We’ve had a plaster based replacement powder for almost 5 five years.  The recipe is rather complicated.   It was developed over a period of two years.  It has ok damp strength, good green strength, and is quite strong after baking in the convection oven.   When finished, one might infiltrate with CA glue, or thin epoxy, or wax/parafin.

Plaster of Paris  1000 units

4X Sugar (ultra-fine) – 500 units

Powdered Sugar  – 500 units

Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA/PVoH) – 100 units

Sodium CarboxyMethylCellulose (SCMC) – 100 units

Polyox – 50 units

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PVA is a really vast array of products and modifications of base product.  Contact a technical rep for a vendor near you to discuss your application.

There are a fair number of different kinds of plaster of paris – common plaster of paris,  #1 Pottery Plaster, Drystone Plaster, Duramold Plaster, GardenCast Plaster, Hydrocal Plaster, Ultracal Plaster, and various Dental Plasters.  Each plaster has different properties and each requires experimentation.

Methyl cellulose is actually only one of a huge family of materials called cellulose ethers, all of which are based on molecules made from chemically-altered cellulose. There are many different cellulose ethers available, with a dizzying array of molecular weights, solubilities and characteristics. One of our favorites is sodium carboxymethylcellulose, or sodium cmc – it has greater adhesive properties than methyl cellulose and is almost as stable.”

Polyox ™ is a group of  water-soluble resins. They are white, free-flowing hydrophilic powders supplied in a wide variety of molecular weight grades, ranging from one hundred thousand to eight million. Polyox has a long history of successful applications in pharmaceutical products, in uses such as controlled release solid dose matrix systems, tablet binding, tablet coatings, transdermal drug delivery systems, and mucosal bioadhesives.  PolyOx may serve as a cross-linking agent for SCMC and/or PVA.

40 Comments on Plaster Based Powder

  1. Steve says:

    I’m love the idea that its possible to create very imaginative artistic designs, but the material costs have severely limited my ability to experiment. I would like to try your Plaster based powder recipe on my old Z-310 printer. I apologize for being dense but I don’t understand your “units” reference for quantities. It seems your mixing (pardon the pun) different materials; solids and liquids. What “units” should I use to get the ratios right, and do I use the Z-binder as usual? Thank you for your great work!

    • admin says:

      Steve, great question! Sorry for not being clear, the units are weight units for powders (like grams, kilograms, pounds, ounces, etc). You just need to be consistent. For the liquids, you use liquid units (like cc, ml, ounces, etc). We use grams for powders and cc/ml for liquids. Also, remember that the recipes can be scaled up or down as needed.

      To start, you should use premium binders as there are a few issues using our binders and 300 class machines. The issue is related to print the printhead technology. After you are getting results, please check in again.

  2. Steve says:

    I’m love the idea that its possible to create very imaginative artistic designs, but the material costs have severely limited my ability to experiment. I would like to try your Plaster based powder recipe on my old Z-310 printer. I apologize for being dense but I don’t understand your “units” reference for quantities. It seems your mixing (pardon the pun) different materials; solids and liquids. What “units” should I use to get the ratios right, and do I use the Z-binder as usual? Thank you for your great work!

    • admin says:

      Steve, great question! Sorry for not being clear, the units are weight units for powders (like grams, kilograms, pounds, ounces, etc). You just need to be consistent. For the liquids, you use liquid units (like cc, ml, ounces, etc). We use grams for powders and cc/ml for liquids. Also, remember that the recipes can be scaled up or down as needed.

      To start, you should use premium binders as there are a few issues using our binders and 300 class machines. The issue is related to print the printhead technology. After you are getting results, please check in again.

  3. Steve says:

    Thanks for the information. I’m working on putting together all these different materials for the recipe, and so far I’ve had some luck with most of the materials except Polyox. I can’t find a distributor for polyethylene oxide (PEO). I’m an Artist not a Chemist; I guess I need to be more of a Chemist, and less of an Artist. Any more information would be appreciated.

