Mark Ganter, University of Washington Engineering professor, sought a way to enable his students to do more with 3D printing. The barrier was cost: at $30-50 per pound, the cost over the school year was adding up to prohibitive amounts. The last thing a professor wants to do is put limits on the ingenuity of his students. So, Ganter did what anyone in his position would do: invent a new media that is dramatically lower in price.
Over the course of six months of experimentation, Ganter and team developed a mix of ceramic powder, sugar and maltodextrin! The resulting powder is extremely inexpensive as its ingredients are commonly available anywhere in large quantities. Objects made from the powder can be fired like traditional ceramics. The team continues to experiment with different mixes for other purposes.
In the spirit of open source, Ganter has published the actual recipes for anyone to use! Enjoy!
Caution: use of said homemade powder likely pulverizes the warranty on your printer.