Planetary Ceramic Molds

Company: HP Labs (2019)
Team: Jiwon Jun, Eric Faggin
My Role: project lead, 3D modeling, pottery making

NASA has released free 3D printable STL files online, including the models of asteroids and craters on Mars and the moon. This was a side project in the lab to explore an application of 3D-printing for creating art-making tools using the 3D data from NASA.  

Throwing a bowl in a bisque mold

In pottery making, molds and stamps are used to imprint patterns in clay or shape clay into a particular three dimensional shape. We were interested in creating a series of custom pottery making tools to use the topographical 3D models of Mars and Moon for the creative practice.

Left: Spirit Landing Site on Mars / Right: Linné crater on Moon

Our goal was to incorporate the topography into ceramics as negative space for bowls and three dimensional decoration for tiles. We modified the 3D models of Spirit landing site, Linné crater, and Gale crater from NASA’s website and designed custom stamps and molds with them. The tools printed in PA12 on MJF 4200 printer were used for making ceramic bowl, dish, and tiles at a pottery studio located in San Jose.

3D model of custom pottery stamp made with
the Spirit Landing Site topography

The Martian topography imprinted on clay

Wheel throwing work to trim the clay

3D model of custom pottery stamp made with
the lunar Linné crater topography

The lunar crater imprinted on a wheel-thrown bowl

Glazing the fired dish

Final outcomes:
White bowl (lunar Linné crater)
Black and blue dishes (Martian Spirit landing site)
White tiles (Martian Gale crater / designed by Eric Faggin)