  4. Steve says:

    Thanks for the information. I’m working on putting together all these different materials for the recipe, and so far I’ve had some luck with most of the materials except Polyox. I can’t find a distributor for polyethylene oxide (PEO). I’m an Artist not a Chemist; I guess I need to be more of a Chemist, and less of an Artist. Any more information would be appreciated.

  5. Jelena says:

    Is it possible to use this recipe on a z450 printer? Has anybody tried and what are the results?
    Im new in this so any help would be much appreciated..

  6. Jelena says:

    Is it possible to use this recipe on a z450 printer? Has anybody tried and what are the results?
    Im new in this so any help would be much appreciated..

  7. Florencia says:

    I’m interested to use this recipe in my 310 plus. Is there a requirement of the powder size in your recipe? And I suppose I could purcase the plaster of paris in any powder material vendor? Do you have any recommendations? Thanks 🙂

    • ganter says:

      I would like it would be fine in a 310 class printer. The powder should be finer than a 200 mesh screen. Any ceramics or sculpture vendor should be able to supply plaster of paris. You might look at hydroperm or drystone high performance plasters.

  8. Florencia says:

    I’m interested to use this recipe in my 310 plus. Is there a requirement of the powder size in your recipe? And I suppose I could purcase the plaster of paris in any powder material vendor? Do you have any recommendations? Thanks 🙂

    • ganter says:

      I would like it would be fine in a 310 class printer. The powder should be finer than a 200 mesh screen. Any ceramics or sculpture vendor should be able to supply plaster of paris. You might look at hydroperm or drystone high performance plasters.

  9. Florencia says:

    Hi ganter, thanks for your reply.

    What about the ink binder? Can we use water as the liquid ink? or does it require other type of liquid binder?

  10. Florencia says:

    Hi ganter, thanks for your reply.

    What about the ink binder? Can we use water as the liquid ink? or does it require other type of liquid binder?

  11. dan says:

    hi ganter,
    could you let me know which type of polyvinyl you are talking about? is it powdered or liquid? if powdered what is the particle size? i’ve currently been testing with you recipe (large amounts of different of different plaster, matodextrin and powdered sugar). the results are ok but i would like to enhance the resolution (still slightly grainy). as binder i use sake which seems to be perfect. thanks for sharing your research, really inspiring,
    dan

    • ganter says:

      dan, the PVA is a powder. It is available in a wide variety of molecular weights (just pick one and go for it). All material in the print bed should be screened by 200 mesh screen (or better with a 400 mesh screen). If you powder isn’t fine enough then
      either get a coffee grinder or a ball mill. Good luck and send picture (or a new recipe).

  12. dan says:

    hi ganter,
    could you let me know which type of polyvinyl you are talking about? is it powdered or liquid? if powdered what is the particle size? i’ve currently been testing with you recipe (large amounts of different of different plaster, matodextrin and powdered sugar). the results are ok but i would like to enhance the resolution (still slightly grainy). as binder i use sake which seems to be perfect. thanks for sharing your research, really inspiring,
    dan

    • ganter says:

      dan, the PVA is a powder. It is available in a wide variety of molecular weights (just pick one and go for it). All material in the print bed should be screened by 200 mesh screen (or better with a 400 mesh screen). If you powder isn’t fine enough then
      either get a coffee grinder or a ball mill. Good luck and send picture (or a new recipe).

  13. Dezouz says:

    Hi,
    I’m currently using a 400 class printer.
    I’ve also found a similar powder recipe but is it water-soluble ?
    If not, do you have any recommandations for a special water-soluble recipe ? Indeed I will have to destroy my model after printing.
    Thank you for your time,
    Dezouz

    • ganter says:

      Dezouz, you might try printing in the sugar-sugar recipe. It is clearly water soluble.

      • Dezouz says:

        Thank you for you quick answer ganter.
        By the way, does the powder needs a special binder recipe or does every binder recipe work with every powder recipe ?
        I think that the XB1 binder fits with the sugar sugar powder recipe, is that correct ?

