L’Artisan Électronique by Unfold
and Tim Knapen


Another bonkers machine! This one is a virtual potters wheel by Belgian designers Unfold and Tim Knapen.

Like the onion-scanning contraption in our previous story this machine, called L’Artisan Électronique, is on show at Z33 in Hasselt as part of an exhibition called Design by Performance.

The device creates pots from rolls of clay in response to movements of visitors hands through a sensor.

The exhibition continues until 30 May.

Update 02/06/11: watch the designers explaining the project in our movie on Dezeen Screen

Here's some more information from the designers (in Dutch):

Unfold & Tim Knapen, L’Artisan Electronique (2010), productieopdracht Z33

Naast de keramiekprinter creëerde Unfold samen met Tim Knapen voor L’Artisan Électro- nique een virtuele draaischijf. Deze draai- schijf biedt aan bezoekers de mogelijkheid om een eigen vorm te ‘draaien’. Een selectie van deze ontwerpen wordt op specifieke tijdstippen in porseleinklei uitgeprint en opgesteld in de ruimte.

In L’Artisan Électronique wordt het pottenbak- ken, één van de oudste ambachtelijke procé- dés voor het maken van gebruiksvoorwerpen, verweven met nieuwe digitale technieken. De virtuele draaischijf komt tot stand door mid- del van een 3d-scanner en digitale ontwerp- software. Toch blijft de installatie duidelijk refereren naar het artisanale van werken met klei. Het print proces imiteert een traditio- nele techniek gehanteerd door keramisten, waarbij de vorm wordt opgebouwd uit een opeenstapeling van rolletjes klei.

See also:


Posted on Wednesday April 7th 2010 at 5:35 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • MrCoolTeapot

    Interesting. A description in English would be nice.

  • charlie chan

    wow i need a dutch translator.

    I really want to know how the machine works.

  • cabinetmaker

    It roughly says:

    ” This turning wheel offers visitors the possibility to create their own shape. A selection of these designs is “printed” in clay on specific times and exhibited in the room. In L’Artisan Électronique pottery, one of the oldest crafts for the creation of objects, is intertwined with new digital technology. The virtual turning wheel is established by using a 3d imaging device and digital design software. The installation however still clearly refers to the artisanal molding of the clay. The printing process imitates a traditional technique used by ceramists whereby the shape is built up by small ribbons of clay”

    The translation looks a bit funny but trust me, so is the original text.

  • sounds awesome
    wish there was a video so we could watch the process happen…

  • themark

    The machine is not a virtual potter’s wheel, it’s the open-source RepRap 3D printer, using ceramic in it’s extruder rather than hot ABS plastic. The artists did not create it, merely re-purposed it as they needed, which is the whole idea behind open-source hardware/software.

  • Hi,

    I quickly translated it for you:

    Unfold & Tim Knapen, L’Artisan Electronique (2010), production assignment Z33

    Besides the ceramic printer, Unfold created – together with Tim Knapen – a virtual turntable for L’Artisan Électronique. This turntable offers visitors the possibilty to ‘turn’ their own shape. A selection of these designs will be prined at specific times in porcelain clay and displayed at the exhibition space.

    In L’Artisan Électronique, pottery – one of the oldest crafts for making utensils – is being combined with new digital techniques. The virtual turntable is mediated by using a 3D scanner and digital design software. Yet the installation still clearly refers to the artisanal working with clay. The print process imitates a traditional technique handled by ceramists, whereby the form is constructed through an accumulation of roles of clay.

  • Me

    Good morning, especially for MrCoolTeapot (and anyone else) the english translation.

    Besides the ceramics printer, Unfold created in cooperation with Tim Knapen for L’Artisan Electronique a virtual swivel plate. This swivel plate offers the visitors the possibility to create their own shape by rotating the swivel plate. A selection of those creations will be exposed on certain times printed in porcelain.

    In L’Artisan Electronique pottery, one of the oldest crafts for creating objects, is integrated into the newest digital techniques. The virtual swivel plate is created with a 3D scanner and design software. The machine is still referring to the old craft of working with clay. The printing process imitates a traditional technique used by ceramists, in which the object is formed with thin stacked strands of porcelain.

  • Thank you for the translations everyone. Glad so many are so educated.
    As a slip casting mold making ceramicist I welcome any new technology that increases our ability to create in clay.
    Currently working with a rapid prototyper who is using a plaster base form as the starting point. The process presented here might be a logical extension of that process.

  • There is a video:


  • SW

    Love the work of Tim / Z33 is also doing a great job / but we truly miss the REP RAP link http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page just because this is still the main (r)evolution behind the statement. Great work, prosumers love it!

  • tim

    If you want to hear/see some more of this unfold project. The director of Z33, Jan Boelen, did an interview with dries of unfold. The interview is in dutch but for your comfort subtitled in english: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9Lw-SWg5xQ&feature=related