The result is a five-foot-tall, delta-style 3-D printer made from water-cut steel that creates complex ceramic pots with a synthetic human touch. This artistic automaton takes Play-Doh extrusions to their logical conclusion, but does not try to eliminate the trademark quirks of handicrafts.
Any 3-D printers that deposits material in layers leaves a trace of its process: The don't allow you to create monolithically smooth pieces in one go. Van Herpt wanted to emphasize that fact, rather than hide it. So he has designed his software to accentuate these layers as purposeful textures reminiscent of basket weaves and lace. What is typically seen as a manufacturing defect becomes a decorative flourish.
Van Herpt has spent thousands of hours tweaking hardware and debugging code to achieve these results, but blending the perfect clay was particularly challenging. Diluting clay with water reduces the amount of force required to push it through an extruder, but makes larger objects prone to collapsing under their own weight. Van Herpt's design leverages industrial-strength motors to deposit a thicker paste and enables the fabrication of vessels over three feet tall that can be printed in approximately two hours, complete with fine lacy detail.