        Once again thanks for your informations, you’re the only website I can rely on for my research.
        Dezouz

  14. Dezouz says:

    Hi,
    I’m currently using a 400 class printer.
    I’ve also found a similar powder recipe but is it water-soluble ?
    If not, do you have any recommandations for a special water-soluble recipe ? Indeed I will have to destroy my model after printing.
    Thank you for your time,
    Dezouz

    • ganter says:

      Dezouz, you might try printing in the sugar-sugar recipe. It is clearly water soluble.

      • Dezouz says:

        Thank you for you quick answer ganter.
        By the way, does the powder needs a special binder recipe or does every binder recipe work with every powder recipe ?
        I think that the XB1 binder fits with the sugar sugar powder recipe, is that correct ?

        Once again thanks for your informations, you’re the only website I can rely on for my research.
        Dezouz

  15. fernando says:

    Hi Ganter, we need find a goos solution like yours for my z510 printer, now will want to start with your formula, im looking for the sodium carboxymethylcellulose, what class must i use? molecular weights? can you tell me any about, i fin a distributor but they have a lot of diferent …medicine, industrial, painting grade, etc etc etc

    Your hel will be apreciate.

    regarsd
    fernando

  16. fernando says:

    Hi Ganter, we need find a goos solution like yours for my z510 printer, now will want to start with your formula, im looking for the sodium carboxymethylcellulose, what class must i use? molecular weights? can you tell me any about, i fin a distributor but they have a lot of diferent …medicine, industrial, painting grade, etc etc etc

    Your hel will be apreciate.

    regarsd
    fernando

  17. nano6659 says:

    Hi ganter, thanks for your response, i have any dudes here:

    4X Sugar (ultra-fine) – 500 units
    Powdered Sugar – 500 units

    What does it mean?? ultra fine means much fine that podwer sugar?? what about 4X?

    best regards

    fernando

    • ganter says:

      Fernando, ultra-fine sugar is the finest sugar available in a grocery store. If you can’t find it, go to a restaurant supply store to find find it. It is not finer than powdered sugar. For you information, powdered sugar contains corn starch to keep it from clumping together. Powdered sugar also comes in two grades 10X (regular powdered sugar) and 12x (called fondant sugar). good luck.

  18. nano6659 says:

    Hi ganter, thanks for your response, i have any dudes here:

    4X Sugar (ultra-fine) – 500 units
    Powdered Sugar – 500 units

    What does it mean?? ultra fine means much fine that podwer sugar?? what about 4X?

    best regards

    fernando

    • ganter says:

      Fernando, ultra-fine sugar is the finest sugar available in a grocery store. If you can’t find it, go to a restaurant supply store to find find it. It is not finer than powdered sugar. For you information, powdered sugar contains corn starch to keep it from clumping together. Powdered sugar also comes in two grades 10X (regular powdered sugar) and 12x (called fondant sugar). good luck.

  19. nano6659 says:

    Hi Ganter, i finally get all components, at this moment i try with two different detal plasters and the rest of camponents you tell us, but the printed pieces dont have too much green strech, after more than one hour on the machine i try to move out and they broken ….they seen very fragile……im really confused…perhaps the binder? my binder is water and glycol…..

    What are i making bad??

    • ganter says:

      A powder printer can only deliver about a maximum of 30% fluid by volume to the powder in the bed. You should check your powder and make sure that 30% water
      will actually set the plaster that you are using. If not you need a different plaster.

  20. nano6659 says:

    Hi Ganter, i finally get all components, at this moment i try with two different detal plasters and the rest of camponents you tell us, but the printed pieces dont have too much green strech, after more than one hour on the machine i try to move out and they broken ….they seen very fragile……im really confused…perhaps the binder? my binder is water and glycol…..

    What are i making bad??

    • ganter says:

      A powder printer can only deliver about a maximum of 30% fluid by volume to the powder in the bed. You should check your powder and make sure that 30% water
      will actually set the plaster that you are using. If not you need a different plaster.

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