3d printed tools for mould making

The moulds for my two test prints were more complex than my previous test mould because I created forms that had undercuts at the top.


I would need 2 parts at either side of the hexagon, as well as an inside plug and 2 parts on the top. I've made double walled moulds in the past and I need a part that covers a portion of the top so that the whole top section isn't pulled apart when the plug is removed, the mould needs to grab onto it so the top sections will do that. Making the inside plug can be challenging in a double walled mould and the angles of the sides should be consistent so the clay dries at the same rate.


I made 3D printed spacers that would fit into the inside of the vessel while I made the other sides. Traditionally a mould of this type would have the inside part poured first but I wanted to try this and the idea of using 3D printing to make tools was a big part of my dissertation research. Each spacer fits into the top step of each vessel and was attached using clay.

One of my lecturers, Ben, gave me a 3D printed handle that he had made to use as a handle for my inside part, the other I made a handle using screws and wire. It worked really well as a comfortable handle but it was actually a weaker handle than the one I made from screws and wire, this is becasue it used only 1 screw and the other used 2 at an angle with wire wrapped around so the plaster had more to grip onto.

I'm really proud of these moulds. I think they're some of the neatest I've ever made and though they have some flaws they work quite well.

I ended up not using these forms for my degree show collection but the way I made the moulds using 3D printed tools and the things I learnt during the whole process has inspired me to try similar things in future.


I like the idea that I'm applying the research that I did in my dissertation to my own studio practice.

© 2020 by Alison Thyra Grubb

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