Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research

3D and Rapid Prototyping Research

Facility Contact: David Huson
e-mail Address: David.Huson@uwe.ac.uk
Telephone: 0117 328 4979

The CFPR 3D printing lab, led by Hoskins and Huson, was set up in 2007 with funding from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF 2) and Science Research Investment Fund 3 (SRIF3).

Research strands:

A re-appraisal of early photo-mechanical printmaking techniques for printing onto ceramics for use with digital technologies.

Investigations into the use of “smart” shape-changing materials with 3D printing and fabrication technologies.

Research into 3D printed ceramic bodies to lift 3D printing from rapid prototyping into the arena of bespoke manufacture in actual materials.

Appraisal of new technologies for the visual arts.

Major projects:

Can Egyptian Paste Techniques (Faience) Be Used For 3D Printed, Solid Free-form Fabrication of Ceramics?

The Arts and Humanities Research Council have funded a 3 year research project for David Huson and Professor Stephen Hoskins to develop a process based upon historic Egyptian Faience techniques, which should enable ceramic artists, designers and craftspeople to print 3D objects in a material which they are familiar with and that can be glazed and vitrified in one firing.

Read more in the full release

Viridis3D and UWE Announces License Agreement for ViriClay

The University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) and Viridis3D llc (Viridis) are pleased to announce that they have entered in to a licence agreement granting Viridis the exclusive rights to market ViriClay, a 3D printable ceramic material developed by Professor Stephen Hoskins and Mr Dave Huson of UWE’s Centre for Fine Print Research.

Read more in the full release

3D printed ceramic bodies: a 12 month AHRC follow-on grant in collaboration with Denby Pottery ‘Solid Free-form Fabrication in Fired Ceramic as a Design Aid for Concept Modelling in the Ceramic Industry’ to develop new 3D printed ceramic bodies, exploiting CFPR patented material, as a design tool for concept modelling of tableware and whiteware for the arts and ceramic industries. the team are also investigating ceramic firing supports and their advantages in the production of one-off ceramic design concept models. The ability to print directly in a compatible ceramic material that can be glazed and decorated is a quantum leap in this process.’

KTP with Renishaw Plc:  a three-year project to enhance the additive layer manufacturing in a unique project to explore industrial manufacturing techniques from a creative perspective and improve capabilities of a major engineering company.

3D print and fabrication: a three-year AHRC grant ‘A practical re-appraisal of continuous tone photo-relief printing for ceramics and alternative substrates’, a three-year AHRC grant ‘The Fabrication of Three Dimensional Art and Craft Artefacts through Virtual Digital Construction and Output’, and a five-year programme of research (RCUK fellowship) on creative uses for new 3D technologies such as CAD-CAM and rapid prototyping in areas beyond the “mainstream” industrial design and engineering contexts in which these technologies are predominantly employed.
These interdisciplinary enquiries aim to identify and explore “radical” creative uses (and users) of new 3D technologies, expanding application boundaries and opening up new possibilities and perspectives for creative practice.

Smart materials and novel actuators: on-going research in collaboration with Bristol Robotics Lab to investigate the use of “smart” shape-changing materials, together with 3D printing and fabrication technologies, in the creative realization of interactive art and design artefacts.

Parallel research projects: we work with well known artists such as the late Richard Hamilton. Based upon the methodologies developed for continuous tone ceramic tiles, researchers worked with Richard Hamilton and the Art Medals Trust on the commission for a medal of Dishonour ‘The Hutton Award’ for an exhibition at the British Museum.

The CFPR trialled the medal in every rapid prototyping method available, before deciding that the best solution was to use CNC milling to produce the digital masters. Subsequently Hoskins and the CFPR have been asked to oversee the recreation (Scanning and production) of Kurt Schwitters last major 3D work, 'Merz Barn' in Ellterwater near Ambleside, Cumbria. The work was moved to the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle by Richard Hamilton in 1965. The work is to be recreated in time for a Schwitters retrospective at the TATE in 2013 and is supported by the TATE, MOMA New York and the Architectural Association.

Further exemplars of impact from our research into 3D print are demonstrated by CFPR’s inclusion in the following three reports ‘Big Ideas for the Future - UK Research Report’ Universities UK and Research Councils UK (RCUK), Knowledge Exchange AHRC funded Report - Hidden Connections, University industry knowledge exchange. All this Useless Beauty: the Hidden Value of Research in Art and Design, Mike Press, University of Dundee.


Hoskins was also invited to attend a breakfast meeting at the House of Commons in November 2011 to discuss the relationship between crafts and STEM subjects.


Hoskins and Huson presented a case study of creative collaboration to the Materials KTN study day for 3D printing and the creative industries at the Royal College of Art November 2011.

3D and Rapid Prototyping Research

Research Projects

Links with Industry / Artists

Bureau Service


CPD Courses

Quick Links:

CFPR and Denby Pottery - AHRC funded project
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David Huson awarded RPS Saxby Medal

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Fabrication of 3D Art objects - project report
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