3D Printed Pattern Stamp & Ceramic Box

Contributed by
Young Kim

Duration: Semester
Level: Intermediate/(Middle School - 8th Grade)
Resources: http://openblackboard.com/processing/shapetile/,https://convertio.co/image-converter/, Tinkercad



This 3D Visual Arts unit consists of two sub-projects to engage students in digital fabrication which then informs a traditional hands-on medium. Another motivation for this project is to encourage students to view 3D printing beyond the technological application.

Project Introduction

My prototypes of a 3D printed stamp and clay box were made ahead of time to show the goal of the project. By 8th grade, the majority of students are quite familiar with 3D design using Tinkercad. Drawing out ideas in sketchbooks were encouraged so students use Tinkercad with a preconceived visualization and to document their work.

Procedures - 3D printed stamp

  1. Do a Google search for pictures of stamps and different handles. Sketch out 3 different ideas for stamp body shape and handle.

  2. Explore the shape tiler web program created by Erik Nauman. Move the slider tool to create different patterns. Decide on a pattern and click SAVE when ready. The image will open in a new tab or window. Right-click on the image to download it. Name the file and SAVE (PNG file). One suggestion is to use Google Drawing to crop the pattern to isolate a portion of the pattern, rather than use the whole complex pattern.

  3. In Tinkercad, separately create the stamp body shape and handle, but on the same workplane. Set a size limitation. This helps to make sure the two pieces are reasonable and can be printed correctly on the 3D printer.

Intermediate mini-assignment (optional)

While you’re printing your class’s 3D designs, there might be some wait time. Assigning them a basic research project can be helpful. Here is one I created for my students to explore ceramic artists.

Procedures - Slab Clay box

  1. In the sketchbook, students should draw 5 different geometric vessels they would like to try building using clay slabs. They should write down approximate dimensions for the vessel. (maximum dimension could be 10-12cm.)

  2. Using posterboard or oak tag, students measure and draw out paper templates to be used for slab cut outs. Templates need to be made for each unique bottom and wall of the clay box.

  3. Students preview demonstration videos on YouTube and take notes in their sketchbooks. Teacher’s live demo will be given later (this is for differentiated/independent learning). If you want to make it fun, try to have the students direct you through the steps of making slabs and the clay box.

    Making slabsClay box tutorial

  4. Plan for 2-3 classes for making slabs and building the clay boxes. Once the boxes are built and the clay is still green and approaching soft leatherhard, have the students impress the stamp pattern into the box walls. It works a bit better if the clay wall is pushed into the stamp using the opposing hand. Some trial and error attempts needed.

  5. Smooth out and retry.

  6. Allow the boxes to dry slowly, and bisque fire.

  7. Optional intermediate assignment - Process Statement

  8. Students preview demonstrations on how to glaze bisque ware and take notes in sketchbooks. Adjust your directions to the glazing materials you have available or techniques your prefer. The videos are good reference videos for the students.

  9. Depending on the firing schedule, not all the work might be ready to glaze. Having the students glaze in shifts might be a worthwhile way to divide up the use of glaze and brushes.

  10. While glaze firing, this self-assessment might be something useful to gauge how they think they did on this project and its processes.