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{Mendel Parts?}

We’ve have been using this plaster based replacement powder over the last two years.  The recipe is simpler and more available than our previous plaster recipe.   It was developed over a period of  about one year.  It has ok damp strength, good green strength, and is quite strong after baking in the convection oven (with a temperature between warm and defrost).   When finished, one might infiltrate with CA glue, or thin epoxy, or wax/paraffin.

DAP Plaster of Paris             1000 units

Powdered Sugar                  250 units

Maltodextrin                       250 units

If you can’t find Maltodextrin, then use Benefiber (it is no longer maltodextrin but rather a wheat dextrin).   Also,  you might try experimenting with replacing the sugar 1:1 with Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA/PVoH).   PVA is much more expensive than powdered sugar but there are some advantages.

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.   We have been using DAP Plaster of Paris (especially because it is readily available for a reasonable cost).

36 Comments on Plaster Powder V2 (Version #2)

  1. Kevin Smith says:

    Those appear to be Mendel parts in the picture. Does this plaster mix have the structural strength for that application after baking or would it have to be infilled to be strong enough?

    • admin says:

      Kevin, Mendel Parts? No really? The plaster is quite strong enough to be useful for building Mendels but you can infiltrate them in epoxy or CA glues to make them much stronger.

  2. Richard says:

    DAP has three different dry plasters available: “Plaster Wall Patch”, “DAP Plaster of Paris” and “All Purpose Stucko Dry Patch”. Can you tell us which one you use?


    • admin says:

      Richard, thanks for checking in. I think it is DAP Plaster of Paris. I will check and update the recipe to be clear.

  3. sean taffert says:

    That recipe looks great.
    What kind of printer are you using it with?
    A Z-corp? or home made?

    • admin says:

      Sean, Thanks for checking in. We are using a commercial machine not a homemade.

  4. sean taffert says:

    We would be VERY interested in your powder & binder development.

    How would someone like us (Protofacturing) help make this a viable commercial product?

  5. nullset says:


    i would imagine that there are patent issues involved with commercializing these powders and binders. I’m sure that’s why they haven’t started selling them themselves!

    (I’d be interested to see what some of the patent holders would say to someone small trying to license their patents, though).

    The benefit of this is that you can use their patents for furthering your own knowledge and research, and thus you can be the next big patent holder! 🙂

    (I am not affiliated with Open3DP at all, nor am I a patent lawyer or lawyer….)

  6. sean taffert says:

    As long as the recipe is more than %10 different, they could get claim a difference and avoid patent infringement.

    All I’m looking for is an alternate source for powder and binder. If I can help make it happen, I’d be happy.

    • ganter says:

      While these recipes may not have the most optimum performance, we have attempted to make available the simplest recipes that we have found to be workable in our lab. Simple and low cost changes the overall way that people approach 3DP. We have observed that designers become
      involved in a new paradigm when 3DP is not a prohibitive technology based on its cost.

      Watch for new recipes coming soon!

  7. nullset says:

    What printer is that in the picture? That’s a very large build area!


    • ganter says:

      Buddy, it’s just a standard 400 class machine with 8 x10 build space. The shot is taken down the long axis of the bed with the cover open while printing.

  8. nullset says:

    Interesting! I have a Z400, which I think has a slightly shorter build space ( 8x8x10in, i believe).

    I’m very interetested in printing Mendel parts with a 400 class machine. I didn’t think it was possible to make the strong enough, but it sounds like you’ve had quite a bit of success.


    • ganter says:

      buddy, Mendel parts are possible. However, they will need to be infused with either CA glue or a penetrating epoxy (i.e. water-thin epoxy). As yet, we do not have a Mendel built for 3DP parts (I have printed them all). We have someone working on it. It might be a better us of the 3DP process to print mold plates (due to the resolution of 3DP).

  9. hgabor47 says:

    Perhaps this solution are stronger:

    Powder: Plaster + Maltodextrin + sugar
    And the liquid component: Water glass (Na2SiO3 Sodium silicate)

    I can try build a 3D printer from HP printers and I think this mix is stronger then other.

  10. Jelena says:

    has anybody tried using this recipe with a z450 printer? what are the results?
    and also, I read that if not used frequently enough, the sugar crystallizes, blocking the tubes, has anybody had any trouble with that?

  11. […] I have also worked with a few other powders in this process.  University of Washington’s VP2 works extremely well as the sugars dissolve quiet […]

  12. kyle says:

    this is the recipe for powder–what about the liquid, do you still use the proprietary liquid with this powder formula?

    • admin says:

      Kyle, we think you can use whatever fluid works best for you. We have two posts on binders (XF and XB) and our latest
      on Rice Wine. We would recommend you always start with stock materials to start your experiments to determine a baseline.

      After that you should try water-based fluids with properties that work with the head technology of your given machine.

  13. Oscar says:

    What is the recipe for the binder used in machines using HP11 print heads?

  14. Ragy says:

    I have a problem,the plaster is clogging the hoses,do you have any idea how to make the material flow,i.e decrease the cohesion force ..any help

    • ganter says:

      The plaster doesn’t go in the binder solution.

      • Ragy says:

        I use a 450 machine,the plaster clogs the vacuum hoses when the build is finished,I have no problem with the binder(thnx to you),
        I am going to try silica as an anticaking agent now,I was just wondering if you have tackled the same prblm

        • ganter says:

          Ragy, you might also try adding some corn starch. Corn starch is used in powdered sugar to help with the caking problems.

  15. Yo says:

    I tried it out on my Z450 . The results was better than i expected except the color intensity of the part . My satulation setting is aound 70% for shell and 55% for core . Highest level satulation setting is not possible as the part becomes to soft and the curing will increase immense . Original OEM powder has more bulk density too. This is why i only can print max. 3″ high parts . Any suggestions ?

  16. Dezouz says:

    Is it water soluble ?

  17. Bob says:

    Can you use plain old water as the liquid binder and Plaster of Paris as the powder print medium ans still obtain acceptable parts? Can Portland Cement be used in place of the Plaster of Paris? Any feedback would be appreciated.

    • ganter says:

      Bob, depending on which brand of printhead that you are using water has the wrong material properties for inkjet printing (the number one is too high of surface tension). Our recipes for “binder” are an attempt to provide you the simplest and least expensive liquid materials. The issue of using with Plaster of Paris is the printer can not deliver enough liquid to set the plaster. Check your vendor recipe and you will see that PP requires more than 30% water to Plaster (note that is the most your printer can provide). Now there are a wide variety of very interesting high performance Plasters by USG that need below 30% water (guess what most work great). The same is true with many cements (we tried a variety when Laura West was visiting). We really liked VersaBond and/or FlexiBond (they are fine powder vinyl morters).

  18. ganter says:

    nando, we would recommend hydroperm or drystone from USG. They are both much stronger plasters than Plaster V1 or V2. The components of Plaster V2 are much easier to obtain than Plaster V1.

    We have been using Rice Flour printing powder in our lab as it works great for lost-wax casting after you infiltrate it with wax.

  19. Amir says:

    Dear Sir
    What is the method of mixing the primary powders (Plaster+Suger+M)?

    • ganter says:

      Amir, you could use a powder mixer (but they are expensive). We use a concrete or mortar mixer. We have modified the mixer to hold a 5 gallon plastic bucket (which holds the powder). We also place a course bent screen to assist in mixing.

  20. Donald Guillot says:

    Is this thread still active or moved to another area?