Interview with Max Cheprack, Clay extrusion - Techniques, May 2012

TECHNIQUES, May 2012: Max Cheprack

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Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are studying Industrial Design at the Holon Institute of Technology, Israel, and recently you underwent a research project on clay extrusion. What are its concepts? Tell us about the technical process.

Max Cheprack
: The extruding clay project started in the third year of my studies, for in industrial design, when I first met the manual extruder in ceramics course. After learning various techniques in the field of ceramic design, I was fascinated by the option to create clay objects using replication. The Semi-industrial process of extruding clay enables the creation of precise and complex objects easily and quickly. Extrusion allows me to design the inside of the object, something that the rest of the techniques do not allow. Extruding technology allows to produce a closed and complex object, and therefore very strong. This allows the expansion of production beyond the products we know today. In addition, this technology brings new aesthetic to the ceramic field.

As an Industrial designer who is interested in manufacturing technologies, I moved away from the dies that come with the manual extruder Kit, and I began to assemble a set of basic dies with complex shapes. Later, I have built an extruder which works on pneumatic piston, in order to free both of my hands. This allows me to make variety of manipulations on the objects like bending and cutting.
In order to explore the limits of this technology, I decided to make a stool. The stool is a challenging product for extruding clay process because it is a relatively big product, which must be strong enough to bear persons weight, and should be able to connect with other materials.

My inspiration is taken from a local element of the Middle East - Mashrabiya. Though the project ended as part of my design studies, for me he is a starting point to new possibilities in ceramic design.

Max Cheprack Ceramics - Clay extrusion

Max Cheprack, Chairs made with the extruding machine

What was the most difficult part in creating the necessary tools for the project? Did you get any help?

The hardest part in this project was to understand the size relation between the size of the die and the amount of power that needed to push the clay. First I played with the manual extruder that we have in our workshop and then I made different dies to check how complex things can be. After realizing clearly how things are working I wanted to make the next step towards an extruder that will free both my hands to make manipulations on the objects while it is being extruded. I consulted with an engineer who just gave me a headache with schemes numbers and stuff that I couldn’t understand, so I decided to use a pneumatic piston as my base for the machine and after many trails with different pistons and die sizes I made one small extruder and one big extruder.

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Extruding Clay by Max Cheprack, student at the Holon Institute of Technology in Israel

"My research examined the extrusion process in a new material - clay. For this purpose, I built two pneumatic extruders (for two different die sizes) that push clay through the die. The semi-industrial process enabled me to manipulate the material, with never-before-seen precision and complexity. My research led to the creation of various objects that illustrate the many possibilities of this technology. Finally, I chose to express the result of my research process in a new design for a stool. The final result is inspired by the material culture of the Middle East so as to express time and place. The research opens up new possibilities in ceramic design and shows great promise as a method of production and design."

Max Cheprack on Etsy and Behance.