason for asking, one can imagine disposal issues of scrap or quality materials.

  7. ganter says:

    sure you can. Remember you will need powder that has been screened to 200-400 mesh.

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